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Anyone Own a Hybrid Vehicle?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
  1. Does anyone own a hybrid vehicle (gas and electric) like a Ford Escape or Honda Accord?
  2. If so how do you like it?
  3. Does it get high MPG as advertised?
  4. Do you save gas on long interstate trips to ski areas?
  5. Do you think you will save money over all?
What prompted this was this CNN article Survey: Consumers skeptical of hybrids

A friend of mine had one of the early Honda Hybrids. You know the one because you could only get it in this ugly green color. He said people would wave to him all the time and it had no power. After 2 years he got rid of it and went back to Subaru outback.
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills
A friend of mine had one of the early Honda Hybrids. You know the one because you could only get it in this ugly green color. He said people would wave to him all the time and it had no power. After 2 years he got rid of it and went back to Subaru outback.
Its knowing people that have basically said the same thing to me that's prevented me from getting one (that and the outrageous prices they want for hybrids). Personally, I need my vehicles to have some power, and many hybrids just don't have it. Some do, but then they really server no purpose (like the GMC Sierra Hybrid - I think it was a Sierra) and if they have the power I look for, they don't get much better mileage.

I think at least until the hybrids get better and drop dramatically in price, the only thing I would consider would be a deisel (but then there aren't enough stations) where I could run biodiesel or convert it to run on alternative fuels.
post #3 of 33
vw's tdi 4 cylinder diesels have ok power and a real 45 mpg. they're not as 'green ' because of soot emissions. here in the east fuel is no problem. there are 5 stations or more in a 5 mile radius, 2 within 2 mile of my house. i've owned non turbo vw diesels for decades, 1 rabbit 260,000 miles +, 1 jetta 220,000 miles and still my 'go to work' car and 1 used golf that had nearly 200,000 on it when we sold it to a person who then used it to move to oregon and then back to pa. no major engine problems on any of them.
post #4 of 33
Hybrids cost more initially and have a major repair cost built in as the battery pack must eventually be replaced. They are not a good investment for the marginally better mileage compared to the well built conventional gasoline vehicles. I just got back from a 3300 mile vacation trip we took in a new Toyota Avalon. 28-30 MPG in a well powered 6-cylinder full size car. Compared to driving a Prius, we maybe gave up 10-15 MPG (probably less for all the freeway, and mountain driving).

To me, there is a point of diminishing returns to accept lower horsepower (performance) and higher initial and repair costs, in return for saving a few bucks on gasoline. What happens when these vehicle break down? Only certain dealers will touch them. IMO they are best suited for daily urban commutes in areas with severe air quality problems. This is not the car to take on a trip or to the ski area.
post #5 of 33
Sorry don't have one, but they are huge in the Washington DC area. A lot of middle and upper class folks buy them to get a leg up on our horrendous commuter traffic. Currently, because of the environmentally friendly status of hybrid vehicles a driver of one can qualify for use of several of our most critical local Interstate highway HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes. This allows them to use the less clogged HOV lanes without any other passengers onboard, probably a bigger motivator for most of these people to buy the hybrids than any gas economy or environmental reasons. Use of the HOV lanes in a typical 25 mile commute from points south of the city up I95 can cut travel time in half, from say 80 to 40 minutes. The most popular model in our area seems to be the Toyota Prius, seen in great numbers all around the greater metropolitan DC area.
Rambling, vaguely related thread:
http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads22/sh...=&fpart=1&vc=1
post #6 of 33
Hybrids get vastly better mileage for in-town driving. On the freeways they are only marginally better than normal cars. Only look at hybrids if you are going to mainly use them in town.

The power problems have been solved for the most part. The new Toyota Highlander hybrid has better acceleration than the gas powered edition. The two people I know that own Priuses say their cars do great climbing over the passes in this area.
post #7 of 33
My biggest concerns with hybrids are the battery packs. How often do they have to be changed? How much do they cost? That will really affect your cost per mile. How do you dispose of them? Batteries are not harmless things. They have some caustic chemicals and normally some heavy metals in them. Disposal or recycling will not be cheap. How those costs figured into the overall cost of running the hybrid car will drastically affect how much the operation of the car actually costs. If the car has an option to plug it in to top off the batteries then you need to figure in where that power is generated and how much it costs.

I like the idea of hybrids. I just wonder if the consumer actually knows what all is involved.
post #8 of 33
I'm seriously getting either the hybrid Ford Escape or the hybrid Mercury Mariner. I'm buying a house later this year, and won't do it until shortly afterwards. Incidentally, research shows that 50% of new home buyers buy a car within 6 months of purchase, and I'll probably further that trend!

Anyway, I've been yearning for an SUV for a while. My fiancee and I both drive sports cars (I have a BMW coupe) with wide, summer tires. Neither of us could make it to a ski resort with any snow on the roads. Last time we drove to a resort we rented a Lincoln Aviator ($20 for the weekend!), which was a good thing, as we would have been stuck without it.

That said, I'm also very environmentally conscious and internationally sensitive to US dependance on foreign oil. I just won't touch anything that gets below 20mpg, which means my only option is a hybrid. Through a family member we get Ford A plan pricing (fiancee's grandfather is a retired senior Ford executive), which means not only do we not pay the markup most dealerships are charging for the hybrid SUV's, but we actually pay below dealer invoice. This goes for Ford's other brands such as Volvo, Jaguar, and Mercury as well.

I actually think it may be a wise decision, as I'm willing to bet we'll see gas prices at $4 a gallon within 3 years.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reisen
I just won't touch anything that gets below 20mpg, which means my only option is a hybrid.
I just did a round-trip to visit my brother in Indianapolis in my AWD Audi with a turbo gas engine. Averaged over 80 for most of the nearly 800 miles and got 25 mpg with the A/C keeping us comfy cool despite outside temps around 90 degrees in bright sun.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
I just did a round-trip to visit my brother in Indianapolis in my AWD Audi with a turbo gas engine. Averaged over 80 for most of the nearly 800 miles and got 25 mpg with the A/C keeping us comfy cool despite outside temps around 90 degrees in bright sun.
Is 25 MPG freeway something to be proud of?
post #11 of 33
Rio
I was going to post that about the Highlander too.
I have a couple customers who have hybrids and really like them. I think one said thast there is some deal they do on the batteries after five years(?). That wa my first question and is my biggest concern. I guess only time will tell on that one. It's a factor of age not miles or hours of use.
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow not one post from someone that owns a Hybrid. I know your out there. Don't be shy.

These posts are good and I have similar views. The intent of this thread was to get first or second hand Hybrid experience.

BTW if your going to get a Ford Escape Hrybrid at below dealer cost you better order it now. I hear the Escape is impossible to get and dealers are charging upto $2000 over MSRP.
post #13 of 33
We love our Prius. The gas mileage is as advertised. The power is fine. Without much of a load it maintained about 70 up to the Eisenhower Tunnel. It's fun to drive. The display teaches you how to manage your driving so that you get the best out of it.

Interestingly, our 19 year old sons prefer the Prius to the Tacoma. Do chicks dig hybrid guys?

I'd get another one in a heartbeat. Who was it that said they only gave away 10 or 15 mpg on the highway with their other car. ONLY??!!!
post #14 of 33
Another non-owner, but I've driven the Prius around Tahoe (Mt. Rose Highway) and it simply doesn't have the power I'd be looking for in mountain driving. Plus, the battery runs out on long up hills, so it doesn't get the advertised MPG when mountain driving (only around the city). My friend that owns it heard there is going to be a version soon with more battery capacity that will be better for mountain driving (but heavier, so lower MPG) I've driven a Honda Accord hybrid too, better power, but I don't believe there is that much of a gain in MPG.

All in all, it seems to me the higher price of the cars negates any fuel cost savings. The exception may be a car that intended for in city commuting. The real reason to buy one is you want to be kinder to the environment and support the oil companies a little less.
post #15 of 33
I think the battery run down going up is taken up by the battery charging from the wheels in the B gear. It's a total free ride.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
I just did a round-trip to visit my brother in Indianapolis in my AWD Audi with a turbo gas engine. Averaged over 80 for most of the nearly 800 miles and got 25 mpg with the A/C keeping us comfy cool despite outside temps around 90 degrees in bright sun.
A4 1.8T? If so, a great car (I like all German cars, but especially Audi's), but I meant in terms of an SUV.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills
Wow not one post from someone that owns a Hybrid. I know your out there. Don't be shy.

These posts are good and I have similar views. The intent of this thread was to get first or second hand Hybrid experience.

BTW if your going to get a Ford Escape Hrybrid at below dealer cost you better order it now. I hear the Escape is impossible to get and dealers are charging upto $2000 over MSRP.
That's the beauty of A-Plan pricing, it's set by the factory, and the dealers don't really have any involvement (it's sort of a pass-through). A little like all these "Employee discount" incentive programs currently going on, but even better prices (it's designed for executives rather than factory workers/ dealership salesmen).
post #18 of 33
My dad owns a hybrid escape, Gets 29+ mountain driving I have gotten 30 MPG If I drive 55-60 instead of 65-70.

Plenty of power for general mountain driving. Hauling probably would be a problem but with 4 passengers and luggage up the grape vine was no problem. It's not a V8 but it's good.

almost 30 mpg for an AWD, 5 passengers comfortably and equipment. I think it's worth it.

DC
post #19 of 33
I've owned my Toyota Prius for just over a year now, and my overall mpg now stands at just over 50.5 mpg. While used primarily as a commuter car, I have taken a number of long distance trips including a ski trips up to Mount Hood (a vertical gain of around 5,500 feet). It has served all of my purposes quite well and I’d consider it the best vehicle I’ve ever owned.

Once learning how to conserve my battery charge for the steeper sections of this climb, I’ve found that it has plenty of power for long uphill climbs (certainly superior to my wife’s small SUV). The only negative issues I’ve encountered with regard to using the Prius for ski trips is the low ground clearance (around 5 inches) and the marginal stock tires that come standard (chains help a lot). Other than that, it can easily carry me and two passengers with plenty of room for three sets of skis, boots and other equipment.

As for saving money over all, I’d say it does if compared to a comparably sized gasoline vehicle, but if saving money is your only concern, you might want to look at something smaller along the lines of the Toyota Echo. As for me, in addition to all money I’m saving in gas expenses (I’ve saved around $800 over the last year as compared to my previous mid-sized car), I was also able to take advantage of a $2,000 federal tax deduction and a $1,500 Oregon state tax CREDIT for the 2004 tax year (money well spent on new mountain bikes).

The battery pack in the Prius is under warrantee for 8 years / 100,000 miles (10 / 150,000 in California) and many early Prius owners have reported the battery outlasting the useful life of the vehicle. With my wife’s SUV requiring replacement in the next few years, I am so sold on the hybrid concept that I am pushing her towards considering the new Ford Escape hybrid.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
Is 25 MPG freeway something to be proud of?
The posting was in response to the statement that a hybrid is the only vehicle that gets better than 20 mpg. I think 25 is pretty decent for a fairly roomy "luxury" sedan with Quattro drivetrain and the ability to go from Zero to 60 in six seconds.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reisen
A4 1.8T? If so, a great car (I like all German cars, but especially Audi's), but I meant in terms of an SUV.

No, it's the 1991 200 quattro with the 20-valve turbo.
post #22 of 33
ski rick
"The higher price of the car negates the fuel savings".
That's always been the case. I figured that out in 1980 when I was driving a Suburban that averaged about 10 MPG. I could have picked up a new Subaru that would have gotten 30 MPG for $5000. I never could have recovered the cost.(not in the useful life of the vehicle)
The object is to reduce consumption of oil. That's going to come at a price. A friend of mine used to say "if you want economy you have to pay for it". It was a joke at the time (1970) but very true these days.
post #23 of 33

high bred or hybrid?

High bred .... my Vette is currently the best mileage vehicle in our family fleet with 27/29 highway. Some guys are running close to 32 (so they say). Slick aero design (said to be second only to some solar vehicles regarding wind drag/profile), and a six speed with tall gearing (171 top end). The beast loafs along at 70 reading 1500 rpm on the tach.

95 Saab gets about 25 and the XC about 22 on the highway.

I'm slated to get and Escape hybrid as a company car soon ... can't wait!
post #24 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
"if you want economy you have to pay for it". It was a joke at the time (1970) but very true these days.
Unfortunatly SLATZ has it right. There is no silver bullet. Sending A LOT of American Money to the Countries with most of the OIL is going to hurt America a lot in a few years. So I guess we have to spend more to spend less. Or something like that.

Total Cost of Ownership story and little off topic. My daughter just moved away from home. Dad was real sad cleaning up her empty bedroom. Anyway a few days after the move she totals her 2003 Honda Civic LX. Yes thank god she is ok. No visit to the hospital was required. Now she purchased this car brand new for $16K+ with all the state tax. The insurance company was debating for a week on whether to fix this car or total it. Well after 10 days they just gave her the good news yesterday that the car is totaled. Anyone want to guess how much there going to give her for the value of a 2003 Honda Civic LX with 49,000 miles. Try $13,400. which includes all the original state taxes. Talk about a car that holds its value. She ran all the way to the bank to cash that check. Yes these are real numbers.

Ok a little back on topic. Now the Civic got 35MPG for those 49,000 miles and as you can see it really does hold its resale value. Would a hybrid do that? I guess it depends on the future price of gas.
post #25 of 33
Gas prices certainly burst my bubble. My son in law is getting a Prius, and as we researched the nature of the car, found some issues with maintenance:http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache...problems&hl=en

Personally, I ditched my ext. cab 1995 351 F150 4x4 (13MPG), for a 1997 Outback (27MPG). The 1997 4.5L sixbanger LandCruiser (19MPG) ain't going nowhere. Friends in the manufacturing side of the automotive industry tell me hybrids are the future. I know I will have one soon. Adios V8........
post #26 of 33
I have a buddy with a Honda Insight that has 177k on it. He has a 140 mile RT daily commute, and reports better than 60 mpg avg. Can't comment on it for ski purposes though.
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainiac
Gas prices certainly burst my bubble. My son in law is getting a Prius, and as we researched the nature of the car, found some issues with maintenance:http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache...problems&hl=en..............
Adios V8........
Hey Manianc much thanks for that link. I had not thought about the electrical and safety differences.

I had this 1968 GMC Van that I refurbished from junk many years ago. On the way back from back packing around Mt Washington all of sudden this mound of dirt appears out of the dark in the middle of this Vermont road. I hit the brakes real hard and the battery. Well the battery was not clamped down. Couldn't afford a battery clamp. The battery positive cable goes up against the body of the van and gets stuck there with sparks and smoke everywhere. I jump in the back of the van pull up the battery floor cover and I am about to reach down and grab the cable and the old brain cells kick in and say hey that ain't such a good idea. That cable was real hot and would have fried my hand for sure. So there we sit watching every wire in my van just fry. Four days later a VT mechanic rewired my entire van, put in a new battery, and we were on our way.

No I wasn't smoking wacky weed when this happened. That mound of dirt was real. Vermont road construction put the dirt there and the road hazard markers fell down out of sight or someone knocked them down.

Another time and place I had a big chunk of meat burned out of my thumb because it got in the way of a dead short off my car battery. That was only 12 Volts. I could imagine what the hybrid battery voltage is like.

All this is something to consider whey trying to help someone out of crashed hybrid.
post #28 of 33
Maniac
Thanks for that link. I learned something.
I'd guess it's only a matter of time before I'm asked to change oil on one.
post #29 of 33
Some of you may be interested in this story from the L.A. Times Sunday Magazine yesterday: http://www.latimes.com/features/prin...lines-magazine .

A Forbes columnist was touting this idea a couple of years ago. Plug-in hybrids get over 100mpg in commuter driving, but are still usable for distance trips where they would be more like current hybrids. The article does point out that advances in battery technology/reliability are still needed for mass production. But these advances might be only a few years off, unlike the fuel cell pipe dreams we hear so much about.
post #30 of 33
29-31 MPG on the highway in my 1987 Porsche 944 (20mpg in town). It handles surprising well on plowed snowy roads with real snow tires (as opposed to my summer performance tires), but I want to get something with ground clearance for getting to the trailheads in the summer. My wife won't let me get another car until we have no more tuitions to pay!
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