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Any downside to buying a hybrid?

railroadjamesrailroadjames Posts: 560
edited March 2014 in Toyota
As I see it there are some downsides to buying a hybrid car.
     1) Price always seems to be a premium or there are tack-ons.
     2) THE WAIT (some have been known to wait in excess of 6 months for their car.
     3) The limited servicability. Lets hope your near a Dealer to get it to in the event you need roadside assistance.
     4) After warranty what to expect on any repairs or replacements. ($$$$$$?????)
     5) Resale value (the jury is still out on that one)
Anyone care to add to the list?
Culliganman (loven my Prius for now)


  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,861
    my sister picked up her prius about a month ago.
    she only waited a month to get it. she didn't mention anything like add on options or costs.
    as a matter of fact, she called me friday to tell me the dealer where she got hers, had one on the ground and available for sale(western pa).
    i got to drive it about 50 miles of locally.
    wonder about the efficiency of the batteries in cold weather. it was cold while she was visiting, and the mileage was a tick under 36mpg. most of the time there were 3-4 people in it. later, we noticed the tire pressure was down 4-5 pounds.
    when she got back home mileage was back up in the 40's. so, i guess it is affected by the number of passengers, weather conditions, and maybe gas formulation, just like any other car.
    i do wonder how it will handle snow.
    having said all that, i thought it was very liveable vehicle and imo, an impressive design.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • the overriding downside, particularly when compared to vehicles of comparable performance and utility. It has been dissapointing to read that the new Escape hybrid does not achieve the long awaited promise of "V6 performance" and with a towing capacity of merely 1000lb, it compromises the 'U' in SUV.

    Then there are the "drivability" issues for hybrids based on the Toyota system, particularly for those of us accustomed to the control of a manual transmission. A vehicle with a "mind of its own" that biases control algorithms toward economy and emissions reduction while unable to see and respond to the dangerous dynamic world around it is disconcerting, at best. And what of the longevity implications of an IC engine that is repeatedly required to immediately deliver 100% output starting from a static state?
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885 you typically floor it from stoplights repeatedly? I don't. And usually, in driving with the "flow" of urban traffic, the engine doesn't even come on until about 15mph. And the engine, when called upon from a standing start, isn't putting out anywhere near 100%, yet I don't seem to be impedeing the flow of traffic - although I guess I've never had you behind me.
  • The vagaries and hazards of urban traffic flow may create circumstances where the full capabilities of the vehicle may be called for at any time and at any speed, even at those where some hybrids may be operating in electric-only mode. A transition from electic-only operation to full power does not seem at all unlikely to me, particularly for vehicles of such modest capabilities as the hybrids have thus far offerred. I regularly commute in a vehicle of modest power and I seldom, if ever, complete that trip without some occasion(s) to invoke full throttle.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    I don't know where you live, but driving in the midwest to and from work every day, and around town on weekends, I MIGHT use full throttle once a week - if that.
  • Perhaps the mid-Atlantic corridor is different. But however often a loaded restart may occur, it is surely more stressful to and engine, particularly if oil pressure and block temperature are not maintained (does Toyota's system address this?). Regardless, (an "unreliable" Toyota is still likely better than most other cars) there remains the delay in response introduced by the restart. By its very nature, a condition that requires full power is intolerant of ANY delay.
  • Well, where to begin? From what I'm reading it sounds like you're talking about Hybrids without putting your foot to the techno peddle. I've owned GTO's, Corvettes, and Mustangs. These plus a whole lotta supercycles. All of which could turn knuckles blue. My Prius has more than enough zip and I contend that she's fast enough. Simply put. I've had her over 110 MPH for a short period. SOLID!! Again, if you want to judge 1st get in and drive one. I know they're not all the same but they all have their own nuances.
    Culliganman (seeing's believing)
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I can't see any reason that the current hybrids can't keep up with traffic flow. The Prius can accelerate to 60 MPH in about ten seconds. It has better mid-range 30-70 than a Toyota Camry. There have been THOUSANDS sold in the states and I haven't heard of any accidents caused by hybrids slowing down traffic. I did hear of one accident caused by a Miata that impeded traffic flow from a Corvette.
  • and actual performance are not one and the same. I recall years ago a cousin telling me that his new Mercedes 240D was surprisingly "powerful" and, admitedly, upon driving it SEEMED quicker than I expected. Yet by any real measure, the 240D was a slug. A vehicle with generous low end torque, whether diesel or electric, may FEEL quick while not actually BEING so. I noted that one of the reviews of the Escape Hybrid made a comment to the effect that it did not have the performance of the V6, but "felt" like the V6. The dynamic environment in which I must operate a vehicle cares not a whit how I feel, why should I delude myself?
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Yes, Toyota does address this. First off, there is a "thermoslike" container which contains warm coolant (it keeps it warm for a couple of days). Secondly, the car actually runs on the gas engine quite a bit - especially when started first thing after sitting idle for a longish period. The engine shuts down when not needed - usually not for an extended period of time - on downhill grades or when anything more than light acceleration is called for. Otherwise, the gas engine runs, just like it does in a 3 ton SUV pulling a trailer with a jet-ski on it. You might try driving one sometime.
  • but I don't consider it ethical to exercize a dealer to provide a test drive of a vehicle that I would not seriously consider buying. Further, it is not feasible (let alone responsible) to determine a vehicle's dynamic capabilities in a dealer test drive. The Prius has many characteristics that would keep it off my short-list (as do all hybrids to date), not the least of which is its price. And that is where I started. Regardless the performance of the Prius, or Insight, or whatever, if the premium paid over vehicles of similar performance and utility is not recoverable in my ownership period, the choice is not economically sound.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    You should at least drive one to see how the drivetrain operates. To each their own...I fail to see why so many people whose idea of "off road" is the mall parking lot and who don't own a trailer, nor would they have any idea how to hook one up, would opt for a 6,000 pound SUV as their daily commuter. I don't drive off road, I have no need to pull a trailer, but I do have a daily commute, that I am able to make in comfort, in a vehicle with a very high safety rating and that delivers over 45 mpg.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I don't consider it ethical to exercize a dealer to provide a test drive of a vehicle that I would not seriously consider buying

    I don't think there is anything wrong with going out for a test drive. Who knows you may like it. I test drove a Prius in 2000 and liked it. My wife hated it so that was the end of it. Good thing to we got divorced about 6 months later and I would have had to give her that car as we were going to trade in her Camry. One of the selling points on the 2000 Prius was 8 years and 100k miles bumper to bumper. Without that I would not consider a hybrid.
  • for my entertainment, with no prospect of benefit to the dealer, is unethical in my view. When I test drive a vehicle I will have reviewed published test data and specifications and determined that it fits within my price/performance/utility envelope and I have found no intolerable warts. The hybrids thus far offerred do not satisfy those requirements.

    Apart from the Prius' test data, which is marginal at best and certainly not consistent with a $25K car, I could not abide its abominable, center mounted instrumentation which I find intellectually offensive as an egregious example of capricious form over usefull function. (I'd not buy a Mini for the same reason, even though it has redeeming dynamics.) The Insight is closest to my idea of a commuter car, if only it had better performance.

    The Escape offerred some promise as a replacement to my aging tow goat, until I learned that it has a mere 1K lbm towing capacity - a far cry fron the MPV's 3500lbm with auto load leveling. The Escape seems to have even more warts as a result of its Toyota based hybrid system, since its A/C is driven by the IC engine.

    But for me, as I've said, all of the above is less of a detractor than the hybrid price premium which I'd not likely recover during my ownership. So a test drive would be selfish entertainment at best.
  • I walked into a dealer last summer and said, "I don't have a job (just laid off). I couldn't buy a car even if I wanted to. But I want to drive the New Prius."

    They let me do it.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Now that we are completely off-topic....either get back "on topic" or the discussion will be closed and moved to the archives.

  • Then the downside that seems inescapable (for now) appears to be cost. If the promise of the Accord hybrid holds true, - a hybrid that offers more than improved fuel economy as compared to its conventional brethren, we may finally have a hybrid that provides a rationale for its lofty price. Unfortunately, it also means that only those with incomes well into six figures can reasonably enjoy the first hybrid to offer more than fuel economy to justiify its existence. I don't doubt that there will one day be hybrids for the rest of us, but not in time for my next purchase cycle (two of my cars are nearing 13 years old). Perhaps in 2019?
  • I applaud you in your obvious thriftiness (13 yrs).
    I too have that quality (a 73' Riviera). Unfortunitly w/ a 455 engine it only sees occasional outings. About cost for a hybrid, It is true that there is a price to be paid for a duo engine car (to be expected) and with so many people lining up to buy them with this cost increase, it seems obvious that Toyota & Honda have brought to the table their reputation for durability and quality. Since I own a Prius I must point out that although price was a hesitation I felt that the styling and several other inovations pushed me over to the buyer's side. Lastly, I would not have bought my Prius had I been unable to test drive one with my wife. She and I came away sold on it and had we been unable to take that test drive I doubt we would have gone over to the Hybrid.
    Culliganman (downsides overcome)
  • For thrifty folks, it might more sense to get a diesel. A 35 mpg Passat can be had for ~$20,000 or a 45 mpg Golf for ~$15,000.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "performance" equal to (acutally surpassing) the other non-Hybrid cars in it's own line, and blowing away the diesels. So it is a new direction in a way. Cost will be an issue for those buyers, because it's a $30,000 car.

    But SO MANY of the SUVs on the road are also in that price range and many are MUCH higher. So cost is not a factor for anyone who can afford a nice SUV if they would prefer an Accord Hybrid.

    But you do not have to have an income in the 6 figure range to afford a Hybrid.

    If you care about the environment, and you need a commuter car that also is used as a car for a small family, the Civic Hybrid is a frugal solution. I got mine with 4800 miles on it, so it was technically USED but it was "Honda Certified" so it was in virtually new condition, and I paid $19,324 for it.

    I have averaged about 46.5 MPG in almost ENTIRELY City driving after 4,200 miles on the car.

    I see no downside at all to ANY Hybrid. Find the Hybrid that fits your lifestyle and budget and BUY IT *BECAUSE* it is a Hybrid !!!
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Amen Brother!!
  • a "cost no object" approach to vehicle ownership, more power to you. I cannot.
  • "For thrifty folks, it might more sense to get a diesel. A 35 mpg Passat can be had for ~$20,000 or a 45 mpg Golf for ~$15,000."

    Or Civic HX for $14,000 that gets 44 mpg.
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Really the only thing after 11 monthts and 27,000 miles of a downside is lack of training-experience in the dealerships, also lack of any hybrid knowledge in any other auto shop.

    About the Civic can only carry 2 people.
    Insight is also a 2-seater but gets around 70MPG, some are exceeding 100MPG per tank.

    It is true that if you are looking for a thrifty car, looking to save $$ then a Civic DX or Echo -type- car would be better than any hybrid (Or diesel for that matter)
  • There is one more downside to a Hybrid vehicle that has already begun to frustrate me....I CAN'T WORK ON ANYTHING!! Well, you know what I mean. I can do the oil, change filters, Probably a brake job, and a few odds & ends. I guess it's safe to to say that I'm at the mercy of the experts at the dealerships. Gone are those days of the weekend mechanics.
    Culliganman (missin the ol'days)
  • "About the Civic can only carry 2 people."

    It's a 2-door car, but I assure you it has a backseat. (I've driven it.) So up to 5 people. And about $6000 cheaper than the Hybrids, but still gets 40-44 mpg.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Nice alternative. Wonder why it doesn't sell that well. Great commuter car too!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Nice alternative. Wonder why it doesn't sell that well. Great commuter car too!

    I like the looks of the two door fastback. I tried to find how well they sell and they are included with the sedans and hybrid sedan. They are 5 passenger and only a foot less trunk than the Accord, all for a TMV $12,165 in San Diego. That is economy.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I was actually pricing one out and with the options I want (CVT and AC) it gets in the upper teens. If optioned sensibly, it's a GREAT car. Definitely need A/C!! Not even sure if it has ABS in that model. That's absurd! Now don't start telling us that ABS is not a good feature Gary. I won't buy ANY vehicle without it. Heck, my 1990 Integra had it. No reason a 2005 Honda Civic shouldn't at LEAST have it as an option.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Looks to me like you would pay about $18k for one equipped like you want it. I think only the EX model coupe has ABS. I'm not thrilled with ABS on ice with 4X4 PU trucks. On our Ford F350s it makes a weird buzzing noise when you stop on ice. My Suburban has it and can't say whether I like it or not. I never drive hard enough to test it out. It would probably be handy if I drove like some of these fools in CA when it rains.
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