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Any downside to buying a hybrid?



  • "Have you have these problems?"


    I own a Honda Insight.


    NO. 1) recessed or "concealed" windshield wipers that freeze and can't be freed because the hood is in the way

    NO. 2) pantograph windshield wipers that can't be lifted away from the glass

    NO. 3) "switchblade" keys that eventually break and cost over $100 to replace

    NO. 4) cupholders that only hold small drinks

    NO. 5) cupholders that let cups tip easily

    NO(no cd). 6) locking glovebox right below CD changer that doesn't lock

    YES. 7) plastic shields and covers in the engine compartment that don't protect anything


    Where's (8)?


    YES. 9) oil filter mounting positions that dribble oil all over the place when changing filters

    NO. 10) tiny print on switches, knobs, and levers

    NO. 11) spare tire wells that won't fit full-size spares

    NO. 12) power antennas

    NO. 13) wheels held on by bolts instead of studs and nuts

    NO. 14) 12v power outlets that you have to open an ashtray to access


    Hope that satisfies you.


  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Are you considering buying a Prius but turned off by the idea of the software glitches reported at If you are reconsidering your place on the waiting list or other efforts to shop for a Prius, and are willing to share your perspective with a journalist, please respond to no later than Friday, May 20, 2005 with your daytime contact information and city/state of residence.
    Thanks for your consideration,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications


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  • Last Friday I was about a week away from committing to one dealer or another to get a Highlander Hybrid. Then a friend called me from his vacation to intervene, because he had just read a couple of NY Times articles saying that both the Lexus and Highlander Hybrids get only a couple of miles per gallon more than their gas-only forebearers (both vehicles in the low- to mid-20s-mpg [considerably less than the EPA projections] ), and thus are not worth spending all that extra $ for. I found the Lexus article online, but apparently the Highlander one was in print only, which I have yet to see.

    So: do you know anything about this? Is it true that the Highlander Hybrid gets scarcely better mileage than the gas-only model? If so, do you think that makes it not worth getting? Owners, what are your experiences?

    Bourbonnais, IL
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Be sure and visit the hybrid Highlander thread. You will find a mixed bag on mileage. The only site I know of that keeps track of hybrid mileage has an average of 25 MPG combined. 11 owners are reporting from 19 to 29 MPG.

    Welcome to the Forum
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Edmunds is getting over 27 mpg with their long term Lexus. Overall you're going to probably get 6-8 MPG BETTER MPG. You have to weigh that against the price difference. If you are able to get a substantial price discount on the hybrid, then the purchase is more compelling. If you have to pay list, then you have to debate whether you want to pay the extra $$$.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    The kicker is for around 30 MPG you do pay a big premium, as none of the dealers I know of are discounting from MSRP. When you look at the top of the line Limted at $42K and the Lexus at $53K there are other makes available that cost much less, are proven in the long term and will get you good fuel mileage without the big prices tag or unknowns with a hybrid.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    I own a Prius and have 32,000 trouble free miles. There are many happy hybrid owners. CR claims a 94% satisfaction rate. The hybrid SUVs are another story. I admit it's hard to justify the premium for marginal gains. If the Prius didn't exist I'd be driving an Acura TSX.
  • mmreidmmreid Posts: 88
    I bought a HH quite by chance in June. Went to a dealer to check out the Prius and came home with the Hybrid. Very surprised that I got it. From what I've read I should not have been able to just walk onto a car lot and come home with one (we were visiting family in Nashville, TN).

    Anyway, we averaged 26 - 27 mpg on the trip back from Nashville to the Florida Panhandle. Same for next tank of gas which took us to and from the Gulf Coast on a vacation - some stop and go but a lot of rural highway driving.

    But back in town I'm averaging 23 mpg and not sure if it my driving (I traded a 2001 Acura Cl - very peppy little car) for this HH (I have Limited edition - it was the one they had on the car lot) and of course, driving with the air on - this is the Gulf Coast in the dead of summer. We grow mildew here as a cash crop.

    I've realized the coasting capability of the car so you are not using gas but I feel like I'm either driving too fast or doing something "wrong". I'd love some tips on the best way to drive this vehicle and also what grade of gasoline. I was told it ran on regular but wondered if higher grade would increase mpg.

    Would love to hear from other owners/drivers!

  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    If it says to run on regular, then please follow the manufacturer's instructions. Failure to do so, will result in problems. You seem to be averaging what others are in the forums here. Getting 27 MPG on the highway is pretty decent for a heavy SUV. I never got over 18.6 lifetime for my RX300. Good luck. You'll find yourself being quite happy. As you know, Toyota makes some of the most reliable cars out there.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Using a higher octane gas will not buy you any mileage, but it won't cause any problems either. Other than that, I agree with molokai - use what your manufacturer suggests.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    I read somewhere that higher octane fuel has a lower burn rate and the ECU will retard the ignition in cars not designed to run on premium. Some manuals say to avoid premiun and use regular unleaded. Not sure if there is any truth to it.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...but if people just use what the manual says, they avoid the issue entirely. The oil companies would try to convince you otherwise, lol.
  • jdkahlerjdkahler Posts: 50
    We have about 700 miles on our HH, 2WD basic model, 2 tanks of gas in hot Philly with a mix of very in-town (a mile or 2) to 20 minute city trips to some interstate. 26 mpg tank 1, 25 mpg tank 2. This is 50% better than the old and dying Windstar we traded in, and in every way the HH is an outstanding vehicle. Folks tend to get better mileage after break in it seems.

    BUT, you need to drive as if you WANT to maximize mileage. The combination of the electric motor and V6 make this a real peppy machine, and you can easily get the V6 running, which uses gas. A light foot and not being pushed at stop lights makes the vehicle run on electric. I'm learning to use the MPG gauge and take it easy - you have to be willing to let lead foot (ie most every other) drivers zip away. And from other discussions it seems folks aren't used to using cruise control on open highway. When things are moving around here you can set the cruise to 55-65 and watch even at that speed where the motor/battery take over and the MPG gauge goes to 50-60.

    Would we buy this vehicle again? Absolutely. Gas has gone up 15-20 cents a gallon in the time we've owned it, and while not a pessimist I take the realist stance that we're not going to see this stop despite the brighter views of some. If you're looking for a break even then you might or might not get it. In the bigger picture, every improvement in MPG reduces overall demand and that ight actually force the price down, help to kwwp down other energy costs and reduce the trade deficit. To us it was more than just breaking even at the pump, we think we've made a decision, given one that costs us, that is responsible. But we also buy wind-generated power from our electric utility and pay that premium too.

    One more time, this is a wonderful vehicle that both my van-driving self and Corolla-driving wife compromised on. We traded in both vehicles (forcing us to walk and bike more, a good thing!) and believe in the end we will be balancing cost/benefit toward benefit. And since I need something larger than a Corolla or Prius for my work it was a good choice. The HH is probably the best vehicle we have both ever owned, and adding in the many rentals from Suzukis in Australia to Mercedes in Germany that I've driven over the years, up with the very best I have driven. You need to decide the value, I'd highly recommend the HH - and working on driving different. - John
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    The hybrid SUVs are another story. I admit it's hard to justify the premium for marginal gains.

    The hybrid SUVs are getting more than marginal gains; more so than the lightweights like Prius. What's obscuring the matter is the way EPS rates fuel efficiency. A 33mpg conventional econobox uses 3 gallons of fuel in 100 miles driven, and a hybrid on even at 50mpg saves only 1 of those 3 gallons. A conventional midsize SUV rated at 19mpg uses 5.26 gallons in 100 miles; a hybrid version at 27mpg uses 3.7 gallons instead. That's a saving of over 1.5 gallons over the same 100 miles. The math gets even more compelling when a 10mpg sportscar or big SUV gets improved to 16mpg using hybrid; the 6mpg difference would translate to 6 gallons of fuel saved in 100 miles. EPS need to catch up with how the rest of the world rates fuel efficiency; people have to drive certainly amount of miles due to living arrangement; they are not given a government alotment of fuel and told to drive as far as they can (as in the current mpg rating).
  • Higher octane "premium" fuel does burn more slowly than regular. High octane fuels were created to help retard detonation "knock" (fuel burning too fast/exploding) within high compression engines.

    Thanks to "detonation/knock" detection systems, many cars adjust timing to better match fuel to engine. But this often results in reduced performance.
  • spitazspitaz Posts: 1
    I heard that you can only use the air conditioning in "gas" mode as opposed to being able to use it when driving "electric" - - in ALL hybrids. If this is the case, it wouldn't make much sense to get a hybrid in AZ - where we use the air more than 6 months out of the year. My goal is to eliminate gas purchases as much as feasibly possible. Any info/experiences on this? A friend told me this and ended up buying a diesel VW instead.
  • priusguypriusguy Posts: 12
    Your friend is wrong. On my Prius, the a/c works in both electric mode and in no mode (when stopped) and works quite well. Today in VA it was 97 and I had to turn the a/c down. I filled up and got 49.9 calculated and 50.3 per computer. Not bad! BTW the car is 11 days old and has less than 1000 miles and I expect improvements once 'broken in".
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Your friend should have done his homework. Most hybrids (RH,HH,Prius) are able to run their AC when the engine is off. They have electrical AC systems. OTOH your friend who bought the TDI will be belching out harsh fumes when he is at a stoplight just to run his A/C.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Spitaz - the above posters are correct, you can use the A/C in either electric or gas mode. However, it could possibly kill the mileage if you are using it most of the year. I don't have any figures, but I'm sure someone here does.
  • smootsmoot Posts: 14
    I'm afraid, especially here in Los Angeles, Car does indeed maketh the Man. You won't see a, ermm, lady, anywhere near a man who drives a Citroen Dolly, Dodge Neon or Hyundai Accent..heck, you won't even see a man near a man who drives the above either. As much as our cars define us, they can undefine us too. A Toyota Prius, for example...driven by a environmentally conscious individual or someone who has to have the latest thing....they rarely are both but up until the redesign of the Prius, I have only been witness to our friendly anorak driving the pre-hip Prius.
    Anyhoo, a friend of mine is on the waiting list for a Highlander hybrid, spending $10,000 more than the conventional Highlander. I guess for your serious long distance {off}-roadtripper, the hybrid is fantastic but unfortunately, most SUV's don't see the light of day on any off road for most are driven by road hogs who like to see their paintwork ever-glossy and their rims spinning. Friend is one of those rarities who is both environmentally conscious as well as rich. I can only stay away from the hybrid for now until I can safely say that I will save around $8,000 to $10,000 worth of gas in the next 5-10 years.
    It also bugs me that the least of the gas-guzzlers are the first to be made even more fuel efficient...the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and at last the SUV's like the Escape, Saturn Vue and Highlander are finally allowed to follow. When are we going to see Escalades, HumVees and other behemoths of the road less hateful to the environment? When is my future car...the beloved Honda Element going to be a hybrid...or at least a V6? You think incorporating the word 'Element' into the model name would mean it's a nature-loving, zen-like vehicle.
    My last point is will there ever be the reincarnation of the Far Ultra Violet car that was taking effect in the late seventies? Using a saturation of ultraviolet solar power, these cars {no, not the Sinclair monstrosity} looked as if they'd be the cars of the future.
    OK, I'm done.

  • caps04caps04 Posts: 6
    I paid about 50k for it. This buys me:

    1) Luxury of a Lexus (all the toys and safety features you can think of)
    2) Residual value of a Lexus
    3) Acceleration of a sports car or a V8 engine (0-60mph in less than 7 secs)
    4) Spaciouness/ride height of an SUV
    5) Gas mileage of a small car ( of now I am getting 24mpg but expect it to rise to 27 once broken in which is what my other car gives)
    6) Lowest emission possible for a mass produced SUV or Car (SULEV)
    7) $2000 tax deduction (approx $3000 tax CREDIT for ppl who buy in 2006)

    I do not think there is anything better out there for someone who has the budget for it. So no downside as far as I am concerned.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    I don't think that people buying the RH will be eligibile for a $3,000 credit. I remember reading it is around $650 or so. Please correct me if I am wrong.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212'll be around $600 or so for the SUV's I think. Only the Prius/Insight will be getting the big $$$'s.
  • ideleidele Posts: 200
    I own an RX400h and I completely agree with you. The price is a premium one but the car is definitely worth it.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    If you can afford a 400h, you don't need to worry about price comparisons or cost advantages. Enjoy your new ride!
  • caps04caps04 Posts: 6

    "Police forces throughout the country will soon have the opportunity to trial the new Lexus RX 400h, the world’s first high performance hybrid SUV.

    Starting with Hampshire Police, the RX 400h will be fitted out to full police specification, including the Nemesis, camera monitoring system.


    "The Lexus RX 400h is the world’s first premium SUV to feature a hybrid power system. It achieves a unique position in the market by not only delivering the low exhaust emissions and high fuel efficiency that are well-established characteristics of hybrid power, but also by providing the high performance that has until now been the preserve of large-capacity petrol engine models.

    The RX 400h’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® system combines a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine with a 165bhp front electric motor that has a world’s-best power to weight and volume ratio
    , a high voltage battery and a generator."
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    I've owned many German cars that required premium. I used regular with absolutely NO difference in running/starting etc. My sister has a 2001 Camry with a V6. I can't convince her NOT to use premium. She is throwing her money away.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Seems like a separate discussion. Let's get a separate discussion going to support this instead of "Any downside to buying a hybrid?" off-topic.

    I've moved the Octane posts to the discussion Premium v. Regular Gas - worth the extra money?

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A reporter would like to hear from consumers who, thanks to rising fuel prices, have newfound interest in hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles. If you have a story to share, please respond to with your daytime contact info, city/state of residence and the make/model in question no later than Monday, August 29, 2005.


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  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    The HAH AC is electrically powered when the gasoline enginre is off, Absolutely no difference in cooling capacity.
This discussion has been closed.