MSN Money has put together a nice review of the cost to own a hybrid vehicle today. They wanted to know if buying a hybrid is worth the up front cost (on average $3K more). They review the Toytoa Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid (as a side note, they mention the Mercury Mariner Hybrid as the luxury version of the Ford Escape Hybrid), Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Lexus RX 400h. They left out the Honda Insight, since it's a low production vehicle.
The cost savings comparisons (see quote below for how they evaluated cost savings) for the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius are favorable, but the same can't be said for the SUVs (Highlander, Escape, Lexus RX400h) and the Honda Accord Hybrid. All four will cost more to own ($1880 for the Escape up to $3750 for the Toyota Highlander) over a five year period. Of course, estimates of fuel savings are hard to evaluate, given how much gas prices have fluctuated lately.
I have some questions about how they reviewed these cars. First, why include the Toyota Camry hybrid if you can't evaluate it, yet? I suppose mentioning it, as it is the next big hybrid to come out, makes sense, but why give it its own evaluation?
Also, why compare the Prius to the Corolla? I've seen this done before, and I understand why it's 'comparable', but that doesn't mean everyone does. They should have explained their choice. All other comparisons are against the gas-only counterpart.
All in all MSN Money came out with a good succinct review of the hybrids that are available today.
* The MPG numbers are the Environmental Protection Agency's, and therefore inflated, but they work for relative comparisons. You can get gas-mileage estimates from hybrid drivers at fueleconomy.gov.
* Green scores are based on ratings from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington, D.C., think tank. The 1-to-5 scale (5 is the most environmentally friendly) reflects fuel economy as well as pollutants from vehicle tailpipes.
* The five-year cost estimate includes car-loan payments, fees and taxes, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and depreciation, plus the interest you'll lose on the extra money you pay for the hybrid. The federal 2006 tax credit is also reflected. This credit starts to phase out after a carmaker's 2006-or-later sales reach 60,000, so if you buy a Toyota or Lexus hybrid later this year, you might get a smaller credit. The numbers come from Vincentric.
* Finally, we say how much you would save (a negative number) or lose over five years versus a non-hybrid equivalent.