The Best Hybrid Car ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: The Best Hybrid Car

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Best Hybrid Car

Are you in the market for a new or used car and you want to buy a hybrid, but aren't sure which hybrid car is best? A better question would be to ask which hybrid car is the best car for you?

There are currently 10 hybrid cars and SUVs on the market today. Honda has three, the Accord, Civic and Insight. Toyota has five under its Toyota/Lexus branding, the Prius, Highlander, Camry, GS450h and RX400h. And Ford is currently offering two hybrids, the Escape and its luxury version, the Mercury Mariner.

The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car available. Capable of seating four and rated at 60/51 mpg. the Prius has become the hybrid people think of. Low, sleek (sometimes called ugly), and comfortable, the Prius is the 'king' of hybrids.

The Honda Insight was the first mass produced hybrid car available in the US. Rated as the most fuel efficient, it has had limited sales (only 600+ units sold last year) and has limited use. Completely designed from the wheels up, the Insight is a two-seater, making it of limited utility to most drivers. Honda, despite its long run, is halting production of the Insight in September, 2006.

The Honda Civic Hybrid was introduced as the crossover between hybrids and the more conventional gas counterparts. If you know what the Honda Civic looks like, then you know what the Honda Civic Hybrid looks and drives like. The first car to have a comparator, it has suffered by comparison. Despite getting great gas mileage, consumers quickly realized the premium price you pay for a hybrid would not offset the initial cost of purchasing one (Update: this is no longer true. According to studies done recently, you will save money in the long run). Despite that, the Honda Civic Hybrid is selling well in the US.

The Ford Escape Hybrid (and its luxury version the Mercury Mariner) was the first mass produced hybrid SUV introduced onto the market. As with all of the other hybrids except for the Insight and Prius, it is available as a hybrid or a non-hybrid version. And just like the others, there is very little to differentiate on the outside what a different engine there is available on the inside. Ford has recently begun offering 0% financing on the Escape and the Mariner. With these incentives, sales of the SUV hybrid have recently spiked after slowing down significantly in recent months. Sales of the Ford Escape Hybrid began to suffer after the Toyota Highlander Hybrid was introduced in June 2005.

The Honda Accord Hybrid began its run in December of 2004. Immediately popular, the Accord was differentiated by its power, not its fuel economy. Labeled as a 'Performance Hybrid', the Accord uses the electric engine to assist in the power output of the gas engine, getting more for less. But with the spike in gas prices, the Accord has suffered recently leading to Hondas recent decision to limit production. But if you want lower emissions, better mileage (even if only a little), plus a lot of power despite the smaller engine, then the Accord Hybrid could be just what you're looking for (Update: The Accord Hybrid is set to be retired).

If you have a lot of spare change (MSRP starts at $44K), want a big SUV engine, but still want to claim green status (plus whatever perks go to hybrid owners), the Lexus RX 400h could be the hybrid SUV for you. This was the second luxury SUV hybrid introduced and it has done well. Expect all the bonuses of luxury living in this suped up SUV.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was introduced next (June, 2005) and has quickly become the second most popular hybrid available. As with the Prius, the Highlander Hybrid is limited in sales only by its production numbers. The Highlander has a great reputation, but is more expensive than the Ford Escape Hybrid or even the Mercury Mariner.

Toyota has recently started selling the Lexus RX 400h, a luxury hybrid sedan. Like the Lexus GS 450h, you're going to pay more for this hybrid vehicle, but you will get a lot more for the money. Expect all the best in this extravagant vehicle.

Toyota has also recently introduced the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Honda Civic and Toyota Camry go head to head when it comes to conventional gas engines, but the Camry Hybrid sells at $5K more the Honda Civic Hybrid.

In the near future, GM is trying to get into the hybrid game with the Saturn Vue Hybrid. The Saturn Vue Green is going to be the more economical choice for hybrid SUVs. Coming in at $23K, the Vue will gives you mild hybrid power at a lot less than the competition.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

5 comments:

Mark Clarkson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chaindropz said...

http://www.oshkoshtruckcorporation.com/about/tech_innovations~propulse.cfm
Oshkosh Trucks with propulse do not have batteries. Watch the video. What do they Know? Thanks for allowing me post. Drop by my blog.
Chaindropz

chaindropz said...

Could you let me know why my blog was removed? I thought I was on the topic.

Mike said...

Are you Mark Clarkson? That's the only comment here that I dropped. If you are Clarkson, I dropped your comment for a lack of contribution. It was just a straight link to your blog using the keyword you want to rank highly for.

As for the Oshkosh trucks, I would guess (and I admit that I'm guessing here), the trucks have a lot more room for ultracapacitors than a family sedan would.

Those are large military vehicles, they may be improving their mpg from 2 to 4 mpg (which is extremely good for such large vehicles), but that won't fly on the highways.

chaindropz said...

It has been a while since I posted on your blog and I relize you did not remove me. I maked a mistake. Thanks for responding to my comment. The BMW X5 hybrid will fly on the highway. Will it ever make it to production in numbers? The ultracapacitors are flying with the Air Bus 380 and will soon be used to turn the starter on many cars.

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