Saturday, April 08, 2006

Got Hybrid?

Does anyone out there own a hybrid car? I'm thinking of buying a used one for my next vehicle.

My questions:

(1) Do they feel fast and safe enough to zip around in treacherous Boston traffic, where everyone rides up high and fantasizes that they're in their own private NASCAR?

(2) Are they user-friendly, or am I going to wind up leaving my lights on all the time by accident?

(3) Is it impossible to find a mechanic who can service them?

(4) So are you Honda or Toyota?

11 Comments:

Blogger UUEnforcer said...

Zip Car has a bunch of hybrids, its and easy way to try them out.

21:11  
Blogger UUpdater said...

1) Hybrids actually seem to accelerate faster since the electric power can immediatly be applied full force, kinda like a golf cart. Gas combustian has a curved acceleration. Safety records appear good, we feel safe in ours.

2) The only difference we have noticed in regards to usage of the vehicle is that it has a "Ready" light. When it's on it means the car is ready to go. This is necessary because the engine will actually shut off (the gas powered portion) when the car is idle, but the vehicle is still ready to go. The natural instinct of most drivers is that when the engine shuts off you need to turn the ignition, the lights a reminder that you don't need to. Aside from unlearning that habit operation of the vehicle is the same. You are no more or less likely to leave your lights on.

And if you didn't already know this, the electric portion of the engine does not need to be plugged in, or anything like that. The car uses the vehicles momentum during breaking to charge the electric battery, thus conserving a portion of the energy. interestingly it actualy makes city mileage better than highway since you have more start/stop action in the city. But all this kicks in withouth you doing anything extra so they are fairly user friendly.

3) Haven't had need for that yet, but you are pretty limited, basically just going to the dealer is the recomendation. Which, for me personally, doesn't worry me. Mechanics working for a dealer have a motivation from the manufacturer to make you feel like you are having a good experience with your vehicle. A freelance automechanic either repairs your vehicle or doesn't get paid. In general I trust the dealer mechanics far more than any other mechanic shop I have been to. but if you have a favorite mechanic you do trust you are probably SOL.

4) Toyota

23:20  
Blogger Sarahliz said...

I have a honda which I drive in LA traffic. Occasionally I find it a little sluggish if I'm trying to accelerate uphill. But I think it's sluggish compared to a car with a big engine, not compared to the small economy car I'd probably have if I didn't have my hybrid.

In terms of user friendliness I think they are equivalent to other Toyota/Hondas. Honda is really good about making it very difficult to lock your keys in the car. And despite being a ditz I have not in 3 years left the lights on.

I take it to the dealer, which isn't a problem for me, and probably wouldn't be a problem in Boston.

00:39  
Blogger Kim said...

I don't have a Hybrid, but we have rented a Prius a couple of times. Once we drove from near San Francisco to Corvallis, Oregon and back. We averaged 48 miles per gallon despite it being mostly freeway driving. It was a great car except the blind spot was kinda big. The second time we rented one, the blind spot didn't bother me -- either it changed or I got used to it, not sure which.
All I can say about power is that it had more than my current car.(a Subaru Legacy wagon, though she is 16 years old and with 237,000 miles...she's a great car.)

03:02  
Blogger Denise said...

There is a blog by a guy who drove a prius all winter - really good blog about what to expect in winter driving.

My g/f rented one for me to drive over Christmas break because I want to buy one (you can do that, ya know? call your local dealer and ask to rent one for a week as a test drive) and I loved it. You can see my blog entries here - the link to the prius in winter blog is in the first post there, too.

07:56  
Blogger Lynn said...

Does anyone out there own a hybrid car? I'm thinking of buying a used one for my next vehicle.

I have had a Prius for just about a year, and a very close friend has had one for four years. I *ADORE* it.


My questions:

(1) Do they feel fast and safe enough to zip around in treacherous Boston traffic, where everyone rides up high and fantasizes that they're in their own private NASCAR?

While driving in Boston would be high up in my analogs to hell, (streets there were not designed for cars!) I found the Prius both adequately "high up" off the ground and solid feeling. And it is *very* zippy and responsive, because the battery is what drives the engine. The engine's job is just to charge the battery. (This is an over simplification, but fundamentally accurate.)


(2) Are they user-friendly, or am I going to wind up leaving my lights on all the time by accident?

Mostly very user friendly indeed. I got ALL the bells and whistles, including the GPS mapping. The map functions do actually require you to use the memo, the rest are intuitive.

In particular, the controls for radio, heat/airconditioning, etc on the steering wheel are invaluable and I believe make the car much safer.

Along those lines, the bluetooth integrated into the car for your cell phone, so that it just picks up when it rings (and it turns off the radio!) Assuming you have a phone with bluetooth... (teeth?)


(3) Is it impossible to find a mechanic who can service them?

My Toyota dealer is so close that I don't know one way or the other. Oil gets changed, washer fluid, etc just like any car.

(4) So are you Honda or Toyota?

Toyota Prius

One other note.

Although I revel in going to the pump and putting in twelve dollars to go another 300 miles, (yes I really get high 40s per gallon if I'm not running heavy heat or airconditioning.) However this is not really the most cost efficient way to save gas. 20K to 25K for the car is not cheap.

We bought it to support the idea of the technology as a matter of principle.

23:43  
Blogger Lynn said...

MANUAL, use the MANUAL, not the memo.

Oh, and I really love the proximity key. You just have to have it in your purse or pocket, and the car knows it is there. If you come up to the driver's side door, it just unlocks the driver's door, for other doors and the trunk you just wave your purse at the lock.

And you don't have to put it in the ignition.

You never have to have your car key out of your purse.

23:48  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Wow, that is so MAGICAL! Very interesting, scary and appealing all at once. I could never afford a new one but there are more and more used ones on the lot all the time.

23:50  
Blogger Kim said...

While $20K to $25K is a lot of money to some people, it kinda depends on what car you would have bought if there were no Prius: To replace my Subaru, it would be $30K, and I don't like the newer models as much. Last time I took the Subaru in for service, I asked the dealer (again) when they would have a hybrid Subaru, and he said about four years. He used to say never.

17:09  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I spent a long time responding to this outlining all the research that I did recently before we decided to get a Scion xA. I wanted a Prius, but after all the research the extra several thousand dollars could not be justified. However, my computer locked up and all my wisdom disappeared. So this is all I will write now: This http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ is a great site that gives you all the stats about various cars -- how much pollution they produce a year, gas mileage, although I know that the Prius mileage is overstated and that the Scion xA's is about right... the site also estimated gas cost per year, and has lots of other good info. My theory on a hybrid is that if you are going to spend between $17-25K on a car anyway, then a hybrid is a great idea. However, if you would buy a cheaper car, you can get good quality, cheaper cars, with high mpg and low emissions. We got a scion xA new for about $14K and the alternative was a three year old Prius for about $18K. The way I look at it, it was not worth $4000, and a car three years older whose warranty had run out for slightly higher mpg and slightly lower pollution production. But if I was going to get a $18K car anyway, it would have been a great option.

17:53  
Blogger www.websitesolutions.cc said...

I would say you need to like buying any other car, take it for a test drive.

Joe

22:55  

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