Sorting Out Hybrid Vehicles 2008
With gasoline prices spiraling out of control, many consumers adjust their lifestyles, including what they drive. Most have heard that hybrid vehicles use less fuel and can save money, but many don’t realize that all hybrids are not created equal.
Hybrid vehicles use at least two different sources for motive power. Current vehicles use conventional gasoline engines coupled with electric motors. However, technology, component sizes, and performance vary greatly. It can all be very confusing.
There are currently 16 gas/electric hybrid vehicles being sold in America. The charts below compare them to their gasoline-only counterparts (Toyota Prius is not available with a conventional drive-train). Equipment and performance vary slightly between similar models.
|Sedans||MSRP||MPG City||MPG Hwy|
|Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid||$22,140||24||32|
|Chevrolet Malibu LT (4 cylinders)||$20,930||22||30|
|Honda Civic Hybrid||$22,600||40||45|
|Honda Civic LX (4)||$17,760||25||36|
|Lexus GS460 (8)||$52,620||17||24|
|Lexus LS600L (8)||$72,000||16||24|
|Nissan Altima Hybrid||$25,170||35||33|
|Nissan Altima S (4)||$20,680||23||31|
|Saturn Aura Hybrid||$23,640||24||32|
|Saturn Aura XE (4)||$20,045||22||30|
|Toyota Camry Hybrid||$25,200||33||34|
|Toyota Camry LE (4)||$21,075||21||31|
|Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid||$49,590||21||22|
|Chevrolet Tahoe LT3 (8 cylinders)||$39,935||14||19|
|Ford Escape Hybrid||$26,640||34||30|
|Ford Escape XLS (4)||$20,140||20||26|
|GMC Yukon Hybrid||$50,045||21||22|
|GMC Yukon (8)||$35,345||14||19|
|Lexus RX400 (6)||$37,500||18||23|
|Mazda Tribute Touring Hybrid||$25,310||34||30|
|Mazda Tribute Touring (4)||$21,325||20||26|
|Mercury Mariner Hybrid||$27,340||34||30|
|Mercury Mariner (4)||$21,300||20||26|
|Saturn Vue Hybrid||$25,370||25||32|
|Saturn Vue XE (4)||$21,250||19||26|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid||$33,700||27||25|
|Toyota Highlander (6)||$28750||17||23|
These comparisons are greatly simplified, and should not be the sole criteria for choosing a new vehicle. For example, prices (MSRP) are for base vehicles, which may not be available. Many hybrids are equipped with many high-end options, such as navigation systems, which can add considerably to the final price.
Additionally, those in greater supply can often be purchased at a discount, while those with limited availability will sell for full price (or more). Fuel consumption ratings are calculated using EPA standards and can be used for comparison. Unfortunately, these figures are difficult to duplicate under real-world conditions.
Lastly, hybrid vehicles offer more than good gas mileage. They produce significantly less air pollution. More information is available through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). These emissions benefits must be considered when choosing a new vehicle.
PS: Hybrids do not require more maintenance than conventional vehicles.