Sorting Out Hybrid Vehicles 2008

Text and photography by Eduardo Medrano



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 conventional drive-train). Equipment and performance varies 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 GS450h

$54,900

22

25

Lexus GS460 (8)

$52,620

17

24

Lexus LS600hL

$104,000

20

22

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

Toyota Prius

$21,100

48

45

 

SUVs

MSRP

MPG
City

MPG
Hwy

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 RX400h

$41,280

27

24

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 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.

 





Search

Mailing List