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Does anyone here own a hybrid? (car, not bike)(23 posts)

Does anyone here own a hybrid? (car, not bike)Kristin
Apr 17, 2003 12:06 PM
I didn't buy one last June when I purchased a new car because they are still a little new--let someone else beta test them--and because I didn't have enough monthly allowance for one. But I'm excited about the concept and hope they are in abundance when I shop for my next car. If you have one, how's your experience been?
I have one, and a friend has another...PdxMark
Apr 17, 2003 12:56 PM
it's GREAT! Well, good, and does what it's supposed to very well. I've had a Toyota Prius for about a year. It's no different from any other Toyota in reliability, solid construction, etc. ... Though you actually need 7-8 years to judge a Toyota.

I have a friend who has a Civic hybrid. The interior finish on the Civic is nicer than the Prius, and more traditional. The Prius is rated better for emissions that the Civic (if your area uses low sulfur gasoline), and gets better in-town mileage, but has a lower crash safety rating (not bad, but lower).

There are slight differences in how the 2 cars use their electric motors. In the Civic, the motor only supplements the gasoline engine. So if the car is moving, the gas engine is on. Since it never relies on the elec. motor alone, the Honda maybe shuts down the gas engine at stops a bit more readily than the Toyota. (The Toyota seems to want the batteries charged up more before shutting down the gas engine - thereby enabling electric-only starts from stops).

Overall, I think both are fine cars. Reasonably good small-car acceleration and power. There are current Federal tax deductions of $2000 for buying a hybrid, and some states also have tax incentives (a $1500 tax CREDIT here in Oregon).

The increased cost of the hybrids might, in time, be made up in improved mileage over some other small cars. But a VW Bug diesel gets as good, or better mileage. I think the real thing I like about the Toyota is the significant decrease in emissions (Super Ultra Low Emmision Vehicle SULEV with low sulfur fuel) - coupled with much better than average mileage.
what actual fuel mileage are you getting? nmDougSloan
Apr 17, 2003 3:36 PM
43 mpg, mostly short (3-4 mile) in-town trips....PdxMark
Apr 17, 2003 3:56 PM
or 70 mpg freeway driving with yakima racks on top... as measured by the car computer (I haven't double-checked it).
progress?DougSloan
Apr 17, 2003 7:22 PM
17 years ago, I had a 1985 Chevrolet Sprint (Suzuki) 3 cylinder that got around 50 in town and 60 on the highway. It actually was very roomy inside, and fairly zippy. I routinely went over 400 miles on the 8 gallon tank. Put 85,000 miles on it in 3 years. Now, it was carbureted, so emissions probably weren't up to today's standards, but fuel economy was great.

Doug
3 banger? whoa! LOLNo_sprint
Apr 18, 2003 6:48 AM
I've always owned 8 big fat Detroit metal cyls and modify the heck out of them to squeeze out more power. Gas mileage? what's that?

I call cars like those pregnant roller skates. :)
progress?PdxMark
Apr 18, 2003 7:44 AM
I know... my stripped 1981 Toyota Tercel regularly got 50 mpg on highway - though likely at something more like 55-60 than 70 mph... I don't know either what happened to these little 50 mpg cars... if it's emission standards, safety standards, what... That would be an interesting thing to understand - why we can't have a simple 50 mpg car these days.
progress?No_sprint
Apr 18, 2003 7:47 AM
Those 80s Tercels and Sentras and the like were rolling tin cans. Compare them to their models now. The newer ones are luxury in comparison. They must be heavier. They're also able to crank out more horsepower using similar engine sizes. Those two things must lower gas mileage.
progress?PdxMark
Apr 18, 2003 7:54 AM
you're right... I was picturing the difference in options, AC, CD, anti-lock brakes, etc, but the ride is dramatically different (improved). I also wonder whether emission standards have changed...
largely a weight issue, I thinkDougSloan
Apr 18, 2003 8:13 AM
My Sprint weighed about 1500 pounds, about the same as an old Mini. I think these new ones are well over 2000, and must be much safer. I dented my Sprint once just by leaning on it while waxing the hood. Permanent crease in the fender. Not even a tin can, more like aluminum beer can. It did have AC, though.

I had a buddy in law school who was a former Div 2 all star football quarterback, not all that big, really, who could dead lift the rear of the car completely off the ground, and with me in it.

Doug
yup, Prius = 2765 lbs; Honda about 1900; nmDougSloan
Apr 18, 2003 9:16 AM
Just did a story & interviewed several owners--all happycory
Apr 17, 2003 7:34 PM
I did a hybrid story a couple of months ago and interviewed half a dozen onwers--two Insights, two Civics and two Priuses. Everybody loved the cars--only criticism was from one guy who'd owned a Ford Crown Vic before, and he thought he was cramped in a Civic. But he was about 5'10"; I'm 6'4" and I was comfortable in it. No significant problems, no complaints about performance, even though we're at 5,000 feet and the mountains go to 7000-10,000 all around. Mileage about what you'd expect, in the 40-70 range depending on terrain, speed etc. And the makers don't want the hybrids to go out there and die, so they took good care of the customers (not always the case in Reno--there's no competition within brands here, so you pretty much get what they want to give).
Would I buy one? Not yet. I like small cars, and our gas Civic EX runs like a rocket and will get 38mpg at a steady 70. Maybe in a few years, though.
Funny thing about what size car "fits" a personKristin
Apr 18, 2003 6:23 AM
Some people--even Ku--love the civic. I can't remember, but I believe he's over 6 feet too. I'm 5'7" and I felt squeezed in the car. (Primarily, my knees hit the steering wheel even when it was tilted all the way up, and my are was always brushing the door.) I couldn't have imagined a more uncomfortable ride. Of all the small cars I tested, I felt most comfortable in the Saturn SL series. Next was the Sentra, and the worst were the Corolla and Civic. Finally, I decided I couldn't deal with any of them and bought the Saturn LS which feels more like a mid-sized car to me.
argh; now we're on "car fit"? ;-) nmDougSloan
Apr 18, 2003 8:10 AM
yep: big boy, small carJS Haiku Shop
Apr 18, 2003 10:00 AM
6'2", 200#, shoulders like a washing machine, and i'm right at home in my '97 EX coupe. if it weren't for playing taxi for the little one, and getting multiple bikes in and out of the car for trips, i'd get a (honda) hybrid, no questions asked. as it stands, i'll be moving to a Honda Element EX in the next 2-3 months.

btw, i drive with my steering wheel tilt all the way down, all the time, and the seat slid all the way rearward, and tilted back all gangsta-style. :) i often steer with my knees while eating and navigating by map on long road trips.

oh, and it's a stick.

-J
A stick?? They should be outlawedKristin
Apr 18, 2003 10:07 AM
Its really annoying to have to exit a stoplight behind a manual tranny driver. Very few people know how to accelerate a stick shift, in my opinion. I got rid of my last stick in 1999 when my foot cramped during a lengthy rolling traffic jam on I90. I had to pull over onto the shoulder and walk it out. Never again. Manual shifting is fine for Nascar, but not practical in downtown Chicago.

Hey, have you looked at the Matrix? I know 3 people who bought them and absolutely love them. One friend is a racer and loves it for his bikes. One can fit inside or 2+ can go onto a hitch mount rack.
A stick?? They should be outlawedJS Haiku Shop
Apr 18, 2003 10:34 AM
hadn't considered the matrix. i'm not a toyota fan.

however, the matrix looks about the same price, with much better mpg.

now i'll certainly have a look at a matrix before heading for the subaru dealership before heading for the honda dealership. thanks!

-J
gangsta style... LOLNo_sprint
Apr 18, 2003 10:37 AM
I suppose only double lower appendage amputees are able to sit behind you. :)
have you been in the back seat of a civic ex coupe?JS Haiku Shop
Apr 18, 2003 11:01 AM
basically, there isn't one.
that's what I figured.No_sprint
Apr 18, 2003 11:11 AM
Just like my car. I keep the seats folded down always. Bike rides back there more than any person. Anyone who wants to sit back there is well, not into comfort to say the least.
"my are was always brushing the door."Spoke Wrench
Apr 18, 2003 10:41 AM
What's a girl's are?
If I have to tell you...Kristin
Apr 18, 2003 10:59 AM
ARMS...I meant my ARMS! I can't believe I missed that. Well, okay, I can believe it. I'm a horrible proofreader. I have a terribly short attention span and I pay no notice to details. Its unfortunately to have an ability with words but lack all the other essential skills of a writer.
See what I mean?Kristin
Apr 18, 2003 11:00 AM
I'll be over there--in the corner, being quiet--if you need me.