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Old 05-23-2015, 12:52 AM   #21
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I am fascinated by the various hybrid technologies and often fantasize about how I might improve upon them (e.g., turbo alternator, aluminum/carbon fiber bodies, thermocouple charging, etc.) Having said that, I wonder if anyone has ever done a "break even" study of buying "reasonable" gas-mileage used cars vs hybrids. For example, my old Buick "tank" very comfortably transports 5 large people and has a trunk big enough to hold a Prius (just kidding, but you know what I'm saying.) In town driving (where all the hybrids shine) it only gets 21 mpg. But on the road (at 75 with AC on "ice cycles" setting) it gets 31 mpg (YMMV). Clearly, in fuel cost per mile, the edge still goes to the hybrid. But, since I bought it with 65K miles for $5K (probably $2K repairs in three years), I figure I'm way ahead on total cost per mile. I'll probably drop collision coverage later this year, so insurance is very inexpensive by comparison to a "new" car (hybrid or otherwise.)

The Edmonds site would be a place to start, but actual costs are very "personal." It so much depends upon how you use a vehicle (3 months in the summer for the old tank - when I'm on the mainland.) Clearly, a hybrid would never pay for itself vs almost any used car for my particular application. But for "most" people, I really do wonder about "new vs used" for total costs with the hybrid concept thrown in. If I do ever purchase a hybrid, it will most likely be used. Since this discussion is actually about hybrid vs non-hybrid, I'll now return the discussion to the original subject.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:38 AM   #22
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Bought a used 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid that had only 1,500 miles on it. Got $6k off of list price.

I now have 123,000 miles on it (sell real estate). I'm sure I've saved a lot with it - been a good car too.
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:15 AM   #23
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that's a strange reason to purchase a vehicle
Haven't you heard of green smugness??
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:19 AM   #24
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Haven't you heard of green smugness??
As opposed to luxury marque smugness, sportscar smugness, big car smugness, monster truck smugness, offroad smugness, classic car smugness, etc.
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:29 AM   #25
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Green smugness is different...
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Old 05-23-2015, 11:44 AM   #26
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Wow, this is good news. Our 2010 Prius is in the "payback" zone and it's all gravy now. And to think we mainly bought it for the wonderful feeling of superiority it gives us.
That's why many refer to the Prius as the "Pious."
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Old 05-23-2015, 11:48 AM   #27
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Green smugness is different...

Yes. Green smugness exists at a level of intensity that the other flavors of smugness cannot approach. It's a very, very special kind of smugness.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #28
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If I had stayed working, I would be in a Prius. With our extra high California Gasoline cost ( currently well over $1 over national average). Driving 30 k miles a year. The basic full size Prius , easy to buy new for $5k discount off sticker so $19,500 plus tax.

The Prius C is a lot smaller and can be bought new for about 17k + tax

Both are imported so the strong US dollar really helps.

I keep cars at least 140k miles, so buying at deep discount , and our crazy high cost California fuel, it would work for me.

At full sticker prices, the payback is iffy.


I got Prius rental cars several times, got approx 50 mpg city. Plenty of room and power.Very impressed with the current generation Prius.

Many of the other hybrids have little advantage over the no hybrid models. Honda civic hybrids were of little advantage, and the saturn vue had a whopping 2 mpg advantage over the non hybrid.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:41 PM   #29
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Yes. Green smugness exists at a level of intensity that the other flavors of smugness cannot approach. It's a very, very special kind of smugness.
Like this?
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:02 PM   #30
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Put me in the "I love my Prius" camp. It's a hatchback which is very flexible to transport stuff when needed. It has a comfortable back seat even for a 6' 2" man. It's almost 5 years old and has had 4 oil changes (free at the dealer) and recently a new set of tires. Needs new windshield wipers. I didn't buy it for the payback, I bought it because why should I use twice as much fuel to get from A to B than I need to.
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:40 PM   #31
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Yes. Green smugness exists at a level of intensity that the other flavors of smugness cannot approach. It's a very, very special kind of smugness.
I know what you're talking about, but it seems to cut both ways, and is mostly overblown thanks to a few admittedly smug ecochic celebs. We have a Prius and it makes no difference most of the time, but frankly it's a little embarrassing at times when people goad/expect me to preach about the car - I have no interest in selling the idea to others.

So what, really, if Prius owners took image into account in buying a car? Exactly who doesn't? The power train of the entire automobile industry rests on the premise that advertisers ably seduce us into the fantasy "we are what we drive."

Good thing BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Porsche and other owners don't have a very, very special kind of smugness.
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:02 PM   #32
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Anyone who assumes that I GAS what they think of my car is sadly mistaken. But not all Prius drivers are sniveling liberals. Some of us have a CHL, and are packing heat... :-P
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Old 05-24-2015, 08:58 AM   #33
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I have owned the Camry LE hybrid for a couple years. Got it for 23.5k vs 21.5k for the gas only, with 0 interest. The car is amazing. It gets the 39 mpg mileage, and it has a 17 gal tank, so it get 600-650 between fill ups. The electric motor adds 200 ft-lb of torque to the combined 200 HP, so the car has nice pickup. The only downside is you loose 2 of 15 cubic feet of trunk space the gas model has for the batteries. Not a big deal.

Regarding the Ni–MH batteries (270V for electric motor, not the 12V utilities), Toyota guarantees them for 8 years. With 12 years of data, Consumer Reports reported a 4% battery replacement rate. Couple that with higher reliability than the regular Camry and I was sold.

I love the quiet buzz from the electric motor. Sound of money rushing back into my pocket!
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:48 AM   #34
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One thing about the Prius that often goes unmentioned is their durability. Wheel bearings seem to be the only real weak point. We bought a used 2007 with 35K in January 2012. Now coming up on 80K, the car has needed one headlight bulb in addition to some regular service items -- auxiliary (12v) battery, a couple tires, wiper blades, etc. Before this Prius we had a 2001, and that was similarly trouble-free.

If anyone is familiar with the Truedelta forum on vehicle reliability, look at this page for the Prius. Amazing real-world results going back to 2001. Toyota Prius Reliability
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:51 AM   #35
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Put me in the "I love my Prius" camp. It's a hatchback which is very flexible to transport stuff when needed. It has a comfortable back seat even for a 6' 2" man. ......
The Prius was a home run for Toyota in that it would be a great car even if it wasn't a hybrid. Owners love the packaging and reliability.

On that topic, I'm surprised at how reliable hybrids have been, as being a hybrid adds an enormous amount of additional complexity. Just the coordination of the regenerative braking, ABS, stability control, traction control and engine start stop has to have been a programming nightmare. Add to that all the sensors that make it all work and the possibility of failures seems ominous.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:06 AM   #36
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I bought my 2009 Prius at the height of gas prices in CA. Gas prices remained high until recently. However, I would like it even if it wasn't a hybrid. Nobody even thinks of bragging or talking about your Prius here. There are a couple of them on every block. What would be the point?
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:43 AM   #37
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The Prius was a home run for Toyota in that it would be a great car even if it wasn't a hybrid. Owners love the packaging and reliability.

On that topic, I'm surprised at how reliable hybrids have been, as being a hybrid adds an enormous amount of additional complexity. Just the coordination of the regenerative braking, ABS, stability control, traction control and engine start stop has to have been a programming nightmare. Add to that all the sensors that make it all work and the possibility of failures seems ominous.
ABS and traction control are not unique to the Prius. Almost all cars have had ABS breaking systems for decades and traction control is now a required feature on U.S. sold cars.

The bad thing about traction control is that on new cars there is no switch to turn it off. If you get stuck in deep mud like I did recently with my older VW diesel, I was not able to get out until I disengaged the traction control.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:56 AM   #38
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On the Prius, traction control is a valuable buffer for the synergy drive unit (transaxle). With the powerful low-end torque of the electric motor, you don't want your tires slipping and grabbing suddenly. It's too hard on the drive train.

One more downside issue with the Prius: Toyota has tended to put skinny, hard-rubber tires on them to reduce rolling resistance. But that is also detrimental to handling and traction. I often go one size wider ("plus zero") when replacing tires on a Prius. I take a minor hit to fuel mileage in favor of increased safety.
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Old 05-24-2015, 11:08 AM   #39
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The bad thing about traction control is that on new cars there is no switch to turn it off.
My new 2015 Mazda 3 has an on/off switch for the traction control system on the dash.
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Old 05-24-2015, 11:14 AM   #40
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My new 2015 Mazda 3 has an on/off switch for the traction control system on the dash.
Thanks Cathy, maybe I should have said I think most new cars....

Oh, nice feature on your Mazda. My 2014 Passat does not have one. I can shut it off using my Ross Tech software, but that is not as convenient as a switch.
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