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Old 01-27-2008, 07:40 AM   #21
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I usually buy used. About 2 yr old. Off lease.
This is what I do. Couple years old. Honda or Toyota.

Then you either keep it to either 100K or 200K miles, not inbetween. Below 100K you can still get someone to buy it for good price.

People get "spooked" about 100K+ mile cars - tough resell - so then you keep it 200K+ miles (what I like to do).

The money that people waste on buying new cars every couple years is boggling to me.
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:16 AM   #22
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I drove my '04 Prius to the near 90k mark and gave it to my grown daughter who, I hope, will drive it to 200k. I now have an '07. My wife's Lexus rx300 stays in the garage a lot these days. Great car with all kinds of cool bells and whistles. The car was designed as a hybrid, not retrofitted. They are a little pricier but a couple hundred k of much better than average reliability, great milage, and great emissions control makes it a no-brainer for me. It is roomy (interior space like a Camry). I roof rack kayaks, carry skis inside with the split rear seat down and sometimes put both sides of the rear seat down and haul bags of mulch, straw bales or whatever. The battery packs have an unbelievable record of reliabiity. The long life is attributable to the narrow band of charge/discharge the computer imposes.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:21 AM   #23
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I'm a big fan of diesels. I have a VW Jetta diesel and it has been a great car. I get 44/45 with winter diesel and usually 48/49 MPG in the summer, driving my mostly highway 35 miles each way to work.

Honda will be releasing diesels in 2010 or 2009, I don't know which. Then we will be able to get the legendary Honda reliability and diesel efficiency.

I like the CRV, but ended up getting a Pilot. If I could get either with a diesel, I'd do it!
Ad me to the diesel fan list. I bought a used 2006 Jeep Liberty diesel a few months ago, only made in 2005 & 2006). Hard to get in California as they were not sold there originally so paid a premium. So far we are loving it. Great car on and off road. Serious 4X4, took it off road on a northern AZ trip. Other thing we like about it is its tow capacity over 5,000 lbs and we had a small travel trailer.

We are fans of Hondas, but believe the US companies have pretty much caught up in quality. Had a Ford Focus that was as flawless as the two Civics we owned.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:50 AM   #24
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Provided you've taken good care of your Honda, there are probably a lot of miles left in it. My SIL's Accord just died with 275K, and I don't think she did anything special on it. My accord has 125k and still runs like it was new.

I think Honda may be bringing out some diesels in the next couple of years. If so, that is what I'll probably go with.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:18 PM   #25
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.......... check your insurance company, some have been charging a premium because a simple rear end tap can cost thousands because of the batteries.............
Farmer's insurance gives a hybrid discount.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:39 PM   #26
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farmers insurance? do they cover your vehicle against indian raids?
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:39 PM   #27
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Mathjak said:

"biggest issue, those batteries, its like buying a car you know will need a transmission for sure one day, they are thousands when time comes to replace.
check your insurance company, some have been charging a premium because a simple rear end tap can cost thousands because of the batteries"

I was smashed from the rear and needed a bumper repair for my Prius but there was no issue with the battery pack. You're getting goofy info from somebody.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:42 PM   #28
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motor trend said it could be an issue with some hybrids depending how close to the rear they are. in fact my bmw has a rear battary to maintain weight distribution and when hit in the rear good bye battery
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Old 01-27-2008, 03:00 PM   #29
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farmers insurance? do they cover your vehicle against indian raids?
Not PC - Native American visitations.
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Old 01-27-2008, 04:24 PM   #30
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This is one of those times where a "one size fits all" answer isn't the answer. What works best for you may not work well for someone else. That said, here are some observations:

First, if you're looking to save energy and help the environment, please remember that a lot of energy and resources were invested in the making of your current car, and at 150K miles its next stop will be the scrap yard, not a new owner. A lot of that invested energy will go to waste when you trade your current vehicle in, so to be kind to the planet it makes a lot of sense to keep driving the older vehicle until it's time has clearly come.

Waiting to trade it in will have other benefits, too. Two or three years from now a new crop of hybrid, diesel and gas vehicles will be up for sale, so there will be more choices and more competition for your dollar in the fuel-efficient SUV market segment.

As for which technology -- hybrid, diesel, gasoline -- makes sense, that depends a lot on how you plan to use your vehicle.

With all of it's stop-and-go driving and idling at stoplights, Hybrids are a really good choice if you do a lot of city driving. If this is how you do the majority of your driving and want an SUV, the current Mariner/Escape Hybrid (same Ford platform, different trims) is a pretty good choice, just keep in mind that it is not designed to tow a trailer, not even a small one. (So, if your idea of economical retirement and vacation fun is towing a small camper-trailer, you might want to wait a few years before you buy to see if a hybrid or other fuel-efficient technology SUV that can tow becomes available.)

If the majority of your driving is done on open freeways (not in traffic), I'd consider waiting for a small diesel SUV. Diesels are hard to compete with when it comes to efficient long-haul driving or towing a trailer. Current diesel VW Beetles crank out 50+ mpg highway, and some have even been outfitted to tow (very) lightweight trailers. It also looks like there will be more efficiently produced bio-diesel fuel options a few years out, and that's worth considering, too.

The downside of diesel compared to hybrids is their engines have to be left idling at stoplights, and that's energy and emissions up in smoke without any productive return. Diesels also can't store energy recovered through regenerative braking like hybrids do -- more energy and emissions without productive return.

The last choice is a "flex fuel" gas engine that can burn ethanol blends as well as traditional gasoline. Right now it's not my favorite choice because there are no efficient ethanol bio-fuel production options. The ethanol made in the US from corn requires almost as much energy to harvest and produce as it provides to the consumer. (Brazil's sugar-cane ethanol, on the other hand, has a better than 4-to-1 energy output per unit of energy put in.) New production crops and technologies may allow us to produce ethanol from cellulose fiber (instead of corn sugar and starch), which would allow us to switch from corn to other crops (like sawgrass) that require less energy to grow and harvest.

The problem with cellulistic ethanol production is a finding a method for translating experimental "lab" production methods into industrial scale production has been "just around the corner" for a long time now. The difference right now is there are a lot more people and dollar investments working to make it happen. So, if it is possible, I'd expect someone to come up with a method for it sometime in the next few years, and when/if that happens, flex-fuel gasoline engines and hybrids may wind up being the wave of the future.
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #31
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Well, we have a 2008 Prius, and we're ecstatically happy with it. The batteries are covered under the ten year warranty. (Lots of inaccurate information about the batteries out there on the internet). We would have been happy to buy used, but when the only one we could find in the color and with the accessory package we wanted within two hundred miles was three years old, 60,000 miles and only several thousand less than brand new with warranty, we bought new.

After we bought ours, I was talking with the sales manager and asked her why so few used ones and she said that even when Prius owners come in to get a new one, they seldom trade in the old Prius because there is always a kid, other relative or neighbor waiting to get the old one.

From the very first day, we've averaged over 50 mpg, and as we learn to drive it for better mileage, the last few tanks of gas, we've averaged between 52-55 mpg.

What's not to like? We certainly are happy with it.

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Old 01-27-2008, 05:15 PM   #32
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I have a 2004 Honda Civic DX (cheapest package). When I bought it, I compared its cost against their hybrid offering. For the extra cost of the hybrid version, I estimated I could pay for quite a bit of gas even at $3/gallon. I'm getting mid 30's mpg around town, mid 40's on the highway (if I keep the speed down a bit)

So far I haven't regretted my decision in buying the cheapest package. Except for not having cruise control on a long trip. But I have manual transmission which probably is part of the difference in gas mileage, and the manual transmission may not be available on the more expensive packages. As always, YMMV.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:28 PM   #33
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Wow! You guys were supposed to make our decision easier! ;-) Thanks all for the feedback.

Quote:
First, if you're looking to save energy and help the environment, please remember that a lot of energy and resources were invested in the making of your current car, and at 150K miles its next stop will be the scrap yard, not a new owner.
Very good point (and very thorough, Insanity!). Yes, there is definitely a big push to do what is morally correct. My husband works in renewable energy, so going hybrid--or clean diesel (he is now trying to talk me into the 09 Jetta Clean Diesel station wagon!) is kinda important to us because we really want to minimize the footprint we leave on mother earth and some things go beyond a straight cost analysis.

The Honda is still running great. Aside from burning oil, it doesn't really have any issues. We are trying to get a new car this year though because I am a little concerned about it breaking down (I drive 2 1/2 hours each way to our weekend home weekly and most of it is rural) and primarily because it is too small / difficult to take our 2 large, now disabled dogs around.

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Then you either keep it to either 100K or 200K miles, not inbetween. Below 100K you can still get someone to buy it for good price.
Interesting point. On that note, we may decide to not trade in the car -- aside from the oil burning/environmental concern, having it as a 3rd car can help us keep the mileage down on our other truck (usually kept at our home in the country).

Oh - by the way - towing question...a couple of you addressed this but can you clarify further if you have actual experience? Can the hybrid tow 500 lbs? The website just says not available for the towing package. We just have a little 13 ft 1963 Whaler (now THAT is a great classic!) we want to tow....
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:04 PM   #34
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..................
Oh - by the way - towing question...a couple of you addressed this but can you clarify further if you have actual experience? Can the hybrid tow 500 lbs? The website just says not available for the towing package. We just have a little 13 ft 1963 Whaler (now THAT is a great classic!) we want to tow....

Escape / Mariner hybrid is rated for 1000# trailer. It does not come with the factory hitch due to battery packaging, but hitches are readily available. I have a hitch on mine and tow a small 4 x 8 utility trailer. Limitation seems to be power in reverse, which is all electric.

More info here than you want to know:

GreenHybrid - Interactive Hybrid Cars Resource
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