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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An interesting (and long) article
http://www.autosite.com/content/shared/articles/templates/index.cfm/article_id_int/537

Just two years ago, the idea of a hybrid comparison was laughable. There was the Prius, the Prius, and oh yeah, that little Honda Insight popular with MIT professors, IT nerds and Caltech alumni. You had no practical choice: if you wanted a hybrid, you sacrificed driving pleasure and cargo room and bought either a Honda Insight or an old-style Toyota Prius. If you wanted to be cool, conserve fuel and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, you could drill for oil up in the Arctic –- or just get in line outside the nearest Toyota or Honda dealer. Get in that line, boy, and get ready with your checkbook. You’re doing God’s work, so smile for the camera when the ink you scratch comes out to a thousand over sticker.

At least some things have changed.
Two years of oily water under the bridge, and now shoppers can choose between a new Prius, an SUV hybrid and a sedan hybrid, with more on the way. Now the idea of a comparison –- albeit across vehicle types –- is a credible one, as people who are shopping for a hybrid need to know which vehicle provides the best all-around value. That’s a good question, and one we endeavor to answer with our first-ever hybrid comparison. This is a unique and challenging test, as it pits different types of vehicles with a common technology that has become the nation’s center of attention. People don’t talk about the Ford Escape. They talk about the Ford Escape Hybrid. And the Toyota Prius is just a funky hatchback without its Synergy Drive. Of course, the very idea of a hybrid world without a Prius in it is like talking about baseball without the bean ball.

And here it comes, high and tight: Toyota, doing what Toyota does, put a sack of money –- a big sack –- in the hands of their own MIT professors and told them to keep the Prius credible in a changing market, to keep the competition either gasping to catch up, or, as with General Motors, sitting on the sidelines.

Ford chose a different path.
Not content to sit and watch like its Detroit brethren, Ford struggled to build its own landmark hybrid, and came out with an SUV –- the Ford Escape Hybrid, to be exact. Honda, as the only car company really playing on the same field as Toyota, added the Honda Accord Hybrid to a lineup that already included the Civic Hybrid and the Insight.

Both of these new cars from Ford and Honda offer benefits beyond the considerable charms of the Prius. There’s more room. And more power, along with a more traditional style, all of it in the same price neighborhood. For people who want to buy a hybrid, that choice is excellent news. Shoppers are no longer restricted to the impractical Honda Insight, too-expensive-for-what-you-get Honda Civic Hybrid, or the Prius –- now there’s a different hybrid for different lifestyles, one to fit what you do and how you get there. Because all are priced at or under $30,000 for a well-equipped model, they represent what is most likely on the shopping list of those in the Great Gray Middle Class who want to shed the dinosaur –- and must have a practical, fairly-priced car to do so. A luxury hybrid, such as the Lexus RX 400h, probably doesn’t make it to this list, so it was not tested.

So there you go –- those of you who want to save the planet, you finally have a choice. Be sure to choose wisely.
 

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You are just mistaken on one subject and that is price. Everything new in the picture is well above thirty thousand dollars out the door except for the Escape which can be driven away for twenty nine thousand dollars. At these prices, forget the fuel dollar savings and you are back to just saving the planet. The new hybrids are all going to have the same thing in common and that is "profit" for the manufacturers unless we have a price war and a government subsidized vehicle dumped on us as was the french Airbus. So heavily subsidised and financed it came close to busting Boeing. Again, "we", lucked out with the Prius but I don't believe we will see any more of the factory subsidies now that the hybrid market has gotten so hot.
Synergy drive is "not cheap" and you can now expect the buyer to pay for it. The only eventual hope for us all to own one of the new generation is for the production figures to climb into the millions instead of the thousands.
 

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Innovations are always expensive at first, then they diffuse out and down. In eight years there will be relatively cheap new hybrids. (Hybrid drives add cost, of course, just as automatic transmissions add cost, yet for some time now very few economy buyers have bought manual transmissions. Similarly hybrid drive will become accepted as a necessity even in econoboxes.)
 

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There seems to be this philosphy that simply making something into a hybrid saves the planet. Getting a little over 30 mpg is not going to save the planet. The Prius is a good balance between mpg and performance. The Accord isn't.

Yes, the Accord is an improvement and, yes, it may mean that some people will be driving a car with better gas mileage, but it doesn't get us to where we need to be.

In any event, we will need to make the transition to a world with very little oil We will get there faster with higher gas prices abetted by higher gas taxes.

But really, regardless of how efficient our automobiles are, we need to ultimately find ways to use our cars a lot less or not at all. I lived in Germany for two years without a car, just a bicyle and a transporation pass. What a blessing that was and money saving too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Heh. Imagine ticking the box in the options list "Hybrid Synergy Drive".

That is true though (regarding the fuel mileage on the Accord) and don't forget the emissions too. Sure, it may be fun to drive, powerful and luxurious but as a hybrid, it fails to meet the requirements of lower emissions and greater fuel economy.

You know how the first move is usually the best, and the sequels are usually not so great? I'd like to think the Prius is still a good balance of techni-ness and everyday driveability while the others (RX and HiHys included) are watered down a bit for the general public.
 

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You are incorrect. Today is 2005. Two years ago was 2003. In May of 2003, the Honda Civic Hybrid had been on US roads for over a year already. Besides the Honda Insight and the classic Toyota Prius that you mention. Lots of comparisons made between the three models at that time.

The Honda Insight is a very practical vehicle. Better MPG than a Prius, and you're not lugging around all the extra weight and size of a sedan. Perfect for most commuters, based on my observations that most people don't carpool... (If the CVT version of the Insight was available in Sept. 2000 when I went looking for a car, I might've gotten it, rather than my 2001 Prius...)
 

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Hyperion

you so full of garbage on the price of the prius that i can smell you all the way out here in Illinois. the window sticker price of my prius was $23,725.00 and thats what i paid for it here in Illinois. thats a long way from the over 30,000 you talk about. the honda civic can be over 30,000 dollars due to all the toys they put on the hybred plus the fact that their hybred is not a true hybred. they took their production civic and added on the hybred system thus making the car more expensive than it should have been. toyota designed their hybred call the prius from the ground. it has never been anything else but a hybred. get the facts straight before you run your misleading information.
 

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Quietman, you must have been reading all my posts upside down. My Prius cost me $23,000 with the options I chose. Sticker price started at $19,999. I feel it was worth the twenty three but not a dime more.
I have never once mentioned the Honda Civic except for one post a year ago with the reason I chose the Prius over the Civic and that was because of the difference in the "ICE". The Honda has a four cylinder eight overhead valve engine and the Prius, an all aluminum double overhead cam sixteen valve engine.
Except for the quaility of the internal combustion engine I felt the Civic was much more of a car. Fully instrumented including a tachometer with no idiot lights.
The Honda Accord will be closer to what the public is presently driving with it's V6 engine and high torque electric motors. The performance will exceed that of most premium sedans but the cost will be well out of my league getting into the mid thirties. The Highlander hybrid will average out in the upper thirties, the Lexas forty. Aside from the Civic you will never see another hybrid as cheap as the Prius until there are a few million produced. It will take every manufacturer producing to get the cost affordable. Toyota sure can't do it alone.
One of the unique features of the Prius at this time is it's scarcity, because of low production figures. This allows us all the advantage of driving something different. As this changes one of the selling points out there now will disappear. I don't know exactly where you are coming from but it will be a long time before the middle class auto buyer in the US will be able to afford a Hybrid. The Prius is definately not satisfactory for everyone. The Camry "H" will be a small step up but forcast prices for it are predicted about thirty thousand . Really not what you would call economical. Of course this is again all predicated on how successfull our test driving works out!
 

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quietman said:
Hyperion

you so full of garbage on the price of the prius that i can smell you all the way out here in Illinois. the window sticker price of my prius was $23,725.00 and thats what i paid for it here in Illinois. thats a long way from the over 30,000 you talk about. the honda civic can be over 30,000 dollars due to all the toys they put on the hybred plus the fact that their hybred is not a true hybred. they took their production civic and added on the hybred system thus making the car more expensive than it should have been. toyota designed their hybred call the prius from the ground. it has never been anything else but a hybred. get the facts straight before you run your misleading information.
Hyperion was specifically referring to post-Prius hybrids, which indeed run from the $29k Escape on up.

So far, that is. I believe Hyperion will be proven wrong about the future high cost of hybrid technology. Hyundai and its affiliate Kia plan to have hybrids on the American market by late 2006 (AutoWeek, May 4). I don't know what they're going to cost, but it's a safe bet it will be considerably less than the Prius or the Civic hybrid. Otherwise they will be tough to sell.
 

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And Colorado, I specifically stated that when the big three models hit the streets in the 2007 With several million cars I expect the price to then be about twenty thousand. This is all predicated on gas prices remaining high because if they ever drop back to the buck and a half tier, all bets are off.'As for Hundai and Kia, they get their sales with full ten year, 100,000 mile warranties for all parts and labor as standard. I believe the Camry hybrid which may be in the showrooms this year, starting list will be in the mid 28,000 dollar range.
 
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