Hybrid Cars

Are you thinking of buying a new car? If you’re considering a hybrid model for your next car, this how-to guide can help you to understand what sets hybrid cars apart from traditional vehicles.

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How big are hybrids?

Most hybrid vehicles are compact or midsize sedans, though manufacturers offer everything from two-seaters to extra-long SUVs. Many hybrid and electric models are based on conventional models—for instance, the Ford Fusion Hybrid or the Nissan Pathfinder. Other models are available exclusively as hybrids. These include the Toyota Prius and the Chevrolet Volt.

How much should you pay for a hybrid?

Hybrids tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, which are powered by conventional gasoline or diesel engines. On average, you’ll pay 20% more to get a hybrid and more depending on whether your model is fully electric or partially electric. The least expensive hybrid model starts at approximately $20,000 USD, but luxury models can cost you well over $100,000. Fully electric vehicles range similarly in price. Of course, keep in mind that purchasing certain hybrid or electric vehicles makes you eligible for a tax credit which can substantially lower the cost. 

What kind of fuel economy will you get?

Generally speaking, there are two types of hybrids. Regular hybrids combine a gasoline engine and a battery that charges itself. They deliver significant increases in mileage, typically between 40 and 50 mpg. Plug-in hybrids run on electricity. Their batteries are larger and can also be recharged by the car, allowing small trips of all-electric operation. The car will use the gas tank for longer-range trips. These days, fully electric models are also available. Depending on the model, the trip range can be between 70 and 260 miles.  

How much does it cost to operate a hybrid car?

The most important consideration when it comes to buying a hybrid is how long it will take you to recover the additional money you spent on the price of the car through reduced running costs. Of course this depends on fuel prices and how often you use the car. One study suggested that over a five-year period, only one-third of all hybrid cars will actually save you money.

What kind of features do hybrids have?

Hybrid and electric cars come with most of the same features as traditional cars. Most if not all models are equipped with automatic climate control, heated seats, smartphone friendly user interfaces, Bluetooth capabilities, and rear cameras. Safety features are also comparable to non-hybrid models, and include front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control.

How much can a hybrid carry?

Hybrids tend to have a little bit less trunk space because of the required battery pack. In a sedan, this could mean you lose anywhere from 3-5 cubic feet. In an SUV, batteries are stored under the floor, so sometimes space is lost there. Because these batteries also tend to be heavy, payload capacity may be reduced in some models. Of course, if payload capacity is important to you, you don’t have to look to hard to find a hybrid model that suits your needs.

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