Buying a Hybrid Automobile Buying a Hybrid Automobile

Many consumers bring up a hybrid’s size as a safety concern. The fact is that hybrids are the same size, or larger, than many traditional gas-fueled cars. Manufacturers realize that small cars need more safety options and that is why you’ll see more steel bars being added to the frame of the car as well as a passenger and side air bags. Like with any car, it is the driver, and other drivers on the road who are a large factor in determining the safety of any car.

How to research hybrid cars

According to Consumer Reports, the Toyota Prius has one of the highest owner-satisfaction ratings, of not just hybrids, but all vehicles.

At the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, IntelliChoice announced their automotive category winners. Among the winners were:

• Best Car Value Under $23,000 – Toyota Prius (hybrid)

• Best Car Value Over $23,000 – Lexus LS 430

• Best SUV Value Under $28,000 – Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD

• Best SUV Value Over $28,000 – Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2WD

• Best Truck Value Under $26,000 – Toyota Tundra Regular Cab 2WD

• Best Truck Value Over $26,000 – Toyota Tundra Extended Cab 4WD

• Best Van Value Under $25,000 – Honda Odyssey LX

• Best Van Value Over $25,000 – Honda Odyssey EX

Environmental rewards

It’s a fact that hybrids are a sign that a person is concerned about the environment, standing up and making a change, and evolving. Like it or not, there will come a time when if you’re not trying an alternative fuel or fuel efficient car then you’ll be considered a dinosaur.

It is possible that the person selling you a product might not know much about it. With a hybrid, your salesperson may have a memorized an out-dated script about the benefits of a hybrid. Many salespeople dwell on the “gas saving” and “tax credit” benefits. But are these true? Most hybrids cost about $3,000 more than non-hybrids, or traditional cars. The best way to think of a hybrid is not a car that is going to make your gas expenses disappear, but rather a car that will not eat up gas when you’re idling and stopped. Because the car does not burn gas while stopped or in traffic jams, it will emit less carbon dioxide. This is the true advantage to a hybrid. The gas savings is largely a marketing tactic; however, you may be able to take advantage of a $1,500 federal tax break, and any available state tax breaks.

Buying a Hybrid

Toyota Prius

2006 Toyota Prius highlights include a gas engine couples with an emissions-free electric motor. Drive 650 miles before refilling the tank! The car is roomy enough for five people, and if you need wireless, no problem, many have Bluetooth. The Prius also has an excellent safety rating.

Ford Escape

While the Ford Escape hybrid has a 4-cylinder, it boasts the power of a V-6. This is a five-passenger, roomy, sports utility available in 2.3-3 liters. You can even tow a boat with this bad boy.

Lexus RX 400h

The first luxury hybrid is the Lexus RX 400h, which automotive reviewers say looks just like the Lexus RX 330. This is a 3.3 liter, V-6 with a front and rear electric-motor to support all wheel driver. This is one sweet hybrid.

Honda Accord

The Accord hybrid is actually more affordable than the Accord gas-powered 4-cylinder, making this the second most popular hybrid car. The 2006 hybrid has 3.0 liters and 6 cylinders with up to 253 horsepower.

Honda Civic

The new Honda Civic hybrid comes with a 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine and gets 49/51 miles per gallon with zero emissions. The Civic also has an excellent safety rating.

Toyota Highlander

Another great hybrid sports utility hits the sales floor in 2006. This one has a 3.3-liter V-6 gas engine with up to 268 horsepower. You can even tow up to 3,500 pounds. If you feel the need for hybrid speed, this car goes from 0-60 MPH in just 7.3 seconds. It also seats up to seven, which makes it one of the roomiest hybrids.

Honda Insight

Trivia question: what is the name of the first hybrid in America? Good guess if you said the Honda Insight. Of course, with 1.0-liter and three-cylinders, this car is limited in speed. On the flip side, it achieves 57/56 and 60/66 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway respectively. Two people can fit into this car, and despite the size, it has a good safety rating.

Mercury Mariner

Another sports utility is the Mercury Mariner , which gets 33/29 miles in the city and on the highway respectively.

Learn more about hybrid cars: The Hybrid Car Report

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