Six (Lame) Excuses Not to Buy a Hybrid

Six (Lame) Excuses Not to Buy a Hybrid

“2. They’re slow and no fun to drive”

There’s no avoiding the fact that the Prius is slow. But it is slow to get better fuel economy. Many cars use an Eco mode that smooths out the driver’s inputs to achieve better fuel economy. Thankfully, the Prius has a ‘power’ mode that makes the car a bit more responsive – and in our tests it resulted in only minimal changes in fuel economy. Other hybrids don’t compromise driving dynamics over fuel economy.

Lexus’ new batch of hybrid vehicles, the ES300h and GS450h, have both been praised for their fun to drive persona.

The GS450 in particular sends a total of 338-hp to the rear wheels, and has two driver selectable sport modes in order to make the GS as fun and lively as possible.

“The different drive modes support the fun to drive character of the GS,” says Bill Kwong from Lexus product communications. “Sport S mode is when the driver wants to feel acceleration while maintaining ride comfort. This mode changes the powertrain control, enhances throttle mapping and changes transmission gear shift timing,” says Kwong.

For those who want to kick it up a bit more, there’s Sport S + mode. In Sport S+ the vehicle enhances the adaptive suspension and loosens up its traction management to let the car get a little more loose on a track. With a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds the GS450h still manages to get 29 mpg city, 34 highway and 31 mpg highway.

Smaller hybrids can also be fun. The Honda CR-Z and Lexus CT200h deliver instant torque thanks to their electric motors, and sustain that fun to drive attitude with peppy four-cylinder engines. The CR-Z is also the only hybrid available with a manual transmission.

“The CR-Z has the highest take rate of manual transmission (outside of the Civic Si) in the entire Honda range,” said Chris Martin from Honda public relations. “The car was designed from the get-go to be a sporty, yet fuel efficient car, and the manual transmission is key to that,” he explained.

The CR-Z is perfect for the driver who wants an engaged feeling with the car and still wants good fuel economy.

Even Porsche has a hybrid sports car (yes it’s a sedan, but it’s very much a sports car): the Panamera S Hybrid. This car is a combination of luxury and performance, zipping to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, along with a top speed of 167 mph. The Panamera S Hybrid delivers a total of 375 hp by pairing an electric motor with a supercharged 3.0L V6, and hooking them up to a fuel-friendly 8-speed automatic transmission. All this leads to 22 mpg city and 30 highway.

Supercars aren’t exempt from using hybrid technology either. German automaker, BMW has looked to hybrid tech to improve the performance of its cars, with the upcoming BMW i8 highlighting the brand’s efforts. While the i8 isn’t out yet, this plug in hybrid looks like a supercar and has some surprising performance credentials for an eco-friendly cruiser. An estimated 78 mpg rating comes by way of a 170-hp electric motor powering the front wheels, which joins forces with the 223 hp, three-cylinder engine that powers the rear-wheels. The two engines provide all-wheel thrust that will take the i8 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.

That’s not the only hybrid powered supercar. Acura is planning to revive the NSX with a hybrid drivetrain while the new 784-hp Porsche 918 Spyder can lap the Nurburgring in 7:14, putting it in the upper echelon of supercars. The 918 Spyder uses two electric motors, and a 4.6-liter V8 to make all of its power, but some engineering wizardry will assist in helping the car get an estimated 78-mpg.

  • CA_Refugee

    To me, they are still a waste of development money and are pointless. Until hydrogen powered cars become available, I won’t even bother. I like my ’08 Legacy, and I still get 25+MPG on road trips. And it is even modified slightly too.

  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Dan

    You say 25 MPG as if that’s an impressive number. You’re bragging about getting F150 fuel mileage in a mid-size sedan.

  • hn

    So the break even cost is about five years. Anyone that doesn’t keep it longer would say why bother. And those that buy six, seven year old cars have little or no battery warranty so a very pricey replacement. That will trickle down to resale value, but right now there are very few old hybrids.
    Smaller and lighter cars make more sense!

  • dan

    So then it might be a good idea for someone that intends on keeping the car a long time, or someone that doesn’t like putting in a lot of maintenance into a vehicle, or someone that drives significantly more than the average person. I just love having options. Why don’t you like having options?

  • FordV8Supercar

    I think if I were to buy a super-efficient car, I’d look at a VW Golf BlueMotion or something. Most car nuts can see that the Prius is an overpriced gimmick which is why nobody likes it, let alone wants to buy one…

  • J Mack

     Odd that you should say that. Toyota has sold 4 million hybrids. The Prius is a HUGE seller. Hybrid technology is the future. Get over your outdated ideas.

  • FordV8Supercar

    Yeah that’s true, but what I’m saying is that you never hear any car enthusiasts saying ‘I need a more fuel-efficient car, I’ll might go and buy a Prius’, if that get’s my point across better. The Honda CR-Z has been struggling in sales lately because it’s in the sports car category (that’s what Honda said), and people who know sports cars know that the CR-Z isn’t worth the money for what isn’t a sporty car anyway

  • Dave M

     I agree that car guys aren’t buying hybrids, but have you driven the CR-Z? It’s got a bad rap. I really like it. It’s FUN to drive…. or at least it’s fun for a car with just over 100-hp.

  • JDH

    While some of the technology that goes into a hybrid is interesting and has a lot of merit, until they market an 800hp beast of a hybrid that isn’t ugly as hell (the prius is a hideous eyesore), I’ll stick with a standard combustion engine. Getting good mileage is all nice and dandy, but I want horse power!

  • KY

    Did you even read the article? The third slide answer your question.

  • Sami Haj-Assaad

    Torque is pretty nice too, and electric engines provide that instantly and smoothly. 

  • Rocky

    If you need old style muscle car horse power a hybrid is not for you.  If you like brisk and fear hybrids are lethargic try a Ford or Lexus.  For more zip and still pretty good mpg go for a 2 liter turbo in anything.

  • Nonymous

    Lexus GS 450h is  almost halfway:
    338 hp from a 3.5L V-6
    6.2 L/100km highway (46 MPG)

    Lexus LS 600h is a bit closer:
    438hp from 5.0L V8
    still does 9.1 L/100km highway (31 MPG)

    -both are fully featured, and I personally like the styling

  • Dave M

     I think you’re going to like the Porsche 918 Spyder. That… and the next Ferrari Enzo will be a hybrid too!!!

  • Dbornstein09

    Lame article, promoting stop gap technology. Hydrogen is the future, which will be in production soon. My car isn’t a hybrid, I get near 40MPG, why would I pay 1000’s more for little difference?

  • chavitz chavis

    Applying break-even theory is SERIOUSLY FLAWED.

    The initial additional $4000 piece of hybrid system saves at least about$800 to $1000 each year. Yes, on paper, 5years of saving is from $4000 to 5000, seemingly recovering the initial additional  hybrid system cost of $4000.  BUT  at the end of year 5, when reselling the hybrid car to the used car market, you can actually recoup at least $2000 to 2500 from the very hybrid system, that is, you still can sell the hybrid car at  $2000 to 2500 above the same non-hybird car because it is still  a working hybrid car. So at the end of year 5, your net gain due to driving a hybrid is at Least $2000( 5years’gas saving $ 4000+ reselling gain$2000-initial paid hybrid cost$4000). Actually the real pay-back period is much less than 5years. As a matter of fact, the longer driving hybrid, the better off. The central problem of payback calculation is that people forget reselling gain of hybrid car; the $4000 worth hybrid system is generating saving yearly, while, even at year 15 when selling the car, you still can ask for $1000 to 1500 more than the same gas engine car.

  • hn

    If new hybrids are a tough sell, what makes you think a used one will command a higher price. There are very few 5-10 year old hybrids (maybe even obsolete batteries), so I doubt there is much real proof of higher resale value. You can ASK any price you want, but will it sell at that price ?

  • dan

    What makes you think hybrids are a tough sell? I see them all over the place.

  • Rxonmymind

    Lets do the math. My Toyota gets 25 mi a Gal. Even with gas at $4.50 a gallon that works out to. 18 cents a mile. Even less for those that get 40 mi to a Gal. It’s. 11 cents a mile. So unless electric gets down to. 02-.05 cents a mile these hybrids are NOT worth owning.

  • Joeharveyaurora

    Just sold a 2008 Camry Hybrid. Ask was $2,500 over a comparable 2008 gas Camry. Sold for a $400 discount to ask. Need more proof hybrid is the way to go? Replaced with a 2012 Camry hybrid XLE (only $2,500 more than gas loaded Camry). Also replaced a 2nd gas only vehicle with a Lexus CT200h. My bank account is already much fatter than it would have been. 

  • KKornatoski

    I used to own a 2010 Prius IV …. all I can say is … it got great MPG but it still was a “stupid” car none the less… replaced it with  a TDI Sportwagen (something that drives like a normal car)…

  • Richard Joash Tan

    and you are a bullshit

  • LawrenceG

    Don’t worry about batter since it will last easily 100K? I keep my cars much longer than 100k. How long WILL they last (Lithium anyhow).

  • Dan

    NYC taxis are seeing them last over 400,000 mi frequently. The warranty is for about 100,000 mi, and the vast majority of defective batteries won’t make it that long, anyway. The lack of maintenance and general repair costs compared to ICE-only vehicles will make up for the possible battery replacement at 150k-200k mi. That $4,000 price tag is for a brand new battery. You can find plenty of refurbished batteries recovered from salvage vehicles that are in perfect working order for less than the cost of a major transmission service/replacement that most ICE vehicles would need around that time anyway.

  • Nonymous

    I want to see a hybrid pickup from Toyota, adding a battery down NOT reduce power, adds low rev torque, and could boost fuel economy on any regular commute
    maybe then people would realize that hybrids are just efficient cars, as capable as any (Although I doubt they would sell well in the US, they still think full-size trucks are commuter vehicles, but I have hope yet)

  • Dan

    I’d like to see the return of the compact pickup. The only reason they disappeared to begin with was due to EPA regulations that they couldn’t satisfy. If Toyota released a truck with the dimensions of the 1st gen Tacoma double cab, tossed a hybrid powertrain in it, and still maintained half-decent towing stats (like 4,000 lbs), I would snatch that thing up so fast. Hell, an all-electric compact pickup would be nice too.

  • Doe

    Hybrids suck.  They use CVT transmissions and are very slow.  They don’t really get much better mpg and you have to replace the expensive batteries every couple of years to achieve max mpg.  No one will want a used hybrid with flat battery.  So what if you save $100 a year on fuel.

  • Richard Joash Tan

    and you are a bullshit

  • Doublethink

    Looks like a propaganda piece. People are concerned about value, reliability, performance and dare we say safety. Battery replacement cost is a significant issue plus additional maintenance costs of two systems (gas and electric).The gas version saves about $5,000 up front which means we could drive for $5,000 worth of gasoline before we break even to the cost for the hybrid.

  • Dan

    So you didn’t read the article? Battery replacement cost ISN’T a significant issue, as very few batteries are failing, and of those that have failed, most were covered by warranty with a newer, more reliable version of the battery.
    That $5,000 is going to be spread out over the course of your car loan, meanwhile you’ll be recouping right around 100% of the difference in your car payment in fuel savings for a typical 1,000 mi/mo driver. If you drive more than that, you’ll be saving money by buying the more expensive hybrid.
    Maintenance costs are also significantly lower, as there is less wear and tear on the engine, due to the electric motors picking up much of the load, especially from a dead stop. There’s also less brake wear because the regenerative braking system does most of the braking in non-emergency stopping. The typical maintenance schedule for a Hybrid is oil change every 6 mo or 10,000 mi, new tires every 40k-60k mi, and new brakes pads every 80k-150k mi. That’s it. That’s the whole maintenance schedule. NYC Prius taxis are racking up 400,000 mi and more with few issues, and everyone knows how those psychos drive.

  • Richard Joash Tan

    and you are a bullshit

  • Richard Joash Tan

    and you are a bullshit

  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Rockwilder87

    they are all ugly as fuck… there are no answer for this…

  • F3

    4+ years to pay back the difference?  And most diesels will earn their owners an ROI in as little as 2 years.  Not to mention, the EPA themselves did a study which showed that diesel cars actually get BETTER real-world fuel economy than their officially published numbers.  Any questions as to why diesel vehicles have seen increases in sales of 25 – 30% the last two years?

    I’m still not buying a hybrid.  A modern clean-diesel for me, preferably with 6 gears & 3 pedals!

  • dan

    Maintenance costs on a diesel is typically higher than on a gas vehicle. Maintenance on a Hybrid is typically much LOWER, especially on Toyota/Lexus models. Most car loans are ~5 years, so there’s literally no hit to the wallet on a month-by-month basis by upgrading to the hybrid version of a car, as the fuel savings are making up for the increased monthly car payment in real time. Once you’re paid off, it’s all savings.
    I’m sure your diesel is a fine, efficient vehicle. I’m not here to knock on diesel. There are scenarios where diesel would be much more efficient and capable than a hybrid, like highway driving, or towing/hauling. But for people that spend most of their driving in city traffic just going to work and back, a hybrid would make more sense to them.
    Buy a vehicle that suits your personal needs and tastes, and be happy you live in a world where there are enough options out there that you may do that.

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