September 25, 2008

Main Issues You Should Know Before Buying a Hybrid Car

Main Issues You Should Know Before Buying a Hybrid Car

Price. One of the biggest issues of people who want to buy a hybrid car is the price. Buying a hybrid car can cost you several thousand dollars more than its gasoline-engine counterpart. The cheapest hybrid is around $20,000 while the luxury models are well over $100,000. It is predicted that the cost of hybrid vehicles will go down in the coming years as the production cost will decrease and the supply will increase.

Fuel Economy. A hybrid car is known for fuel economy. In fact, if you drive a hybrid, you can save as much as 60% on fuel. A fuel-efficient hybrid car can run from 35 to 50 miles on a gallon. However, high end hybrid models such as Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and those from Lexus that are built for performance still offer relatively good fuel economy.

Vehicle Option. Hybrid car models are very limited today. If you can't live by the available options, you can wait a year or two as many manufacturers have announced the release of newer hybrid cars.

Maintenance Cost. With a more complicated internal structure, the common belief is that hybrid cars are more expensive to maintain. The fact is, maintenance cost for hybrid cars is comparable to conventional vehicles. Many also fear that the battery replacement is very expensive. While the cost of battery replacement is said to be between $2,000 and $5,000, there has yet to be a report of a battery needing to be replaced due to defect or malfunction.

Safety. Hybrid cars are in general, as safe as conventional cars but there is a concern that electric shock can happen. This is a possibility but hybrid cars have been around for 10 years and there are no reports of this incident.

Luxury and Convenience. Since the price of a hybrid car is 25% to 50% higher than its gasoline counterparts, most hybrids are upscale and involve the latest gadgetry and luxury amenities.

Interior Space. Hybrid has almost become synonymous with the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. As a result the word "hybrid" is perceived as cars with small interior space and the use of electric motors and gasoline engines. While the latter is true, the former is not entirely accurate.

Since the first release of the Prius, the market has seen several hybrid cars with more interior space. The Honda has Civic and Accord (discontinued) have a good interior space. So with Toyota's Camry, Highlander (SUV), and second generation Prius (midsize), Ford Escape hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, and Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid among others.