Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kermit was right...it's not easy

We're looking at hybrid cars. I'd love to say it's because I'm a devout lover of the environment who longs to wrap my arms around our planet and give it a great big hug...but that would be a bit of a fib. We're looking at hybrids because our current car is a giant, gas-guzzling sedan and we're not sure how long we can keep him in the style to which he's become accustomed.

We bought Xavier George (Steve named him from model number, XG350) a few years ago. Admittedly, we weren't exactly savvy shoppers--my mom was in the hospital (she's fine now, I'm happy to say) and we weren't sure when I'd need to drive up to Maine on short notice, or what exactly I'd be driving to. The car we had was too unreliable for emergency times, so we headed out to find a new one.

We were both so distracted by everything going on with my family that we narrowed our "must have" list down to two things:
1. A trunk big enough to fit Steve's gigantic goalie pads for the days he plays hockey; and
2. A tan interior, so THAT DOG'S fur wouldn't show too badly during spring when she sheds.

Needless to say, we stumped the sales guys. I mean, who buys a car based on trunk size and matching the interior to their dog??? Still though, we could have done worse. Xavier George has been a fabulous auto, right up until the cost of filling his tank came to equal the cost of sending him to college.

So the hybrid search begins, and I have to ask: do any of you drive hybrids? Do you like them? I rode in a Prius cab from the airport the other day, and on Boston's crazy, beat up roads it felt a bit like riding a roller skate down an Olympic mogul course....

But I wonder, does it feel different when you're driving? Or would I be so distracted by all the money I was saving on gas that I'd ignore the increased chance of peril? Encourage me, oh wise blog readers! Help me be glad to be green!

22 comments:

Vanessa said...

I do not have a hybrid, but I have a Toyota Corolla and it gets 36mpg city. Also have an Audi A3 and it gets around 26mpg. I am the MPG Nazi and keep all this info on a spread sheet. A great website I used when making these decisions last year is:

www.fueleconomy.gov/

It lets you search by different criteria (although I'm not sure dog fur color would be one of them!) and you can do side by side comparisons. For me, the extra cost of the hybrid didn't make it a good choice given the great MPG of the Corolla. Good luck!

LEstes65 said...

I'm curious to see the replies you get. My little 2003 Honda CR-V is like a Mini Cooper compared to the giant Yukons, Escalades and Hummers sucking up all the gas in Texas. But I'm still thinking of downsizing for the same reason as you. And I've thought a hybrid might be worth it.

One thing to consider is, they are trying to pass legislation to reward "green" people with tax breaks. So a hybrid may soon get you a tax break. But I'm not sure that's enough incentive to take on the extra price tag. I'd do the math on mileage like Vanessa suggests. See if the price tag is worth it. Oh - and go test drive a few.

stephanerd said...

oh lordy, my husband just bought a prius, and he's picking it up today, and i hope it doesn't feel at all like what you just described.

because that wouldn't be much of an improvement.

Nilsa S. said...

Prius cabs? Really? I'm so impressed. Never would I have thought...

We don't have a hybrid. Though it's on our minds. Eventually, we want to downsize to one car instead of two. Since Sweets really likes the size of his gas-guzzling SUV, we may look at the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Maybe.

Keep us updated on your car buying adventure. I may learn a thing or two from you!

Paige Jennifer said...

I'm all for saving pennies and being eco-responsible. But I just couldn't own a Prius. A hybrid, yes, but a Prius, no. It is, by far, one of the ugliest car designs on the road. Like a Pacer someone stepped on. I'm baffled as to why that body can't be updated to look less George Jetson.

I equate buying a Prius to dressing for comfort (cough, Crocs).

L Sass said...

My friend drove me all around the Bay Area in her Prius when I was in California a few weeks back and I was impressed. Even the back seat is pretty roomy! Although the silence is a bit creepy. I seriously covet it.

That said, I think that for non-hybrid cars the Corolla/Camry and the Honda Civic/Accord remain great options. (And my family drives their Toyotas and Hondas into the ground. They last FOREVER.)

Lauren said...

Getting a hybrid has been on my mind as well. Gas prices are terrible right now and it will help the environment. If you do get one, do let us know how it works!

~Virginia~ said...

no hybrid here either--i'm so helpful! :)

my honda civic gets about 32 mpg. $42.00 to fill up the other day.

good luck with the green!

Surfergrrl said...

I don't drive one because I plan to drive my paid for subaru till it breaks down. ha ha. the ride in the prius seems pretty smooth and it's really quiet. people i know who have one like it. the one downside i noticed is the small, slanted back window. I don't like not being able to see more.

Amy Timberlake said...

I own a Prius (since 2004)! And I think they're great looking! Haven't had a problem, love it, love it, love it! $20 fills it up. I used to drive a Nissan Pathfinder and this car is so smooth by comparison. (I say test drive one, and don't take the cab's word on it.) Now my brother has one, my friend who travels everywhere for InterVarsity has one and this weekend, my dad is getting one. Also there's more space in the back than what's apparent. The back seats fold flat and I can put IKEA furniture in the back of this thing -- amazing. If you want to talk more, I'd love to talk it up! It's worth it.

Liza said...

I have a Toyota Corolla and it gets about 33-35 mpg in the city and over 35 mpg on highway. I love the idea of a hybrid, but not sure how soon I'll switch over. BTW, Nissan is putting out an electric car in the next few years. I think they plan on having "plug-in" stations for re-charging around the country just like the gas stations.

Accidental Admin. said...

I've been taxied a few times in a Prius via PlanetTran, and I didn't find it too bumpy. Or maybe I was too sleepy or stressed out because of reasons why I was in a PlanetTran to begin with to even notice?

I'm with whoever pitched in nods of confidence for Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla--both known for great gas mileage, low cost of repair, ability to drive and just run into the ground--as well as the relatively new Nissan Versa (which I have zipcarred numerous times and loved), which is known for getting very very good gas mileage, and the Pontiac Vibe. I've heard a lot about that little car (a friend of mine out in St. Louis bought one about a year ago) for its reliable engine and relatively good gas mileage.

Have you looked into Honda Civic hybrid? I wonder how that car is for Honda's standards of reliability/comfort mixed with the whole hybrid-ness of it all...

heidi said...

adam and i have taken to getting civic hybrids whenever we rent zipcars - they're nice. not too bumpy. I'm a big fan of toyota corollas like vanessa since my mom has driven toyota's for years so it's what i learned to drive on and what i drive when i go home to vermont. they last forever and the gas mileage is usually pretty decent. I don't know how big goalie pads are but the trunk size has been able to fit a decent amount of my crap when going to and from college once or twice :) (that says a lot since i'm not a light packer under any circumstances)

Susie said...

I just drove my first hybrid the other day and LOVED it. It was the Toyota Highlander. Seriously so smooth, quiet, and easy to drive. Definitely big enough for all your needs. And Toyotas are known for lasting a long time.

I seriously want one of these now!!

Let us know how your search goes :)

Patti said...

the biggest thing i hate about hybrids (husband rents them occasionally for his job) is that they lack get up and go. and we all know that merging can be life or death on a highway. make sure whatever you pick can accelerate. go drive it and PUNCH that sucker and see what it can do. other than that i have no issues with them.

1218Blog said...

HA! HA! Matching your interior to your dog. Hilarious. Good luck.

By the way I moved. I am no longer 1218blog. I have moved to wordpress

http://girlinterrupted1218.wordpress.com/

Erica said...

Alex and I have owned a Prius since 2006. We bought ours used on Craiglist from a guy who'd outgrown it's backseat and trunk space due to a pair of one year old twins (and requisite double stroller). We *love* our hybrid but it was an adjustment. As previously mentioned, it has no oomph whatsoever...which is great news for your mpg's, but requires more planning when merging into highway traffic. However, since it gets better gas milage on back roads than highways anyway, you may find yourself using the highway less anyway... If you want to approach stick mpg's, you'll have to learn some slightly different driving techniques too, but Alex and I would be happy to tutor you. Much more I could say--we should chat! One last note though, if you can find a "pre-owned" one from 2004 or earlier (ours is a 2001) you'll save a little dough and you'll get more trunk space. :)

Erica said...

That should be sticker mpg's, not "stick mpg's"--whatever those might be. Sorry for all the typos...my brain's awake, but the fingers are still in snoozeville apparently. ;)

a little bird said...

I have had my Prius for a year, and I absolutely love it. It's the little car that could (and would) - I have taken it from here to San Fran, over to Colorado, back over the mountains to California - and it's a tank! never had any problems.

midnite99 said...

Thanks for the supportive comment! (Btw - how did you find me?) One of my best friends has a Prius and she (and her husband) love it. I've been in it and never noticed bumpiness, but I am not particularly discerning about such things. My '02 Corolla got 30 mpg in stop & go LA traffic. My current car...not so much.

Jess Riley said...

I drive a Honda Civic--boring!! LOL

Hey, just caught up on your blog posts...LOVE the photos!!! How are you feeling a few weeks after the book's out? (I came over b/c I saw your book recommended here: http://www.philly.com/philly/travel/shoreguide/18979439.html

How cool is that?!?!

Mel Heth said...

I'm a little late in the conversation, but I have a Prius and I love it. Initially I was skeptical - I had a V6 Solara before with lots of power and some style. My friend calls the Prius the armadillo...but once I drove it, I was in love. It's ├╝ber functional with all sorts of storage compartments - and the continuous mpg tracking is addicting to look at. It's like playing a video game while you drive. The trunk space is huge if lay the seats down - I've fit tons of stuff back there. And you can't beat the gas mileage. In the year that I've had it, I don't think I've gotten less than 45 mpg, but I'm usually between 48 and 50. I would recommend this car to anyone!