Buying a new car is needless to say a big decision. It is important to pick a vehicle that you will not mind owning for a few years to come, even if gas prices rise significantly in these uncertain times. When looking at your different options there are a few things that you should consider that go above and beyond the looks of the car. Exhibit A: gas mileage and the best hybrid vehicles.
The efficiency of a certain vehicle will go a long way in determining its total cost of ownership. For example, even if you get a great deal on a new SUV it is going to cost you more in the long run than that fuel efficient, slightly more expensive hybrid vehicle. You will have to spend more money on a weekly basis to fill up the SUV than you would a more efficient car, and it can add up. At the end of the day, the result is the car has a good purchase price but a high cost of ownership.
The same scenario can be played out in the other direction. If you like a car that is a little more expensive than what you were thinking of spending make sure to check the gas mileage. If the gas mileage is outstanding then over time and you will save gas then the car will pay for itself as you will not be stuck filling it up twice a week.
At present, the Toyota Prius is the most fuel efficient conventional hybrid vehicle available today. It is the tried and true “King of the Hybrids,” so to speak. The Prius gets around 48 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway and 45 miles per gallon in the city when driven with care. The engine in the Prius is small and efficient. However, it does provide the driver with enough power speed when necessary. The Prius is perfect for the person who has long daily commutes or puts a lot of miles on a car at one time. With the gas mileage being so impressive you cannot go wrong with purchasing a Prius. Depending on the options list, they can get expensive though (around $28,000).
The Honda Civic Hybrid is another car that is very efficient. It is a better deal in my opinion than the Honda Insight. The gas mileage in the Civic Hybrid is in the low 40 MPG’s regardless of whether you are driving in the city or on the highway. At a price of about $24,000, this car is both economical and sporty at the same time. One of the best things about owning a Civic is that you know it is a well-made vehicle with no major recalls of late. Hondas are associated with quality and efficiency. The Civic has been in production since the 1970’s for good reason. Owners of these hybrid vehicles get to enjoy great gas mileage while getting to enjoy the sporty nature of driving a Honda.
The Nissan Altima hybrid is not as sporty as other hybrid vehicles in its class. However, it does get the same type of outstanding gas mileage. The Altima Hybrid will get about 35 miles per gallon regardless of if the driving occurs around town or on the highway. The Altima Hybrid is an improvement over the non-hybrid version of the Altima in terms of gas mileage and the price is not that much more. To get into a new Altima Hybrid youare looking at paying in the mid $20s. When you stop to think about it, paying a few thousand more upfront is worth it considering you will save on the back-end via pump prices.
If you absolutely need an SUV, the Ford Escape Hybrid is the most efficient SUV today. It will get you just about 34 MPG on the highway and 30 in the city. If you are looking for an affordable SUV then you should look into this. The Escape Hybrid has all the features of a regular SUV but does not come with poor gas mileage. It is roomy enough to fit multiple kids or full-size passengers and have some room left over in the back to store your cargo. The Escape hybrid goes for high $20s to low $30s.
If you’d like to push the envelope, going for a hybrid Chevy Volt or the electric 2011 Nissan Leaf may be an option worth considering too. Both are high-end and well-made cars, nicer and more prestigious than either the Civic, Altima or Escape hybrid vehicles, yet with the large government incentives of up to $7,500, both are affordable and very nice cars. If you’re commuting long distances of around 100 miles a day, the Nissan leaf especially could offer great value since 100% of your commute would be on electric power (the Leaf’s range is around 150 real-world miles). If you’re commuting only locally, a few dozen miles perhaps, the Volt is your better bet, since its electric-only range is shorter, but on the weekends if you go out of town, the gasoline engine would provide all necessary oomph and the traditional range of normal cars.
Do you have other examples of the best hybrid vehicles? How do you feel about diesel powered vehicles? Will we see Mini-Vans or Trucks become more fuel efficient? If so, where and when?
[Sustainable PF: We imported our Subaru Outback but did not cost out the price of importing a hybrid from the United States. Next time we will most certainly research this! We needed a larger vehicle so looking at the a hybrid SUV is something we will consider many, many years from now]