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CarReview's 2009-2010 Hybrid Buyer's Guide

Monday October 26th, 2009 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: ggaillard

Honda CR-Z

By Greg Gaillard

Hybrids Come of Age

Just 10 years ago Honda released the Insight as the first US mass market hybrid combustion/electric car.  Its two seat aerodynamic teardrop shape, light weight and focused engineering delivered spectacular fuel economy that generated quite a bit of media attention.  In the real world however, the Insight represented significant compromises in terms of utility, performance and perceived safety.  Launched at the height of the SUV boom alongside inexpensive gasoline, sales weren’t significant and to many people the Insight was another Honda engineering experiment; a car that Honda’s Asimo robot might drive, but not something American families would put in their garage.

What a difference a decade makes.  Last week the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2010 and hybrids swept the podium with 9 out of the top 10 MPG scores.  At least in terms of EPA ratings, hybrids are the drivetrain technology of the moment.  Perhaps more important than MPG is how the technology has evolved into a variety of solutions that can be used across a range of body styles without many of the original Insight’s compromises.

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Posted in Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, GMC, Honda, hybrid, Lexus, Mercury, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »


Prius To Become Its Own “Brand”

Monday September 21st, 2009 at 8:99 AM
Posted by: tonyb

2010 Toyota Prius

Hmmmm, another re-branding effort. I’ve always found that an interesting trend for Japanese car companies. Outside of North America, there is no Acura, for example; everything Honda makes is just a Honda. It looks like Toyota, makers of the world’s best selling hybrid, the Prius, might be spinning off the Prius name into its own brand.

This has been a rumor for quite some time, but recently Toyota made it officially official when they confirmed that there will soon be more Prius models. The announcement came at a Las Vegas gathering of Toyota and Lexus dealers (see, Lexus as separate brand). According to sources, Toyota execs were careful to point out that the future Prius range will not be a full-fledged brand like Lexus or Scion.

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Featured User Review: Toyota Prius

Friday August 28th, 2009 at 9:88 AM
Posted by: Derek

2007 Toyota Prius

Reviews by community members are the foundation of CarReview.com. Share your experience with other car owners by writing reviews for your cars, aftermarket parts, and car audio components. You don’t have to be an expert – everyone’s opinion counts.


Featured Review: 2007 Toyota Prius

by Mark Lindsey

Price Paid: $25000.00 from Wilde Toyota-West Al
Review Date:
September 15, 2007
Overall Rating:
5 of 5
Value Rating
: 3 of 5
Used product for:
Less than 1 month

Year / Model Reviewed:
2007 Prius

Summary:
May be the best vehicle I have ever owned. So far has surpassed my high expectations. If you are looking for a car that is embedded with the industry’s finest technology, engineering, AND the best fuel economy, then this car is for you.

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Posted in Featured User Reviews, Toyota |Tags:, , || 1 Comment »


2010 Honda Insight vs. 2010 Toyota Prius – The Heavyweight Hybrids Weigh In

Thursday July 30th, 2009 at 7:77 AM
Posted by: Derek

2010 Toyota Prius vs. 2010 Honda Insight
By Derek Mau and Melody C. Yang

2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Honda Insight
Pros:

  • 50+ miles per gallon
  • Toyota quality plastics and fabric upholstery
  • Dedicated EV mode at speeds 25 mph or less
Pros:

  • Lower entry cost than Prius
  • Lots of visual reminders that encourage good fuel economy
  • Extra large out side view mirrors
Cons:

  • Higher cost of entry
  • Console bridge encroaches upon cockpit space
  • Annoying “beep” when shifted in reverse
  • Navigation map doesn’t have “night” display mode
Cons:

  • Power output is meager
  • Stiff and bouncy ride characteristics
  • Back seat passengers have limited space and headroom
  • Cupholders more than an arm’s length away

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Honda, hybrid, Toyota |Tags:, , , , || 11 Comments »


Toyota Prius Minivan In The Works?

Monday May 11th, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: tonyb

From the ‘Well duh, why shouldn’t they’ department comes word (just rumors at the moment) that Toyota, the worlds largest car company, is thinking of making a Prius minivan.

Or to be more accurate, it would be a minivan based on the Prius platform. Now, a Prius isn’t a very big car to begin with, but we’ve seen the right platforms stretched and widened and bent into all sorts of useful shapes. Also, something else to consider is that perhaps Toyota is not thinking of making a van the size of a Chrysler, but perhaps something smaller. There are, after all, a whole bunch of little box vans running all over Japan. So perhaps making a one-box design, slightly longer and wider than a Prius wouldn’t be that much of a stretch AND serve a certain market segment here in the U.S.

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Posted in hybrid, Press and News, Toyota |Tags:, , || No Comments »


Are We Losing Our Hunger for Hybrids?

Thursday March 26th, 2009 at 8:33 AM
Posted by: m35man

The momentary dip in gas prices has caused Americans to gravitate away from buying hybrids in droves, at least for now. I predicted that this would happen. We have very short memories in this country, and I figured we’d go back to gas-only vehicles as soon as the gas crunch subsided. But before I started calling American car buyers short sighted and overly gas-dependent, I looked at the reasons for the sluggish hybrid sales.

Nationally, Toyota Prius sales dropped 30.8 percent last month, compared with February 2007. Toyota Camry Hybrid sales were off for the month by 47.4 percent, Honda’s Civic Hybrid sales were off 21.5 percent, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid sales were off 48.6 percent, according to CleanMpg.com, which tracks sales of “green” cars

People are still skeptical about hybrids. They’re worried they won’t hold up or that the battery packs will fail, which basically totals out a hybrid. They can also purchase gas vehicles right now that get mileage comparable to what hybrids get. And overall, hybrids cost more than their non-hybrid counterparts.

Fro example, a hybrid Honda Accord costs about $3,800 more than the comparable non-hybrid version, including purchase, maintenance and insurance costs. Over five years, assuming 15,000 miles of driving per year, you’ll make up that cost in gasoline money if the price of gas goes up immediately to $9.20 a gallon and averages that for the whole period.

Is the hybrid really the answer to our environmental concerns? Are all the green hybrid owners out there going to be green with envy in a couple of years when there are better, more fuel-efficient cars on the market and they can’t sell their used hybrids? Will another type of planet-friendly transportation catch the public’s attention and leave the hybrid behind on the green technology highway?

Stay tuned. There will be a ton of new hybrids on car lots within the next year and we’ll see then just how hybrid-hungry we really are.

Posted in hybrid, Press and News |Tags:, , || 1 Comment »


Hot Rodded Hybrids

Tuesday December 9th, 2008 at 12:1212 PM
Posted by: tonyb

prius hybridFinally!

Look, I think of myself as a pretty eco-aware, green guy. I was born & raised in a part of the world that invented gorp and REI and looks like something from Lord of The Rings. I got no problem with saving the environment from our own greed and stupidity.

I’m also, ironically, a car guy. I got no problem with things like the Prius and the Tesla (especially the Tesla), but jumpin’ Jerry on a pogo stick, if I see one more “green alternative” car that’s little more than a golf cart with pretensions, that can’t do more than 40 MPH or drive across town without needing a charge, I’ll have to start drinking. More.

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Posted in hybrid, Press and News, Tuner News |Tags:, , || 2 Comments »


Smart ForTwo and VW Diesels Are Among Top-10 Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Thursday October 16th, 2008 at 11:1010 AM
Posted by: Derek

Brabus smart fortwoVW Jetta TDI

The EPA and Energy Department issued the 2009 fuel economy guide.

The overall fuel economy leader is no surprise. It’s the Toyota Prius, rated at 48 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway.

The new additions to the top 10 list this year are the Smart ForTwo convertible and coupe and Volkswagen Jetta diesels. (Click on the link to read more about the Jetta TDI).

The Jetta diesels were not in the market last year because they did not meet tighter clean air rules. They are back this year with improved emissions controls. The Jetta sedan and Sportwagen with manual transmissions are in seventh place with ratings of 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. In September a couple from Australia set a new world record of 58.82 mpg in a Jetta TDI sedan traversing the 48 continental states.

Revised testing and calculation methods meant almost all the vehicles got lower ratings than before. The methodology was changed to make ratings more closely reflect real-world driving.

Here is the top 10 list for 2009:

1. Toyota Prius (hybrid) — 48/45
2. Honda Civic Hybrid — 40/45
3. Nissan Altima Hybrid — 35/33
4. Ford Escape Hybrid FWD; Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD; Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD — 34/31
5. Smart ForTwo convertible; Smart ForTwo coupe — 33/41
6. Toyota Camry Hybrid — 33/34
7. Volkswagen Jetta (manual, diesel); Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (manual, diesel) — 30/41
8. Volkswagen Jetta (automatic, diesel); Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (automatic, diesel) — 29/40
9. Toyota Yaris (manual) — 29/36
10. Toyota Yaris (automatic) — 29/35

The complete fuel economy guide can be found at www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm and is organized by year.

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