Hybrid vehicles have come a long way since the Toyota Prius made its debut and the Honda Insight before that. Hybrids are no longer peripheral choices in the automotive market but are front and center for any shopper.
With a battery pack and an electric motor assisting an engine, it’s evident that efficiency will be gained. Yet, there are more objectives hybrids achieve that make them great vehicles. Using analysis from Consumer Reports (CR), here are three reasons why hybrids are a great choice.
Hybrids achieve higher better fuel economy
While greater fuel efficiency may seem like a no-brainer, shoppers may have an issue with a higher sticker price. Most hybrid vehicles are still more expensive than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. However, the higher initial cost will mean savings further down the road.
In 2015, Consumer Reports found that it took at least eight years for hybrid owners to recoup their costs. As gas prices are much higher in 2022 and hybrid systems are getting cheaper, they believe that time has dropped. CR states the average payback time is four years with $4.00 per gallon and 12,000 miles driven yearly. With one dollar less per gallon, the period increases to five years. Nevertheless, the more miles driven, the more savings are possible.
Hybrids are easy to use
The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise, but they require charging stations and time to plug them in. Unlike EVs, hybrids don’t need to be recharged. They use the same fuel as ICE vehicles found at any gas station.
Many may think hybrids are complicated and prone to breaking, but that is a common misconception. For example, a hybrid’s regenerative brakes create electricity and less wear and tear so that braking components can last longer. While replacing a hybrid battery may still present an expensive repair, costs are trending downward. CarBrain states that a total hybrid battery replacement on a Prius C, including parts and labor, could cost up to $9,000. Regardless, it’s not much more expensive than replacing an ICE engine in some cars. Consumer Affairs reports that a total engine replacement typically starts at $4,000 and can go far past $10,000.
Hybrids are better to drive
CR’s assessments show that hybrid versions of many cars have more power than gasoline-only vehicles and smoother acceleration. Electric assistance can fill in the gaps where an engine alternates between high and low RPMs, such as in between gear changes. Although an ICE engine does most of the work on the road, a hybrid system can increase responsiveness, especially from a standstill.
Hybrids are also better to drive due to their affordability. While they may reimburse owners over time through fuel savings, some hybrids also have a lower initial cost. A few are even cheaper than their gasoline-only equivalents. For instance, the Ford Maverick XL and the XL Hybrid are the same price at $22,195, CarBuzz reports. According to Lexus, the gasoline-only NX 350 starts at $43,100, whereas the hybrid version is only $42,700.
Once you make the switch to something more fuel-efficient, you won’t go back
Hybrid vehicles use energy that would otherwise be wasted while driving. Whether it’s through helping an ICE drivetrain at lower RPMs or producing electricity through regenerative braking, they are ultimately more efficient.
CR states that most hybrid owners have said they would repurchase the same car. Regarding CR’s own testing, they recommend 84% of the hybrids, compared with 53% for all tested models. Therefore, if hybrids are good enough for professionals, easy to use, and better to drive, what’s not to like?