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If you’re in the midst of buying a used car, you’ve more than likely considered buying a used hybrid instead. And with plenty of models to choose from, that’s not really surprising. But is choosing a used hybrid over a used car a good idea? It all depends.

Toyota Prius driving
Toyota Prius | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

Just how used is it?

Like any used car, you’re going to want to question just how used the car is that you’re looking at. How many miles does it have on it? Has it ever been involved in an accident? Has the current owner been taking good care of it? These are all questions that you should ask.

Also be sure to ask for the car’s vehicle history report. This will give you the inside scoop on the car’s history and whether or not it’s been in an accident. It will also tell you if there are any open recalls or any lingering issues that you should be aware of. 

A used hybrid battery vs. a regular used battery

It’s important to understand why buying a used hybrid is different than purchasing your typical used car. Unlike your typical car, a used hybrid will come equipped with a hybrid battery. While a hybrid battery is similar to a car battery, you can expect it to be much larger and more powerful than a typical car battery.

Because of how large and how powerful a hybrid battery is, replacing one can be pretty costly. Autotrader reports that in some cases, replacing one can cost more than $2,000. These types of batteries don’t last forever either, so if you purchase a used hybrid, you’re probably going to have to replace its battery at some point. 

How long do you plan on owning it?

If you’re considering a used hybrid, it’s important to ask yourself how long you actually plan on owning it. If you only plan on spending a couple of years behind the wheel of it and its battery is in good shape, then buying one might not be so bad. But if you don’t want to deal with battery woes, the car is entering its senior years, and has plenty of miles on it… then you should probably just steer clear.

On the other hand, if it’s a fairly new used hybrid, buying it might not be such a bad idea. New models typically come with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery. Some warranties even cover up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. Because of this, some used models will still be under warranty.

Choosing a reliable used hybrid

If your heart is set on a used hybrid, it’s best to choose one that’s been lauded for its overall quality and reliability. Fortunately, there are several out there that fit the bill. If you’re hoping to spend between $15,000 and $20,000, U.S. News & World Report’s data shows that the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and the Chevy Malibu Hybrid make for great picks. 

And if you’re not looking to spend quite that much? Don’t worry, you’ve still got options. Consider an older Toyota Camry Hybrid, or a used Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, or even the Chevy Volt.

Should you or shouldn’t you?

It depends. If it’s a newer used hybrid that won’t need a battery replacement anytime soon, then you don’t really have anything to worry about. But if it’s an older vehicle with a battery that’s on its last legs? Then it might be better to keep looking.


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