The Problem of Hybrid Exclusive Vehicles

May 21, 2009

It’s kind of a shame, considering that the Insight is the first “smugmobile

A couple of things I’d like to note:

1) I test drove a previous generation Toyota Prius and I have to tell you, it was painful. The angle of the rear window was such that you only had about a foot of visibility. I had to hunch down and stick my nose in the air to use my rear-view mirror. A giant control panel screen screamed, “look at me and watch the engine charge the battery” constantly. So, the Prius is not exactly a good alternative to the Insight. I like Mr. Clarkson’s recommendation for Brits to buy Land Rovers instead.

2) A quick defense of CVTs is in order. Sure they are slow to speed up and some kinks probably still need to be worked out, but they ARE the next generation Automatic Transmission. They are much more efficient, especially during long drives than the typical automatic. Once you are done accelerating, it is rare for the engine to be running above 1.5 krpm. Less wear and tear on the engine if you are driving at highway speeds. And you do not have to deal with trying to maintain those dastardly speeds where the automatic transmission likes to shift gears (like 35 mph, which is way too popular a speed limit).

That being said, I have not test driven any Insight before; Honda might have botched it with the Insight’s setup.

The problem with hybrid exclusive vehicles is that the car companies know that only “weird-beards” that want to world to know how “eco-friendly” they are are going to buy them, so they design them accordingly. They put in gigantic screens that brag about eco-friendliness. They build them shoddily.

If you are going to buy a hybrid (which, frankly, is not economically viable unless you are willing to drive the car into the ground), buy one based off of a pre-existing model. You will be much happier because of it.

Tip of the Hat: this guy

And since he felt the need to cut off the trolls at the pass, I drive a 2005 Civic Hybrid. And I will continue to drive it until it is no longer worth repairing (which I imagine is 10 to 15 years down the line).


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