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Tell me about your hybrid car


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#1 RainRain

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

So I am looking into getting a hybrid car. I would love to hear from anyone who owns one, which one they own, what they love about it, what I should be looking out for, what to avoid etc.

#2 FiveAus

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

I bought a Toyota Prius C i-tech last June. I had not thought about a hybrid car until I decided to buy a small runabout car and pass my Nissan X-Trail over to my husband as his regular ride.

We live 15 minutes out of town, and there's only the two of us, so we talked about what we needed in a small car........enough bootspace for our weekly grocery shop, sufficient back seat space for two adults (in case of passengers and to take dogs to the vet etc), intergrated sat nav as we have a portable system that stays in the X-Trail, and I'm the worlds worst navigator, stylish exterior and interior, local dealership (which put a few of the European brands out of the picture) and excellent fuel economy.

I'm not much into engine specs etc.......they are just numbers and weird acronyms to me. These days things like ABS, air-con, cruise control, power windows etc, should be standard so I would expect that any new car I bought would have them.

I did as much research as my brain could cope with and narrowed it down to the Subaru Impreza, as I have always wanted a Subaru and the new Impreza looked very nice. And the Prius C, it was brand new on the market, looked good on the web specs and had amazing fuel economy.

We test drove both, and while I really liked both, the Prius C won out in almost everything. The i-tech model comes with sat nav, reversing camera, luxury interior......to add these to the Impreza was much, much more than I was prepared to spend on a small car. The Prius C had much better fuel economy figures, and overall I just liked it better. The big selling point on the Impreza (well, the one the salesperson used) was the stop-start technology, where the engine stops when the car is idle, and starts again when you remove your foot from the brake. Well, the Prius has that by virtue of being a hybrid........the car switches to the battery power when the speed gets below about 40 kmph and there are no engine vibrations or noise when the car is idle......it uses no fuel.

The fuel economy is amazing. I am driving at least 20 kms each way to work 5 days per week and it's our weekend runaround. My fuel bill is about $22 per week.

The car itself is lovely. Very nicely laid out inside, plenty of storage space, Bluetooth technology (which is fantastic if you like listening to an iPod, and also for answering your mobile phone while driving), it has a touch screen for audio controls....which are also on the steering wheel...the screen is also the sat nav and the reversing camera.

It's lovely to drive, it's like a silent stealth car when you first start up, which is a bit freaky at first. There is nothing not to like about it.....it's not a sports car and doesn't have the quick take off that a sports car has, but it's zippy enough and has enough power for passing on a freeway.

I've been 100% happy with my choice. When I first started to talk about getting a Prius, a lot of people said "Prius????Oh god, they're ugly, what do you want one of them for???" but the Prius C is completely different, it's nothing like the original Prius, to the point where I'm surprised they gave it the same name.

I haven't seen many of them around, in fact until about a month ago I'd never seen another one on the road, but recently I've seen three others......a blue one, an orange one and a sparkly white one the same as mine.



#3 FiveAus

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

What to look for? Buy new (or dealer demo) if possible. The older models need batteries replacing at fairly frequent intervals and they are expensive. The current models have batteries that last 8 years and are cheap to replace.

#4 RainRain

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:18 AM

Brilliant - I have definitely been thinking Prius C...also saw the Lexus hybrid hatch which is gorgeous (but dream on).

#5 dadathome

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:33 AM

QUOTE (RainRain @ 16/02/2013, 12:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Brilliant - I have definitely been thinking Prius C...also saw the Lexus hybrid hatch which is gorgeous (but dream on).

The Prius rather than the Prius C is more comparable to the Lexus hatch. Of course there is also the larger Prius V and the Camry hybrid too if you're after a medium-larger car

#6 RainRain

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

QUOTE (dadathome @ 16/02/2013, 11:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Prius rather than the Prius C is more comparable to the Lexus hatch. Of course there is also the larger Prius V and the Camry hybrid too if you're after a medium-larger car


In what way is it comparable? Size? I'm not in need of a larger car. Doing a fair bit of commuting to work. 2 hours on highway each day. So for that reason, but I would like a few luxuries included if I'm going to downsize.


#7 dadathome

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

QUOTE (RainRain @ 16/02/2013, 12:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In what way is it comparable? Size? I'm not in need of a larger car. Doing a fair bit of commuting to work. 2 hours on highway each day. So for that reason, but I would like a few luxuries included if I'm going to downsize.

Yes, size mostly. The C is more an Echo equivalent in size, the Prius and Lexus 200 more Corolla.

#8 FiveAus

Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

A few weeks ago we drove the Prius C to the Melbourne airport, with my daughter and her boyfriend in the back seat, flew to Brisbane where we had a Corolla waiting for us at the Hertz counter.
Up until that point, I'd have agreed that the Prius C was in a smaller class than the Corolla, but when we loaded our luggage into the Corolla and all got in, I was surprised by how very little difference there was. n fact....none.
On the outside the Corolla definitely looks bigger, but the interior space is pretty much the same. Our rear passengers had the same leg room, the luggage in the boot took up the same space.

The Prius C is supposed to be based on the Yaris platform, but my older daughter has a Yaris and my car definitely has more interior space than hers.

Edited by FiveAus, 16 February 2013 - 12:20 PM.


#9 Le-a

Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:27 PM

I have one of the first Prius', I think it's a 2004 model, but not sure.

I have never needed any battery replaced, and I think I heard recently Toyota had extended the recommended replacement time to ten years for these earlier models as well???

My parents have an 06 Prius, and are just now replacing some battery, but it's not a major one so the cost is low in comparison.

My PIL have the newer model, (we bought ours from them when they upgraded) and love it. They get ridiculously good fuel efficiency, but that could also have something to do with their frustratingly slow driving style.

I have low profile tyres on mine at the moment which really affects my fuel consumption, mine is at about 5.9 p/100km, while my mum and dad get about 4.3 p/100km driving basically the same model.

If you get one, be prepared for plenty of people to ask you where you "plug it in" every night...

#10 jcbenny

Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

We own a Camry hybrid 2012 model. Sedan. Great on petrol- about $80/3.5 weeks. And I drive everyday! Only issue is boot space. I have 2 kids  , 1 still in the stroller. Can't really go on weekend 'trips' as there isn't enough space for bags/esky etc!!!

Edited by jcbenny, 16 February 2013 - 12:43 PM.


#11 Corella

Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

DH upgraded from a Corolla to a Prius and while it's not the sexiest car on the block, it halved his fuel costs each week and is a lovely drive on the freeway and especially in town.

#12 FiveAus

Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (Le-a @ 16/02/2013, 01:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you get one, be prepared for plenty of people to ask you where you "plug it in" every night...



Haha, yes I get that all the time.

I average about 4.9l p/100kms, the readouts on the car make you very conscious of how much fuel you're using, so it's a personal challenge to lower the average. I try and drive conservatively where possibe (i.e., if I'm the only car on the road heading into town, I'll sit on 95 rather than 102 kmph, and that makes a huge difference to the amount of fuel used.
And I try and park in the shade where I can so I don't have to have the aircon on full blast for ages after getting into the car.

Not sure about the other models, but the Prius C i-tech gives you a readout at the end of each journey as to how much your trip has cost you in fuel used.


#13 *bibs*

Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

I have the Lexus CT 200 X hybrid hatch.  Stunning car.  Fuel economy is fantastic.  It costs me  $56 to fill and this last me two weeks.  I get about an average of 700kms out of one tank.  This can be improved with your driving style.  I have previously owned the Lexus RX so have gone down to what I feel is a very small car.  Sometimes this bothers me but it is rare that I have all my 3 children and my husband in the car. We have another bigger car so it is just me getting use to driving a smaller car.

The car itself is beautiful looking.  The batteries do not need to be touched/replaced for at least 10 years.  I was very hesitant to buy a hybrid at first but am so glad I have this car.

CT 200 X

#14 JRA

Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

What sort of driving do you do? If it is all country driving you will probably find it is  a complete fail. My sister runs the fleet for a rural company, they forced her to get some hybrids, it simply hasn't worked.

People who life city and have them, a complete different story.

#15 RainRain

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:43 PM

Hmmm I live coastal and drive into the city (about 2 hours each way) twice a week.

Would love a lexus ct200 x...I think they are gorgeous and fulfil all my needs and wants (in a car that is!!!), the priusC is my sensible economical choice so far.

#16 FiveAus

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:31 PM

QUOTE (JRA @ 16/02/2013, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What sort of driving do you do? If it is all country driving you will probably find it is  a complete fail. My sister runs the fleet for a rural company, they forced her to get some hybrids, it simply hasn't worked.

People who life city and have them, a complete different story.



Why would it be a complete fail? I live in the country, in a tiny village in rural Victoria that you've probably never heard of. 90% of my driving is done on the country highway between home and work, which is in the nearest large town. The Prius C has been a complete success........it's very economical on the highway, it's super economical around town. Not sure why having hybrids in the country wouldn't work.

#17 Le-a

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:20 PM

QUOTE (JRA @ 16/02/2013, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What sort of driving do you do? If it is all country driving you will probably find it is  a complete fail. My sister runs the fleet for a rural company, they forced her to get some hybrids, it simply hasn't worked.

People who life city and have them, a complete different story.


Personally, I find the opposite is true. Town driving really bumps up my fuel consumption, but driving on the open road is really efficient.

#18 FiveAus

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

QUOTE (Le-a @ 17/02/2013, 12:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Personally, I find the opposite is true. Town driving really bumps up my fuel consumption, but driving on the open road is really efficient.



A hybrid car should be more fuel efficient around town than on the open road because of the way they operate. If you're getting poor fuel economy in town and you're driving a hybrid car, you probably need to get it looked at.
The electric motor kicks in when the car slows down, when it's idling and when it's starting......so all those times you're stuck in traffic, moving slowly in a jam, or stopped at lights, you aren't using fuel unlike a standard engine which uses fuel the whole time and bumps up your fuel usage in city traffic.



#19 JRA

Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

QUOTE (FiveAus @ 17/02/2013, 07:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A hybrid car should be more fuel efficient around town than on the open road because of the way they operate. If you're getting poor fuel economy in town and you're driving a hybrid car, you probably need to get it looked at.
The electric motor kicks in when the car slows down, when it's idling and when it's starting......so all those times you're stuck in traffic, moving slowly in a jam, or stopped at lights, you aren't using fuel unlike a standard engine which uses fuel the whole time and bumps up your fuel usage in city traffic.



Exactly, a hybrid is not about saving fuel on open road, it simply doesn't work that way. If it is not saving fuel in town then it really does have a problem.

#20 Le-a

Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

The area I live in is rural, hilly, with no traffic lights. There is no being "stuck in traffic, moving slowly in a jam, or stopped at lights", here. Perhaps I should have defined what driving in town means to me, in my personal situation.

This means that most of my in town driving is done with the petrol engine working pretty hard to get going up hills (which as you know, you can see happening on the "consumption" screen) and the stop-start nature of going through intersections etc while doing so means I'm not gliding around using the electric motor much at all.

Interestingly, my parents who also live rurally, find the same thing. Driving on an open road, doing between 90-100km/ph gives us better fuel consumption. Get behind the slipstream of a massive logging truck and it's even better.

We both have our cars serviced regularly, so it's clearly not a mechanical problem.



#21 FiveAus

Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:50 AM

It should still be fuel efficient on the open road though, because the current crop of hybrids are all about being green; saving fuel and reducing emissions in all circumstances. My fuel costs are less than 50% of what they used to be, and that would be a combination of driving a hybrid car and driving a smaller car.

#22 Le-a

Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

QUOTE (FiveAus @ 17/02/2013, 10:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It should still be fuel efficient on the open road though, because the current crop of hybrids are all about being green; saving fuel and reducing emissions in all circumstances. My fuel costs are less than 50% of what they used to be, and that would be a combination of driving a hybrid car and driving a smaller car.


Not sure if you are referring to my posts, but that is what I'm saying, for the kind of driving I do in my Prius, my fuel consumption is still LESS on an open road than in-town driving. The consumption I get for in-town driving is still lower than in my previous small car, or my husbands brand new car.

#23 JRA

Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

That may be due to non city driving. Generally a hybrid products better economy in city driving than open road driving

The benefits of the hybrid are not significant on open road, as you are not braking much.
The start stop of town-city driving is when the hybrid really hits its own


Driving a small car will reduce fuel economy, hence also the number of small cars that now diesel.

Each person needs to buy what suits their needs, for some the hybrid is what gets better economy, for others it is the diesel.

Edited by JRA, 17 February 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#24 Luxe

Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

The first thing I'd be asking the dealer is...
is it a fully hybrid engine or a petrol electric engine? If it's petrol-electric, when does it use which engine.

If it's a fully hybrid engine the chances are it wont be very zippy from a dead stop because hybrid engines don't deliver as much power as a petrol electric engine and also they can ONLY be serviced by specialised service centres. Fully hybrid engines are expensive.

A petrol electric engine is different. I can tell you the way Honda use Hybrids is the petrol engine to start (more power) and then when your up and cruising it switches to hybrid to charge when breaking etc. This form of hybrid is cheaper to buy. You can get decent hybrid fuel economy with a much zippier drive, but it wont give you the full hybrid fuel economy of a full hybrid engine. There isn't too much difference between the two vs pure petrol.

Different manufacturers have their OWN systems. I can tell you the Honda petrol-hybrids can be serviced anywhere.

I have also heard that the battery will last almost the life of the car - we are talking way over 10 years, closer to 15. If you do need a new one eventually it's a couple of grand to replace.

Edited by Luxe, 17 February 2013 - 02:19 PM.


#25 mady707

Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

Is the Camry the largest available hybrid? We have just started looking into these cars- wondering if there is one that will fit three carseats, and possibly with extra passengers as well?

Thank you.




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