With so many different hybrid models on the road today, making a decision on which hybrid to purchase can be tricky. No hybrid vehicle is objectively better than another. The one you pick really depends on your own inclinations, family, driving habits and style. Here are some things to consider when choosing the perfect hybrid vehicle.
Narrow Down by Type
Start by narrowing down your hybrids by the type of vehicle you want. If you’re just driving for yourself, you might want to avoid the SUVs. On the other hand, if you’re using the hybrid for heavy lifting, you might want to look into hybrid trucks. There are many different hybrid types. Start by narrowing down your list to just the types you’re interested in, then compile a list of those vehicles.
Look and Feel
What kind of look and feel do you want from your hybrid?
Many comparable vehicles really just come down to look and feel. For example, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid are quite similar from a technical perspective. The choice often comes down to a stylistic one. Compare the styles, looks and feels of the different cars and rate them from 1 to 10.
Research the Actual MPG
Remember that the MPG displayed on a MSRP sticker is a very, very grossly overstated number. The MPG displayed on those stickers are about what you’d get if you drove a new vehicle at a perfect speed on a perfectly paved road with no stops. Real life MPGs – with turns, stops, uphills and downhills – is quite different from the MPGs on an MSRP sticker. To find out the actual MPG of the vehicle you’re considering, research online what kind of mileage other people are getting.
Make Sure It Qualifies for Tax Breaks
Not all vehicles will qualify for a tax break. Getting a tax break can be a huge part of the cost savings from owning a hybrid. For example, if you can save $2,000 on taxes from buying a $22,000 vehicle, you’ve saved almost 10% on your investment right there. Check on the current tax laws in your area before making your decision.
Take it for a Test Drive
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to just a few potential cars, take them all for a test drive. See how the turning, braking and acceleration feel to you. Would you enjoy driving this vehicle every day for the next few years? What’s your personal driving style? Do you like fast accelerations and hard turns? Or do you prefer a smoother, safer ride?
Try out each car before making your final decision. Then and only then should you get down to the nitty-gritty details of price negotiations, financing and warranties.