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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Which hybrid is the best? Is MPG king?

    I want the best MPG in a used car that I can get, but I don't want to sacrifice quality in a car to get it. When I briefly checked around on line for the best MPG (not exclusively hybrids), I found this site listing cars from 1989 to 2005:

    It lists the 2000 Honda Insight (manual) as getting the best MPG, period (61 city, 70 hwy). Not even the 2005 version of the Insight gets better.

    After listing all years of the Honda Insight as the top MPG cars, ONLY THEN does it start listing other models like (in order) the Toyota Prius, then the Geo Metro, then the 1989 Honda Civic CRX, and HB VX ... after that is listed the Honda Civic Hybrid. BTW - there were a LOT of 1989 cars that were in the top 50 MPG ... 8 to be exact. Think about that ... in 16 years of cars, 1989, the OLDEST OF THOSE YEARS has more cars in the top 50 MPG than ANY OTHER YEAR AFTERWARDS ... what the hell is wrong with this picture? There should be NO 1989 cars in the top 50 MPG anymore ... so much for progress.

    So, naturally, I've been checking into the Insight, looking for something used but still in decent shape ... willing to get an older model to save $$.

    My concerns are other hidden costs / problems, not only with the Insight, but with any older model hybrid. If the Insight averages 10-20 MPG better than the HCH and Prius, why are so many people on this forum getting the HCH and Prius instead of the Insight? What is it you know about those cars or the Insight that I don't know that sways you away from choosing the Insight with the best MPG instead?

    And if the 2000 model gets better MPG than the 2005 model, what's the hidden catch? I've heard rumor that the first generation of hybrids had a lot of problems. Were there other problems that had to be re-engineered and the trade-off was a slight sacrifice in the MPG? I'm sure a 2000 model costs significantly less than a 2005 model, but are there pitfalls beyond just the standard wear and tear of car mileage, like quality / design flaws, etc.?

    Hell, from reading a bit around this forum, it seems like there isn't a consistent experience of MPG for very many hybrid models ... I see people talking of MPGs anywhere from 37 to 60+ for the HCH, although the Insight MPG experiences seem to be consistently higher than any other hybrid. Is hybrid MPG performance just random? What do you do ... just cross your fingers and hope for the best?

    What major issues beyond the MPG would stop someone from simply getting the car with the best MPG?

    What about finding parts and/or good mechanics that can fix problems with the newer technology? Do higher costs in those areas out-weigh the benefits of gas savings?

    I really want to buy my first hybrid, but damn, I'm hesitant right now.

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid get essentially the same mpg. All depends on how you drive them. With a little care you can get 50 mpg consistently.

    I own the Civic Hybrid, and am very happy with it. It has more legroom than the Prius, which is why I bought it. Both it and the Prius are very practical, 4 door cars with trunks.

    The Honda Insight, first generation Prius, and the old Civic VX or CRX certainly aren't practical for carrying passengers or cargo. Plus they're old and out of warranty. Not even worth considering, IMO.

    You accurately note that many cars from decades past get mileage equivalent to today's hybrids. The reason is weight difference. Economy cars back then didn't have all the airbags and impact beams, comfort features and most of all the SIZE of today's economy cars.

    The old CRX and VX weighed 2,000 lbs. or less. Today's Civic Hybrid weighs almost 3,000 lbs. So it's really a marvel of engineering that the HCH gets better mpg than the old models. Not to mention that you get airbags, satellite radio, GPS, cruise control, etc. with today's version.

    The main rule when considering a hybrid vs. regular car is that hybrids only pay of you drive 20,000 miles or more per year. I do, so I bought the HCH. But if you drive significantly less, get a regular Civic (or other model of efficient gas-only car).

    And the hybrid income tax credit is a factor, although it's diminishing quickly. Congress limits the credit by total number of cars sold, and Toyota has sold so many Priuses that it only gets a small credit now. The Civic Hybrid recently passed it's initial limit of 60,000 units, so in the first quarter of 2008, it will be HALF the original amount -- $2,100 reduced to $1050.

    I believe that if you buy a HCH before the end of this year, you'll get the full credit, but don't hold me to that. Check it out yourself.

    Good luck with your decision!

  4. #3

    Which is best?

    Insight-Best MPG but a very small, lightweight car. Out of production. Great for single passenger with very longs drives. Note that it is made of aluminum so any damage to the frame would basically be too expensive to fix.

    Prius-Next best car with a very strong track record (I have a 2001 and 2007). MPG varies from 45 to 55 MPG depending on 1) Driving style, 2) Weather conditions (Very cold weather takes away MPG due to heating and rough driving conditions---but true for all cars)

    Honda HCH-Approaching Prius in economy. Would get if specific situation makes it a better choice than Prius due to some factor (good deal, leg room, looks, etc.).

    All Others-Big vehicles where primary need is size over best MPG (e.g. Camry, Altima, Hybrid SUVs)

    NOTE-Unless the deal is really good, or you have no fear of repairing hybrids, would recommend having warranty coverage for some years of initial ownership. Also, the big variations is MPG is due to the big variations in driving styles, not variations in the car.

  5. #4

    I agree. My new Honda Civic

    I agree. My new Honda Civic Hybrid is teaching me how to drive with a lighter foot, coast to stop, and not to inch at intersections (when the engine turns itself off) I get about 50 mpg, but even 45 mpg is far better than any comparable conventional car.

    If I get into an accident, Iíve got full coverage, the safety features are the same as the conventional civic. With gas 4.50/gal, Iím gladly supporting new technology away from petroleum.

    I can't wait for the insight to come out, I already told my saleman to notify me because I'm getting that too! I can't wait to see what Toyota is going to build to compete with the 2010 insight coming out in spring 2009.

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    If you want a dependable

    If you want a dependable hybrid that gives you all the comforts of todays cars, get a used 2005 or 2006 Honda or Mazda, add a hydrogen generator to it (build/install one yourself for under $200 or buy ready made kits for $1000) and see 50 -60 MPG as a water hybrid.

    People are doing it all around the world, including us. We build and install with amazing results. True, they're not as politically correct as a Prius, but your gas savings pays it off WAY faster than the extra $3000 - $4000 a hybrid costs.

    I even know one lady who went from 34 MPG to 85 MPG in her 2006 honda using a water hybrid system. We have not yet attained that, but are working on a new project car (2008 Mazda), which I believe we will be able to DOUBLE the mileage of using our current system.

    I'll keep you posted as to our results withing the next week or two.

    Hybrid Water Car technology

  7. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    I would have to give the

    I would have to give the Prius the highest recommendation since it is the one most consumer have the most confidence in.

  8. #7

    Honda civic and Toyota prius

    Honda civic and Toyota prius are same in most of the situations while considering mpg. But i would recommend prius as it has a very large reputation in the market.

  9. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Here's a great comparison of

    Here's a great comparison of 6 different hybrid cars and a nifty poll to boot. Also, the beginnings of a decent thread conversation with one reader asking some tough questions about the hype vs. reality of hybrids

  10. #9

    A careful driver with a gas

    A careful driver with a gas saving driving style and the right environmental conditions (temperature, speed limits, etz) can get double the MPG compared to another driver using the same car but with non-optimal environmental conditions and a careless driving style.

    Not that the one driver is necessarily better than the other but the point is that driving style is a HUGE factor in what MPG you will get out of a car.

    My 1998 Opel Astra Wagon gets up to 45 MPG with a moderately gas saving driving style and a 2 liter turbo charged diesel engine.


    Calculate your Gas Mileage

  11. #10

    I bought a 1994 Civic HB VX

    I bought a 1994 Civic HB VX at an auction for $900 w 210k on it. It gets low 40s in the city, and I've seen just over 50 on trips. Tell me why I should spend $20,000 on a hybrid? I can fix a LOT of problems with the 20g savings, I don't have to replace a battery at 100k miles, anyone can work on it, and parts are plentiful and cheap. Can you say that about your Insight?

    When gas falls below $3 per gallon (oh look, it's $2.39 in my town) you'll still be driving that goofy looking Prius - and guess what? My VX has a better 0-60 time. So you've got lots of options I don't have? Well, my A/c works, and that's really all I need. Now please excuse me, I've got to go count all the money I didn't spend on a brand new birth control car.

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