Need a new vehicle, and my wife drives 60 highway miles one way to work. We’re considering the Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, or Honda Insight. Which vehicle do you feel will give us the best fuel economy and reliability over the long haul? We usually put about 300K on our vehicles and hold onto them for 10-15 years. Currently drive a 09 Accord that has used a quart of oil every 800 miles. We have 250K on this vehicle. Sick of checking oil, and it’s expensive.
A vehicle is such a personal choice I don’t see how anyone can tell you what to purchase . But I will offer that a hybrid does not seem like the logical vehicle for that much highway driving . We have a 2018 Ford Fiesta that easily beats the 37 MPG at 65 MPH on the highway and the sticker was only 17500.00.
If you think a quart of oil every 800 miles is expensive, an old complex hybrid is not for you.
60 highway miles, a hybrid will be using the gas motor quite a bit.
For your purposes eith conventional gas vehicle or a Tesla.
Ignore the hybrids, buy the base cars.
I’ll use the Corolla as an example. The regular Corolla gets 38 mpg on the highway, the hybrid 52 mpg. 120 miles a day is 30,000 miles a year. The gas savings from the hybrid is $586 a year but the hybrid costs $3450 more to buy… It would take about 6 years, or 180,000 miles, to save enough gas (at $2.75 a gallon) just to save that $3450 (without interest!)
Plus the hybrids are more complicated - more to go wrong and more expensive to service.
$2.75 a gallon is a good price while it lasts, $3.15 at Costco today, over $4 the last time I was in California.
Around 2007 Chrysler had a purchase offer for the new cars and trucks, a guarantee that gasoline wouldn’t cost more than $2 a gallon during the next two years. Buyers were issued a fuel card, when the gas cost more than $2 per gallon Chrysler paid the difference.
I have never heard of such an offer since then, I would suspect the average cost of gasoline over the next 10 years to be more than $4.50 per gallon, if the cost of fuel is the deciding factor in buying a Hybrid vehicle.
It sort of depends on why you want the good mileage. Is it for cost primarily, or for the lower pollution footprint? There are a couple of models I would consider along with your short list, but only if you’d consider not keeping a car so long. My first choice would be a new Honda Clarity PHEV if charging at home in your garage is an option. I’d also consider the Kia Niro BEV. My feeling is that the Niro BEV is the best green vehicle on the market overall.
If you want to stick to your plan or keeping cars a long long time and best bacng for the buck, I’d opt for a non-hybrid, non electric and consider a higher end trim Civic Hatchback. My testing of two showed 37-40 MPG real-world mileage.
Toyota has far and away the best hybrid technology. Efficient and reliable. I would go for the Camry hybrid. I have an Avalon hybrid, which has the same system. I love it.
I would consider 120 miles a day in a Fiesta brutal punishment. Obviously my personal opinion. I have rented Toyota Corollas which get excellent gas mileage, have good seats and are fairly quiet. I’d also forget hybrids.
Most small cars don’t ride well, a Toyota Yaris, for example would be as uncomfortable as a Fiesta. The only small car I would consider for that much driving is a Hyundai Accent.
Overall cost per mile over the life cycle of the vehicle is important, but I would put personal comfort first.
I’ve bought 2019 Accord Hybrid recently and it indeed returns 48 MPG on a highway, as EPA estimates.
During break-in I was feathering the gas pedal, and my best “there and back” run was around 52MPG at mostly highway drive.
Price-wise, list price is $1,200 above similar non-hybrid Accord trim, but getting some over-the-internet bargaining directly with a dealer, that was under $1K difference on EX-L trim I wanted, so I went hybrid.
I’m getting around 45-46 MPG in city driving, below 48 MPG EPA, but I’m still under the first 1000 miles on it, a friend of mine who bough similar Accord half a year back says his MPG in city improved after initial 2K miles or so.
The Honda hybrid drivetrain is not using any transmission: it is either gas engine->generator->electric motor or battery -> electric motor or DIRECT GAS ENGINE DRIVE gets engages past 45 MPH as a solo or in combination to the electric systems. This “direct drive” is a simple clutch, so you can consider this car to have “one mechanical gear”. This system is very simple mechanically and is totally different to compare to Toyota. It also feels differently and it is lesser artificial to compare to Toyota.
Insight uses the same drivetrain, but smaller 1.5 engine.
All trims there have seats with no lumbar adjustments and it was a deal-killer for me, I considered Insight, and although seats were comfy, I was afraid I will miss adjustments for long drives.
MPG-wise, it is very close to Accord and highway MPG is not much better.
Thank you to everyone for your input. We’re going to sleep on our decision for a few months. Please keep the comments coming.
It appears that the 3 hybrids were considering all get better gas mileage highway (consumer reports, and fuelly.com). We’re avoiding vehicles with curbside weights under 3000lbs. We had a Civic (2006) which performed horribly on icy MN roads. Otherwise the Civic was fantastic.
I recommend looking at the Consumer Reports online ratings for cars you are considering. It doesn’t cost all that much for online access relative to the cost of a new car. I have found their ratings (in this case for the new car, plus the history of reliability for recent models) to be a useful guide on many things.
The key part is your personal opinion . Our 2018 Fiesta SE is just fine for ride and fuel mileage . Have you driven one or just going by past models.
I considered buying one for my wife in 2012, along with the Mazda2, a similar car. Ride was too choppy, trunk too small, and the Fiesta’s transmission and other problems made us buy a Mazda 3 Sport (made in Japan) with a lot more room and a much better ride.
At that time the Hyundai Accent had a descent ride low noise level and good gas mileage.
Weight has little to do with behavior on icy roads. I had a 4000 lbs Chevy Caprice with Positraction and it was harder to handle on icy roads than my wife’s 3000 lbs 2012 Mazda 3 with traction control and ABS.
Our ‘09 Accord handles beautifully on icy roads
My 1999 Civic felt squirrely on winter roads here in MN and WI the first winter I had it, so I bought 4 Michelin winter tires on steel rims. All the difference in the world! Now on my 2nd set of winter tires at almost 20 years with this car.
Lesson learned - don’t rule out a car for its winter performance until you have driven with real winter tires.
CR also has data on owner satisfaction. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?
There are cars with less than average reliability that have average or better owner satisfaction. No surprise. Cars overall are more reliable than ever, and about half of them will be below average in reliability, by the very nature of “average.”
Which has no bearing on a 2018 or 2019 .