Buying a new Prius or Civic hybrid

My girlfriend is considering buying a new car and is very interested in the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civic hybrid. Her mother has a Lexus RX hybrid that she loves. I think the fuel efficiency is the most important issue for her but she also wants a smooth ride and comfortable seating, similar to the lexus . How do I find some specs about the seat construction?

Seat specs aren’t going to tell her much. She needs to get in the car and take it for a test drive to see how it feels. If she can rent one for a day or two and do some extensive driving, so much the better.

While a hybrid will improve her “Green” credentials, you might want to suggest that she look at how long it will take to pay back the extra cost of a hybrid (reduced by any tax credits, if applicable). If she does a lot of city (stop and go) driving, hybrids are great. Out on the highway, they’re no better than any other economy car. And she’ll need to put on a lot of miles each year to make the extra cost worthwhile.

Well she’s driving a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder right now so I think she’s really wanting to make up to Mother Earth for the harm she’s been doing. I have a 2001 Nissan Altima that gets pretty good mileage (28 hwy, 24 city) but it’s still painful to fill up. She tends to drive mostly around town (to and from work and class) and I don’t know if she really cares about the car paying for itself, so to speak, in savings. Also, she plans to hang onto the vehicle for at least 4 or 5 years. We test-drove the Prius today but weren’t impressed with the comfort. Do you think the Touring Edition would be any different as far as the interior is concerned?

Check the web site to find the particulars of the difference with the Touring - I don’t remember there being much interior difference. She needs to test the Civic, it’ll be quite different. One other car to try is the Camry hybrid - mileage is only a little less, and it has a more comfortable interior and ride.

If you care about seats, the Yaris has good gas mileage. It doesn’t have good seats or ride so I won’t suggest getting one of those non-hybrids. The hybrids don’t have many problems but when they do, nobody can fix them. Nobody. Please; if you have had a problem with the exotic parts of a hybrid, and the problem was fixed, please feel free to say. I won’t be offendered.

Frankly what makes for good seats and good ride varies. My preference is not likely to match yours or hers. Those are things you personally determine on a test ride. Specs don’t really tell you much, which is why you are not likely to find any.

EXACTLY…If I asked 20 people what car is the best riding …I’ll probably get close to 20 different answers.

Besides the ride…you have to ask yourself if the hybrid makes sense. Hybrids really only make sense if MOST of your driving is city driving. That’s where they get their best gas mileage.

Ride similar to the Lexus…Try the Camry Hybrid. Wife bought a brand new Lexus es-350 last year. We almost bought a new Camry Hybrid. Although her commute was PERFECT for the Camry…the mileage she’s now putting on the vehicle the savings each year doesn’t justify it for us. But it’s close.

If comfort is her criteria Toyota Prius or Honda Civic are probably not the best choices. A midsize vehicle like a Buick or Camry will offer this, not a smallish car that has economy roots.

Forget about specs on seat comfort. Its very subjective and unique to a person.

Be aware that seat heights in the Prius are not adjustable. As for the diminished highway mileage as opposed to the city mileage, the effect is rather minor. I get 53 mpg on the highway and 56 mpg in city driving with my '07.

Actually, when we test drove the 08 Prius (they didn’t have 09s on the lot yet) we were able to adjust the seat height. They must’ve addressed that issue right after you got yours. Definitely a lot to think about though folks. Keep em coming!

Actually, we love the smooth ride that our Honda Civic Hybrid has. Others who have ridden with us say the same thing. We’ve also been pleased with the mileage.