Hybrid Cars

I moved to TX and living in TX involves a lot of driving. It takes me almost an hour to reach work. I own a Nissan Versa, and I was wondering if buying a Toyota Prius /hybrid would be a better car to use? Does the battery last long? Other than the seat is not comfortable and worry about of the safety of handling impact the Versa is a good car with a good gas mileage.

What are your thoughts?

I would not replace a low mileage Versa with a hybrid. It already gets great gas mileage. When your car is no longer reliable enough to use for commuting, I would consider a hybrid.

The issue is the added cost for the new car. You will not make it up in lower gas costs. Let’s say gas costs $4/gallon. When you compare highway mileage for a 2010 Nissan Versa with auto transmission to a 2013 Toyota Prius c, you will only save about $300 for each 10,000 miles you drive.

Which is true.
But you will see about $10 savings at each fill up.

You need to mathematically if you’ll come out ahead over time buying that hybrid.

For your information, most people do NOT.

For many people, owning a hybrid is more of an emotional thing. I know some people who own them and love them, yet they are well aware they’ll never “break even”

I’ll probably break even, which is WAY better than I’ll do with most any option on my car. If absolute $ savings is the goal the a hybrid is likely not the cheapest option. But once you’re looking at middle priced cars it is.

You asked for thoughts…
If you don’t like the Versa and need an excuse to dump it and can afford to, why not, you have my vote to do it. Practically speaking, it’s not the best thing to do. But, if you really don’t like it and decide to, take a longer test drive in the Prius or whatever else before you commit. You are talking about throwing significant change around on a car you may buy just for it’s mileage alone. You could be trading again soon if you buy a car for the wrong reasons.

Would moving closer to your destination be better a good solution?

City or Highway? I did a quick check. A 2012 Versa 1.6 L is 30 city and 38 hwy. A 2012 Prius is 51 city and 48 hwy. Those are EPA ratings. Verify the numbers for your vehicle and the type of hybrid your looking for and crunch the numbers.

PS I think the Prius battery warranty is 8 years/100,000 miles. You could also check the Prius forums for real world info. I don’t own a Prius I’m just using it as an example. I would also check out the Ford Cmax or Honda as other options.

Since depreciation is the major cost component in driving, hang on to the Versa! Maintain it well and when upkeep costs start getting too much, usually a round 200,000 miles or so, get rid of it and buy a hybrid.

The fuel you save by owning a hybrid will be about $500 per year, penuts compared with the extra depreciation and insurance that a hybrid will cost you.

If you’re stuck on the highway for an hour or so on the highway, I’d get a more comfortable car and let MPG come in 2nd place. You already say the Versa isn’t too comfortable now; would buying a car with better MPG be worth it if you have back problems from poor seating?

If a car you have is reliable and economical and you need a reason to trade, comfort and safety are valid reasons to rationalize doing it. But again, if you let economy alone be a factor, you will be trading again. So, buying a Prius only works in the long run if you find it comfortable and perceive it to be safe. There are cheaper cars out their that fit this parameter other then hybrids and if you buy, say a Prius C model, you may be back to square one.

List all of your requirements and look at cars that are reasonable in all areas. CR car buyers guides and their recomendations are a good place to start your research. Versas are not highly recomended by CR for some of the reasons you aren’t happy with yours.

Besides, buying cars that don’t break even is still valid in a world where nearly every one would like to own a Corvette. So, don’t be turned off a Prius for that reaon alone. If you are happy with a car, “break evens” aren’t a deciding factor. " owner satisfaction" is as good as any other measure as you are going to find.