Hybrid SUV

I recently bought a Mariner Hybrid 2007 SUV.

to buy american and not pay the shiek. Well in September-October I was getting 30 miles to the gallon by end of november december am getting 21 miles per gallon. Went to the dealer and was told in cold weather you get poorer mileage in a hybrid.(I live in Minnesota) talked to the Prius dealer same story only they go from 50 to 42 miles per gallon.

Asked about putting an engine block heater in and dealer said wouldn’t work.

Need your independent minds on this

Most cars loose a little gas mileage in winter, it simply takes longer for the engines to heat up to normal operating temperature. With Hybrids, you are also dealing with batteries. Batteries don’t work as efficiently in the cold.

Now the really important thing, are there any other SUV’s getting 21 mpg right now in Minnesota?

I’ve noticed a reduction in gas mileage with my car during winter; this has been the case for several years. It is not a hybrid, and I do not warm up the car. I think that the winter gasoline blend reduces fuel mileage. Maybe this is part of your problem.

A lot has to do with your driving style and where you drive. Even considering that I would say that was quite a hit.

All cars get lower mileage in the winter. My diesel VW goes from the lower 60’s on the road to the upper 50’s in the winter and it is not a hybrid. I might suggest that if you really wanted to reduce you fuel expense, the choice of a different car might have proven more useful.

Just my personal opinion, but while hybrids have some advantages and may yet prove themselves, it appears they are not going to be the answer to fuel problems. The good news is they don’t seem to have the problems that were forecast for them.

Everyone has been giving good advice. However, I think that hybrids keep the engine on continuously until the car is at a certain temperature. Therefore, an engine block heater should allow it to get to that temperature quicker and therefore shut the engine off during certain situations. In addition, if you are using heat or defrost, the car may need the engine in order to generate that. In my car, the engine is always on so the difference between winter and summer (although significant) is not as significant. I would add the engine block heater and see what happens.


There aree a number of factors at work haere. Firstly, cars use more gas in cold weather (nothing to do with hybrid), and the only way to reduce this somewhat is to use a block heater to prewarm the engine, and park the car inside overnight so the running gear is not stone cold.

Hybrids that shut the engine off when rumming on the battery, such as the Prius, have a significant DROP in gas mileage in winter, since, whever you are using the heater, the engine needs to be running. So a Prius gets really good mileage in city traffic in summer, but very much less in the winter. The highway mileage difference is much smaller, since the engine will run most of the time.

The dealer is partially right that a block heater won’t help; it only improves the mileage during warmup, and has no effect once you are underway.

So your drop in mileage is understandable, but if I lived in Minnesotya I would use a blockheater with a timer to come on 2 hours before you leave and use 5W30 or 0W30 synthetice oil in the crankcase.

Let me add a little bit here. The block heater may help a little, but I still think the greater issue is with the batteries. If you go with a block heater, I’d suggest that you also look for a heating blanket designed for the battery. If you cant find one, then maybe a thermostatically controlled heat tape used to keep pipes from freezing wrapped around the main drive battery might work. Check with your dealer before doing this incase there is a downside, but most of those heat tapes only heat to around 50? or so, they are not supposed to get very hot.

But again, who else has an SUV that gets 21 mpg in Minnesota in the winter, or 21 mpg anytime for that matter. The cost/benefit ratio just might not be there. With all the other factors that reduce winter mileage, the gain from a block heater and heat blanket may not be as much as you would hope for.