SUV Hybrids, yes/no


#1

Hi All,

Going to be looking into a new SUV, and may jump on the Hybrid Bandwagon.



I have a few concerns

1) I have some knowledge about keeping up maintanence on my own cars. And am not sure if I will be able to do the same on a hybrid. Tune-ups, brakes, fluid changes. Basic small stuff. I would not be doing engine overhauls or anything like that.



2) With a hybrid is there any maintanence that may not be on a regualr vehicle?



3) I still feel that the hybrid models are a little to new and their reliabilty may not be fully proven, any thoughts on that?



The two vehicles I have in mind at the moment are:

2008 Mercury Mariner

2008 Ford Escape All Wheel Drive



Thanks for any assistance!

CaptK


#2

We just got a Toyota Highlander Hybrid and love it. The maintenance schedule is the same as for a regular Highlander. Standard warranty covers the hybrid system for 8 years or 100K mi.


#3

I own a SUV…and to me a Hybrid SUV doesn’t make sense. I guess it does if all you do is use it as basic transportation. But if you use it to Haul things or Tow like I do then you negate any mileage gains you get from a Hybrid.

The Turbo Diesels that are sold in the Europe make a lot more sense. You have more torque and the same or better hp with much better gas mileage.


#4

Why would hauling things make “hybrid” not useful?

I would not expect there to be much difference in cost of maintenance between the two types. You should be aware that while both standard and hybrid models have over estimated mileage numbers on the sticker, the hybrid’s numbers are doubly high. The published numbers for the 2008 models will be closer and lower.

While the hybrid is OT a bad idea, it has yet to really do much and even with tax advantages they are not really saving any life cycle cost.


#5

Why would hauling things make “hybrid” not useful?

NEVER said it wouldn’t be userfull…just that you’ll be negating any mileage gain from a hybrid. The fact that you’re hauling will use any energy stored in the battery a lot faster. Also with the extra weight the BRAKES will actually have to kick in instead of using the energy recovery system. Thus the battery won’t be getting as charged as it should.

Also the trannies used in several of the Hybrid models are the CVT trannies. Not the greatest for hauling.

Hybrids also come with smaller/skinnier tires…again…not the greatest for hauling.


#6

I don’t really understand the logic of hybrid SUVs, it seems a little oxymoronic. I (sort of) understand why some folks might buy a hybrid econo-box (although I wouldn’t buy one), and I understand that some folks want/need an SUV; but I’m having a little trouble with the concept of combining them. Other than a cleaver marketing gimmick, what are you gaining with a hybrid for day-to-day use. I would encourage you to find realist mileage values and costs for both conventional and hybrid SUVs and perform a “payback” analysis.


#7

I’ve driven my friends Highlander hybrid on a number of roadtrips and have never been able to average over 22mpg-- and I usually get over the EPA ratings on my cars. The hybrid definitely gets worse highway mileage than the 4cyl version, and I’ll bet it gets about the same as the V6. The hybrid system (at least the totoya one. I’m not familiar with the Ford one, but I think its similar) is ill-suited for the kinds of driving SUV’s are typically used for in this country. Almost all SUV’s get used as suburban commuter vehicles or weekend trip cars, both of which entail primarilly highway driving, at which they stink!

And even in town, the actual MPG fuel savings are insignificant. It’s similar percentage-wise to the savings from small car based hybrids, but because the mileage is so bad in the first place, the Highlander only gets 3-4mpg over its conventional cousins-- compared to 10-15 of the Prius vs. Echo.

A small turbo-diesel engine would be much better suited for SUV-type vehicles, but I suppose Toyota and Ford have decided the trendy hybrid system will be more popular in this country.


#8

That’s always been my thinking on it too! Unless you need it for serious off-road type stuff-- which the hybrid SUV’s are bad at-- an SUV is just a piece of conspicious consumption, wheras the hybrid is supposed to be an example of what I suppose you’d call conspicious conservation.


#9

I’d check some reviews of these “dogs” before I purchased one. From what I understand they are hybrid in name only…looking to get on the greeney band wagon without real economy.


#10

“The hybrid system (at least the totoya one. I’m not familiar with the Ford one, but I think its similar) is ill-suited for the kinds of driving SUV’s are typically used for in this country.”

I think that it is more than similar. Toyota licensed their technology to Ford, so with the exception of the engine and perhaps some other parts unique to Ford, the hybrid “system” is the same concept exactly.

If the Highlander is ill-suited to typical American SUV-type use, then the Escape is just as ill-suited. As someone else said, this merging of hybrid technology with an SUV really seems to be oxymoronic. If one wants to save the environment or simply save on gasoline, it is a good idea to look at sedans and coupes, rather than SUVs.


#11

Seeing as how you’ve received some informative answers, I have an off-subject question.

Are you the same CaptainK from chevytalk.org? Just curious.


#12

I’ve driven my friends Highlander hybrid on a number of roadtrips and have never been able to average over 22mpg

Hybrids shine in city stop and go driving due to the recoverative braking system.


#13

What makes PERFECT sense to me is instead of a Hybrid SUV…to have a Diesel SUV. There’s a 4runner and pathfinder Diesel version already being sold in Europe and South America. Same vehicle as what you buy here…but with a 4-cylinder turbo diesel. More torque…same hp…but with a 50% increase in gas mileage.


#14

As fr as I know, the only affordable diesel SUV currently available in the U.S. is the jeep.


#15

Yup…I know…As I said…they are offered in other parts of the world…but NOT in the US yet. The price difference in Europe is only about $1500 for a Diesel. When and IF they finially offer these vehicles here in the states the price difference will probably be $4000.


#16

Exactly my point… if Checker were still around, they’d be the first to be licensing hybrid technology.


#17

We compared 3 Japanese mid-size SUVs. I needed one because I carry around a lot of video equipment (stands, lights, etc) that doesn’t fit easily in a sedan, but all weighs under 100 lbs.

Highlander gas - rated 19 mpg and sluggish acceleration
Highlander Hybrid - 22 mpg and much better acceleration
Honda Pilot - 17 mpg and lots of road noise

Being one of the last of the old design, the HH was a good deal,too. With a mix of city and highway, we’re averaging 26.5 mpg.

I think it made a lot of sense.


#18

I have no relation to the “other” Captaink, I cannot believe there are two of us, imposter! :wink:

After posting this question I was browsing around cartalk.com and found a write up on pretty much this very topic. I guess the cost of purchasing an suv hybrid and the cost of gas and cost of car over xx amount of years will not pay off until like 8yrs down the road, I think the estimate was. And that is only if gas stays around $3/gal.
And them main reason for looking at the hybrids was just for hopefully saving on gas $$.
I appreciate all of the replies so it looks like a standard SUV is the way to go until this hybrid technology improves.
Thanks,
CaptK


#19

It’s not just a financial calculation. Our concern was minimizing the environmental impact of owning a mid-size SUV, not making back the extra money for the hybrid.


#20

After posting this question I was browsing around cartalk.com and found a write up on pretty much this very topic. I guess the cost of purchasing an suv hybrid and the cost of gas and cost of car over xx amount of years will not pay off until like 8yrs down the road, I think the estimate was. And that is only if gas stays around $3/gal.

MAYBE…I’ve done the calculation for replacing my wifes Accord in the fall with a Camry hybrid. T

First off you CAN’T compare the Camry hybird with the base Camry. The Camry hybrid comes full loaded. My wife does NOT want a base model. She wants something with a few bells and whistles. This brings the price of the hybrid to only about $1500 MORE then the Camry my wife wants with all the options she wants.

The payback I calculated based on $3/gal was actually less then 4 years.