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What to buy: regular car vs. hybrid

@db4690–This was back in 2011 and the Fusion I drove may have been a 2010. I remember that the car was quite comfortable for me. I am 6’ 2" tall and I think I would have remembered if the headroom was tight. The Fusion may have been redesigned from the time I drove one.
I’ve never driven a Camry and I am not sure I have ever ridden in one. Our own personal vehicles are a 2011 Toyota Sienna and a 2003 Toyota 4Runner. I like sitting up high and at my age, I am going to be comfortable and hang the gas mileage.

The Fusion was redesigned for 2013 using the same design as the european Ford Mondeo.

If it's only about dollars then even if you commute in stop and go traffic or do only city driving a hybrid rarely "pays for itself."

Do the math…it can easily pay for itself. If most of your commute is NOT-highway…AND you commute 20k miles a year…it’ll pay for itself in less then 5 years. My wife has a perfect commute for a hybrid. And she puts about 25k miles a year on her car. We almost bought a Camry in 07. The ONLY reason we didn’t was the trunk space. It was non-existent. We bought the Lexus Es-350 instead (basically an upgraded Camry). The cost difference was about $3k. We bought way more then $3k in gas driving the Lexus these past 7 years then if we bought the Hybrid.

As far as the Accord using a CVT is concerned, I would not worry. If the cvt was not as reliable as the gear transmission they used in the 4 cylinder before, they would not have put it in. The Accord is the bread and butter of the Honda line. They aren’t going to use new car buyers as a test bed for reliability. They have been adding things like VVT and other devices over the years and none has diminished it’s overall reliability. You are buying a car from a reliable manufacturer and not a transmission type. Jumping from 4 speed autos to 6or 7 speed which some others have done should create a concern too…and it hasn’t been.

@texases, then it is only 190,000 to break even. Still way too many miles, IMO.

@jtsanders - you’re absolutely correct, nobody should buy a hybrid for freeway commuting. The whole benefit is the high mpgs one gets in traffic. I get better mpgs in town (38-39) than I do on the freeway at 70-75 mpg (36 mpg).

It depends on the highway…I know a few people who drive to Boston from NH every day. The last 15 miles takes about 45 minutes. It’s all stop and go driving…which is EXCELLENT for a hybrid. But in general…yes - highway driving is not maximizing use of a hybrid. Personally if I had to commute to Boston I’d take the train. It’s just nuts.

@dagosa-- Although it wasn’t a CVT transmission, Honda did have reliability problems with the transmissions in the Odyssey around 2001 or so. I’m certain that it has been straightened out by now, but that was one factor that I thought about when I went with a Toyota Sienna.
The CVT may be fine in the Accord, but I think the 2013 was the first year.

@texases, OP said mostly highway driving, though.

Yep, Acura had problems with their transmissions too back in the early 2000’s. I think the CAFE standards may have more to do with it than reliability and of course no manufacturer has ever put unreliable transmissions or engines in their cars before. Where are those rose colored glasses of mine? I also am very wary of CVTs at this point, especially if not under warranty and I would have to pay the $6000 bill.

@jtsanders - I’m agreeing with you. Not worth a hybrid on a highway commute.

Look at a Mazda 3 with the Skyactiv engine. Those are good for about 40mpg on the highway without fancy hybrid technology.

If you get an s GT model(fully loaded) with the tech package you’d be about 30 grand brand new.

I dunno guys. If the cost of gasoline goes up, which it always does, then at 30k miles per year I could easily recoup the cost. Besides, if the Accord Hybrid really does get 45 mpg Hwy, as advertised, then that’s pretty damn good - even for highway use of a Hybrid. As for the societal factor, I couldn’t care less about bragging about how I drive a hybrid… I just want to a good, reliable, solid and EFFICIENT car that’s a little bigger than a Civic or other compact hybrid. As long as I can at least expect to break even in terms of the extra cost vs. gas savings, then I still like the idea. We should all be more conscious about the amount of gas we’re using and, all things being equal, if I’m going to at least break even anyway, then I’d rather get the hybrid.

At $4/gallon and 30k/year, the hybrid would use 625 gallons, costing $2,500.
The regular 4/auto Accord (36 mpg) would use 833 gallons, costing $3,333.
So you’d save $833/year, if the difference is $3,800 it’ll take 4.6 years or 137,000 miles.

Of course if gas is less, the miles to payout is more.

Given your priorities, I would go with the hybrid. And I did, with less financial justification. I look at it as an option that pays some back every time I fill up. I also can drive it to the limit of its mpg capabilities. If I bought a powerful car, I’d be locked up driving that one to the limit of its hp capabilities…

Our daughter and son in law had an Odessey and it indeed had transmission problems at about 150k, much earlier then other Honda products.