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Whats with the hybrids?

I have been wanting a prius for as many years as they have made them. Now that I’m ready to buy one the mechanic says “no.” GRRR. I even had my mind really made up. He said they are bad in the snow and the battery is bad for the environment long term. How do I get out of minivan land and into something with great gas mileage and room for the 3 kids still at home?

Are you needing room for 4 (easy to find) or 5?

He’s wrong about the Prius and the battery. It’s a nickel metal hydride which is officially non toxic and completely recyclable and has good cold weather performance. There are plenty of Prius here in Maine and they perform fine with snow tires as do Ford hybrids of owners I know. Escape hybrids being another option with not so great mileage.
Still, unless you have money for a Highlander, Camry, Fusion hybrids, I don’t think there are any others out there that will give you Prius mileage and 5 passenger and luggage capability. IMO you’re better off with a large capacity gas sedan with 4 cyl that still gets over 30 mpg highway and is thousands cheaper.
Good luck in your search.

The batteries are recyclable.

But would a Prius be best for you? While the new one is more spacious, it may still be cramped for long trips. However, if only used in the city, it may be OK.

i need 5 for a few more yrs. Lg. models in the 15 and 10 yr old category with a skinny 14 yr. They said the Prius was wide enough.

Your mechanic is telling you what car not to buy? Are we going to let the nuts run the asylum too? Buy the car you want, and if your mechanic won’t work on it, it is time to find a new mechanic.

The batteries are a non-issue. When they expire, they get recycled, just like a normal car battery. It’s true hybrids aren’t so good in the snow, but that is only because they are light weight. A good set of winter tires can mitigate that.

Light weight doesn’t make a car bad in snow. You have less traction but you NEED less traction.

I can’t imagine cold weather is good for battery performance though, and in some types of hybrid (I think including the Prius) that could be a problem.

Light weight in itself will not mean a traction problem.  If the ground clearance is too little, that is a problem.

Many mechanics will bad mouth a car they don’t understand or don’t know how to work on. Agree with others, the battery of a Prius will last a long time and is completely recyclable.

Your issue is a balance between enough room and good gas mileage. If you need room for 5, I think a Prius would be a little too tight. I would get a 4 cylinder minivan or one of the new crossover vehicles such as the Chevy Traverse.

Unless you do a lot of city driving, a Prius will not give you the gas mileage you are looking for.

Well, they might have been OK for a 5 minute test drive, but I just can’t imagine them being OK for any drive of any distance. But if you’re sure it meets you space needs, then the Prius is OK, ignore your mechanic, he’s wrong. If you want the minimum size vehicle with reasonable space for 5 soon-to-be adult-sized people, it’ll need either a wider back seat (Camry/Malibu/Accord/etc. minimum), or three rows, take a look at the Mazda 5 or the Kia Rondo.

Edit-I forgot about the Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, both are very good.

Edit2-I also forgot about the Camry Hybrid. Compared to the Fusion Hybrid, it’s likely to be easier to find, you may get a better price, but the trunk volume is smaller, and most comparisons like the Fusion Hybrid a bit better. But it certainly fits your stated needs.

Your mechanic is entitled to his opinion, but you don’t have to take his opinion as gospel. The Prius has established a good track record and with winter tires it handles fine in snow.

You need to take all the kids with you and try out the Prius for size. I think it would be too small to suit my kids, and they only get bigger. After trying out the Prius for size then go try out a Ford Fusion Hybrid for size. The Fusion is bigger inside, has a bigger trunk, and it as high tech as the Prius. Since it is bigger it gets a few less mpg, but is very fuel efficient.

If your normal travel is on highways with few stoplights a hybrid might not be your best choice. The hybrid is best for folks who do a lot of stop and go city driving and relatively little interstate highway miles. Therefore take a look at a conventional 4 cylinder Fusion as well. It gets good mpg and would costs less to buy than the hybrid.

Not much of one, speaking from experience with an old Nova with a worn out suspension.

Also, low ground clearance is not a problem inherent to hybrids. The Prius has the same clearance as a Corolla, more than a Cobalt, and about 1/2 inch less than most cars.

He probably wants to keep you in a car he understands, it’s a business decision on his part.

Growing up in Buffalo, NY, I heard many times that heavier vehicles do better on snow and ice because of better traction. Is that not true?

I had no problems for 12 years in Anchorage with a 1900 lb. VW GTI, and Subarus seem to thrive on the white stuff, so I’d say that it is not true. Tires make a much bigger difference.

A 4 cyl. Kia Rondo gets 20 MPG city, 27 MPG highway, and seats 7. By BIL has one and it’s a nice car. You might also test drive a Chevrolet Equinox 4-cyl. It gets 22 MPG city and 32 MPG highway. You will have to seat 3 kids in the back, but the rear seat does move forward and back to allow for more leg room. I know it won’t help in the width department, but a test drive of at least a half hour will tell you if it will work. You can leave one kid at home and let the sales associate ride up front. Or leave the sales associate behind and take all the gang with you.

“Light weight doesn’t make a car bad in snow. You have less traction but you NEED less traction.”

This is all repeated from other posts, and most of you agreed that…
If you’re talking about lighter cars with more floatation, that’s true for deep heavy snow and mud, where point loading hurts causing you to loose ground clearance as body begins to hang up. Light cars can do better in light to moderate snow conditions though, with narrower tires and more point loading. An open tread for moderate and deep snow to keep them clear and the ability to spin is important. Ice has it’s own problems but point loading and lots of gripping edges is good.

Heavy cars can get by with wider tires than a lighter car. An tire engineers nightmare for those lighter cars with low profile/wider tires.

We find that in the NE, the Prius with narrow tires, can be OK in most snow conditions with good snow tires. They’re as good as any low FWD car with moderate ground clearance issues for good economy like a Corolla, or Focus.

How about a Camry hybrid?

Before you buy a hybrid (they work great in SO CAL, BTW), find out how much of a wallet drain replacing the batteries will be, when the time comes in about 3 years. (I heard it was between $3k & $4K, but, I have not checked it out personally because I really love fossil fuel cars for the highway and elecric carts for the golf course.) Also, did your mechanic give you reasons as to why he said, no, to a hybrid car? Could his reasons relate to the loads you carry or the climate you live in or the distances you travel or the number of trips you make each day?