Which hybrid to buy...if any

@jtsanders I stand corrected. The idea behind the Volt is OK, but most buyers see it as a Cruze with a near 100% price penalty. With the looming mileage standards, I agree that most future cars will need to be hybrids, and pure electric cars will be small urban commuters.

The “generous size” of Americans precludes large sales of really small cars, so a well designed compact with good interior room will likely become the standard size vehicle, much like in Europe today.

We bought a new car last August and could have gone for a Prius, Volt, or some other hybrid. But the low miles we drive these days made a standard Mazda 3 hatchback the best overall choice for both a cost and a convenience point of view.

@Docnick, I happened to see the 2012 sales figure for the Volt. It was over 23,000 cars.

I fully agree that it is a very expensive Cruze, and it is not right for me. But when you consider how much money you can save in gas if your daily commute is under 40 miles, the price difference disappears in a few years since you buy almost no gas. After you take advantage of the tax write off.

@jtsanders There are specific circumstances where the Volt would save you money. However, even on an under 40 miles commute, the use of the heater in the winter and A/C in the summer would still need the engine.

As I mentioned before, Seattle, Portland, Orgeon and San Francisco, and a couple of East cities, might be good applications, especially Seattle, since the electric power comes from hydro-elctric turbines.

Where I live we need the heater at least 6 months of the year, and the 3 summer months are hot, so we need the Air on.

I live on the Eastern Seaboard in the crowded area between DC and Boston. It would make sense for many around here. I can see where it would not be worthwhile for someone in the prairie like you.

I do 40,000 highway miles a year. I ditched my 08 Accord for 2012 Mazda 3i Skyactive. It’s definitely smaller but it is a conventional engine (albeit very high compression) that uses regular gas and gets awesome mileage. I got 39 mpg on my last tank driving from Albany to Rochester, NY. And that was on snow tires which get MUCH worse mileage then my all seasons. I was getting 42 to 44 mpg on the highway last summer! It’s fun to drive and a pleasure to sit in. I think Mazda is rolling Skyactive technology to their other models in 2013. Anyone looking for good mileage but not wanting a hybrid (especially an ugly one) should check it out.

The ford escape hybrid of '06 (its first year) gets a deplorably disappointing all-around 27.2 mpg. here in boiling FL. Not to mention how frustrating it is that the engine shuts off at idle, necessitating use of the A/C max control at our interminable red lights 6 mos. year. At least I haven’t had the acceleration problem the car is renowned to have.

People seem to be likeing the Chevy Volt. Worth considering. The biggest problem with the Volt is that there isn’t much repair history available, so there might be problems down the road that you wouldn’t have with cars that have been in production for years like the Prius etc.

Toyota Camry Hybrid has good specs and an excellent repair history. Nearly flawless.

I would look at non-hybrid modern vehicles eg recent Honda Accord, Madza 6, Nissan Altima etc. They achieve incredible MPG for the comfort, size and usefulness they provide. I think car makers put far more effort in this profitable segment in best MPG vs the smaller cars. They also are far more comfortable.