Top 5 Myths About Hybrid Cars

So, you're thinking about buying a hybrid, but you've got some reservations. Guess what: You're not alone. Hybrids may get a lot of press, but when it's time to put money on the line, most car shoppers end up going with more conventional options.

But should you have reservations? Not if they're based on the myths dispelled in this article. We think there's a lot to be said for hybrids, and we want to make sure you've got all the facts before making your decision. So check out our Top 5 Myths about Hybrid Cars, and try to keep an open mind. You might come away with a new appreciation for what hybrids have to offer.

1. Hybrids are slow.

This was true a few years ago, but automakers have recently gotten hip to the fact that Americans love power -- even when they're trying to save on gas. The new Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, for example, cranks out a healthy 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The Jetta Hybrid leaps off the line as quickly as some sport sedans, thanks to its combination of a turbocharged gas engine and a torque-rich electric motor. Check out the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, too, if you want a larger hybrid sedan that still packs a decent punch.

2. Hybrids are no fun.

We hear this time and again when hybrids come up in conversation. Just like the first myth, though, it's a few years out of date. In fact, automakers are quite aware that shoppers want a more engaging hybrid driving experience, and we've got examples to prove it. The Honda CR-Z, for instance, is a sporty 2-seat hybrid hatchback that even offers a manual transmission to drivers so inclined. The aforementioned Jetta Hybrid is also known for its confident handling, and Ford's C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid are no slouches, either. Additionally, there are plenty of sport-oriented luxury hybrids if you're willing to spend more, including the nimble Lexus CT 200h, the high-performance BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and the gloriously over-the-top, 380-hp Porsche Panamera S Hybrid.

3. Hybrids don't have any cargo space.

We love dispelling this myth, because we've been singing the practicality praises of the Toyota Prius ever since the first hatchback model debuted back in 2004. Compared to similarly priced family sedans, the Prius's cavernous hatchback cargo area and fold-down rear seat backs give it a clear leg up for hauling duty. This holds true for the other members of the Prius family, too -- the compact Prius c and the grown-up Prius v -- as well as rival hybrid hatches such as the Ford C-MAX and Honda Insight. And if you need even more space, there are always full-on hybrid crossovers like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

4. Hybrids have questionable reliability.

It's true that there have been some problem children, including certain Honda Civic Hybrid models. Overall, though, hybrids have been pretty reliable -- and remember, if something does go wrong with a hybrid component, there's almost certainly a lengthy warranty to protect you. Toyota's hybrid components, for example, are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles, and that's pretty typical. Even so, reports of genuine hybrid-system failures are quite rare, so it's not like the warranties are routinely invoked. The widespread use of hybrids as taxicabs and other service vehicles further attests to their fundamental reliability.

5. Hybrids are expensive.

Not anymore. Fact is, if your price range includes mainstream sedans such as the Honda Civic or Chevrolet Malibu, you're already safely in hybrid territory. The pint-sized Prius c starts at less than $20,000, as does the Insight, while the Fusion Hybrid or Camry Hybrid can be had for the price of a mid-level conventional family sedan. Plus, the increasing availability of certified pre-owned hybrids makes them even more affordable. And since hybrids are inherently technology-forward vehicles, you won't lose much by buying one that's a couple of years old. So don't let dollar signs hold you back; if you're ready to give hybrids a try, we're confident you'll find one within your budget.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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