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Hybrid Cars

 
 
Piffka
 
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2004 10:44 am
Anyone have first or second-hand information about owning and driving a hybrid car? I'd like to know if there are any recommendations or cautions before I jump in. Thanks.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 6,893 • Replies: 39
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billy falcon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2004 02:18 pm
Piffka, go to "Fuel Efficiency Vehicles at Cars Direct..."
You'll get more information on EVERY ASPECT of the top six high mileage getters: Honda Insight, Toyota Prius,
Honda Civic hybrid, VW Golf TDI, VW Jetta TDI,
VW Beatle TDI, and Honda Civic coupe. There are excellent comparisons of safety, cost, dimensions, interior and exterior features, etc., etc. (Notice, the Honda insight holds only two passengers)

I encourage you to do a paper comparison and, then, driving comparisons. I believe you will be quite surprised at the nearly equal highway mileage, the handling, greater room, safety features, considerably lower price of the VW diesels, and how little they sound like diesels.

Do yourself a favor. Don't reject lthe VWs out of lack of knowledge. Drive them and you'll be impressed. Also, the VW diesels are proven quantities with decades of reliability. I might buy a hybrid at some future time.
But in the meantime, my unrusted, unworked on engine, 1996 Passat diesel keeps starting and going and going with 250,000 miles on it. And it still gets 45mpg.

Trying to be helpful. The internet source above is really loaded with detailed information about hybrids as you will find.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 09:33 am
Thanks, Billy Falcon! I will do that. We drove a non-diesel Passat as a rental car once and enjoyed it very much. Hadn't even thought of a diesel as being comparably fuel efficient.

I found one website which called these "The Holy Grail for penny pinchers and Earth Firsters. " <grin>
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Jarlaxle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2004 03:50 am
That's actually a quote from Car & Driver's first road test of the TDI Passat in, IIRC, 1997.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2004 09:38 am
I knew it was a quote from somewhere. Thanks Jarlaxle for checking. Do you have a "green" car?

Yesterday, I took my cars in for routine maintenance and found out the three of the wheels on the Volvo are bent, so I have to buy four (so they'll match) before they can rotate the tires... and the Explorer's ball joints in the front suspension need to be replaced before they can properly align it & rotate the tires.

That sets me back in my plan to buy another car.
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Jarlaxle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2004 08:11 pm
A green car? Yes, in fact--a Big Bad Green 1974 AMC Gremlin X street machine. In fact, I actually also have a white car (1986 Caprice 2-door), a black car (my currently-wrecked 1979 Coupe de Ville), a gray truck (1992 F-350 utility-body 4x4 diesel), & a black open trailer (from about 1990, no idea who built it). Smile

(Yes, I knew what you meant.)

I suggest a junkyard for wheels.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2004 08:24 pm
Yeah...well... junkyards are creepy.

I don't remember Gremlins being big or bad but I'm sorry to hear that your Cadillac is wrecked... a lovely car. Not green, of course. Did it happen to have one of those cool wheel covers? Why do you have such a heavy-duty truck?
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billy falcon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2004 10:30 pm
Piffka,

Sorry to hear about your Volvo. If you have not yet bought the new wheels, check your Yellow Pages for wheel straighteners. There is such a business. Could save you hundreds of dollars.

I found the three Volvos I owned to be very expensive to rapair. the last one I owened (a 1976 station wagon) cost over $2,000 the lalst year I owned it.
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Jarlaxle
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 03:24 am
Actually, that is the color--AMC alo had Big Bad Blue, Orange, & Red. It was originally yellow.

The Caddy is a street machine--bought as a $300 beater & completely rebuilt. It does have wire wheelcoivers (and fender skirts), but may get 17" wheels this summer.

I have a HD truck because I would DESTROY a 1/2-ton in less than a month. It's used for junkyard runs, snow plowing, & towing.
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 05:51 am
Article in yesterday's paper about how the queue for the Toyota Prius goes to the 2005 model year. 6-8 month long list locally.

30 mpg from the Dodge Neon. It runs well... must have been made on a wednesday.
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billy falcon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 06:37 am
Piffka,

Just read this news article which is a comment on our discussion of the possibility of buying a diesel.

According to a study to be released this month by J. D. Power and Associates.
"All things being equal in America, clean diesel engines are likely to win more customers than gasoline-electric hybrids. 75% of today's gasoline-engine owners would consider a diesel if the cost were the same, agains only 59% for hybrids."

"In highway driving, diesels are more effficient than hybrids. Hybrids are more effcient in stop and go city traffic."
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 07:53 am
I have a sister who owns a Toyota Prius, I'm not impressed with it. Poor pickup, mushy suspension and confusing electronic instrumentation that seems more concerned with telling you you gas milage then how the car is running.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 09:34 am
Thanks for the idea, Billy, but these are aluminum wheels. (I love the idea of straightening a wheel -- it reminds me of when I rode dressage and we were supposed to ride straight around a circle.)

My Volvo is a lovely safe and, to my mind, gorgeous car, and it hasn't been so expensive yet -- knock on wood.... -- but maybe it's getting to be time for that, argggh. I don't know for sure how wheels get bent but I assume that taking that beautiful car over a rough mountain trail was not a very good idea last summer. It was after that when I was getting new tires that they told me about the wheels. Stupidly, I just put it out of my mind but now it's time to do something about it.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 09:40 am
Jarlaxle wrote:
Actually, that is the color--AMC alo had Big Bad Blue, Orange, & Red. It was originally yellow.

The Caddy is a street machine--bought as a $300 beater & completely rebuilt. It does have wire wheelcoivers (and fender skirts), but may get 17" wheels this summer.

I have a HD truck because I would DESTROY a 1/2-ton in less than a month. It's used for junkyard runs, snow plowing, & towing.


Well, I meant those hard-case spare wheel covers. Aren't those on the trunk lids of some of the '79 Coupe de Ville sedans? They look like round suitcases and I've always admired them.

I'm sorry to have said something bad about junkyards since you must like to frequent them. They're always so dirty though and smell like oil. The only other person I know with a Ford 350 has dual axles in the back (so the truck has six wheels altogether) -- and he tows his trailer with a hitch of four draft horses up and down his 3-mile dirt driveway. It makes me very nervous... I'd rather walk... at least until he hits the pavement.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 09:45 am
SealPoet -- My daughter learned to drive on a Neon and loved it. I actually have thought of getting one of those PT Cruisers (I love that body styling). Those are supposed to be Neons in disguise. 30 mpg is good.

A wait of 6 months or more for a 2005 Prius is bad. I would be more likely to get a car that was had been used for a couple of years... I'm of Scottish descent and don't like to spend a lot of money. I like GOOD DEALS!

I'm really liking the idea of a diesel VW, as Billy Falcon suggested. They seem to be kind of hard to find, though. My dad had a diesel station wagon years ago -- I'd drive it sometimes and would always forget to let it heat up before turning over the engine. Sheesh.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 09:48 am
Acquiunk -- Thanks for your views, once you get the car, you don't really need to know how great your mpg is... that would just be annoying (unless you wanted bragging rights, I suppose?). I met some people last summer who said they loved their hybrid car... I forget what it was, but they said they'd had it for several years. What I liked is how quiet it was, it wasn't in gas-mode, I guess. They said they got 70 mpg. It looked roomy enough, too.
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Jarlaxle
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 07:57 pm
Acquiunk wrote:
I have a sister who owns a Toyota Prius, I'm not impressed with it. Poor pickup, mushy suspension and confusing electronic instrumentation that seems more concerned with telling you you gas milage then how the car is running.


Don't forget the new ones look like the result of a drunken coupling between an Echo and an Aztek. Talk about fugly!
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Jarlaxle
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 08:01 pm
No, my car doesn't have the Continental Kit (that was mostly on Fleetwoods).

My truck isn't a dually--single rear wheels. I specifically didn't want that, since the extra width is a major annoyance in most situations.

30MPG from a PT Cruiser is pretty much a pipe-dream. They are heavier than the Neon, less aerodynamic, & have larger engines (2.4 litres versus 2.0). 25-28MPG is about it, & that's with a 5-speed.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 11:48 pm
Ahhh, the Continental Kit. Too bad, I loved those.

I keep looking for a VW diesel in this area but they aren't showing up in the want ads. (Not that I'm realistically looking for a car now anyway, what with the expensive repairs that happened today and will happen tomorrow.) Geez, being green is hard to do.

I wish the PT Cruiser would come with a diesel engine.
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gordy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 04:25 pm
Over here in the UK LPG (liquid propane gas) (I think) is becoming quite popular. With both Ford and G.M. offering it from the factory under the name duel fuel.
The cars are fitted with 2 fuel fillers,one for petrol,one for LPG.And a switch that allows you to switch between the two.
All you do is start the car with the petrol switch on.Then It's up to you.Either leave it on petrol or switch over at any time.Theres little or no loss in performance,and its a really clean fuel as far as the enviornment is concerned.
The only drawback apart from availability is that economy suffers a bit.But since the stuff is so cheap it's not a real concern.
A lot of older Americian cars have diy kits added to them by their owners to help making that type of car a viable proposition here in the land of mega tax fuel.
In fact I had a '79 Trans-Am with such a kit and I ran it for quite a while with no problems
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