With the uncertainty surrounding fuel prices and growing concern over the environment, the popularity of hybrid cars has risen dramatically in the past five years. These cars use a combination of electric and gas power: gas when acceleration is needed, and electricity when coasting or stopped. Because of this, these cars get really good gas mileage, even in the family sedan models. Honda and Toyota, two car brands that are popular and have a reputation for quality, have hybrid cars on the market. Let’s take a look.
This car manages to have terrific gas mileage at 46 mpg and it has more trunk space than Toyota’s own hybrid Camry. The Prius is a hatchback with a look that stands out among cars on the road. And on top of all that, the Prius starts at under $20,000. Compared to other midsize cars, the Prius may feel a little sluggish on the highway, but in the city, it zips along just fine. The Prius’ gas mileage is better than that of the Honda Civic hybrid, and it has a roomier interior. There are three trim levels available so you can go fancy or plain in your choices. The Prius puts 110 horses under the hood and can hold five people comfortably with space left for cargo. This is a car you definitely want to check out if you are looking for a hybrid family car.
Honda Civic Hybrid
If you want a hybrid that doesn’t overtly look like a hybrid, then the Honda Civic is a good choice. Like the Prius, the Civic comes in several trim lines, but unlike the traditional gas engine Civic, the hybrid is only offered as a four-door sedan. If you look under the hood of a Civic Hybrid, you’ll find an in-line 4 cylinder engine with 110 horsepower. Multi point fuel injection comes standard, as does front wheel drive. The standard electric power storage is a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery. The transmission is the Honda Continuously Variable Transmission.
The Civic Hybrid starts at around $22,000. It gets 47 city mpg and 48 on the highway. While this car doesn’t have a lot of power, it can haul five people and is suitable for use as a family car. If you want a comfortable family hybrid that looks like a traditional gas engine car, and if you aren’t picky about having a lot of pep in city driving, then you should give the Honda Civic Hybrid a test drive.
The Honda Insight has been redesigned for the 2010 model year. The new model will be available in April 22, 2009 – Earth Day – for around $19,000 as a five-door hatchback. Models from 2000-2006 were three-door hatchback two-seaters. If you remember the “teardrop” shape of the 1980s classic Honda CRX, then the 2010 Insight will look familiar to you. The general profile of the second generation CRX was resurrected for the 2010 Insight due to its drag-reducing qualities. The EX models will have alloy wheels, cruise control, USB audio interface with a 6-speaker audio system, and stability assist, with even more optional features available. It appears as if the new Insight will be competing directly with the Toyota Prius, even though it is a compact, and the Prius is a midsize car.
Honda and Toyota have long reputations for high quality cars that are fuel efficient. Both offer hybrid cars that take good gas mileage to the next level. Anyone wanting a hybrid car for a family would do well to check out all three of these models.