It’s hard not to do a double-take when passing by a Prius. After all, these cars are sleek, sporty and glow with bright, Lichtenstein-worthy colour. And with gas prices in Victoria nudging $1.55 per litre, drivers of traditional cars are seeking an alternative.
But car owners may hesitate when it comes to purchasing a hybrid for themselves — especially if they’ve heard the myth that they cost more than they’re worth.
This common belief often overshadows the many benefits of owning a hybrid. The reality is that there are many other features of this compact, efficient vehicle that may surprise you.
The affordability factor
To appreciate the full, lasting value of a hybrid, consumers need to look past the purchase price.
Hybrids use almost 50% less fuel than regular cars. The more gas prices rise, the more hybrid owners save. For example, to fuel the 2018 Prius c, owners pay $1,000 per year; the company’s plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime, only costs $618 in fuel per year. Compare this to a traditional gas engine car like the Honda Civic hatchback, which comes with annual fuel costs of $1,352.
Fuel costs add up. Over five years, a Prius c owner saves $1,729 more than the Civic hatchback owner, and the plug-in Prius Prime owner saves $3,650. Figure in depreciation, fuel cost, loan interest, insurance premiums, sales tax, maintenance and repairs, and hybrids only get more affordable.
Hybrids are easier to maintain
As for the maintenance schedule, it’s about the same as it would be for a conventional vehicle, but hybrids such as those offered by Toyota have no belts, alternators or starters to replace. These cars use Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) with fewer moving parts; thus, fewer repairs. Additionally, YourMechanic found the Prius had the lowest average maintenance costs of any car — ringing in at around $4,300 over 10 years.
Another persistent myth is that hybrids must constantly be plugged in. While plug-in hybrids like the Prius Prime can be charged in a few hours using a home outlet, Toyota’s Prius c doesn’t use a plug at all; the battery recharges when the car brakes, andis designed to last for the life of the car
Power and performance
Forget the image of slowpoke hybrids rattling along Highway 1. New technology means hybrids enjoy rocket-like acceleration while providing a smooth, luxurious ride. Base model hybrids also come with Bluetooth connectivity, premium sound systems, upgraded wheels and tires, high-quality interiors and more — features that are usually found in more expensive models of traditional gasoline engine cars.
Seamlessly switching between electricity and gas, Toyota hybrids actually boast better acceleration than gas cars with larger displacement engines. The Prius c has a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, and the Prius Prime has a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine.
The environmental benefits of the hybrid aren’t a catchy yet empty tagline. Toyota hybrids use less fossil fuel and produce substantially fewer of the emissions that contribute to greenhouse gas. A Prius generates one-third of the smog-forming emissions that a mid-size regular car belches out.
Once the usual hybrid myths are put to rest, adding up the benefits of owning these efficient cars is simple. Over time, investing in a car that blends traditional gasoline power with the benefits of an electric engine can equal double the savings — for your wallet and the environment.