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Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

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Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

  #1  
Old 01-07-2006, 06:32 PM
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Default Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Hi. Will here. We live outside of Seattle, WA. Our current cars are an 1997 Honda Odyssey, 1990 Subaru Legacy and 1991 Ranger pickup. The trusty Legacy is getting old and it's time to move on. The goal is to get a hybrid to replace the Subaru and when our youngest goes off to college to sell the Odyssey. I've been lurking here and in the Prius chat group trying to gather information about the strengths and weaknesses of the current crop of hybrids.

We are down to either a Prius or an HCH. I was dead set on the Prius until we did a recent test drive. The salesperson went on a non-stop geek-fest monologue about the computer while my wife was driving and she ended up being pretty intimidated by the technology. My impression of the car was that the technology is impressive, though at times overdone. The rear seat legroom was great and we really like the fold-down rear seats. We both don't like the heater controls on a computer screen. In our wet winters this seems distracting and unsafe. The car also had blind spots in front corners and back. Within 30 minutes, the drivers seat was becoming uncomfortable and I was dismayed to find there was no upgrade. This was really a surprise because Toyota makes some top notch seats. I also heard some plastic rubbing noise on side street bumps which bugs me. I've had 15 yr. old Hondas and my old Subaru are totally without squeaks or rattles. But I do like the fact that the Prius gets better mileage and can run on electric alone. At some point in the car's life, I intend to upgrade to lith. ion batteries. The majority of our driving is under 55mph and we should see a great benefit from the change. The higher price of the Prius is harder to justify because the car is not particularly, well, luxurious. One thought was to get a salvage off of eBay considering the warranty is already void at that point.

We haven't driven the 2006 HCH yet, but I suspect it will be an easier car for my wife to adapt to. The seats appear to be better designed and with better back support. Has anyone any longterm comments on that? Controls and design of the HCH are another plus. We have had 4 Hondas in the past and love their reliability. It seems one gets a better finish and value with the HCH, do others agree? On the downside, the lack of a folddown rear seat is a bummer. Rear seat legroom seems a bit skimpier too. And I am surprised at the number of noises and quality issues users are reporting. Is this a downtrend with Hondas or are these reports the exception and not the rule? This concerns me. Have they fixed this in the 2006 HCH? I don't like squeaks and rattles at all. Last, I am wondering if it ever would be practical to upgrade the HCH to Lion batteries. Is there an equivalent space like the read storage space in the HCH where one could stuff more batteries?

Boy, that was long winded. . So many questions right now. What would you all do? Wait for improvements? Buy used or new? What is your overall satisfaction level with the car? with the dealer? Thanks in advance for the help and thoughts. This site has a great wealth of information, ideas and helpful suggestions. Now all we have to do is decide which new car.
 
  #2  
Old 01-07-2006, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Welcome to GreenHybrid!

My general rule of thumb on deciding between Prius or Civic is your type of driving. Mostly highway driving favors the Civic - stop-and-go or mountainous driving favors the Prius.

Hope that helps...
 
  #3  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Leominster, MA
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Well, a used prius or hch I will be the most economical. I like my 03 civic. Has been totaly reliable. The only noise issue was in the a-pillar there was a rattle but honda put out a service buliten. Also, my car is a lot noisier than when I bought it, but I had my sound system replaced and of course when they do that they sometimes rip out stuff designed to keep the noise from comming through the doors and stuff.

The hch2 is supposed to be a step up from the HCH I in both noise and luxuriousness. Some people have complained about the headrest being uncomfortable but that will be up to you to test.

If it were me, I'd probably go with a used HCH I because it will be cheap and practical.
 
  #4  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Thanks Chuck. Our driving is neither. We live more in a rural area with 40-50mph average speed limits and a fair amount of hills. I would say our driving is 50% rural, 25% freeway and 25% urban. But I am trying to judge the cars not based on hybrid criteria, which seems good in each, but rather on their intrinsic merits. The HCH sounds like it has better handling and maybe braking? That would be important to me. I'm also wondering if anyone has driven the HCH much in mountainous regions and how well it behaves with long uphill and downhill grades.
 

Last edited by BeGreen; 01-07-2006 at 07:52 PM. Reason: typos - where's the spell checker?
  #5  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:42 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Leominster, MA
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

I drove my civic though pensylvania and didn't have any problems. But I have only done it once so I can't say long term.
 
  #6  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

On mountainous driving, the Insight is at more of a disadvantage than most Honda's.

Last summer in Colorado, it was great on US 34/US 36 in Rocky Mountain National Park. That's because the ups and downs were short enough the battery did not drain enough to do a recal. Driving I70 or I25 is another story. Speed limit on I25 is 75mph in many places and the hills can go over a mile with maybe a couple hundred feet of elevation. That triggered a recal, a process that causes a manditory trickle charge with a sharp performance drop for the next 15 minutes. I wised up and downshifted a gear or two (I'm in a 5-speed, but the Prius and 2006 Civic are automatics).
 
  #7  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Leominster, MA
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

The 06 civic by the way has more power then the 03 which should help a little in the mountains.
 
  #8  
Old 01-07-2006, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Thanks guys. I'm looking forward to trying out the HCH. We hope to do a road test this week. Tom, good suggestions. I'll see if I can find a used one to try as well.
 
  #9  
Old 01-07-2006, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

BeGreen,

I live in the same area and have owned an HCH I for 3 years. My commute is very close to yours in terms of profile - Highway 169, bit of 405 and I-5. My lifetime average is 45.7. I get 42-44 in the winter months around here and last summer I peaked at 51 (48-51). I love my car. I agree with Delta Flyer on city/highway - My HCH does not perform well in city driving (well, "not perform well" meaning low 40's). It's great between 40-50 MPH commutes. I'd be glad to share any amout of regional stories or information I've accumulated. Just let me know what you're after.
 
  #10  
Old 01-07-2006, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Ready to move to a hybrid, but need some help deciding.

Originally Posted by Tim
BeGreen,

I live in the same area and have owned an HCH I for 3 years. My commute is very close to yours in terms of profile - Highway 169, bit of 405 and I-5. My lifetime average is 45.7. I get 42-44 in the winter months around here and last summer I peaked at 51 (48-51). I love my car. I agree with Delta Flyer on city/highway - My HCH does not perform well in city driving (well, "not perform well" meaning low 40's). It's great between 40-50 MPH commutes. I'd be glad to share any amout of regional stories or information I've accumulated. Just let me know what you're after.
That's a nice endorsement for the HCH. How many miles on your Civic? How has the car been outside of the FE? It would be good to hear how your dealer has been too.
 

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