Category: Hybrid

By on August 12, 2016

2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid

With your left hand’s thumb, scroll through the steering wheel-mounted controls and select Settings. Move up to Driver Assist. Proceed to Drive Control. Then select Comfort.

Now your 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid is a good ol’ fashioned barge of an American car, with enough rear end float to make pregnant women seasick. Firm? Far from it. That dip in the pavement half a mile ago is still causing the rear occupants’ bellies to teeter-totter as the MKZ attempts to locate its equilibrium.

Pair this menu selection with a prod of the Eco button to the right of the central touchscreen and you now have a modern Lincoln that mostly ignores throttle input, steers with remarkable lightness, and turns potholes into pillows. That sounds like the perfect Lincoln for a customer base that has all but gone extinct.

Fortunately, the refreshed MKZ Hybrid does not need to be driven in Comfort/Eco mode. In fact, the 2017 MKZ is at its best when, as is often the case, Lincoln allows the MKZ to manifest its deep-seated Ford Fusion roots.

So why not buy a Ford Fusion instead? Read More >

By on August 11, 2016

2017 Karma Revero

Rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of bankruptcy, the Fisker Karma has been reborn as the Karma Revero.

Karma Automotive, the company created by China’s Wanxiang Group after buying Fisker Automotive’s assets, just released images and video of the sort-of new Revero. The lightly refreshed plug-in hybrid luxury sedan has all the style of its short-lived predecessor, with an added bonus: reliability (or so the company hopes). Read More >

By on August 9, 2016

BMW ad

BMW has the plug-in sedan you want, no waiting.

That’s the message in Bimmer’s new ad for the 330e plug-in hybrid, which takes a not very subtle jab at would-be Tesla Model 3 buyers. Titled “Wait or Drive” (get it?), the television commercial plays the tiniest of violins for the 373,000 buyers who put $1,000 down on a car they might not see for a couple of years. Read More >

By on August 7, 2016

About the only plug-in action most Prius owners get. Picture courtesy Toyota.

The short-lived Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid was never a popular vehicle, and the subject of one man’s lawsuit could answer why.

A suit filed against Toyota in an eastern Michigan court claims the plaintiff’s 2012 Prius Plug-in didn’t come close to offering the meager advertised range of the upgraded hybrid, CarComplaints reports. Read More >

By on August 4, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Rear 3/4, Image: Toyota

Toyota has pushed back the launch dates of its next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid, spelling a black Christmas for environmentally conscious motorists.

According to Reuters, the model — known as the Prius Prime in the U.S. — won’t bow this fall in Japan, and production will be cut back to match reduced demand. It’s not a great start for a model the automaker clearly worked hard on. Read More >

By on July 29, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Image: Mitsubishi

The long-anticipated Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid, expected later this year, has once again been postponed for the U.S. and Canada.

This is at least the fifth time it’s been delayed in North America since its 2013 Japan-market launch. Mitsubishi’s U.S. market public relations manager, Alex Fedorak, confirmed the latest delay.

“Following a thorough evaluation process, we have determined that, in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States, the launch of the Outlander PHEV will be delayed until the summer of 2017,” said Fedorak.

Read More >

By on July 11, 2016

2015 Nissan Murano (4 of 13)

When the Pathfinder Hybrid quietly ended production early last year, it didn’t spell the end of Nissan’s electrified crossover plans in the U.S. The powertrain has now been resurrected in another model, but there’ll be slim pickings for U.S. buyers, according to AutoGuide (via Hybrid Cars).

The Nissan Murano Hybrid bows as a 2016 model, and its specifications can more or less be directly imported from a 2014 Pathfinder brochure. However, the new model’s fuel economy is higher than its spiritual predecessor. Read More >

By on July 7, 2016

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Plug-In Outlet

Sales figures point to a record-breaking month for electrified vehicles in June, but the final tally doesn’t tell the whole story.

After a dismal May that saw sales fall below the previous year’s numbers, sales of plug-in vehicles (battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) surged in June, hitting a combined total of 13,722 units in the U.S., according to Hybrid Cars. Read More >

By on June 23, 2016

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, Exterior, Rear

If you’ve long since erased the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid from your memory bank, don’t worry. Buyers forgot about it at the same time, and the automaker is prepared to do the same.

When Volkswagen rolled out a list of changes to its 2017 year vehicles today, the Jetta Hybrid was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the automaker placed a note in its empty chair, reading “Jetta Hybrid no longer available.”

It was an undignified (but not unexpected) end for a very unpopular model — one the automaker doesn’t need weighing it down as it tries to streamline its operations in a bid to save cash. Read More >

By on June 21, 2016

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE

The overwhelming majority of mileage I accumulated in manufacturer-supplied test cars in May was spent in direct hybrid rivals from Ford and Toyota.

The 2016 Ford C-Max SE, Ford’s base model, visited for one week. Then following a stretch in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, a base version of Toyota’s new, fourth-generation Prius was dropped off for an extended stretch.

I’ll take the C-Max, thanks.

Scratch that. I’ll take the Golf R.

But if left to choose between the dedicated hybrids from Ford and Toyota, the C-Max is the one I’d have. So why do car buyers plug their ears when they hear such a recommendation? Read More >

By on June 17, 2016

2016 Honda CR-Z, Image: Honda

So, Honda’s two-seater hybrid sports car is officially belly-up in North America. There won’t be a well-attended service or procession, just a solemn trickle of old models off of dealer lots.

After TTAC confirmed that the CR-Z was done in Canada, and after a ‘Final Label’ edition bowed in Japan, word comes that the model has shuffled off into history everywhere else. Honda representatives confirmed to Car and Driver that the automaker has pulled the plug on the CR-Z in North America. Read More >

By on June 17, 2016

About the only plug-in action most Prius owners get. Picture courtesy Toyota.

Electrified transportation isn’t catching fire in the new vehicle market, but sales are positively scorching at used car lots.

The top three fastest-selling one- to three-year-old vehicles in the U.S. today aren’t pickups or SUVs, but a low-volume plug-in hybrid and two EVs, according to automotive data and research company iSeeCars.com. Read More >

By on June 17, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

Hybrid fans looking to harvest free solar power as they drive (or park) won’t get that ability when the Toyota Prius Prime arrives in the U.S. this fall.

The automaker announced that European and Japanese buyers will get a solar roof version of the plug-in sedan, but Stateside customers will have to wait, Automotive News reports. Toyota faces an engineering and regulatory hurdle in the U.S. — America has stricter crash regulations, and its engineers haven’t been able to create a solar panel mount that doesn’t shatter during rollovers. Read More >

By on June 15, 2016

2011 Honda CR-Z EX red

We’re as certain as can be that the Honda CR-Z is dead. Defunct. Discontinued. Done for. Any other applicable d word you can think of.

Not only was the CR-Z long since discontinued in Europe and Australia, Honda is now offering a Final Label edition of the CR-Z in Japan, the company’s home market and the location of CR-Z assembly. Moreover, American Honda’s PR department already indicated to TTAC that they thought everybody knew the CR-Z was deceased, down the drain, discarded.

Dead, yes. But not yet departed. Honda’s U.S. dealers have plenty of CR-Z inventory. Don’t all storm the gates at once now. Tamp down that excitement. Let’s all remain calm. Read More >

By on June 13, 2016

Fisker Karma. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

It’s been a long wait since Henrik Fisker’s brainchild floated — bloated and belly-first — to the surface of the automotive pool, but we’re told a new plug-in hybrid statusmobile is on the way. That means new jobs coming to the Detroit area for as long as Henrik can keep the money rolling.

Last week, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation pledged $450,000 in funding so that Karma Automotive LLC — formerly Fisker Automotive — can build an engineering and purchasing building in Troy. The city plans to offer additional funds to see the $3.6 million project get off the ground, where the reborn company plans to employ up to 150 people. Read More >

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