NADA: Malibu Hybrid A Better Buy Than A Toyota Prius

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nada malibu hybrid a better buy than a toyota prius

Setting aside the fact that an indeterminate number people buy hybrids for reasons other than saving money (green props, emissions, etc.), what about Ye Olde Hybrid premium? Where are we on that score these days, what with $4 the new $1.50 down at the pump? NADAguides has done a little number crunching on that score. They reckon "only a handful of hybrid cars make financial sense for a consumer who buys a new car every five years." Warning that miles driven and local gas prices are significant variables, NADA conclude that the following gas – electric cars recoup their "extra" cost within the five-year time frame (presented in order of fastest recoupage to slowest): Toyota Camry Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Cadillac Escalade Hybrid (just kidding). NADA's press release gives us a big ass chart of local gas prices and uses EPA stats and manufacturers' MSRP. But they don't make mention of the single largest expense of car ownership: depreciation. And here's a question: to what "gas equivalent" did they compare the Prius?

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  • Gcorley Gcorley on Jul 11, 2008

    It always amazes me how in all this discussion about hybrids, that it is forgotten to take into account the type of usage the vehicle will be subjected to. Hybrids only make any sense for city use or stop-start traffic situations, where the electric motor is used on a "demand" basis, with "topping-up" of the battery from the gas engine. Small cars with small engines (European & Asian style) and "stop-start" technology (when stationery engine is turned off), can very effectively compete with hybrids, such as the Prius and others. Hybrids on the open freeway have no better fuel consumption than equivalently engined conventional vehicles (Prius only has a 1.5liter engine!). In fact hybrids will have worse fuel consumption because of the extra battery & electric motor weight they are having to carry around.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Jul 11, 2008

    "NADA: Malibu Hybrid A Better Buy Than A Toyota Prius" I had to laugh at that. Wryly, of course. To people like me, who drove nothing but GM through my teens and twenties, but who now have sworn off all GM products because of quality (and quality-of-service-department) problems, that statement seems just so puffed up and full of itself. You see, when a person like me reads that statement, it seems ludicrous. Because for me to agree with it, it would mean that I would have to agree with the premise that General Motors' manufacturing quality is on a par with, or somewhat close to a par with Toyota's. Folks, there's no effin' way! Malibu over the Prius in ANY category? How sad...

  • Dougw Dougw on Jul 11, 2008

    This statement about highway mileage for hybrids being an impossibility of phyics due to weight of batteries, etc., is unenlightened at best. Owning both a Prius and Civic Hybrid, I can confidently state that facts are missing in the logic used to make the conclusion about Hwy mpg. To wit: Non hybrid...constant engine rpm, and for four cylinder engines no cylinder shutdown. Constant fuel feed. Prius: Total engine shut off at speed during any low load situation such as downhill, level coast, strong tailwind (no kidding), and generally any time the computer figures that battery power is sufficient to take over. Yes at 70mph. Even on flat roads the engine cycles on and off at times. Yet naysayers seem to assume that it goes down the highway like any other car. Nope. Civic: Engine always turns, but fuel shuts off and the valves float so zero fuel consumption at same times as the Prius. Same result, different approach. Again, the down the road engine use of the hybrid Civic is not like the regular Civic, which never drops the fuel delivery comepletely. Both vehicles routinely make higher highway mileage than non hybrids for these reasons. The added weight does not seem to be the penalty assumed. Having said all this, I am pretty sure that a simple stop-start hybrid with regen braking, when driven with gentle accel and conservation of momentum can get very close to full hybrids for most urban driving. Bottom line though, most drivers accelerate stupidly and brake wastefully by habit I suppose because it feels like they are getting somewhere more quickly and/or it feels good. For them, nothing will give very impressive mgp.

  • RogerB34 RogerB34 on Jul 11, 2008

    Deceleration Fuel Cutoff, DFCO, is in some conventional cars. Does what it says when throttle is closed, rpm at highway speeds and other parameters met. Auto or manual. At around 1500 rpm injectors are enabled. My 05 Accord V6 has, 05 Sable Duratec 30 does not. If the car decels substantially at idle likely DFCO. Sable acts close to free wheeling. Test by turning key off during decel and noting if significant change. If not then DFCO. Key to run position only. Do not start as engine is turning.