Practically every time I see a car commercial (which thankfully I usually can DVR past at high speed- Praise The Lord- or Directv), the way the vehicle is being driven is either unrealistic or dangerous. High speed, lots of noise, empty streets, getting away, really winding roads, etc. Not at all how people drive 99.9% of the time
Auto reviewers are pretty consistent also, with their constant pitch for more horsepower, crying about the little 2.0 liter engines, compared to the much better 2.5 liter, etc. Know what I mean? The major criteria given for a bad review is often that a car is not fun to drive. Really, do most people want a fun to drive car, vs one that handles safely and gets good mileage and is reliable? Sure, it would be nice to get everything, but if a car is not dangerous, how about toning down the 'fun to drive' requirement?
I think most of the magazine and newspaper writers have lost sight of what a vehicle like a Ford Explorer or even the F150 really costs to drive. My neighbor sold his F150 (1 year old) because he couldn't stand getting 12-15 MPG and spending a hundred dollar bill to drive between Myrtle Beach SC and Ashville NC , One Way! 300 miles! Seriously! He now drives a Ford Focus Titanium hatch, and gets very good mileage. Oh, it is roomy, and fun to drive, and good looking.
Bigger, faster, bigger, faster, and on and on. Wow, what a rat race! Most car magazines pay little to no attention to fuel efficient vehicles, and constantly push the faster vehicles, larger engines and improved handling. Rarely even a mention of the positive trade off with a smaller engine and better mileage. To get good info about hybrids or electric vehicles you have to turn to other sources such as Autoblog Green or Green Car Reports. It’s as if the ‘regular’ magazines don’t want to consider alternatives to any significant degree.
It's as if there is no reason to even consider that much of America could benefit from the considerable savings in gas that are possible with hybrids. And really, isn’t there too much room in these giant vehicles for the usual one person who is in them? If they moved a lot of people and gear AND got decent mileage that would be different. Sure, car manufacturers make more profit with the larger vehicles, but do WE need them? Are we seeing enough information about what is really the more economical method of transporting ourselves?
Note also how the cars often look and drive. The Prius, and the horrible Honda copy of the Prius. Not very attractive, or quiet or good handling vehicles. The Lexus hatch/wagon thingy that is too small to be practical and does not get good mileage. The Prius has become the standard for hybrids, but most people don’t want to drive a car with that many compromises just to gain good mileage. Toyota is finally acknowledging that and also should be commended for their commitment to hybrid/electric technology. The Camry and Avalon are both excellent hybrids.
The half-hearted attempt to make a "mild hybrid" which is disappointing on its face. . The mild hybrids are often easily beaten by regular gas engine vehicles, so what's the point? Those types only end up giving real hybrids a bad name.
U.S. News and World Report has a ranking of hybrids. Here is how they rank from best to not best: Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Camry, Prius V, Prius, Prius C, Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max, and more.. The Volt is of course not the same as the rest, and in fact costs a lot more also. They seem to be getting the idea that normal sized sedans are the future, and that's a positive thing. There seems to be an emphasis on practicality, at least from this source. Honda makes a great Civic hybrid and now is making an Accord Hybrid. Good on em! Another sedan that is practical and good looking.
The mileage figures given by the EPA are designed to be unrealistic, and thus they tell people that hybrids aren't what they appear to be. Naturally car manufacturers are going to try and tailor their cars to get the highest EPA figures, while knowingly being untruthful. Of course they then draw attention to their hybrids in a negative way, which seems counter intuitive.
Here's a Quote from Autogreen about the Ford Focus Electric:
In editor-speak, Ford may have buried the lead here. The US automaker, which sells the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrids as well as the Ford Focus Electric, was looking to get some press by letting the world know that drivers of its four production plug-in models put on 203,000 miles of electric-only miles a day, or the equivalent of eight trips around the earth. Which is all fine and good, but what we found more interesting is how quickly those plug-in drivers are learning to take advantage of their non-traditional drivetrain technology. Ford says that, while one in five trips by a new Ford plug-in hybrid driver is all-electric, that number rises to about one in three after six months of ownership. That's because the driver gets the hang of the car's all-electric range and begins to manipulate trips without having to dip into the gas tank. Collecting data through the MyFordMobile app, the company estimates that a plug-in vehicle driver takes an average of four trips between charges, and that the driver recharges the vehicle almost once a day. With the introduction of the two plug-in hybrid models this year, Ford has sold 7,352 plug-in vehicles through August. Through August of last year, Ford sold just 169 Focus Electrics. The figures for hybrids are even much more amazing.
To end on a (hopefully) positive note- The world of hybrids is changing, as can be seen by the U.S. News list. Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Hyundai- all are doing great things with hybrids. Content, handling, technology attractiveness, and more, are drawing folks to look at hybrids.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but just needed to get if off my pea-pickin’ mind. Thanks for reading.