Hyundai


Gas Price Are Increasing: Try a Hybrid
by The Car Family

Rising gas prices that are only going to get higher this summer during peak driving season. With average commuting times in the 45-minute range and traffic getting worse perhaps it is time to consider a hybrid sedan that offers between 55 and 70 plus miles per gallon. The Car Family selected two of the highest rated hybrid sedans for quality and fuel mileage, the Prius Prime, and the Hyundai Ioniq.

Hyundai’s Ioniq is a traditional hybrid with a battery pack helping the engine when needed and at low speeds. The Toyota Prime is a plug-in hybrid which uses two battery packs. One is for electric only power for around 25 miles when the main battery pack takes over and helps the gasoline engine as needed with a 70 The Ioniq is rated at 58 mpg and the Toyota can top 70. The joy of the Prime is threefold. First, you may get both state and federal checks and/or tax credits and the Prime also qualifies you for the high occupancy lane sticker, which is priceless some days.

Mom’s view: These cars are perfect for commuter or trips, and both can go over 500 miles between refueling. The average gas mileage of all cars sold in America is about 25 mpg which means that these hybrids can easily cut you fuel budget in half while still providing convenience and a range of safety features. So the big question is, if hybrids are so good, why aren’t they popular? The answer isn’t simple. It could be bad information, the difficulty in breaking habits, not enough room for six, or fear of change. Regardless, the best way is to test drive one yourself. The Hyundai dash and driving experience are more closely related to a regular car. The Prime takes more time to get used to but is easy to master. The Prime exterior is very dramatic while the Ioniq more mundane. Seating in both hybrids was adequate, but certainly not in the luxury category. Parking is a snap, and the rear hatches easy to open; however, the Prime did not have nearly as much cargo space as the Ionig due to the location of Toyota’s battery pack. The Toyota has room for four passengers and the Hyundai five. Within minutes, I was right at home with both cars. The Hyundai has a more typical cockpit while the Prius has the instrument cluster in the center of the dash. The Prius Prime has Toyota Safety Sense which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, radar cruise control and rearview camera. The Ioniq with the Ultimate Package has the same capabilities. The Hyundai interior is quite simple and familiar. The Prime requires some adjustments from the short shifting knob to the center-mounted instrument cluster. I would like either hybrid and with rebates, they are both attractive buys and lease rates are favorable.

Dad’s view: These vehicles have instant torque that makes on-ramp and passing situations less stressful. Consumer Reports and the JD Powers rate these models highly in terms of quality. Ride feel is very good and the steering inspires confidence. The stop-start feature is seamless and the regenerating brakes have a solid feel. The cars get to 60 mph in about ten seconds and handle extremely well. The big difference is that Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive uses an electric continuously variable transmission formula while the Hyundai has a six-speed dual clutch automatic that delivers a more normal driving feel.

Young man’s view: The Prime is loaded with technology. You get a large 11.6-inch display compatible with Siri Eyes-Free and Toyota’s Entune App Suite that offers Pandora, traffic, and weather while the Ioniq hybrid with the Ultimate package has an 8-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Hyundai’s Blue Link. The Prius Prime Advanced comes with Prime Apps, which can manage your charging status, locate a charging station, change the interior temperature, and locate your vehicle. Hyundai’s Blue Link basically does all that Prime Apps could do as well as integrate with Amazon Alexa, Apple Watch and Android Wear watches. Both cars have wireless charging for your phone. Voice recognition is so-so in the Ioniq.

Young working woman’s view: If you plug in the Prime you can expect between 20 and 25 battery powered miles while the Hyundai does not have the extra batter. The trade-off is in the price as the Ioniq starts in the low $20,000s and the Prime in the $30,000 range. Is it worth the extra money for the high occupancy lane, government rebates, and better mileage? Well, for 909 readers that decision requires some serious math time. Since I do not have access to an outlet where I could plug-in the Prime the Ioniq would be the best choice. However, if I did the Toyota would be my winner.

Family conference: Hyundai is bringing out a plug-in hybrid to challenge the Prius Prime but as of now the hybrid is the most efficient family vehicle they offer. The warranty on the Hyundai is excellent with a lifetime promise whereas the Toyota is more limited. Pricing is also in the Hyundai’s court costing nearly $10,000 less. However, the Prius Prime is essentially loaded and the base Hyundai needs several options to be competitive. The bottom line is that the Prius Prime is best if you have a place to plug it in and can afford the extra cost. Otherwise, the Hyundai is a good choice with excellent cargo space and is more responsive on the open road. Either way, you are going to be visiting gasoline stations much less with a fill-up yielding over 500 miles or more from their 11 gallon tanks.

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Hyundai Genesis: Glitz and Glamour
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

Hyundai threw everything at their disposal at the Genesis from LED running lights to HID headlights in an effort to attract upscale buyers. The result is a large, smooth, and very quick sedan with a variety of features that are unique and useful. For example, when you enter the vehicle at night the ground outside of front passenger doors is illuminated with a light that reads, “Genesis” and prepares you for what is inside. And what’s inside is plenty good. A multimedia control system, eight-inch touch-screen with an optional 9.2-inch touch-screen, a multifunction display and, thankfully, real knobs that can be used to control functions. There is also a head-up reveal that offers drivers a variety of important data including your speed, a Blue Link communications system that has a voice-recognition program, and even an optional remote start feature.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

With a plethora of features the Genesis is designed to attract buyers who enjoy the idea of a large sedan with the latest in electronics and don’t want to pay for the more expensive competition and not nearly as spacious competition. The downside is that the V6 version only gets 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Handling is best when the Hyundai Sports Mode is activated. If you would rather have a more relaxed ride try Normal, and when stuck in commuter traffic selecting Eco can help ease your pain.

Young male’s view: Working on my degree in cybersecurity and its challenges is not unlike the challenges of the Genesis electronics. Optional systems such as Apple Siri integration that can be used for a variety of internet audio options such as Pandora, the latest traffic information, fuel prices, traffic data and more are nice, but there is also Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, a USB, audio jacks, and the list goes on. For example, there is the Smart Trunk feature that automatically opens the trunk when you stand near it with the proximity key in your possession for a few seconds, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and a multi-speaker Lexicon audio system available. There is even a rear window power sunshade and heated steering wheel available. The option packages are the Ultimate, Signature and Technology packages and they can add over $10,000 to the base price to the $38,950 base price. Personally, I would get them all as they add considerably to the joy of owning a premium sedan.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

Dad’s view: We had the 3.8-liter, V6 engine with 311 hp, but you can order the 5.0-liter V8 rated at 420 horsepower and is very fast. There is also an all-wheel-drive option with a V-6. Our rear wheel drive 3.8 test car averaged around 20 mpg in mixed driving a 22 on long trips unburdened by heavy traffic. The EPA has estimates on the highway up to 29 mpg. It could happen. The ride can be best described as lush with little road feel and steering that was vague. The Genesis can be best described as a relaxed sedan that wants to coddle you.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

Mom’s view: The 5.0 Genesis is more expensive, but I would opt for the 3.8. It has as much power as most people need and even in base trim you get heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, real-time traffic alerts, and more. Add to that the tight turning radius at about 38 feet that makes parking very easy and you have an upscale sedan with some remarkable features. For example there are nine air bags most everywhere, including overhead, and a Blue Link crash notification system that provides automatic emergency contact information to those selected by the owner. So very reassuring. The Genesis also has excellent crash scores with a forward-collision warning and autonomous braking set-up systems. Standard featured such as Electronic Stability Control, energy-absorbing front seats, anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution. Other safety options include blind spot warning, with an enhancement called Lane Change Assist that helps detect vehicles approaching towards its rear side at high speeds. The Genesis offers a Land Departure Warning that activates, the vibrates the steering wheel as well as warning lights when the transmission is noted. The Genesis is a sedan you can build to your needs with a strong emphasis on family safety.

Young working woman’s view: A large trunk with a low and wide lift over, a grocery bad holder that folds down, and there is an abundance of storage areas in the cabin and the seats can be heated. The doors are hefty and shut with a reassuring, bank vault sound. Parking is greatly eased with the rearview camera and warnings that abound. This car is a little too much car for me. I prefer the very nice Elantra. I have noticed that Hyundai is offering some excellent lease deals and, as usual, the warranties are exceptional with 10 years or 100,000 on the drivetrain and five years of free roadside assistance.

Family conference: When you think of a premium sedan Hyundai’s Genesis probably does not come to mind, but perhaps it should. It has plenty of pep, enough features to keep a pre-teen busy, and a comfortable and accommodating interior.

Using vehicles to create student interest in math and Language Arts
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Using vehicles is an excellent way to motivate students and to help ready them for real life buying decisions. The following links deal with the various manufactures where students can write for information, obtain pricing information and to harvest compare and contrast data for Common Core related essays.

A listing of all DMV offices.
Finding the office that deals with your state and others can provide information on how old one needs to be to drive as well as the various license fee data that could be used for Common Core math problems. I have used driver manuals to motivate students to read.
http://www.dmv.org/

Data on fuel economy
This federal site would enable students to select a variety of vehicles and there fuel mileage. This could be used for math as well as to provide statistics for an essay on the best or worst type of vehicles in terms of fuel costs.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

A link site to manufacturers who sell cars in America
http://search.ezilon.com/united_states/business/automotive/auto_manufacturers/

A listing of vehicle websites worldwide
http://autopedia.com/html/MfgSites.html

National Motorists Association
A great source of information on driving and the law.
http://www.motorists.org/

A listing of car value prices
A good place to find statistics for math problems about the prices of cars and motorcycles.
http://www.nadaguides.com/

Where cars are made by location
Great way to teach geography.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/a-graphic-representation-of-whats-really-made-in-america-feature

By The Car Family
for more reviews go to
http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

Hyundai’s Santa Fe is a pleasant surprise with excellent interior components, a host of technology helpers, the availability of a third row of seats, and low long term costs making this an ideal family vehicle. The CUV category of vehicles is one of the most competitive in the industry as companies as diverse as Porsche and Fiat offer alternatives to tempt consumers. Hyundai has done well in this segment and the new Santa Fe is extremely competitive in both price and features. Indeed, it has been rated very highly in head to head competitions with only more expensive models rated higher.

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

Dad’s view: The base four-cylinder engine is adequate, but we much prefer the turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s acceleration, although the gas mileage isn’t stellar with 20 mpg in mixed driving being our average. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard and is excellent. The ride is compliant, steering feel is quite good and the brakes have a satisfying feel. Scores for Korean made cars have improved dramatically in recent owner quality reviews and the significant warranty provides comfort for those who have been reluctant to try this marque’s offerings. This model is going to be a concern for the competition with exceptional pricing and value. With it performance and equipment it is nearly unbeatable save for the humdrum fuel mileage. Even with the abundance of players in the crossover utility class (CUV), the Santa Fe is a standout and the turbochared 265-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four is quite capable. The 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower is a worthwhile consideration for those that use the 5000 pound towing package. All wheel drive is an option. This Hyundai is compelling choice as it offers the ability to travel to the mountains, seashore, desert or just go shopping in quiet luxury that one does not expect in a vehicle with a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range. Adding to that allure is that way it easily handles chores whether it be dropping of the kids at school, bringing home do-it-yourself items, or going out to dinner.

Mom’s view: An impressive interior with easy to decipher controls, good forward visibility, and comfortable seats make the Santa Fe very user friendly. The position of the sideview mirrors, however, can block your view of pedestrians. The second row seats are ample, but the third row is quite small as it is for most SUVs in this class. Cargo space is limited and so it is good that the Santa Fe’s seats are easy to fold down to carry larger items. I would highly recommend the rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and navigation with an eight-inch touch screen. You can open the power liftgate with the key fob making it much easier to use as part of the must have Premium package that even includes lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear window shades among other goodies. Safety wise you the Santa Fe standard equipment includes a vehicle stability system, traction control, seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist control, downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Crash scores were very good, but from a mommy standpoint the Santa Fe is a vehicle I would want to carry my family as it does not shortchange safety.

Young woman’s view: You must order the $4,350 Ultimate with heated and cooled front seats, parking sensors, memory seats, and a larger touchscreen display screen. The center stack is well organized and the ride is much improved over previous models. However, this isn’t a canyon runner. There are faster compact utility vehicles, but none really have offer the combination of ride, performance, and value. It is quiet, conventional looking, and doesn’t attract unwanted attention. Getting in and out when wearing a dress is not a problem and the controls are easy to reach and activate even if you have longer fingernails. The rear liftover is a bit high for me, but the automatic rear hatch negates any problem related to reach.

Young man’s view: Bluetooth and a USB port are standard as well as a very clear rearview camera. Other standard features include alloy wheels, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icers, cruise control, heated front seats, a 40/20/40-split sliding and reclining second-row seat and a 50/50-split flat-folding third-row seat. Also standard are Hyundai’s telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB/iPod integration and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. I would recommend a close look at the many technology options available on the Santa Fe including the really nice 12-speaker Infinity audio system. This vehicle is surprisingly interesting even if it isn’t the sexiest CUE on the block.

Family conference: If you are looking for a lot of car for the money, the Santa Fe and smaller Santa Fe Sport are must drives. The cabin is very nice, almost elegant, and the menus and functions are intuitive and fast reacting. Putting these traits together in a price range that is thousands under most competitors makes for a persuasive argument. No doubt Hyundai has put safety first with its Santa Fe models.

Best 2013 SUVs for Gas Mileage

by The Car Family

For more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

 First, SUVs by their nature are not fuel frugal. They are heavy and have a significant wind drag. Some manufacturers have even gone so far as to put larger gas tanks in them to provide the illusion that you are getting better mileage because the fuel gauge is slower to move. However, fuel weighs 8.6 pounds per gallon and thus the added weight diminishes mileage as well.

 Furthermore, SUVs are not as safe as minivans in most cases due to their height. Indeed SUVs are involved in more single vehicle accidents. That being said, If you really need a SUV there are some that get reasonable mileage.

 Our strongest recommendation is for what is called a crossover, which means it was built on a passenger car frame. Next, unless you travel frequently in inclement weather, two wheel drive provides better mileage and less maintenance. If you may need to carry six or eight passengers the three row SUVs are obviously your choice, but take the time to see how difficult it is to get into that third row.

 Combining price, mileage and family friendlessness we have come up with our top 15. This is the list of the best SUVs under $50,000 and almost all of them run on regular fuel.

 BMW X1 is a good handling, handy sized SUV that gets 24 mpg city / 33 mpg hwy and has a MSRP of $30,650. If it fits, a best buy for those who want a bit of fun in their daily treks.

 The Buick Encore is a good value, with lots of standard features, this Buick is a quiet ride, very sedate, and offers a rating of 25 mpg city / 33 mpg hwy for a MSRP: $25,010.

The Chevrolet Equinox/ GMC Terrain have excellent cargo space and a host of available safety features. Plenty of poke for a MSRP: $25,800 and 22 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy.

Redone for 2013, the Escape is listed with a MSRP: $22,470 and rated at 22 mpg city / 31 mpg hwy. Ford does not allow us to tests it vehicles so we can’t offer insights into its family usefulness. For the same money or less you can get a none hybrid SUV with better fuel figures.

Basically the same as last year, the 21 mpg city /30 mpg hwy rated Ford Edge is listed at a MSRP: $34,940 and is closely related to the Lincoln MKX. Again, Ford does not allow us to test its vehicles so we can’t offer any opinion. The pricing puts it in the near luxury category. Check Ford’s reliability record first.

The 2013 Honda CR-V has a MSRP: $24,795 and its four-cylinder engine yields a 23 mpg city / 31 mpg hwy average. Sadly, Honda, as Ford, does not allow us to test its products and so we can’t comment on this SUVs usefulness. However, in the past it has been a good value. We do know that the Toyota RAV has been redone and gets the same or better fuel mileage at a slightely lower suggested price.

 We love Hyundai vehicles for their value, warranty, and features and the Tucson is no exception. There are well thought out design ideas everywhere and the base price is $20,245. Be warned that you must come to the dealer having done your homework because there are several models and numerous features. Gas mileage ratings of 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy

The 2013 Kia Sorento is being built in the USA and is a big seller. Why? Lots of interior room, features, and a MSRP: $26,950 are some, but the 21 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy is just as important.

 Kia’s Sportage has a list price under $20,000 and a 20 mpg city / 27 mpg hwy rating. If you order the turbocharged engine expect less.

Here is a winner with a starting price in the low $20,000 range and the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover segment is rated between 31 – 35 mpg, bettering the hybrids. Lots of options so do your homework and don’t expect V8 performance or towing capability.

 We like the well priced Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with its 25 mpg city / 31 mpg hwy averages and a base price in the law $20,000s. This is an outstanding handling SUV and should be on your consideration list if there is a dealer in your area. Surprisingly nimble.

 Ford’s Escape Hybrid used to be among our favorites, but it is has a totally different feel and pricing from $30,570. For that you get a top ten fuel efficient SUV with a city average of up to 34 mpg and a highway rating about 31. There are a lot of non-hybrids that get have the same mileage rating and have a lower starting price. The Escape is bigger in every way.

 Lexus RX 450 is expensive, but worth it with high resale, excellent reliability and a tremendous number of luxury features for the $46,310 to $47,710 listed price. You can achieve about 32 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. Easily the best luxury SUV for gas mileage, features, and user ratings. If you want something less costly and with fewere fringes try the Toyota Highland Hybrid with an overall 28 mpg rating and a price range that starts around $39,000. Both of these SUVs come with less expensive non-hybrid versions that average about 22 mpg.

The Mini Countryman isn’t really a SUV in the traditional sense. It is smaller, lighter on its feed, and a lot more fun to drive and park. Prices range from $20,000 to $34,850 and you can easily achieve 30 mpg and more if you can restrain yourself. Yes, all wheel drive is available.
The Nissan Juke is a sporty crossover that looks a bit strange, but that is its charm. As well as a 29 mpg average and a starting price just under $20,000. Very fun to drive and no slouch in terms of performance.

Mazda’s CX-5 lists from $20,995 to $28,595 and you can average 30 mpg in mixed driving without much effort. A good handling machine, as are most Mazdas, this Mazda costs less, handles better and gets superior gas mileage to the Ford Escape hybrid. It does not have the same cargo space. If you are serious about gas mileage, this is the one.

Don’t underestimate the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and its that can get around 27 mpg in mixed driving. This SUV is both fuel efficient, enjoyable to drive, and a bargain with a starting price under $19,000. Great deals abound.

Also among the most efficient SUVs and another bargain, the Hyundai Tucson with its base engine and starting price of just over $19,000 can get you government gas mileage ratings of 23 City/31 Hwy. A tough crossover, this Hyundai has an excellent warranty and has plenty of features.

Subaru XV Crosstrek lists for $21,995–$24,495 and offers all wheel drive while still getting government ratings of 23 to 33 in city and highway driving. If you want more room and have a can spend a little more money try the Subaru Outback with a combined 26 mpg.

Toyota RAV4 24 miles per gallon city, and 31 mpg on the highway cycle with front-wheel-drive models and a starting price about $24,000. This is an all new vehicle and it is undercuts the Honda CR-V on pricing and beats it on gas mileage. If you don’t test these two back to back you are making a big mistake if you are in the market for a name brand crossover.

There you have it. Our recommendations are simple. The Chevrolet offers the best fuel mileage and interior room for the price. The Mazda products are fun and get excellent gas mileage, and the Lexus RX 450 is the Queen of this list. As for the new BMW X1, it could be your best bet if you watch your options and don’t need the interior space of the larger vehicles on this list. If you need all wheel drive the Subarus are a great choice.

For a list of all vehicle websites go to http://reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

Kia vs. Hyundai: Looks are Everything

by

The Car Family

for more reviews go to

http://blog.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

Forget what your mother told you, looks are everything. At least that is the case when it comes to comparing these two Korean built hybrids. Although there are small differences in features, interior appointments, and cost, they both have the same DNA. The result is a win-win for buyers who just might want to ignore outward appearances and go for the best deal. We liked the handling of the Kia and the ride of the Hyundai, but there were only minor differences.

As for real world driving, both cars have the same powertrain, the same hesitancy when shifting between electric and gasoline power, and abundance of standard features. These cars can easily take you to Las Vegas and back and still have enough fuel for a trip or two to Angel Stadium. They are rated at 40 mpg on the highway, but expect 35 mpg if you don’t stick to the posted speed limits.

The sedans use a 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, complemented by an electric drive system using a 34-kilowatt lithium polymer battery pack that weighs just 96 pounds. The combined 204 horsepower is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The real surprise is that the Sonata’s battery pack has been given a lifetime warranty, according to Hyundai. That is remarkable as most battery packs cost several thousand dollars and another thousand to install.

As a full hybrids these cars can use either the gas engine, the electric motor, or both, and don’t require plug-in charging. They have a fairly tidy turning radius and visibility is good to the front and sides. The rear vision is more limited. There is an abundance of standard equipment, which has become the hallmark of this manufacture. Our test vehicle had the optional traffic data system that provides suggestions for detours when traffic is blocked. You can even get voice command. There is a lot of technology here that rivals the much more expensive Ford products, the these cars have superior warranties.

Mom’s view: I didn’t like the hick-up I felt when the computer software didn’t seem to know which gear and which mode, electric or gas or both, to use when freeway driving. It doesn’t take long to get become acclimatized to it, but the Toyota’s are smoother. Interestingly, the car could revert to electric only mode even when cruising on the freeway. The interiors are very different and I liked the Sonata’s better. However, it is a matter of taste and the fit and finish were excellent for the price for the Kia and the Hyundai. You lose some trunk room because of the battery placement,but that is the only negative (pun intended). Roomy, family friendly, and with an excellent warranty, it is difficult to resist especially with the Kia/Hyundai legendary warranty. A worthy effort.

Dad’s view: The Kia wants to play, the Hyundai would prefer you stayed on the freeway and enjoyed the ride. Simply pressing a button puts the car into “Blue Drive” which means the software is doing all it can to increase miles per gallon. The accelerator pedal felt a little softer in this mode, but I didn’t notice much difference other than that. Lithium polymer battery packs are expensive, we know, we have been into electric powered vehicles for nearly a decade now. That Hyundai warranty takes a lot of the fear out of hybrid ownership. Although we like Toyota’s hybrid line-up better, it does not offer the unique options these sedans offer or the trendy styling. These cars should be on test drive list if you need a one car does it all sedan.

 

Young working man’s view: The electronics are first rate and the Infiniti audio system and the Bluetooth capabilities are going to tax your teenager’s patience as they provide such an array of choices from phone to music to traffic. Now which one gets the priority? I think we know. I like the Kia best. The looks grab you, and the interior is a little, ah, more youthful. The 4.3-inch color LC D touch screen, rear view camera and voice recognition are all worthwhile. These are truly unique hybrids.

Working woman’s view: I like the ouch sensitive screen and the fact you can get five adults in without much hassle. The Eco scoring system must be seen. It sort of makes driving the car efficiently like a computer game. The seats are a bit thin on padding, but easy to adjust. The ergonomics are first rate. These cars made you feel comfortable when you are driving. Almost everywhere you look there are thoughtful touches such as an abundance of storage nooks. They even have an engine sound system that lets pedestrians know you are coming when the car is running in its siletn electric mode. I also liked the heated and cooled seats, excellent crash scores, and the many standard safety features. A feel good car.

Family conference: There are alternatives, such as the Toyota Prius and the newly redone Camry hybrid, but for fuel economy and standard features the Kia and Hyundia should be on anyone’s short list of family oriented hybrids. Before you drive on check out the manufacture websites so that you can see the option packages. However, in the end, as always, it will probably be the looks that seals the decision. Sorry, Mom.

For vehicle websites go to

http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

The Low Down on Hybrids

by The Car Family

for more reviews go to:

http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

There are over 35 hybrids on the market from the new Toyota Prius C for under $20,000 to the Lexus and BMW hybrids at over $100,000. Gas mileage varies all hybrid models can vary from  over 50 to 21 mpg depending on the size of the vehicle and its use of the electric motors. What they promise is more power for less petroleum dollar. They aren’t offering a free lunch, but a healthier one. Most of these vehicles are capable of a 500 round-trip without even looking at the gas gauge. In town they are even more fuel friendly in daily commutes with 40 mpg and up figures common.

As usual, there is a trade-off and that is the fact the battery packs wear out and can be expensive to replace. Toyota charges about $2500 plus installation, but that expense could go down over time. Kia and Hyundai have announced a limited life time warranty on its’ batteries. Regardless, with gas around $4 a gallon and high resale values on used hybrids, it is financially well worth your time to consider a hybrid.

Kia’s Optima and Hyundai’s Sonata hybrids combine a 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, a 30-kw electric motor and lightweight lithium polymer batteries to provide 206 horsepower and 35 city /40 highway and 37 mpg combined figures. Both have lots of features but the trunk space is limited.

If you need a tough SUV, Volkswagen’s new Touareg hybrid is an option worth considering. It is expensive, but very fast, especially considering it is rated at 20 mpg city and 24 highway and has a 7700 pound towing rating.

Toyota’s gas savers are the Prius and the plug-in Prius. Both are gas misers with 50 mpg ratings. We were able to get over 60 mpg with the new plug-in version. Easy to love, but if you need more room the Prius V is a larger version with a station wagon design. It will cost you ten miles per gallon, but may be worth it for those who need to haul those Mastiffs to the vet.

The Chevrolet Malibu Eco assist has 25/27/37 ratings. The Malibu is am excellent family sedan and the interior and ride are exception for a vehicle priced around $26,000. General Motors calls this a soft hybrid because the battery pack alone cannot power the sedan. The interior is grand and the ride exceptional. This is perhaps the best family sedan Chevrolet has ever made for the price.

At the other end of the family hauler hybrid category is the Infiniti M35h Hybrid with a MSRP north of $50,000 and fuel economy ratings of 27/29/32 mpg city/highway. The rear wheel drive Infiniti is another very fast hybrid and can use its battery power for long periods of time in traffic. It handles well and the leather-wrapped interior is very smart. Perhaps the best of the luxury hybrid sedans and certainly one of the fastest ever with 0 to 60 times in a little over five seconds. Wow. And we got 32 mpg in mixed driving. A wonder car.

Mom:s view: With all new Toyota Camry hybrid raises the bar for family hybrids with a starting price around $26,000 and room for five adults. It clearly is better than the Ford products at this moment. I didn’t like the Kia or Hyundai as much as the Prius plug-in and the Chevrolet. If I just wanted to save on gas I would get the Prius, if I wanted more comfort the Chevrolet would be my choice.The Kia and Hyundai are good looking, easy to use, but not as smooth as the others. No doubt the non-hybrid versions are nearly as frugal and less expensive.

Dad’s view: The Touareg was a wonder. It is very powerful and handles any conditions you can throw at it with ease. This Volkswagen is loaded with special features that makes it ideas for those with homes in the the mountains or who like off-roading. It has a very large fuel tank which can make most weekend trips fill-up free. However, my favorite was the Toyota Prius plug-in. If you stick with the base model it is $33,000, but you lose your spare tire as the extra battery pack goes there. We drove one to Santa Barbara and back and had over 100 miles left and the gas tank only holds 10.6 gallons.

Young working woman’s view: Call me stuffy, but I love the Infiniti and its glorious interior and peppy ride. This car is luxurious with just the right touch of dignity and economy to justify the expense. The reality is that the Kia or Hyundai are more in my price range. I really like the Hyundai best in looks and feel. The transmission was a bit hesitant at times, but the exterior, ride, and cost make it well worth the payments. If I had a family the Chevrolet would easily be my choice. It is the only one that really makes it easy to put in a car seat outside of the mundane Camry and expensive Infiniti. However, if I had the means the glorious interior and jet like performance of the Infiniti would be in under my car port and a lucky girl I would be.

Infiniti Interior

Young working male’s view: I like the look of the Kia, but the handy nature of the Chevrolet makes it my choice in terms of pricing, mileage and interior space. Before you go car hunting I would spend some time getting a fix on what options you want because these hybrids are pretty well loaded and so spending extra may not be necessary.

Family conference: The average commute for readers is over 40 miles and with weekend trips to the beach putting 20,000 miles a year on a vehicle is not uncommon. If that is the case these hybrids could save you a couple of thousand dollars a year on fuel.

For links to all manufacturers go to

http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/auto/index.html

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