The hybrid craze has become ridiculous.
I think the perception of hybrids in America is driving demand more than the actual practicality of them. Once the Toyota Prius came out and gas prices skyrocketed, the idea of a car that could get 40 mpg sounded like a good idea. America latched on to the “hybrid” term as a way to save on gas and has never looked back.
Other automakers have jumped into the fold and now offer hybrids, many of them priced at a hefty premium over their gas-only siblings. For an example of a $31,000 premium, read on!
First, let’s compare the Ford Fusion. A Fusion S trim that’s rated at 23 city/34 highway mpg goes for $19,695, while the hybrid version, which is rated at 41/36, is $27,270.
The Fusion Hybrid is no doubt a great car and comes with more bells and whistles than the base trim, but that $7,575 premium is just not worth it to me when looking at fuel efficiency alone.
For an even better example, we need to look in Germany. After all, the Europeans know a thing or two about the need for fuel-efficient cars, and it makes sense to get an idea of what automakers are offering there in terms of hybrids.
While looking through Volkswagen’s German website, I found the Touareg Hybrid on sale for, get this, 73,500 Euro (or $99,000), compared with the Touareg V6 TDI for 50,700 Euro ($68,000). I’ll do the math for you: The hybrid Touareg costs nearly 23,000 Euro ($31,000) more than the diesel-powered version.
Now don’t you think that if hybrid technology were a better solution than diesel, Volkswagen would make the hybrid Touareg more price competitive with the V6 TDI? Especially in its home country?
It kind of makes me wonder if automakers are just catering to the current hybrid infatuation in America and using it as an excuse to jack up prices when they know diesel makes a lot more sense.
I don’t blame the automakers – they will always do what they need to in order to make money. Right now, it’s selling hybrids in America. I just wonder if the American people will ever wake up and stop buying them.
What do you think: Are hybrid vehicles worth their premium prices? Is ethanol, diesel, or some other fuel a better solution?