June 23, 2008
New Car Alert: We Are Hybrid Owners Now
Posted by Christine Hurt

We are car-keepers.  Our 1993 Camry (aka "the best car ever") stayed with us for 10 years, and we still miss it today.  This week, we were at a crossroads.  Our 1998 MB E320 Wagon (aka "the second best car ever") seemed like it might require some out-of-warranty repairs in the short-to-medium term.  We were also wishing we had a car that all three kids (and their two state-mandated car seats) could fit in comfortably, allowing the older two to buckle themselves.  But what car/SUV/wagon/van?  We are in a difficult car-buying place:  we have three children and live in a state that demands car seats until age 8.  At a minimum, few sedans have the kind of width for three-across, infant seat in middle, plus booster for daily driving.  So, that leaves cars out of the picture.  Our other car is a Pilot, which would seem like a good choice, with a third seat, but the third seat is impossible for a child to get in and out of without adult help and almost impossible if the second-row seat you have to collapse to get in the third seat has a car seat in it.  So, we need something with three rows of seats, but with the third row easy to access.  That seems to leave minivans.  And yes, we are just Texan enough still to resist the minivan to some extent.

So, we looked at every other crossover we could think of that allows easy access to the third seat.  One was pricey and oddly hearse-looking (the MB R-series) and the other did not have good word-of-mouth reviews regarding reliability (the Chrysler Pacifica).  Then we looked at the Toyota Highlander with the "center stow" option that lets kids hop through to the back row of seats.  That seemed like a good option, and did I mention we still missed our Camry (aka "the best car ever")? 

But something nagged at me -- have you seen gas prices lately?  Wouldn't getting good gas mileage be a good idea?  Some of the cars we looked at were literally in the single digits in the city.  Yikes!  Bracketing aside the monthly fuel cost (Champaign-Urbana is not known for its lengthy commutes), could I really thumb my nose at environmental conservation?

So, our crunchy con compromise was a Highlander Hybrid.  We are on Day 3, and we are very happy.  It has many gadgets, many that I don't need, and many more that I will never discover.  It gets reasonable gas mileage and it gets us all where we need to go, without pinched fingers and vaulting over the second row seats.

When contemplating the hybrid premium, I seemed to remember talk a year or so ago of tax incentives for people who buy hybrids.  This could be the answer!  Except, no.  According to this IRS release, because Toyota (and Honda and Lexus) make hybrids that people actually want to buy, credits for those popular cars have been phased out.  If I had wanted to buy a hybrid that no one else wanted to buy (presumably because it's not that a great of a car), then the IRS would subsidize that bad choice for me up to $3k.  Dang.

Miscellany | Bookmark

TrackBacks (0)

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Links to weblogs that reference New Car Alert: We Are Hybrid Owners Now:

Recent Comments
Popular Threads
Search The Glom
The Glom on Twitter
Archives by Topic
Archives by Date
January 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Miscellaneous Links