Hybrid vehicles have come a long way since the Toyota Prius was first introduced worldwide in 2000. In addition to the traditional hybrid car there are now hybrid SUVs, hybrid trucks, plug-in hybrids, electric cars and E85 Ethanol vehicles that run on an 85% blend of ethanol and normal fuel.
All of these options are great for reducing vehicle emissions, saving money at the gas pump and helping the environment, but now with so many choices, how do you find the right hybrid vehicle for you?
Choosing the right hybrid to buy is similar to choosing the right regular automobile to buy, with just a few additional options to consider. Use our six steps below to making choosing and buying your new hybrid vehicle much easier.
6 Steps to Choosing the Right Hybrid Vehicle:
1. Research your options. Research the different types of hybrid vehicles and then compile a list of the ones you are interested in.
2. Analyze your needs. Take a look at your lifestyle and driving patterns. How many miles are you driving each day? Are you driving on highways or crowded city streets? How many people do you typically transport? Your hybrid needs to meet your daily needs.
3. Look up safety and maintenance ratings. Once you determine which vehicles on your list meet your needs, look up the safety and reliability of the cars left on your list. Also check reviews to see if the vehicles you are looking at require a lot of maintenance or additional charges. For example, if you are considering an electric car, you need to also know that your electric bill at home will go up as a result of the required charging.
4. Ask around. Talk to people you know who drive the vehicles you are thinking about purchasing. Also talk to potential sellers of the vehicle. There’s nothing more beneficial than asking questions! You could learn something vital that you didn’t even know you were looking for.
5. Review federal tax incentives. This differs from buying a regular, gas-guzzling car. Starting in March 2011, some models of hybrid vehicles became eligible for tax credits, a benefit for being environmentally friendly. If you’ve narrowed your options down to a few that you can’t choose between, look to see if one of your options has this extra edge over the other.
6. Trust your instinct. Hybrid cars often times are a bigger initial investment than a regular car. You need to ultimately choose one that you will be happy with! One that is comfortable in the test drive, and that meets your needs, both practical and personal. This is going to be the vehicle that you rely on each day, so trust your instinct and choose the one that works best for YOU.
If you need a little extra help getting started with your vehicle research, here is Kelly Blue Book’s list of the top 10 “green” fuel-efficient cars for 2013:
Top 10 Fuel-Efficient Cars of 2013
1. Nissan Leaf
2. Tesla Model S
3. Ford Focus Electric
4. Chevrolet Volt
5. Prius Plug-in
6. Ford C-Max Energi
7. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
8. Honda Fit EV
9. Toyota Avalon Hybrid
10. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Good luck, and happy hybrid hunting!
What to Do AFTER You Purchase a Hybrid:
After you purchase your perfect hybrid vehicle, you do have one more choice to make. You need to choose a trusted auto repair shop to help you maintain your new or used hybrid so that it continues to be reliable. If you’re looking for top quality hybrid repair services in Columbia, Ellicott City or Baltimore, MD, AutoStream Car Care Center is the place to come!
We specialize in providing complete hybrid repair and maintenance services, and have the latest technology and ASE Certified hybrid mechanics to take care of all your automotive needs. We also guarantee our services with a 2 year/24,000 mile warranty, so you know your car is in the best hands. At all 3 locations of AutoStream Car Care Center, our friendly team is truly passionate about protecting the environment and helping keep you and your hybrid running right.