Consumer Reports' Hybrid FUD
Nearly every assumption they make in the article is flawed (not backed up by real-world data). Odograph has already covered the unfairness of comparing the Prius to the much smaller Corolla without at least mentioning the fact that unlike all of the other comparisons they did, they aren't really anything close to the same car. I noted in his comments that CR was also inconsistent about depreciation - their table charges a huge "extra depreciation" fee to the Prius, but their own statistics later in the issue show the Prius' depreciation to be "much better than average" while the Corolla is merely "average".
Additional points they got wrong are the infamous "battery life" scare tactic (hint: they will probably outlive your car). I've posted two tables below, comparing the Prius (more fairly) to the Corolla, as well as to the Camry (which is the car in the same size class as the Prius as well as its much more credible gas-only competitor), and showing their original comparison vs. the Corolla.
(scroll wayyyy down - I don't know why Movable Type hates table tags so much, but it does; it's down there eventually I promise).
|Cost Item||Prius vs. Corolla|
|Prius vs. Corolla|
|Prius vs. Camry|
|Extra sales tax||$400||$400||$201|
|Savings from hybrid tax credit||$(3150)||$(3150)||$(3150)|
|Extra insurance cost (or savings)||$300||$3003||$03|
|Extra maintenance cost (or savings)||$300||$04||$04|
|Extra depreciation cost||$3200||$(1000)5||$(2000)5|
|Extra financing cost||$5250||$5250||$2806|
|Total extra cost (savings)||$5250||$750||$(7610)|
- Purchase price estimated from midpoint of range published in CR.
- Using estimated combined MPG of 24 in CR's tests. Don't yet know figures for new Camry.
- This is probably correct, but has to do with the higher purchase price more than anything else. Estimated same insurance for Camry for that reason.
- Previous-gen Prius broke down less than Corolla and required less scheduled maintenance (brake pads and such). Higher cost of having to go to dealer instead of independent sometimes makes up for this.
- Prius has depreciated less than essentially any car out there - in fact we still get offers from our dealer to buy it back for about what we paid for it 2 years ago. I'm being conservative here in favor of the Corolla and Camry, believe it or not.
- Proportional adjustment from extra cost to Corolla - this is probably slightly off since it's not quite that simple, but close enough for our purposes.