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Prius FUD keeps rolling

I'll write up our Bad Capital Metro Flugtag Experience tomorrow I think. In the meantime, Newsweek joins the parade of Prius FUDders by allowing Honda to reiterate the common assertion that the Prius kicks all other hybrid vehicles' asses because it "looks different". Of course, that's a load of crap; the most iconic hybrid vehicle out there was the Honda Insight. Problem was that the Insight was a nearly useless car - underpowered, uncomfortable, 2 seats, no cargo space. And for all that, you got about 5 mpg more than the Prius, back when the Insight was still being sold.

The reason the Prius sells so much better than the Civic Hybrid is because it's a much better car. The Civic is smaller (different market segment, even), gets a bit less mileage, and has far less cargo space. (The Civic's back seat doesn't even fold down - because Honda stuck the battery there). In other words, Toyota learned from Honda, and developed a better hybrid system that was able to provide small-car Civic-like mileage for a car with more usable space than the Accord. They just out-engineered the Honda boys.

Yes, a few people at the margins bought it because it was more obvious. But the car is now outselling the majority of "regular" cars in this country - and it's not doing so because of the hybrid halo. It's doing so because it's a medium-sized car which gets fuel-sipper mileage and can carry a friggin' rain barrel with the hatch closed.

The Prius is our only car. The Civic Hybrid could never have managed to be. That's basically all you need to know.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Politics (Outside Austin)


What percentage of Prius owners resemble the Newsweek guy, ie, primarily want the Prius because its styling clearly signals the enviro-conscious status of the owner? Hopefully small. Every car could and should have this technology, but if every driver was that smug, the world might soon become insufferable.

There can't possibly be that many of them, considering how many Priuses have been sold. That's the point - a lot of people are buying them because, frankly, they're superior to the other hybrids.

You are definitely right about the Prius being a more versatile design - we have a Civic Hybrid which has been great and we'll probably keep it as long as we can, but with two kids now it often is very cramped. We would have bought the Prius over the Civic purely for the larger interior and hatchback except that when we bought in July 2003 the new Prius wasn't out yet and having just returned from overseas we had to buy a car right then.

Having said that, I also think there's something to the Newsweek argument. We had a neighbor who had a Prius with a "how many lives per gallon?" sticker. OK, we get it, you drive a hybrid. And there are people who *have* to mention their car is a Prius the same way others have to mention that their car is a BMW. So there's enough of them to give you Prius owners a bad rep. ;)

While I also don't like the simplistic smugness of a "how many lives per gallon" sticker on a Prius, it could be worse.
In my old neighborhood I often saw varieties of "no war for oil" stickers on SUVs...

I'm waiting for SUVs with stickers reading "My other car is a Prius".

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