Author Topic: diesel vs gas vs hybrid  (Read 8533 times)

southernhippie

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diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« on: October 28, 2014, 06:06:14 AM »
This is a curiosity question.

I was wondering what everyone thought about which is the best option.

Gas vehicles are the cheapest, easier to maintain, and more abundant.  MPG can vary widely.  Reliability can vary widely as well

Hybrids more expensive and maintenance isn't too bad from what I have heard.  MPG is the obvious upside.  Reliability can vary as well. (Although I have heard of Prius's going over 300,000 miles).

Diesel most expensive up front.  Maintenance is more costly.  MPG's are better than gas and sometimes even better than hybrids.  Reliability is extremely high.  Many people who tow/haul big loads with their diesel trucks have gone over 500,000 miles without any major mechanical problems.

I know the recommendations on the website for smart cars and everything.  But it seems to me the most MMM vehicle would be a diesel.  Due to the good mpg and the extreme durability of the vehicle to last well over 20 years. 

If I am wrong.  I would love to hear why.  Just want to hear everyone else's thoughts on the subject.

P.S-  I know a bike is the best form of transportation.  But for your discussion sake let us leave it out for now.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 06:30:44 AM »
It depends on where you drive and how much you drive.

If you're doing lots of miles on the interstate, diesel would likely be the best choice. However if you're driving lots in city/suburban traffic, the hybrid may be better.

If you're not driving a lot, might be better off just getting the cheaper conventional petrol car :)

It's not really a case of what's best, more what's best for a particular use case. :)

Honestly the best MMM car choice is likely a cheap, reliable, reasonably common (for servicing costs/spare part availability) petrol car that isn't driven an awful lot.

orbix

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 08:47:52 AM »
It's going to depend entirely on the local used car market- if you're somewhere in the Midwest, you're probably not going to have many options on the diesel/hybrid front, in which case a small, efficient petrol vehicle is probably the best bet simply for availability's sake. Around the Colorado Front Range area, I swear every other car is either a hybrid or a small diesel, so there are a lot more options.

Also, where you live is also going to dictate availability and cost of parts, so keep that in mind as well.

All of that said, we have a 2003 VW mk4 Golf TDi that we absolutely love and that's been rock-solid and extremely cheap to maintain and operate for the past 12 years.

daverobev

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 08:50:09 AM »
All highway? Diesel - assuming you do enough miles to make up for the extra purchase and maintenance cost

All city? Hybrid (or electric) - assuming you do enough miles to make up for the higher purchase price

Anything else? Manual transmission Honda Civic, or similar

ketchup

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 09:27:29 AM »
If (as a Mustachian it is likely) your budget is in the <$5k range, a reliable, efficient, manual-transmission straight-gasoline car is probably the best option.  Going from 20MPG to 35MPG is a big deal; going from 35MPG to 50MPG matters considerably less per mile when compared to depreciation/maintenance.

Where I live, the cost of diesel is higher than that of gasoline by about 40 cents.

hexdexorex

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 10:51:12 AM »
I have a couple of friends that bought Diesel's recently. I dont see the appeal. Yes they have higher fuel economy on highway...but diesel fuels are worse for the environment than unleaded. I read somewhere that you have to take off 30% mpg to equal the environmental impact of diesel vs unleaded...so they come out the same for a higher cost.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 02:05:50 PM »
Diesel ...  Reliability is extremely high.

Not anymore.  Ever since diesel emissions started to become regulated in 2005ish, the cars have gotten a lot less reliable.  There's a reason that doing a search for "HPFP" takes you to "failure" as the first result.  I have read Ford Diesel forums where the community consensus is that on the new engines, you MUST disable most of the emissions controls in order to make it run reliably.  A lot of modern diesels also have separate DEF systems as well, which present yet another level of complexity.

Diesels were awesome for reliability back when there were no emissions controls, which lasted a shockingly long time.  Now that diesel engines have to meet the same emissions standards as gasoline cars in America, they are having to do a boatload of work on the engineering side and it's just a lot of complexity and failure points.  Worse is the fact that BMW & VW are the two most common diesel small cars, and both brands are only mid-pack for reliability overall.

I would not bother with any hybrids except the Prius.  Honda's had so many CVT failures that it's an embarrassment.  They also had a massive lawsuit over the bad fuel economy of the Civic Hybrid in the real world since their repeated on-board recalibration of the battery pack reduced fuel economy to barely better than the gasoline Civic.  No one else's hybrids will get appreciably better fuel economy than a decent compact car.

The ubiquitous nature of gasoline compact cars generally makes them the best bet over the long haul.  I loved my Prius when I owned one, but am back to a regular gas compact car again now that I hardly drive any miles.  Your chosen budget, passenger/cargo needs, and number of miles driven per year will all play a role in what makes most sense for you.

Gone Fishing

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 02:16:39 PM »
Not always the case, but we saw diesel running almost a dollar more a gallon than regular this past weekend, that sure eats up any benefit in a hurry.  I bought my last car 4 years ago (08 Manual Corolla) and at the time, my calculations indicated it was about break even with a Prius or Hybrid Civic and it was easier for me to work on. Things might have changed a bit since then though. 

hoodedfalcon

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2014, 02:24:30 PM »
I have a 2004 VW Golf TDI. When I bought the car, diesel fuel was less than unleaded, but it's been higher now for quite awhile (.20-.30/gallon more). I used to do a lot more highway miles. Was able to go 600 miles on one tank of gas on the highway. Now I do a lot of stop and start city driving so my MPG has gone down significantly (450-500 per tank). I have 119K miles on it and it has been incredibly cheap to maintain. Oil changes are pretty pricey, but I have gotten about one per 8-12 months for the last 8 years and it probably could go even longer between oil changes.

I do have a check engine light that has been on but the repair shop can't find a problem. The headliner is falling down. The paint looks like shit, but I have parked it outside for the last 10 years. It handled wonderfully in the snow when I lived in Vermont (I didn't have snow tires either).

However, diesel pumps are disgusting. Fuel seems to get all over everything. I have no idea how this happens. I keep wipes in my car, for the 12 times/year I fuel up.

Bateaux

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2014, 04:34:17 PM »
You drive a diesel because you want or need a diesel.  They are not cheaper to operate nor do they last significantly longer.  I have a F250 FX4 Crew Cab diesel and its MPG at 16 to 20 is amazing for what it is, a huge truck mads for heavy work.
I like it for towing and hauling.  I also can afford it, I paid cash for it.  It is not nearly as cheap to operate as a gasoline truck.  It however is a beast and will pull down a house. 

RapmasterD

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2014, 09:23:56 PM »

Diesel ...  Reliability is extremely high.

Not anymore.  Ever since diesel emissions started to become regulated in 2005ish, the cars have gotten a lot less reliable.  There's a reason that doing a search for "HPFP" takes you to "failure" as the first result.  I have read Ford Diesel forums where the community consensus is that on the new engines, you MUST disable most of the emissions controls in order to make it run reliably.  A lot of modern diesels also have separate DEF systems as well, which present yet another level of complexity.

Diesels were awesome for reliability back when there were no emissions controls, which lasted a shockingly long time.  Now that diesel engines have to meet the same emissions standards as gasoline cars in America, they are having to do a boatload of work on the engineering side and it's just a lot of complexity and failure points.  Worse is the fact that BMW & VW are the two most common diesel small cars, and both brands are only mid-pack for reliability overall.

I would not bother with any hybrids except the Prius.  Honda's had so many CVT failures that it's an embarrassment.  They also had a massive lawsuit over the bad fuel economy of the Civic Hybrid in the real world since their repeated on-board recalibration of the battery pack reduced fuel economy to barely better than the gasoline Civic.  No one else's hybrids will get appreciably better fuel economy than a decent compact car.

The ubiquitous nature of gasoline compact cars generally makes them the best bet over the long haul.  I loved my Prius when I owned one, but am back to a regular gas compact car again now that I hardly drive any miles.  Your chosen budget, passenger/cargo needs, and number of miles driven per year will all play a role in what makes most sense for you.

Great wisdom here...well written!

FarmerPete

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »
I feel like this would have been a better post if you stated specifically TDI diesel.  TDI is basically VW's tricked out diesels that get great MPG.  Any non TDI Diesel should be left to trucks.  I don't know where you live, but around here, Ethanol can be a good choice.  It's regularly $1 less than unleaded.  It does get 25% less MPG, but when you're saving 30% in cost, it adds up.

Bob W

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 08:53:41 AM »
For my money a used Toyota Camry (2000-2004) is where it is at.   I recently passed our 370,000 01 Camry to my daughter.   Still gets around 30 mpg.   You can find them with about 150K for 3 -5K.   We literally did as little maintenance on this car as possible and just abused it.  It is way ugly now!

So for 4K you can have a car that gets 32MPG and will last 40 years of Mustachian driving habits. Insurance is cheap as well. 

If you drive 5K per year your cost might be ---  400 (alternative use of capital) -- 500 (liability insurance) -- 450 (gas) 150 (repairs, tires etc.)    Total  $1500 per year.   Substantially  more than a bike but pretty cheap if you need a car. 


hodedofome

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 11:45:20 AM »
For my money a used Toyota Camry (2000-2004) is where it is at.   I recently passed our 370,000 01 Camry to my daughter.   Still gets around 30 mpg.   You can find them with about 150K for 3 -5K.   We literally did as little maintenance on this car as possible and just abused it.  It is way ugly now!

So for 4K you can have a car that gets 32MPG and will last 40 years of Mustachian driving habits. Insurance is cheap as well. 

If you drive 5K per year your cost might be ---  400 (alternative use of capital) -- 500 (liability insurance) -- 450 (gas) 150 (repairs, tires etc.)    Total  $1500 per year.   Substantially  more than a bike but pretty cheap if you need a car.

My '03 Camry agrees with you.

Jack

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 02:07:53 PM »
It's not necessarily a mustachian concern, but one thing nobody has mentioned so far is that a diesel VW is much more fun to drive than a Prius.

Diesel torque + manual transmission + turbocharger  =  :D

(VW TDIs also respond very well to cheap mods... for about $400, mine makes at least 30% more HP and torque compared to stock)

Not always the case, but we saw diesel running almost a dollar more a gallon than regular this past weekend, that sure eats up any benefit in a hurry.  I bought my last car 4 years ago (08 Manual Corolla) and at the time, my calculations indicated it was about break even with a Prius or Hybrid Civic and it was easier for me to work on. Things might have changed a bit since then though. 

In the 6 or 7 years I've owned a diesel, the fuel price margin has only exceeded the fuel economy margin for maybe a month or two, total. Other than that little bit of time, my diesel has always been cheaper to fuel than the equivalent gasoline car.

I have a 2004 VW Golf TDI.

This is the right answer if you want a diesel. You do not want a new one, you want one made between 1999 and 2006 (if we're talking VWs, at least).

However, diesel pumps are disgusting. Fuel seems to get all over everything. I have no idea how this happens. I keep wipes in my car, for the 12 times/year I fuel up.

Fuel gets all over gasoline pumps too, but then it evaporates.

I use rubber gloves.

RapmasterD

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2014, 04:19:32 PM »
For my money a used Toyota Camry (2000-2004) is where it is at.   I recently passed our 370,000 01 Camry to my daughter.   Still gets around 30 mpg.   You can find them with about 150K for 3 -5K.   We literally did as little maintenance on this car as possible and just abused it.  It is way ugly now!

So for 4K you can have a car that gets 32MPG and will last 40 years of Mustachian driving habits. Insurance is cheap as well. 

If you drive 5K per year your cost might be ---  400 (alternative use of capital) -- 500 (liability insurance) -- 450 (gas) 150 (repairs, tires etc.)    Total  $1500 per year.   Substantially  more than a bike but pretty cheap if you need a car.

I've heard the same from the most frugal bastards in accounting at companies I've worked at over the years. One dude took pride in rarely if ever changing his oil in his Camry, with no negative consequences.

Jack

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 04:50:21 PM »
I've heard the same from the most frugal bastards in accounting at companies I've worked at over the years. One dude took pride in rarely if ever changing his oil in his Camry, with no negative consequences.

Not changing your oil often enough* is cheap, not frugal -- even if the vehicle in question is a Toyota.

(* "Often enough" means according to the manufacturer recommendation or based on the results of a used-oil analysis, not what some dumbass at Jiffy Lube tells you or the 3,000 miles your dad cites as "the rule" from 30 years ago.)

Sid Hoffman

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2014, 08:09:48 PM »
Yeah I think we've had the oil change discussion in other threads; the only way to know for sure is if you take an oil sample and mail it in to a lab for a full chemical analysis.  I actually used to do that on my old Honda which I sold with 173,000 miles on it.  At that point I was doing oil changes with Mobil 1 0w-20 every 9000 miles and the analysis would generally show the oil was on its last legs, but not contaminated beyond the point where it was effective.

So yeah, especially with a good synthetic oil you can get away with longer oil change durations.  The newest cars sometimes have an oil analysis sensor built right into them, which is handy.  I've heard of BMWs reporting as much as 15,000 miles between oil changes in certain use cases.  Still, you have the potential to do engine damage with cheap oil and extended oil change durations.  Do a search for "Toyota sludge problem" and you'll find many results as well as lawsuits.  They are not bulletproof, just better than average.  Certain motors from certain years were quite intolerant of putting off oil changes.

DarinC

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2014, 08:31:29 PM »
If your expected mileage is low enough, just get a 4 cylinder/stick, but IME most people drive more than that, so a hybrid or diesel, depending on your driving, will probably pay for itself over the time you own it.

gimp

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2014, 09:38:01 PM »
Original topic: I echo what other people said: "It depends." On your driving style, on where you drive and for how long and whether it's city or highway, and on the availability of cars. I think the cheapest total cost of ownership is an old civic or something.

Oil: My car is a 2000 model. Oil sensor has 1% resolution (I've driven newer cars, eg civics, and they only have 10% resolution - so they tell you your oil life is 100, 90, 80...). I've gotten over 10k miles on it between changes, before the sensor read below 10%. Of course, that required entirely highway miles, which was accomplished by road tripping at 1000+ miles a day on cruise control - the engine moans out its one-note song and there's hardly any call to use oil. Over 100 miles per 1% life. I use either high-mileage synthetic or if it's not available synthetic oil for high-mileage cars (now ain't that a confusing difference); $28 for five quarts of 10W-30. Not only that, but I suspect that the oil sensor is calibrated for conventional oil, so I can likely get a lot more life out of the synthetic stuff, but I'd need to mail a sample to test to know for sure. The sensor is smart; some readouts just do mileage; mine takes into account mileage, rpm, and load. It also helps that my car drives 75-80 at under 2k rpm, only adding maybe 100 rpm for all but the biggest mountains, despite only being a 4-speed. Of course, city driving I get more like 6-7k.

So if my 2000 model can do over 10k miles on a highway or 6k in a city, it would be shocking if new cars couldn't do significantly better than that. It has been fifteen years.

Still, never changing your oil or filter, even in a civic or a camry, is being cheap. I spend $28 on the best oil and another $10 on a performance filter. If you can't afford $38 every five or ten thousand miles, I wonder how you pay for gas. I've heard plenty of "just rolled into the shop" stories of someone not changing their oil for 20k miles and having all sorts of bearings and large metal chunks fall out when the oil got drained. "It runs funny and makes noises." Yeah, you bet it does.

Jack

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2014, 07:21:51 AM »
So yeah, especially with a good synthetic oil you can get away with longer oil change durations.  The newest cars sometimes have an oil analysis sensor built right into them, which is handy.  I've heard of BMWs reporting as much as 15,000 miles between oil changes in certain use cases.  Still, you have the potential to do engine damage with cheap oil and extended oil change durations.

Newer diesel VWs have such a sensor too. And even my 16-year-old diesel VW specifies a 10,000 oil change interval (and since it has no sensor, that's conservative!). Of course, on such a car you must use the correct oil (cheap oil -- or even the wrong expensive oil -- will break it, even if you change it every 3k).

If your expected mileage is low enough, just get a 4 cylinder/stick, but IME most people drive more than that, so a hybrid or diesel, depending on your driving, will probably pay for itself over the time you own it.

You say that as if "4 cylinder/stick" and "hybrid or diesel" are mutually exclusive. The best cars are 4 cylinder/stick diesels (e.g. VW TDI) or 4 3 cylinder/stick hybrids (e.g. first-gen Honda Insight). I wish somebody would make a 4 cylinder/stick hybrid diesel...

Sid Hoffman

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2014, 09:18:36 AM »
You say that as if "4 cylinder/stick" and "hybrid or diesel" are mutually exclusive. The best cars are 4 cylinder/stick diesels (e.g. VW TDI) or 4 3 cylinder/stick hybrids (e.g. first-gen Honda Insight). I wish somebody would make a 4 cylinder/stick hybrid diesel...

Unfortunately Hondas with manual transmissions were the most frequent to wear out their hybrid batteries.  This is because people would just leave it in top gear and floor the throttle, letting the electric assist do a lot of work that would otherwise be done by the gas engine via downshifting.  In fact, Honda has had huge problems with managing battery life for as long as they have been making Hybrids.  The failure rate even on a 2010 model is about 32% according to a recent Consumer Reports article.

The fact that the newer models have an even worse failure rate than the older models is just endemic to the fact that Honda honestly has no idea how to build a reliable hybrid system and never has.  I would avoid Honda hybrids like the plague.  The only exception I would give would be if you lease one, because at least then it's still under warranty the whole time and if it turns into a nightmare, you just return the car at the end of the lease and it's not your problem anymore.

As for diesel hybrids, that's tough because of modern emissions standards.  Diesels are inherently dirty engines and cost a lot to clean them up.  They run cleaner once warmed up, but the whole point of a hybrid is that you use the electric operation a lot and the piston engine only part of the time.  Well guess what: warm-up takes forever if you're shutting off the engine during every coast-down and stoplight and any time you're driving under 25mph.  I know VW has floated a concept diesel hybrid but given the problems they've had with their newest diesels due to the emissions controls, I would not be excited about a diesel hybrid.  The use model is just horrible for the way diesel engines work and how long they take to warm up sufficiently to provide clean emissions.

Bob W

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2014, 09:33:08 AM »
For my money a used Toyota Camry (2000-2004) is where it is at.   I recently passed our 370,000 01 Camry to my daughter.   Still gets around 30 mpg.   You can find them with about 150K for 3 -5K.   We literally did as little maintenance on this car as possible and just abused it.  It is way ugly now!

So for 4K you can have a car that gets 32MPG and will last 40 years of Mustachian driving habits. Insurance is cheap as well. 

If you drive 5K per year your cost might be ---  400 (alternative use of capital) -- 500 (liability insurance) -- 450 (gas) 150 (repairs, tires etc.)    Total  $1500 per year.   Substantially  more than a bike but pretty cheap if you need a car.

I've heard the same from the most frugal bastards in accounting at companies I've worked at over the years. One dude took pride in rarely if ever changing his oil in his Camry, with no negative consequences.

I rarely changed the oil in the Camry.  In fact as it aged it began burning  a little so I would just add a quart here and there and forego changing.    A year ago I let it over heat so now it drips out about a quart a week from a leak (too expensive to fix),  so we add about a quart a week.  Will never change it again.   

So while I don't suggest it as a rule,  I can attest that with my particular Camry that oil changes where not that important. 

I really think at this pace the engine will go to 500K as it still has good power and runs well.  I was praying for this car to die at one time as when things break or go wrong such as the blower bearing on the AC/Heat fan went out, it is hard to justify spending the 500 to pull the dash and replace it when the car is so beat to crap and isn't worth 500.   So being a cheap bastard I drove it for 3 years with no heat or ac in minus 10 to 110 degrees. 

orbix

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2014, 09:55:06 AM »
The use model is just horrible for the way diesel engines work and how long they take to warm up sufficiently to provide clean emissions.

The other problem with diesel hybrids is that diesels are very good at the same range that electric motors shine- low-end torque. Gas engines tend to have the best power output at higher revs, which makes them well-matched with electric motors in most hybrids, where the electric gets you going from a stop, then the gas takes over once you're moving.

Also, no joking around about the slow warm-up on diesels... Drive a VW TDi (at least the 1998-2005 models, I haven't driven a later one) in the winter and tell me if you get any semblance of heat in the first 10-20 minutes of a trip... Don't get me wrong, I think seat heaters are absolutely a luxury (but a really nice one to have), but I swear they ought to be standard equipment on the TDis.

Jack

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2014, 11:51:08 AM »
The fact that the newer models have an even worse failure rate than the older models is just endemic to the fact that Honda honestly has no idea how to build a reliable hybrid system and never has.  I would avoid Honda hybrids like the plague.  The only exception I would give would be if you lease one...

The only Honda hybrid I would ever consider is the 1999-2006 Insight, just because it's so much better than anything else.

(It's also the only hybrid I'd consider in general, because I refuse to drive an automatic and only Honda makes manual hybrids.)

As for diesel hybrids, that's tough because of modern emissions standards.  Diesels are inherently dirty engines and cost a lot to clean them up.  They run cleaner once warmed up, but the whole point of a hybrid is that you use the electric operation a lot and the piston engine only part of the time.  Well guess what: warm-up takes forever if you're shutting off the engine during every coast-down and stoplight and any time you're driving under 25mph.  I know VW has floated a concept diesel hybrid but given the problems they've had with their newest diesels due to the emissions controls, I would not be excited about a diesel hybrid.  The use model is just horrible for the way diesel engines work and how long they take to warm up sufficiently to provide clean emissions.

I have to admit, a diesel hybrid would work better with a serial drivetrain (like in a diesel-electric locomotive or Chevy Volt).

DarinC

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2014, 08:29:03 PM »
You say that as if "4 cylinder/stick" and "hybrid or diesel" are mutually exclusive. The best cars are 4 cylinder/stick diesels (e.g. VW TDI) or 4 3 cylinder/stick hybrids (e.g. first-gen Honda Insight). I wish somebody would make a 4 cylinder/stick hybrid diesel...
I'd love to see a PHEV multi-fuel/CNG ranchero/vw caddy. 20 miles on EV, 100 on CNG, and 500 on gas/diesel, although an emissions system for that would be crazy.

Owning all three types of vehicles, I think a Prius is the best blend of everything, except for sportiness. P&G under 40mph and it creams everything and anything for MPG. My Insight's fun to drive and great on the highway though. An easy 70mpg@55-60mph. And my Rabbit diesel is more useful than the Honda, sportier than the Prius, but gets worse mileage than either, so it tends to play backup.

orbix

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2014, 02:13:17 PM »
My Insight's fun to drive and great on the highway though. An easy 70mpg@55-60mph.

Old insight, I presume? I love the idea of them, but they seem to be awfully high in resale value for what they are...

Sid Hoffman

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2014, 05:09:53 PM »
Old insight, I presume? I love the idea of them, but they seem to be awfully high in resale value for what they are...

The original 2-seat Insight came out when gasoline was only $1/gallon, or in some parts of the country even less.  As such, the Insight sold in very small numbers.  Supply and demand being what it is, there's a small number of people who really want an Insight, and similarly a very small supply of them in the public hands.  That helps keep prices at or above even what you can get a 2nd gen Prius for in many cases.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2014, 06:03:42 PM »
Hmm, what about LPG/propane? The fuel's under half the price of petrol here.

Probably not worth paying $2000 on a conversion, but buying an already-converted car? Problem then may be the extra maintenance headaches and the fact that most dualfuel cars are large.

DarinC

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Re: diesel vs gas vs hybrid
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2014, 08:27:56 PM »
My Insight's fun to drive and great on the highway though. An easy 70mpg@55-60mph.
Old insight, I presume? I love the idea of them, but they seem to be awfully high in resale value for what they are...
Yup. The market for them is really weird. There are a ton of people asking for a lot, and those cars/ads are what you'll generally see. On the other hand, if you wait around you can get one for a decent/good price. I paid $5k for mine, which is a little high, but it was a pretty clean two owner with ~88k miles and had the battery/BCM/PCM update at ~76k miles. The updated BCM/MCM really helps the pack because it will substantially limit current if the cell temperature's is above some threshold. That, along with trying to keep the car/battery pack as cool as possible, are key to maximizing pack life.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/11191-us-ima-warranty-10-year-extension-updated-all-50-states.html

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy01osti/30095.pdf

On the flip side, before I bought mine I saw two for $2500/$3500 in really poor shape with ~200k+ miles. One of them was a flip with the title still in the owner's name. I guess the guy bought it for $500 and for that price it would've made a great project, but I'd never pay $3500 for one with 200k+ miles and a bad hybrid pack. Shop around and you can find something for a reasonable price.