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Old 08-15-2008, 10:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Indy
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EcoVibe - '07 Pontiac Vibe base
90 day: 38.14 mpg (US)
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Originally Posted by Daox View Post
A descent spreadsheet with a few (IMO fairly large) flaws. The first being that gasoline is not going to be anywhere near $4 in 5 years. The next is that it doesn't take into account maintenance which you mention. Including maintenance costs actually favors hybrids because they don't need new brakes, the batteries don't die (less than .5% have been replaced), and general wear and tear is less because the engine just doesn't run as much. This can also be a huge issue if your talking about a lower quality vehicle vs a higher quality vehicle. A coworker of mine asked me why I paid $10k for my Matrix while he only paid $7k for his Sable (similar miles and year). He has had that thing in for repairs half a dozen times in the past year! I didn't answer his question so as not to offend him, but I knew the answer. The last would be insurance as you stated in your spreadsheet. This will also have a pretty large impact on monthly cost.

On the topic of hybrid vs non, you also compare fairly inferior cars to the Prius which IMO is a bit unfair. The Prius is a roomier vehicle than both the Vibe and Fit. Obviously the smaller cars are going to cost less, and thats not even considering the options that come standard on a Prius vs. having to pay extra for them on the others (this is my sore point on hybrids, gimme a freakin base model without all the fancy junk!). Generally, after about 5 years, the hybrid premium has paid for itself and you are not only operating a cheaper vehicle, but also one who is more environmentally friendly, and helps with national security (your spreadsheet doesn't put a value on either of those extra benefits).

I think Brick from cmpg said it best when he said that everyone seems to criticize hybrids purely based on cost. Why does no one do this when it comes to performance models of the same vehicle? What is the ROI on the GT model of a car, or the luxury version? It doesn't ever return! Yet, they still sell quite well. So, by saying you have to pay an extra X amount of cash each month (which will eventually be a negative number and cash back in your pocket) your basically saying that the environmental benefits, reduction of oil use, and national security benefits are not worth it. It really just doesn't make sense to me why money is the only thing considered. Those other three things are more important than a few bucks a month.

That being said, I do agree an older used car is definitly the way to go if you are trying to save money. That is what I did. I couldn't afford a brand new Matrix when I was looking. If I could afford it though, I'd definitly have a used Prius in the driveway.
I agree with some of your points, but not all.

Interior space ... If you compare the interior space of a Prius, Vibe/Matrix and a Fit you'll find that they are very similar in size inside. The Prius batteries eat up a lot of interior space.

In order ... Fit ... Vibe ... Prius

front leg room 41.9 " 41.8 " 41.9 "
rear leg room 33.7 " 36.3 " 38.6 " (ok Fit is much less here, Vibe less too)
front headroom 40.6 " 40.6 " 39.1 " (Prius less here)
rear headroom 38.6 " 39.8 " 37.3 " (Prius less here)
front hip room 51.2 " 51.7 " 51.0 "
luggage volume 21.3 cu.ft. 19.3 cu.ft. 14.4 cu.ft. (Prius much. much less ... due to batteries)
luggage volume (max) 41.9 cu.ft. 54.1 cu.ft. 14.4 cu.ft. (Prius doesn't list with seats down ... but it is less)
Passenger volume 90 cu.ft. 96 cu.ft. 96 cu.ft. (Fit is less. but Vibe is identical)

Maintenance ... I also think that the maintenance costs on a base Prius vs. a base Vibe/Matrx/Corolla engine would be similar if not less on the Corolla engine. That 1.8L has one of the lowest maintenance costs of all modern engines. The Vibe is also GM which has a 100K miles warranty so that would surely be cheaper if repairs are needed (tough to quantify that though).

Gas cost ... Good point and who knows where it will go from here. It is expected to stay neat the $3-$4 range for another year though. In 5 years it could be better ... but my bet is it will be worse.

Insurance ... would be more on the Prius of course (higher cost and theft rate?).

Environmentally friendly ... the Prius is better on gas and certainly has a lower Carbon footprint. My only concern is what we do with all those batteries in 10, 20, 30 years

Still, the point of the spreadsheet was not to just compare these 3 cars. I only have them on there because those were the 3 that I was shopping (needed cargo space to haul large equipment for work, and I drive a lot of miles so I wanted the best bang for my buck for a work car).

The spreadsheet is a tool that you can use and change values for for your situation and buying interests ... and then see how the numbers add up for you (on any cars). I learned that it didn't matter if I got even over 100mpg in a Prius. The cost still didn't add up compared to a new Vibe (and I bought a used one).

Last edited by Markmysite; 08-15-2008 at 11:17 AM..
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