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LBMEFM - 6/2/22 at 05:47 AM

Looking at hybrid cars, only got a small budget, £2,500 max. I see Prius and Civic's now selling in that price range but what is the issue here. Due to age will the batteries be on their way out and require expensive replacements, do the mechanical/electronics cause prolems. I have absolutely no experience with hybrids. Are these older hybrids worth buying or are they something to stay well clear of. Any comments welcome please.

ian locostzx9rc2 - 6/2/22 at 06:45 AM

With your budget I really wouldnít bother the cost of repairs if anything major went wrong would scrap the car if you want a small car with low running costs you canít beat a Citroen c1 / Peugeot 107/ Toyota aygo cheap insurance road tax and cheap on parts and pretty bullet proof to be honest but the semi auto version is horrible to drive so manual only in my opinion best tip make sure thereís free play in the clutch cable as if not they will go through clutches quickly

jelly head - 6/2/22 at 08:27 AM

You see them being used as private hire so that's something to bear in mind..

Mr Whippy - 6/2/22 at 08:34 AM

Dito, your not going to make any savings and any hybrid at that price is going to be a knackered pile of junk. If the battery doesn't have enough capacity to allow it to run on electric (charged at the house) for most of your journey then you really have nothing more than a complex over heavy petrol car. Self charging hybrids are just idiotic and save zero.

Mind that unless the savings you make between using electricity vs petrol cover the additional cost of these cars, there's no point in moving to hybrid or electric. Instead I'd recommend a decent small capacity petrol like a fiesta etc.

I have a few friends who have just bought brand new very expensive EVs and go on about how much cheaper it is to run them. Considering how much the are loosing on depreciation alone, petrol would have to be £10 a litre to save a penny.

My second hand Leaf is only just covering its cost in fuel/road tax savings over 5 years being used every day to work and I still own a Fiesta to cover the trips it can't do.

David Jenkins - 6/2/22 at 09:32 AM

I have an EV, my wife has a Citroen C1. Apart from the very low mileage costs, the EV benefits from incredibly low service costs (there's nothing much to deal with), and even the little Citroen is really cheap to maintain.

The downside of hybrids is that you have the worst of both worlds - two complex drivetrains instead of just one - so servicing can be very expensive. And, as said above, if anything goes wrong it can be mightily expensive. They aren't that economic either, as a good modern petrol car can almost match them for mpg. They carry a lot of extra weight for little benefit.

And, BTW, some EVs are appreciating in value at the moment, not depreciating! People are finally getting their EVs after waiting for months, and getting stupid offers to buy them immediately. I know that this won't last very long, but it's fun to wind people up...

[Edited on 6/2/22 by David Jenkins]

westf27 - 6/2/22 at 09:49 AM

Corporal Jonesís van had the best idea and is quite on trend at the moment.Just leave your bayonet in the toolbox.

chillis - 6/2/22 at 11:28 AM

These low price hybrids will almost certainly have been used as minicabs and probably have a hidden high mileage and near to death batteries. Stick with a regular IC, save up some cash and then buy something better with good history. Hybrids aren't what their cracked up to be.

theconrodkid - 6/2/22 at 12:08 PM

friend of mind bought a mitsibishi mpv hybrid thingy, she said the battery millage was very poor, around 50 miles untill the petrol engine took over, then that poor engine had to drag a heavy battery around and charge the big battery, she got rubbish mpg, sold it after a year and bought an oil burner

Sanzomat - 6/2/22 at 12:44 PM

I'd be interested in people's real life experience of older hybrids. A few years ago I chose a (then) brand new 2013 Prius+, the bigger 7 seat estate version, as my company car. If I'm being honest I chose it for the low company car tax rather than any moral "save the planet" reason. The business miles could be claimed back at a higher rate than the diesel alternatives too and at the time I was doing quite a few business miles although it tailed off a lot part way through my 4 years with the car. I did 100,000 miles in it in 4 years. Although mainly motorway (so arguably not the best driving mix for hybrid vs diesel) it returned at least as good MPG as any previous diesel car I'd driven and far better when around town. As such the 2p per mile extra I could claim was all profit for me! Also over that time petrol was a few pence a litre less. This was a straight hybrid, no plug in charging. I noted no loss in battery performance over that time although the Prius+ used Lithium Ion whereas at that time the normal Prius was still on MiMH IIRC so might be different. This was the only company car I've ever had that needed nothing done other than routine servicing and tyres over 100k miles. No warranty fixes, not even brake pads. The original front pads still had 60% of their life left at 100k miles, I guess due to a lot of the braking being done by the regen instead of friction.

If I was buying it myself with my own money the economics are different. If you took away the circa £500 a year saving in company car tax and £1,300 additional recovery from business mile claims over the four years I was £3,300 better off than if I chose a diesel company car. If I'd bought or leased the car myself and was not claiming for business miles I'd not have seem much difference in fuel costs (compared to diesel, maybe more if petrol), the capital costs would have been higher so overall I'd have been worse off.

I hear of some old Priuses clocking up crazy miles - hence the minicab choice. 200-300k is no problem for them and plenty go over half a million before anything significant breaks.

David Jenkins - 8/2/22 at 07:24 PM

This popped up on my YouTube subscriptions - you might find it informative:

Mr Whippy - 8/2/22 at 08:22 PM

Yeah that's a good vid, Robert and his vids about his own leaf were one the main reason I bought mine.

It's an interesting point he makes about the efficiency of electric cars. Like a ICE car mine has a large radiator and 2 big fans on it. As this is only plumbed into the motor, control box and heat pump I was curious about how hot things got. One time I bombed it home at a speed that used a third of the battery in 15mins... When I got home, I was stunned to find nothing, not even the motor hosing more than slightly luke warm. If that had been an ICE the exhausts would have been glowing orange. So yeah they are seemingly very efficient.

Still have no idea why it has such a large radiator...

SteveWalker - 8/2/22 at 11:46 PM

It may be that it needs cooling when the battery is charging - especially on a high-speed charger?

[Edited on 8/2/22 by SteveWalker]

hughpinder - 10/2/22 at 09:10 AM

Not really relevant to the original post, but may interest some folks. My Mrs is about to change her company car to a hybrid (again mainly because of the tax benefit). If it wasn't for the tax we would get something like a bmw 320d, which she had 3 of before before and averaged 50.8mpg (over 9 years/360k)

She currently has a Mitsubishi L200 (because we frequently tow 2T+) and we get 31-32mpg from that (not towing!), the company thinks it uses too much fuel so don't want her to get another pick up truck.
Most hybrids can't tow the required weight but hey-ho that's what they want. We do a lot of runs from Grimsby - Bristol/Lake District, so almost the entire journey is done using fossil fuels, as we aren't stopping to recharge every 20-30 miles.
We have tried the following for the long trips
Volvo XC60 - managed 31.8 mpg
Volvo XC90 - managed 27.5 mpg
BMW X3 - managed 37.8 mpg
Toyota RAV4 self charging hybrid (but we would get a PHEV, the self charge was all we could get to try) - managed 38 mpg, but oddly does about 42mpg on short local trips even though she has a heavy right foot and it isn't a plug in so we weren't charging the battery between uses.

So our conclusion - you will only save fuel money with a hybrid compared to the standard diesel model of the car if you do all trips of less than the battery limit and charge every day, or it saves you on congestion charges/emission charges.


Mr Whippy - 11/2/22 at 08:30 AM

Well unless you live on a farm and your wife takes cattle to the market, it does sounds like driving a large pick up about most of the time is a bit pointless. I'd get her a little car for commuting and have a larger tow car on standby for when it's needed. But then that's just me.

Tbh all that is needed is the majority of vehicles that are used everyday to do simple commutes to work etc. to switch to something cleaner than a cold smokey diesel and for the maybe 5% remaining can just stay with what works but actually is suited for that purpose, whether petrol or diesel.

There's still way to many mums dropping their kids off at school with huge 4x4's that never see mud or tow a single thing, mainly because they are just bad drivers who think driving a tank makes them safer.

I'd be quite happy with any hybrid that could do 50 miles on pure electric, could be plugged in to the house with type 2 and rapid charge with CCS. A car like that would suit 95% of all car users who have the ability to charge their cars at home.

hughpinder - 11/2/22 at 09:46 AM

Mr Whippy, you are probably right, if we could fund 2 vehicles it would be better to have pure electric for the daily commute (40 mile/day and not many hybrids can achieve that in reality), but her company organises shows so needs to move fairly large amounts of stuff about at weekends (ok not true since the pandemic as 80% were cancelled, but generally in the last 15 years and hopefully will be again this year) and we are renovating a house on the other side of the country so frequently towing large weights, or using a decent proportion of the 1T internal load capacity of the L200 - I don't think my golf would be able to get the typical load inside and I don't think its suspension would last long even if I did and it would definately be way beyond the design load limit. We need the capacity at least every other weekend for our use or company use, so about 70% of our annual miles, as we don't do that many miles when not at shows or working on the house, that daily commute is about 10k/year against 35k total miles. The kids are all long since left school and had to get the bus anyway, so we weren't contributing to that issue!
You may be waiting a while if you want a 50 mile hybrid range in a small car, as far as we could find the only (theorectical) 50 mile range hybrids you can get at the moment are the BMW X5 and a couple of Mercs - if you have that sort of money. Batteries are bulky so it is only the big/expensive ones that get decent range and probably only large 4*4 sized hybrids that are going to get real world 50 mile real range in the next few years, due to having the physical volume for the batteries. I suppose it is also possible if manufacturers choose to build small estate size cars and people accepted that they actually only have the boot capacity of a current hatchback.
We don't live on a farm, but we are in the middle of nowhere in the Lincs wolds and the place we are renovating is up half a mile of dirt track - I can get up it in the golf with care. but will rip something off the bottom of that at some point as it grounds fairly often. There is obviously no issue in the L200, or the RAV4 hybrid we have been using recently.
Don't forget the environmental impact of running 2 vehicles - I remember reading 10 or 12 years ago that the CO2 used to manufacture a typical car was more than that created by burning the fuel it uses in its life - I think the average car was stated to live 150k miles for that calc and the average mpg was 38. Cars now have significantly more materials in them, especially hybrids, on the other hand the manufacturing processes are probably greener, so who really knows! In my mind the hybrids are somewhat of a bodge - more resource / environmental impact to build and worse mpg than traditional fuelled vehicles, but worry about range stops people going fully electric - the real use for hybrids is to run on electric for air quality reasons when in towns/cities or if you have off road charging space and do short runs. In my ideal world we would all go to small fully electric immediately for daily use, and there would be a huge network of charging places, and cheap to hire transit vans/4x4s/large estates for when you need to do a long run or move materials/go on holiday as a family (all running on hydrocarbon fuels so the distance issue goes away), for the next few years at least. We could do this at the moment, but we would have to drive a minimum of 20 miles round in our car to pick up the hired van, the same in the van to get it home and back after, and obviously the car would have to follow the return journey to get us home again, so not sure even that would really be better as we would have all the extra miles