Fully Hybrid

Dsc00576[1]I’m happy to say that the McIntyre family automotive fleet has now gone fully hybrid. Back in May, we got the Lexus 400h, which is Katherine & Quinn’s primary car, and in December, I got the new 2006 Toyota Prius. I snapped a shot of the cousins parked in our driveway in the midst of the recent and very big Northern California rainstorms, so pardon the dreary and grey photo. We love the Lexus and it gets great mileage for an SUV and is a great car for transporting a toddler and the family dog, but I wanted something even more fuel-efficient for my daily commutes throughout the Bay Area.

I was driving around our old 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser before the new Prius arrived and was paying $75+ to fill the tank and had to do so nearly every week. Now I get well over 400 miles per tank on the Prius and it only costs me $20 to fill ‘er up, so I save time and money. I feel I am finally making eco-restitution for having owned the Land Cruiser for so long.

My favorite feature of the new Prius: an 1/8″ audio input jack that lets me run my iPod through the factory stereo system, which is actually quite good, thanks to a bunch of JBL speakers spread throughout the car. I don’t know why every car manufacturer doesn’t provide a jack to input audio into the stereo. A little thing, but so user-friendly. I also really like the GPS system and the integrated Bluetooth, but, I have to admit, neither gets me as excited as the audio input jack.

We’ve found that in practice the Lexus 400h gets about 25 mpg (quite good for an SUV) and the Prius gets about 45 mpg.

I think I have a peculiar car ownership history over the past decade: 1980 Pontiac Sunbird (college car, courtesy of Granddad), Volkswagen Golf (post-college, first-job car), Porsche Carerra 4 (post-IPO car), BMW 540i (post-Porsche, comfort-over-speed car), Honda Civic Hybrid (good mileage, but oops, should have bought the Prius) and, finally, the 2006 Toyota Prius.

Katherine tells me I need to wait a few years before buying another vehicle, but unless BMW or Porsche can create a high performance car that gets 40+ mpg, I’m not going to be tempted for a while. There’s certainly no chance that American car manufacturers are going to pull their heads out of their asses and build such a thing, but maybe there’s hope for the Germans.

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  • Sam

    BMW does make just such a car, but it’s a turbo-diesel and only available in Europe. Unless the US environmentalists and the EPA suddently realise that diesel is not, by definition, evil just because of its particulate emissions, I think you’ll be driving the Prius for a while. It’s a really cool car.