Hybrid vehicles are the more efficient way to drive. They offer tiny fuel figures and a cleaner footprint than a regular fuel powered car, and many are now hitting the used car market at reasonable prices.
But why should you choose a used hybrid over its fuel-powered competition?
Hybrid electric vehicles have been around for over two decades now, so there is a growing used car market with cars that have been traded in for a newer model, or to change to the different hybrids that have become available.
What should you look for in a used hybrid vehicle?
A hybrid car is running two powertrains: one run by a battery, the other by a regular combustion engine. Often the battery powers the car at low speeds and other times when the car would inefficiently use fuel in the engine.
Most hybrid cars come with a separate warranty for the battery, so it’s important to check if this is still valid, along with the condition of the battery itself.
All batteries lose charge over time, even the large, rechargeable versions you’ll find under the hood of a hybrid vehicle, so they must be replaced at some point during the cars lifetime – but most hybrid batteries are guaranteed to last for the better part of a decade.
Most car owners replace their car after around three to five years, so the first owner of a hybrid generally won’t worry about anything but maintenance; but if you’re buying an older hybrid car, particularly one that is starting to climb double digits in age, you might be stuck with the cost of replacing a battery.
Hybrid cars can run with a less than fully charged battery, relying on the engine – but if it has lost the ability to re-charge fully you’ll lose the benefit of efficiency, because the combustion engine will probably be working harder to power the whole car. Once your hybrid battery has died, though, some cars will shutdown completely until it’s replaced – others may be able to run on the ‘normal’ engine, though it’s probably not recommended for the extra stress it places on the powertrain.
Depreciation affects all cars, but it hits vehicles particularly hard if they’re not supported in the marketplace (either through small sales or lack of dealer service and support). A majority of the hybrid vehicles sold in Australia have been around long enough that there is a decent support network for whichever brand you choose.
For example, the original Toyota Prius was introduced in Australia around fifteen years ago, and there are healthy amounts of used car stock as well as service support and parts for the lift-back model, as well as the expanded range including the Prius C and Prius V. The Hybrid Camry, Toyota’s first mainstream hybrid offering, was popular when it was introduced for the 2010 model year, and has a large amount of dealer support for parts shared with its fuel powered stable mates.
Similarly, Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV has been around for a few years now, and taps into the current popularity of SUVs, with the added bonus of being able to recharge it at home. The popularity of the Outlander means that there are parts and expertly trained service technicians who can help in case of a breakdown.
There is also a new market for fuel-efficient cars with the rise of ride sharing services such as Uber, as well as taxis and business fleets wanting to minimise running costs. This is creating a greater demand for used hybrid vehicles and ensuring that owners will continue to experience stronger resale values well into the future.
Carmakers are committed to hybrid technology with the world’s most popular car, the Toyota Corolla, now also available with a hybrid powertrain.
A hybrid car generally has similar running costs to a fuel-powered vehicle, with the obvious saving at the petrol pump. Registration costs are also lower for hybrid cars, with governments rewarding owners for choosing a vehicle that doesn’t contribute to emissions and pollution as much as a car that burns fuel.
Getting into a hybrid for the first time is a new driving experience, they’re fundamentally different from a regular fuel powered vehicle in the way they deliver power. Where you usually have to wait a few seconds for fuel to be burnt in the engine in order to deliver power, a hybrid vehicle uses the electricity stored in the battery to accelerate immediately, meaning that you re-evaluate how you drive, especially at low speeds around town and in places like car parks.
Servicing costs are commonly in-line with fuel powered cars, with no huge differences in parts inventories between models that have a fuel powered equivalent (e.g. Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid.)
If you do buy a new, near new or pre-owned hybrid, you’ll find a vehicle that is not only good value, but also can cut down your running costs.
Motorama has an excellent range of used hybrid vehicles amongst their over 800 used cars in stock at any time. Speak to the friendly team at your nearest Motorama dealership about your needs to get into an eco-friendly vehicle that suits your lifestyle.