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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/20/22 4:59 p.m.

Now that we're homeowners, my family is in need of a family hauler. It's definitely going to be a new or relatively new SUV/crossover, and three rows would be nice, though really isn't necessary–we really just need something to carry more stuff and have room for our daughter as she grows.

My wife and I both agreed that we'd like to spend a little less money on gas, so a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is the direction we're going–ideally, 30 mpg or better. (I suggested getting an electric car, though my wife isn't totally ready to commit, though I haven't ruled it out entirely yet.) Road trips are also in the theoretical future, too, if that matters.

So my question is whether we should get a plug-in hybrid, or just opt for a normal hybrid. I know there are a lot of really smart people on here that know much more about the realities of long-term hybrid ownership than I do, and I'd love to hear your input.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/20/22 5:02 p.m.

This thread is related to my interests. But there aren't a ton of 3-row PHEVs out there. The upcoming Grand Cherokee 4XE is one, is the Highlander a plug-in? You can get a hybrid Exploder, but it's more torque-focused, not MPG, and it's not a plug-in. If you go down to 2 rows, the RAV4 Prime seems to be the hot ticket, but good luck finding one.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/20/22 5:04 p.m.

Plug-in has been amazing for us! We got a 2020 Audi Q5 e-tron and are averaging 36 mpg with it over the last 7500 miles. With the plug we can plug it in at home and then use that 25-30 mile range every day with school runs, grocery shopping, etc. It truly is the best of both worlds of EV and gas. I highly recommend plug-in hybrids in general, period.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/20/22 5:17 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

I hear you on limited options. I like the Grand Cherokee 4XE, but that's starting price tag ($58,095) hurts. That's sort of why we agreed that two rows might be enough.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/20/22 5:18 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

That's one of the reasons we really like the idea of a plug-in. It would be the vehicle my wife takes to work, and it'd be really cool for her to not need to use gas during that (short) commute.

Not using gas to go to the grocery store sounds like a huge win, too.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/20/22 5:23 p.m.

Why do you need a crossover/SUV format instead of a sedan? And the reason I ask is that by going for a crossover, you're ignoring the best deals in plug-in hybrids right now. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/20/22 5:43 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

My kid already has an alarming amount of stuff that needs to go where she goes, and I only see that doubling as she gets older. So it's really a size thing.

Also, we probably won't be buying until closer to the end of this year, but I'll definitely keep those deals in mind.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
6/20/22 5:55 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Why do you need a crossover/SUV format instead of a sedan? And the reason I ask is that by going for a crossover, you're ignoring the best deals in plug-in hybrids right now. 

What are those best deals?

Erich
Erich UberDork
6/20/22 8:16 p.m.

Do you have two cars? One can almost certainly be pure electric, and you can use that one for around-town stuff and to handle the bulk of your mileage to save the most. I'd say the Bolt EUV fits your bill very well. The other car can be the road tripper. 

If you really do need a bigger family hauler and want a hybrid, we have the Pacifica hybrid and really love it for our road trip machine. If you live in a city it's not great for parking in garages or street spots, as these minivans have become not so mini anymore. But the 30 miles of city EV range is fantastic for most use cases. Though, if the Toyota Sienna hybrid had been out when we purchased we may have gone with that - 40 mpg out of a Toyota minivan is pretty great. 

Tom mentioned the Rav4 prime and we tried to cross-shop those but never found one. Other options are the Kia Niro PHEV - smaller, more hatch sized. And maybe the Ford Escape PHEV, though I've not actually seen those in the wild. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/20/22 9:09 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

Top of my list is Honda Clarity. Excellent all-electric range, rock solid underpinnings, priced to move because nobody knows they exist. IIRC still eligible for the full tax credit if you can find one new somewhere, but that's probably a long shot at this point.

But he's also crossed out the Volt, and while I had a bad experience with ours (GM shrugged and told me it's normal for it to randomly coast to a stop on the highway), Volts are one of the cheapest used PHEVs just because they've made so many.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/20/22 9:10 p.m.

And I'll second the suggestion for full electric. How often are you going more than 300 miles from home? Would renting a car for those trips be cheaper than gas, oil changes, timing belts, etc. over the time you own the car?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/20/22 10:03 p.m.

I believe that most EVs can get to your parents' without a recharge, right? Just throwing out another data point. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/20/22 10:05 p.m.

Also, Toyota Sienna? 

STM317
STM317 PowerDork
6/21/22 5:10 a.m.

I'm team PHEV. There are a lot of people that think PHEVs are old tech, but the number of in interesting options out there these days seems to be growing

 

BAMF
BAMF HalfDork
6/21/22 1:29 p.m.

I've been driving a Volt for 7 years, and I like PHEVs quite a bit. I have not used gasoline in several weeks.

Be aware, there is more than one PHEV technology on the market. I would categorize them roughly in Primarily Electric (PE) or Primarily Fuel (PF). 

PE hybrids have generally the same performance running on gas or electric. PF running in electric tends to be a lower power mode. My preference is PE because I like electric torque and acceleration, and want to step on it the majority of my commute. If you have the right foot discipline to not do that, you may find a PF model a good fit for your driving style.

My next car is likely to be fully electric. My wife's car can be the ultra long road trip machine, or we can rent something if needed. DC fast charging is becoming more prevalent on cars and geographically available, so that may be a moot point here in a few years. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/21/22 1:36 p.m.

Looking at your needs, is there any reason a Maverick wouldn't cut it?  Other than availability?

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
6/21/22 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

I was going to suggest a Hybrid Maverick too. Between price, utility and fuel mileage its a solid option. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/21/22 2:28 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

In reply to Tom Suddard :

My kids parents already have an alarming amount of stuff that they think needs to go where she goes

fixed :)

 

 

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
6/21/22 2:38 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

If it helps ease your mind, my Clarity has become our default road trip car and regularly holds four adults plus their (often inefficiently-packed) luggage with no problems. It's surprisingly massive and doesn't skimp on cargo space. One of the reasons I got it is because it can easily turn into a family hauler if/when that becomes a thing we need.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/21/22 2:55 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Also, Toyota Sienna? 

Wallens!  You sir, are brilliant! 

As a family hauler, I defy you to find a better candidate than the Sienna.  Room for passengers and cargo.  Reasonably comfortable.  The new ones are all Hybrids.  We borrowed one to drive No. 1 Son home from college with all his stuff.  Darned if we didn't get 38 mpg average for the trip of 600 or 700 miles round trip, running 75 or 80 mph.  It's not many years ago that big hybrid vehicles were kind of a joke, getting just 1 or 2 mpg better than the non-hybrid model.  Honestly, 38 mpg kinda knocked my socks off.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/21/22 2:56 p.m.

In reply to Nicole Suddard :

That's good to know. It gets bonus points in my book, too, since you don't see very many on the road.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/21/22 3:15 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:
David S. Wallens said:

Also, Toyota Sienna? 

Wallens!  You sir, are brilliant! 

As a family hauler, I defy you to find a better candidate than the Sienna.  Room for passengers and cargo.  Reasonably comfortable.  The new ones are all Hybrids.  We borrowed one to drive No. 1 Son home from college with all his stuff.  Darned if we didn't get 38 mpg average for the trip of 600 or 700 miles round trip, running 75 or 80 mph.  It's not many years ago that big hybrid vehicles were kind of a joke, getting just 1 or 2 mpg better than the non-hybrid model.  Honestly, 38 mpg kinda knocked my socks off.

As the owner of a Gen2 Prius (42 mpg) and a Grand Caravan (22 mpg) the Hybrid Sienna is amazing to me too.  Most all the mpg and as much if not slightly more cargo/room/seating all wrapped into one.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/21/22 3:26 p.m.
John Welsh said:

As the owner of a Gen2 Prius (42 mpg) and a Grand Caravan (22 mpg) the Hybrid Sienna is amazing to me too.  Most all the mpg and as much if not slightly more cargo/room/seating all wrapped into one.

Yeah the Sienna and the Maverick are amazing from a mpg/utility standpoint.  I really hope to see many more vehicles like this made.

The Maverick hybrid gets 42% better mileage than the non hybrid.

A Sienna gets 63% better mileage than the Odyssey.

 

 

Bonus points for the Maverick in this scenario though as (if you can actually find it), its ~$15k cheaper than the Sienna

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/21/22 3:34 p.m.

Yeah, I bought my vehicles in GRM'er style of cheap and opportunistic.  

2019 Grand Caravan @ $15k and 2008 Prius at $6k = $21k

Even at post covid prices those prices could be:

2019 Grand Caravan @ $25k and 2008 Prius at $10k = $31k the combination of vehicles still falls about $15k short of what a New Sienna costs!   

 

The Clarity is interesting! Very rare where I live. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/21/22 4:55 p.m.
John Welsh said:

Yeah, I bought my vehicles in GRM'er style of cheap and opportunistic.  

2019 Grand Caravan @ $15k and 2008 Prius at $6k = $21k

Even at post covid prices those prices could be:

2019 Grand Caravan @ $25k and 2008 Prius at $10k = $31k the combination of vehicles still falls about $15k short of what a New Sienna costs!   

Sienna starts at $35,285..  so you are pretty close.

 

 

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