Hybrids hang tough as the miles rack up

Consumer Reports News: August 02, 2012 03:08 PM

Now that some hybrid models have been on the market for 10 years or longer, and given concerns about expensive battery failures and the longevity of electric motors and controllers, you might be wondering whether a hybrid makes good economic sense for the long term. We were, too, so we thought we'd see what the owners of hybrids with 150,000 or more miles had to say.

Interviewed for our new report on how to make your car last 200,000 miles, most Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and other hybrid owners we contacted reported no more serious problems than conventional car owners. Owners of both types of cars had the same advice: Buy a reliable model, drive reasonably, and maintain it according to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.

Replacement battery packs can be expensive, costing up to $3,000. But owners who said they had to replace them after 200,000 or 300,000 miles generally felt it was worth it given their fuel savings and low overall operating costs. As Prius owner Eileen Bowden of Moreno Valley, Calif., put it, "I had to replace the big battery pack, which was expensive. And there have been about maybe two or three other big bills over the years, but still not bad. All in all, the money saved on gas has pretty much covered the cost of maintenance."

Make your car last 200,000 miles
Guide to alternative fuels
The 200,000-mile question: How does the Toyota Prius hold up?

Jim Travers

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