I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional hybrid vehicles. The tradeoffs between driving dynamics and efficiency are usually huge, and require a completely different style of driving than traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles to achieve maximum mileage. In many non-purpose built hybrids, the bump in price over the gasoline versions will never be realized in fuel savings because they simply aren’t that much better economy wise.
Thankfully, there are a few vehicles emerging on the market that eliminate most hybrid shortcomings. One such vehicle is the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Read More
You could be forgiven for thinking it’s a bit late in the Lexus RX’s model life cycle for us to review it; after all, these pages are usually devoted to freshly restyled or all-new metal. But in fact, though this platform’s basic bones stretch back to the 2010 model year, the RX received a heavy refresh for 2013 that brought it right up to date against others in the entry-level luxury crossover segment. We’ve covered the normal RX350 before on these pages, but never the full-zoot RX450h hybrid version. What makes this CUV a perennial class sales leader? Read on for a look. Read More
As I drive around in the latest iteration of VW’s American-market Passat, now featuring the 1.8 TSI engine, driving impressions of the outgoing 2014 Sonata in Hybrid guise – a car I drove the week prior – flashed into my mind. The Sonata that this 2014 Hybrid is based on was introduced back in 2009, and the newly revised 2015 Sonata will be hitting dealerships around the time you read this (though the Hybrid version soldiers on in current form until a new one bows for 2016).
I’ve admitted on these pages before to not being the World’s Greatest Hybrid Fan. Yeah, I can see their purpose, and although their net impact on global sustainability remains questionable and hotly debated, I do at least understand that a reduced dependence on fossil fuels is a goal we should all be working toward. If in the near term we accomplish that by building vehicles with battery packs that greatly reduce fuel consumption, so be it. But that still hasn’t burnished a place in my heart for the Prius as a vehicle I would recommend to my friends when they ask me, the car guy in their lives, for advice.
The thought of hybrid loanership for a week usually fills me with the sort of dread reserved for visiting a dentist’s office with a dull ache in your jaw – the only way through the period of time ahead is to envision how much better you’ll feel when it’s behind you. It’s not that hybrids are bad cars, mind you – they certainly serve a purpose for a portion of the buying public – but very rarely are they geared toward car lovers, and instead tend to focus so single-mindedly on efficiency that the duty of actually driving becomes drudgery in their presence. Such was the case when I approached the Sonata Hybrid pictured – “here we go again”.
Efficient Luxury Transport for the Pleated Set
Put yourself in a place for a moment – one where Porsches, Mustangs and Corvettes are of little concern. Hard to imagine, I know, but bear with me – at some point, many car shoppers decide they’ve endured the stresses of enthusiast auto ownership for too long. Maybe they bore the brunt of a few too many high dollar repairs, or been left stranded in the office parking lot for the last time. They’ve grown weary of having something “sporty” and all the compromises that go along with that. It’s time for a change – they want something comfortable, relaxing, quiet and luxurious – maybe even something that gets really good gas mileage. For one reason or another, maybe a diesel is out of the question – you wouldn’t want your significant other accidentally topping off the tank with gasoline, you know. That can make for a hefty repair bill. They’d even be willing to consider a shade of beige for the paint color. If only there was a car that fit those exacting needs…
Enter the Lexus ES300h.