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Five Reasons Hybrid Cars Are Finally Sexy

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Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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Look back a few years, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the only people who wanted to drive a hybrid car were celebrities, leaf-leaning liberals and electric car advocates who couldn’t buy a production electric car. 

Most of them would have driven the 2004-2009 Toyota Prius -- a car you can hardly describe as “sexy”

But in recent months we’ve noticed that more and more automakers are producing cars with hybrid drivetrains. Automakers we’d never have imagined would entertain the idea. 

Hybrid cars are becoming mainstream, perhaps even sexy. Here's why.

Hybrids Aren’t Boring To Drive Any More

Look at the latest addition to Toyota’s ever-expanding Prius Family -- the 2013 Prius C Compact Hybrid -- and it becomes obvious that Hybrids aren’t just for middle-aged liberals with tailpipe guilt. 

Designed to appeal to younger drivers who want a more sportier and funky car than hybrids of old, the Prius C Compact Hybrid mixes a non-nonsense, functional hybrid with dual-tone seats, a more aggressive front grille, and a lower spoiler that could have come straight from the Japanese street racing scene. 

Toyota isn’t alone either. 

Honda’s CR-Z, designed to evoke classic Honda two-seat sports coupes of days gone by, mixes sporty looks with a fuel economy of just under 40 mpg. 

In short, Hybrids have got a whole lot more interesting. And the more interesting a car is to drive, the more people will want to drive it.  

Mugen Euro high-performance Honda CR-Z Hybrid

Mugen Euro high-performance Honda CR-Z Hybrid

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Hybrid Drivetrains Improve Performance

In a pollution-obsessed world, governmental bodies are becoming increasingly tough on automotive emissions and fuel economy standards

As a consequence, automakers are having to find new ways of producing high-performance cars which also adhere to strict fuel economy standards. 

The answer? Yes, you've guessed it: hybrid drivetrains. 

Since electric motors provide the highest torque near or at stall, while gasoline engines need to be spinning at several thousand revolutions before they provide maximum torque, hybrid drivetrains are the ultimate way to combine high acceleration and high performance in a gasoline-fueled car.

As a consequence, even high-performance and luxury brands, like Ferrari and Porsche, are exploring ways of extracting the very best performance and economy out of their cars. By doing so, sports car manufactuers can keep building high-performance cars without falling foul of tough emissions laws.

Hybrids Make Socially Unacceptable Cars Acceptable

Escalade driveway

Escalade driveway

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Drive around in a luxury, pimped-out car like the 15mpg 2012 Cadillac Escalade AWD, and people will make some pretty stark judgements about your personality, financial status and lack of regard for the world you live in. 

Drive around in an almost identical 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4WD, and people are likely to think you’re making some effort to be a better person. 

In short, a hybrid badge says “I care”: even if you don’t. 

As a consequence, more and more automakers are discovering that a hybrid drivetrain can let its customers continue to drive the large, powerful cars they want to, but without the irresponsible image. That's something a large number of car-buyers are willing to pay extra for.


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Comments (3)
  1. As far as hybrids go I've been a little disappointed, the manufacturers tell you it's going to be ultra efficient and then when it finally makes it into local showrooms it's not as good as you had hoped. Like the BMW X6 hybrid, I wanted it so bad, but then they made it a V8 and loaded all the options as standard, so it cost about $23,000 more, and only got 5 more MPG then the standard V8 and only 1 MPG more then the I6. I'm most excited by pure electric cars, get home at night, plug-in wake up the next morning to a full car, if I need it I can charge while I'm running errands, and cancel my gas card as I'll have no reason to ever use a gas station ever again. Unless I buy a classic car or plug-in hybrid for my fun weekend-day off car.
     
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  2. Here, here! Three thumbs up. I don't ever want to stop at another gas station for the rest of my life and hybrids are actually shortening my life. Hybrid cars are not sexy unless you are into that weird and bazzar tail pipe stuff, and I don't ever want to get caught doing that again; it doesn't look good on a resume.
     
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  3. It all depends on what one considers appealing. Fiskar is not the sort of vehicle I would consider appealing - but the reason has to do more with the ride, cost, and NVH characteristics than anything about its hybrid powertrain.

    Just like in the Kenny Chesney song "She thinks my tractor is sexy", that's a very subjective criterion. To consider tortured sheet-metal and ability to play 'boy-racer' they only measure is to limit yourself. Some of us consider room, comfort, smoothness, low fuel use to be quite appealing, much more so than the latest electronic distraction, or speed and acceleration that one cannot exercise without risk to life and limb.
     
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