2013 Lexus GS 450h First Drive. [Photos: Antony Ingram]Cons
2013 Lexus GS 450h First Drive. [Photos: Antony Ingram]Enlarge Photo
It's not all good news with hybrids.
We've already hinted at the cost. If your aim is to spend as little at the dealer as is possible, then a hybrid probably won't be for you. Brand new, no hybrid currently on sale costs under $18,000, and there are any number of reasonably efficient cars available for less. That cost can really escalate for premium hybrid models too.
Then there's the image. Hybrids may no longer have quite the stigma they once had, partly because so many carmakers currently offer hybrids. But for some, saying "I drive a hybrid" has a little too much baggage attached to it. Rightly or wrongly, hybrids are still looked down upon by some other drivers, and some buyers might not want that kind of association.
You'll also need to check that the hybrid you're looking at hasn't been compromised too much in other areas. In cars not purpose-designed to be hybrids, you'll often sacrifice a little trunk space over the non-hybrid model, as the carmaker has had to squeeze a battery in an area it wasn't designed to go.
2012 Honda CR-ZEnlarge Photo
If none of the above really puts you off, then you shouldn't need much persuading to choose a hybrid as your next vehicle.
Any difference in initial cost should be made up soon enough, provided you pick a reasonably efficient hybrid in the first place (the case isn't as strong for some of the token hybrids in premium carmakers' ranges). There's also a kick to be had from getting about the place using the bare minimum of gas, even if it's not the same kick you might get in an all-electric car!
Factor in that reliability and smooth driving characteristics, and you're ready to buy a hybrid. The only decision you have to make now, is which to go for...