How to Choose the Perfect Hybrid Vehicle for You: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Considering buying a hybrid car or truck? This quick step-by-step guide will help you decide which hybrid vehicle is right for you…

With over twenty different hybrid vehicle models on the road today (and more options arriving every year), making a decision on which hybrid to purchase can be tricky.

In fact, no hybrid vehicle is really objectively better than another, so what’s right for you really depends on your own inclinations, family, driving habits and style.

Here are 5 steps for choosing the perfect hybrid vehicle for you:

Step 1.) Narrow Down by Type

Start by narrowing down your hybrids by the type of vehicle you want.

If you’re just driving for yourself, you might want to avoid the SUVs, which get poorer gas mileage than smaller cars. On the other hand, if you’re using the hybrid for heavy lifting, you might want to look into hybrid trucks, of which there are several good options now available.

There are many different types of hybrid vehicles, so start by narrowing down your list to just the types that best suit your lifestyle and driving needs, then compile a list of those vehicles.

Step 2.) Define Your Desired Look and Feel

Is there a particular look that appeals to you in a car?

Many comparable vehicles really just come down to look and feel. For example, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid are quite similar from a technical perspective. The choice often comes down to a stylistic one.

Compare the styles, looks and feels of the different cars out of the type you’ve selected in Step 1 and rate them from 1 to 10.

Step 3.) Research the Actual MPG

Remember that the MPG displayed on a MSRP sticker is a very grossly overstated number. The MPG displayed on those stickers are about what you’d get if you drove a new vehicle at a perfect speed on a perfectly straight road in perfect weather with no stops.

No one actually drives this way in real life, which is why real-life MPGs – with turns, stops, uphills and downhills – is quite different from the MPGs on an MSRP sticker.

To find out the actual MPG of the vehicle you’re considering, do some research online to find out what kind of mileage other people are getting.

Step 4.) Find Out If It Qualifies for Tax Breaks

Not all vehicles will qualify for a tax break, and many tax breaks for more fuel-efficient vehicles are being phased out as they become more common. However, getting a tax break can be a huge part of the cost savings from owning a hybrid.

For example, if you can save $2,000 on taxes from buying a $22,000 vehicle, you’ve saved almost 10% on your investment right there.

Check on the current tax laws in your area – both locally and in your state as well as federally – before making your decision.

Step 5.) Take It for a Test Drive

Once you’ve narrowed your list down to just a few potential cars, take them all for a test drive.

See how the turning, braking and acceleration feel to you. Would you enjoy driving this vehicle every day for the next few years?

What’s your personal driving style? Do you like fast accelerations and hard turns? Or do you prefer a smoother, safer ride?

Try out each car before making your final decision. Then and only then should you get down to the nitty-gritty details of price negotiations, financing and warranties.


(Image by Sky-High on Pixabay)

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