Yesterday, I test drove two hybrid cars, a Toyota Prius and a Honda Civic hybrid. I think the Prius was a '08 and the Civic was a '07. I did have some specific concerns, and I was hoping I could get some feedback from anyone here who actually owns either (or has driven either for a not insignificant period of time).
(1) When you look in the rearview, you see a black bar across the middle of the window. I found it very distracting. The salesman said that it’s something everyone notices when they test drive a Prius, but fail to notice after a week. Is he blowing smoke up my ass, or do you really get used to it?
(2) The trunk, although fairly sizeable (especially with the seats folding down flush with the trunk), seems shallow. That is, I feel that if I put a suitcase in the back, even laying it flat, it will really obscure my vision in the rear view (especially coupled with that damned bar). Does cargo in the trunk impair your vision?
(3) The model we saw (and it was a Package Level 2, out of 5 or 6) had a touchscreen display where you access your radio, climate control, fuel efficiency gauge, etc. My wife seems to think that such a display will go on the fritz within a year. I’m of the opinion that touchscreen technology is tried and true, although I concede that I have zero conception of how long a touchscreen can last, and I have no idea if Toyota installed the cheapest touchscreen ever. Do you think the touchscreen will crap out fairly readily?
(4) Package Level 2 included a camera you could flip on using the aforementioned touchscreen display, so you could see behind you when you’re backing up. Does this mean that even Toyota concedes that you get dick for visibility behind you?
(1) I noticed that the battery vents into the cabin. (It may have also been so on the Prius, but it didn’t catch my attention and therefore I didn’t ask the salesman). Does this mean that my cabin is going to be even hotter on a hot day?
(2) When I accelerated on a highway onramp to get up to speed, I noticed that (a) I had to floor it to get up to speed quickly enough and (b) it still didn’t seem enough. I’ve read that the Civic has limited pick-up, especially compared to the Prius. Do you find that is the case, or am I just too much of a leadfoot?
(1) What sort of fuel economy should I expect if I have the A/C on?
(2) I’m a “hurry up and wait” kind of driver. That is, I tend to accelerate really fast when the light turns green (not burning rubber, but I beat almost everyone “off the line”). I constantly go ~10 mph over the speed limit. I pass people, I change lanes if I think it will help me get to my destination 0.5 seconds faster, etc. What’s more, I like how I drive. If I don’t think I’m going to change my driving habits to a slow-accelerator, speed limit follower, etc., should I even bother getting a hybrid? Or am I going to get 25 mpg and be really disappointed that I’m not taking advantage of the fuel-saving technology?
To put it another way, how forgiving is the hybrid technology with fuel efficiency? Does it give you 45+ mpg only if you drive like grandma, or would even a NASCAR driver get ~40 mpg?
Thanks for any and all answers!