We've finally come to a fairly reasonable agreement with my insurance company regarding my flood-ruined car. I've decided that I'm going to take the money, sell or trade in the Probe (a.k.a. "The Dentmobile") and buy myself a vehicle that gets good gas mileage. This has led me to research the various hybrid cars that have been slowly seeping onto the market over the past few years. There might be a few tradeoffs in comfort and styling, but the appeal of 50-60 mpg (not to mention two more years of Federal tax incentives) speaks to my inner miser.
I've ruled out the Toyota Prius for the simple reason that it's impossible to get one. I've always been a big Toyota fan, but I'm not willing to pay a premium to get one just because the demand has outstripped the supply.
That leaves the two Honda hybrids: the Insight and the hybrid Civic. (Apparently Honda is coming out with a hybrid Accord soon, too, but by then I'll probably have made my purchase.)
The Insight is a two-seater, but that's not really a disincentive as far as I'm concerned. The zillions of consumer reviews I've read online pretty much agree on two things about the Insight: the stereo sucks and the tires suck. The other complaints seem to be a little more subjective, so I'll withhold my judgment until I've had the chance to drive one (which should take place around 6 p.m. tomorrow).
I'm not ruling out the hybrid Civic, though. It's a normal Civic in every respect except for the hybrid engine. That means it isn't especially light or otherwise engineered to take full advantage of the gas/electric combination, so its gas mileage isn't as knockout impressive as what the Insight achieves (average 48 mpg vs. Insight's 56 mpg). Still, that's better than 99% of the vehicles on the road, so I'd like to check it out.
I'll keep you posted as I make my car shopping rounds.