Hybrids - a flawed concept?
I'll admit I have a Honda Insight. It's a comapny car, so cheap on the tax. As a family we like our Insight, it has a nice big boot and is very comfortable.
Someone earlier posted about the IQ being a good car. I'm sure it is, but with families and friends and 5 seats, the Honda's make more sense to me from a practicality viewpoint. As I spend a lot of my driving time on motorways and major roads, I've always found tiny cars like the IQ very wearying.
Previously I hade a diesel Citroen C4 with the flappy-paddle gearbox. It was supposed to do about 60mpg - but in 3 years it only managed 40mpg overall. The Honda, in the last month or so I've had it, is doing 51mpg so far but improving as the car gets run in. The petrol engine in the Insight is very quiet normally (see comments below) and so much easier to drive than an oil burner for sure.
The biggest thing about these hondas to my mind tho, is that silky smooth CVT gearbox which is seamless, especially compared to the Citroens glacial-change in auto mode (Hint for Citroen users: use the paddles and change gear using the accelerator like you would with a manual - it's faster and smoother than the auto change).
Sadly, an idea like these 'mild' hybrids is flawed. Why? Because the engine is still running and drawing power.
The Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) is only partially effective. Motorway driving can be a chore if you need to accelerate to overtake a lorry for instance. The engine will whine and eventually get going, little assisantce from the electric motor. Starting moving from a standstill uses a lot of engine power and very little motor power it seems.
I've changed my driving style to suit the car now, I'm much more relaxed and use the cruise control on all longer journeys. Lower consumption, less noise, less stress. thats the way to do it.
On an associated topic:
I read an old, but interesting article from James May (top gear) recently. Should we really be eaking out the last of the oil? If we use the sodding stuff up quickly then we'll get all this much talked of new technology to replace it. As long as we continue to hoard and sip away at oil, the longer it will take before we get replacement technology. 10 years ago, this idea would have been brilliant, but now with petrol over £6 a gallon, who of us can afford to guzzle the gas?