Our Point of View: Hybrid Cost Analysis

June 11, 2009

by Irv Miller

We often rationalize large-ticket purchases based on price, and even more so when our pocketbooks are pinched. We see a lot of hybrid affordability comparisons these days. Here’s mine. So, let’s do the comparison.

The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $22,000 for the all new third-generation 2010 mid-size Toyota Prius II is $1,806 less than the $23,806 median price of the mid-size sedan segment.

Compared to vehicles in its segment, the compact class Honda Insight LX (base model) is priced $1,400 higher (2009 compact car median price is $18,395) and has only a modest fuel-economy advantage.

Let’s do the math based on a Prius II (base MSRP of $22,000) versus an Insight EX (base MSRP of $21,300). These models are equipped the way most consumers want.

Using industry loan averages (60 month term, 7.45 percent annual percentage rate [APR], $2,400 down, tax, title and registration), the Prius has a monthly payment of $435 while the Insight carries a monthly payment of $420…a difference of $15. That’s just a couple of Starbucks double shot Grande Lattes a month.

Now let’s factor in annual fuel costs based on the EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 50 mpg (city and highway combined) for Prius and 41 mpg (city and highway combined) for Insight and 15,000 miles at $2.62 a gallon (national average as of 6/8/2009). The Prius will save you about $172 per year or $14 a month over the Insight.

Now the overall difference is just a little over a dollar. So for a buck more each month, you get a roomier vehicle that is a full hybrid with better mileage ratings, enhanced performance, vehicle stability control, driver’s knee airbag, beltless engine, rear disc brakes….well, you get the drift.

If you compare the Prius I (base MSRP of $21,000), due out later this year, to the Insight LX (base MSRP of $19,800), which is still not an apples to apples (size and equipment) comparison, the monthly payment difference including the fuel savings is only about $12.

So, when considering hybrid affordability, look beyond MSRP. When the bigger picture is seen, Prius definitely provides more value for your money.
 
 

Prius II

Insight EX

Difference

MSRP

$ 22,000

$ 21,300

$ 700

60 months term

     

7.45% APR

     

$2,400 down

     

tax

     

title

     

registration

     

total loan amount

$ 21,745

$ 20,977

$ 768

monthly payment

$ 435.20

$ 419.83

$ 15.37

combine mpg

50

41

9

annual fuel cost (15k/yr & $2.62gal)

$ 786.00

$ 958.00

$ 172.00

annual fuel cost diff in month

   

$ 14.33

diff monthly payment - gas savings

 

   

$15.37-$14.33

$ 1.04

   
       
       
 

Prius I

Insight LX

Difference

MSRP

$ 21,000

$ 19,800

$ 1,200

60 months term

     

7.45% APR

     

$2,400 down

     

tax

     

title

     

registration

     

total loan amount

$ 20,858

$ 19,529

$ 1,329

monthly payment

$ 417.45

$ 390.85

$ 26.60

combine mpg

50

41

9

annual fuel cost (15k/yr & $2.62gal)

$ 786.00

$ 958.00

$ 172.00

annual fuel cost diff in month

   

$ 14.33

diff monthly payment - gas savings

 

   

$26.60-$14.33

$ 12.27

 
Categories

Displaying comments 1 - 5 of 10:


Judy said...
What this comparison doesn't take into account is the fact that you can't buy a Toyota at the "base" price because they generally come equipped with standard "packages" which increase the price from $2000 to $4000 over the base price. I do love Toyotas, but this is a fact that makes it difficult to price them.
9/30/09 at 12:00 AM

Laszlo said...
My wide and I are both 'in love' with my 2008 Prius. There is a daily competition for the key fob (looser gets the Corolla keys). My only beef is that it should be a plug-in. Even a 40-60 km EV range and an 80 km/h top EV speed would be fine. Most of our trips ara in town with a daily range of under 60 km.
9/23/09 at 12:00 AM

Larry said...
With all the technology Prius offers, it is very affordable. The true cost analysis is missing some other operating costs besides just purchase and fuel costs. There is maintenance, insurance, government incentives and licensing. Speaking for the Prius, one major advantage is brake wear. With the Prius hybrid system it uses the HSD to slow the vehicle, which extends the life of the brakes and lowers maintenance costs. So there are added benefits besides fuel economy.
8/18/09 at 12:00 AM

motor trade jobs said...
great and i love this car. it is very useful and comfortable
7/13/09 at 12:00 AM

ann said...
well great!i love or like this car! prado is fashion and fabulous car ! tpyota prado is for ever!
7/6/09 at 12:00 AM

Bob said...
Great!
6/30/09 at 12:00 AM

antoinette arianna said...
Thanks, Bill! Very helpful!
6/17/09 at 12:00 AM

Kevin Franklin said...
anyone who drives both vehicles back to back will wonder why they ever considered an Insight in the first place. It doesn't even compare to the Gen II Prius.
6/16/09 at 12:00 AM

Jaymo said...
Will there be an "MPG-friendly" or hybrid Sequoia coming out in the near future? With the same 8-person and cargo capacity? If so, I will hold off on buying a Honda Pilot and wait for the Sequoia. Thanks.
6/16/09 at 12:00 AM

< back

You must be logged in to view this item.




This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.

Copyright Notice

All materials on this site are for editorial use only. The use of these materials for advertising, marketing or any other commercial purpose is prohibited. They may be cropped but not otherwise modified. To download these materials, you must agree to abide by these terms.