A parade of electrified vehicles, including the Chevy Volt, dominated a new Consumer Reports survey asking car owners if they would buy their cars again.
The Volt finished first in the category of small cars, followed by the Toyota Prius C and Nissan Leaf. Three hybrids -- the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Toyota Prius Plug-In -- topped the family cars category, while the Toyota Prius V beat all competitors among wagons and minivans.
Consumer Reports said the results will help bring hybrids even further into the automotive mainstream. "Some people are still suspicious of hybrids," Eric Evarts, senior associate autos editor for Consumer Reports, told us. "But as they hear -- mainly through word of mouth -- that others are happy with them, it starts to break down barriers."
The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid got the highest score in Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction survey. (Source: General Motors)
The annual Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey asks car owners a single question: Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get the same vehicle if you had to do it all over again? The organization received about 350,000 responses on more than 240 models, spanning the model years from 2010 to 2013.
The Chevy Volt had the highest score of any vehicle; 92 percent of owners said they would definitely buy it again. Other high-scoring vehicles included the Porsche 911 (91 percent), Chevrolet Corvette (91 percent), Audi A7 (90 percent), and Dodge Challenger (90 percent).
Consumer Reports editors said they were not surprised by the good performance of hybrids, especially the Volt. "You've got relatively few people who buy them, but they are finding out that the technology works," Evarts said. "It can eventually cut them off from having to buy gasoline without placing any restrictions on their lives."
Not all hybrids did well in the survey. Evarts said the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 450h didn't perform as well as the Volt or Priuses. "For someone who buys a luxury sedan or an SUV, a hybrid doesn't offer them much. It gives a couple miles per gallon, and miles per gallon probably isn't even on their radar."
The survey contrasts sharply with an R.L. Polk & Co. study that found roughly two-thirds of hybrid owners who returned to the market in 2011 did not opt for another hybrid. Polk economists said the study revealed that consumers who buy hybrids to be eco-friendly generally stick with them, but those trying to save money may opt for more fuel-efficient gasoline-burning vehicles the second time around. The Polk study also tracked new car buyers, whereas the Consumer Reports survey looked at owner satisfaction.
Evarts said the high scores for vehicles such as the Volt and Leaf may also reflect the number of early adopters who are responding to the Consumer Reports survey. Because early adopters are enthusiasts by nature, they are expected to be satisfied with their vehicles. "There are still relatively few buyers of these vehicles, especially the Nissan Leaf," he said. "But we expect the satisfaction numbers to start falling off as they become more mainstream. Eventually, these cars won't just be purchased by enthusiastic early adopters."
How can you be skeptical of the results? GTOlover: Toyota has sold millions of hybrids, and their repair records are unbeatable. Since the ICE engine is the most complicated, expensive and problematic component of a car, the hybrids and electrics have the advantage. For instance, my Prius only needs an oil change every 10,000 miles, because it is not used nearly as much or as hard as a conventional ICE. I am really suprised that the bias caused and created by oil companies toward electrics and hybrids is actually believed.
Yup. This is what makes any value comparisons, whether vs. Cruze or Prius or whatever, utterly meaningless. It may be a great car, but it is easier to build a great 30k car if you can spend 60k, 70k or who-knows-what to make it.
When it is affordable and profitable I will be impressed.
Some people really need to look at the numbers, many people forget to factor in the monthly saving in gasoline. If your commute is small, hybrids and electrics might not be your thing. If you drive any kind of appreciable miles, there is a huge difference.
I just drove my Prius 2100 miles, and it didn't skip a beat, tight as a rock. Hope you got a great warranty... and you are fooling yourself if you think OIL prices are going anywhere but UP.
Hybrids and Electrics have everything to like, and it is obvious that these owners surveyed don't miss their ICE counterparts in the slightest bit. Do they feel cheated because their car payments are higher? Of course not, because they laugh at all the denyers at the pump putting $60-100 in their tanks. I put 30 dollars in the tank and it goes 500 miles. I just took a road trip 2100 miles in total, didn't worry about speed (avg 66mph) and got 47.9mpg avg in my Prius. Here is the damage:
43.84 Gallons used X $3.25 (avg Gas Price) = $142.48 for the entire trip
If I took old car, Toyota Solara: stats from previous trip, current Gas Price, 18.5mpg
113.51 Gallons used X $3.25 (avg Gas Price) = $368.91
That is a difference of $226.44
The savings paid for 2 hotels and food and drink on the trip.
Why the Hell would anyone want to go back to an conventional ICE engine?
I am also skeptical of the results. Low volume sales of a high priced hybrid/electric would tend to go to those most passionate of the technology and climate change fears. Their 'feel good' attitude is biased. What would be more interesting is to watch warranty claims if/when the volume of production goes up. At low volume, it should be easy to make good cars!
I have a Volt. Like the CR survey responders I am very happy with the car. A couple of comments. I don't think you could get a comparable Cruze for half the price. The Volt comes pretty loaded. And performance and handling are much better. My commute is over 37 miles. 37 miles is no limit, however, the advantages do diminish with a longer commute. I average over 100 miles per gallon of gas even with my longer commute. As far as being "committed" to charging every night, or thinking it is some kind of hassle. I would compare it to being "committed" to closing your garage door every night (it's every bit as much a similar habit now), and about as difficult as plugging in a cell phone charger. I estimate that it takes 30 seconds total to plug in and unplug. I'll take that 30 seconds of hassle every day to cut my number of trips to the gas station to less than one per month.
My concern is that, as a taxPayer, I funded LOTS of Volt purchases this year. I would love to see technology stand on its own sooner rather than have gov't make market decisions. Maybe the Volt is good stuff, maybe a better technology is out there that the gov't didn't choose to subsidize. I wish there was a model for introducing technology by which the market and not the politicians (using taxPayer $s) got to decide.
Charles, there is no doubt that hybrid cars will gain more momentum in coming years. We cannot depend always on gasoline as fuel because of various crises in Arab countries. In such situations hybrid vehicles are the best solutions.
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