Hybrids not only save on gasoline, they also save on maintenance, especially brake system repairs, and they typically come with longer drivetrain warranties…
There’s a new breed of hybrids hitting the streets that are closer in performance and price to their gasoline counterparts.
Not only has the hybrid driving experience improved, lighter and more compact new battery technology takes away less cargo space and fuel economy is even better, especially with plug-in technology.
Hybrids not only save on gasoline, they also save on maintenance, especially brake system repairs, and they typically come with longer drivetrain warranties. These new hybrid examples are all entries for 2014 Canadian Car of the Year. The braking and acceleration stats are from the recent Testfest evaluation event.
Jetta Hybrid is not just the first Volkswagen hybrid – it’s also the first hybrid with a turbocharged gas engine and a rapid-shift 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG), instead of the usual CVT automatic. A compact lithium-ion battery pack also takes up less trunk space and even allows a pass-through feature (with fold-down rear seats) for longer items.
Preserving Jetta’s sport-sedan qualities, the hybrid’s electric motor boosts powertrain performance and optimizes fuel economy. A clever “power meter” on the instrument panel translates what’s happening under-hood into an easy to understand driving efficiency gauge.
Price: $28,490 to $35,300
Fuel economy (combined city/highway): 4.4 L/100km
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.0 seconds.
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 47.1 meters
Honda Accord Hybrid is the first full-hybrid from Honda. Its unique two-motor powertrain operates in three distinct driving modes in which the Atkinson cycle engine is completely de-coupled (EV) used as an electrical generator (Hybrid) or drives the wheels (Engine). The result is incredibly good fuel economy, considering this is a fully equipped (including leather and nav), big sedan. The under-hood powertrain gymnastics are barely discernible inside the cabin.
Fuel economy (combined city/highway): 3.8 L/100km
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.0 seconds.
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 46.3 meters
The new Energi version of the Ford CMAX is a plug-in hybrid, which means it can be plugged into the electrical outlet to recharge its battery. Stored e-power pulled from the grid allows it to be driven further (about 34 km) in a pure electric-vehicle mode. Depending on everyday driving demands, CMAX Energi could actually function as an electric vehicle for many urban owners. A functional tall, wagon that can seat five, the rear seatbacks in the CMAX Energi also fold flat to expand the cargo space.
Fuel economy (combined city/highway): 3.1 L/100km
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.9 seconds.
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 43.0 meters
The hybrid version of the new Infiniti Q50 offers 354 net horsepower making it a high-performance sport sedan. Impressive propulsion comes from the combined efforts of a 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy V6 gas engine and a 50 kW electric motor that’s rated at 67 horsepower, plus an innovative one-motor/two-clutch motor control system.
The Q50 Hybrid is available in both rear-wheel drive and what Infiniti calls Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. Precise handling is provided by its 4-wheel independent multi-link suspension and an innovative Direct Adaptive Steering with five handling modes.
Price: $47,000 to $49,500
Fuel economy (combined city/highway): 7.0 L/100km
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 5.8 seconds.
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.8 meters
The Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid is a four-door, four-seat supercar with a lavishly luxurious interior. The “e” denotes that it’s a plug-in hybrid and it has more than double the electrical power (95 horsepower) of its hybrid predecessor, plus a new li-ion battery pack. Its electric-only driving range is 18 to 36 km and it has a top speed of 135 km/hour in e-drive.
Stomp on the gas pedal and a 416-horsepower, 3.0-litre V6 gas engine bursts into action and the G-forces can pin you to the seatback. Top speed is now 270 km/hour, but mercifully the brakes (regenerative) are even more powerful at bringing the Panamera S e-Hybrid quickly to a halt.
Fuel economy (combined city/highway): 6.4 L/100km
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 5.4 seconds.
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 37.7 meters