Hybrids Loaded With Too Many Luxury Features, Group Says

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Automakers are including too many unnecessary luxury amenities on their hybrid vehicles, driving up the prices of what should otherwise be more affordable cars, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

So-called “forced features” such as leather interiors and pricey navigation systems represent a considerable price bump that pushes hybrids into unaffordable territory for many potential customers, the nonprofit group says. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid are among the vehicles the organization points to, but the worst offenders cited are luxury models such as the Lexus LS 600h L hybrid, which comes with more than $17,000 in features compared with the LS 460L base model.

With all respect to the Union of Concerned Scientists, which does such very good work: If you’re in the market for a Lexus hybrid, we kind of doubt the add-ons are going to get in the way of a purchase.

However, the UCS may have a point: Toyota said a no-frills version of the current Prius would come out, but now it may sell that vehicle only to fleet buyers, leaving the individual car buyer no choice but to take the frills, albeit at a pretty reasonable $22,000 for the amount of car you get with it.

As an example of a hybrid that has no forced features, the UCS cites the Honda Insight, but that car is still only a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Prius and gets lower mileage. Still, hybrid shoppers should check out, which gives each vehicle an environmental score, a “hybrid value” score and a rating for how many “forced features” come with the vehicle.

Are Hybrid Cars Being Loaded Up to Boost Their Prices? (DriveOn)

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