High mileage lease return PHEV in Minnesota winter
February 1, 2019
This car was purchased used as a high mileage one owner lease return (Titanium trim level) on December 27th, 2018. It had slightly over 159000 miles on it when it was driven off the dealership lot. Nothing is under warranty anymore, so this is really where the rubber meets the road in terms of long-term reliability. It has been on long highway trips and back country roads at high speed, in sleet, snow, and very cold temperatures, so the gas engine has been used a lot. It has a 2L inline 4 with the electronic variable valve timing Atkinson cycle setup with the direct injection system that many modern cars have. The engine is connected to the wheels and dual three phase synchronous electric motor/generators with a single planetary gearset, and the differential speed between the two motors gives the engine variable speed at a fixed RPM to stay in the power band on gasoline burning mode, so it is not a normal, belt-driven CVT. This is a very good thing! It has all of the benefits of a CVT, with none of the drawbacks. It is very nice going up hills, because it doesn't keep hunting for gears. Also, going down hill and stopped at red lights, it does the usual hybrid "start/stop engine" thing. One of the motors acts as the starter, so no 12V starter to wear out. Full-time electric mode is only available when you charge it, and it pops up a different battery icon on the dash than you see in gas mode. In Minnesota winter, with the AC off and the seat heater on, and gentle driving, this particular model still delivers close to its factory rated electric range. In gasoline mode, with normal driving and all of the heat on, it is getting an average of 36mpg. Another important thing is the regenerative brakes. In normal mode they barely do anything. To activate them fully, you need to move the gear selector back to the "L" position. In terms of snowy/icy road handling, it is a large, heavy car, and the regular brakes are incredibly grabby, but the ABS and traction control are very good at keeping the car from sliding too much, even with all season tires.
In terms of actual, real world reliability, here is a list of everything that has gone wrong with it so far:
The engine sounds slightly rough, especially on cold days (no smoke visible from exhaust),
Check engine light came on for one of the O2 sensors (possible cause of first issue),
Rubber boot on left CV joint wore out,
There was a shuddering noise during regenerate braking during a cold (-19F) morning which went away after it was shifted back into drive and into "L" again,
The 3V coin cell battery in the key fob wore out and was replaced,
The passenger side front lamp that comes on when you shut the car off and lock it stopped working,
The passenger side fog light bezel came off,
The drivers side under-mirror light flickers slightly,
The rear parking sensor system displayed an error which went away by turning it off and back on again.
Other than what is on this list, everything else on the car functions as intended from the factory.