I am interested in buying a hybrid car. I am looking at both the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius. I know you get to test drive new cars every week and I would like your opinion on which one is best. I hope you can give me an unbiased answer on my selection.
QUESTION: I am interested in buying a hybrid car. I am looking at both the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius. I know you get to test drive new cars every week and I would like your opinion on which one is best. I hope you can give me an unbiased answer on my selection.
ANSWER: I have driven both cars, and both are good. With that said, there is no question that the Toyota Prius is the car I would buy. This does not mean the Civic is bad, I personally liked the Prius better. The Prius was a smoother car right from the dead stop and the initial engine start up from a stop. These cars have an automatic shut-off feature when you come to a stop with your foot on the brake. On the road the Prius was also quieter and seemed to have more power. The Honda EPA highway mileage is rated higher and the Honda also has a slightly smaller displacement engine than the Prius. I would also suggest you look at the Prius V. It is larger than either the regular Prius and Civic. Whichever you choose make sure a hybrid is the right car for you as for the mileage and type of driving you do. Hybrid cars cost more than their counterpart cars and make sure you figure in the amount of pay back time for the extra up-front money.
QUESTION: I live in Maine and own a 2000 Ford F350 pickup with 88,000 miles. My brake pedal went almost to the floor and the brake fluid leaked out. I went to the shop and the mechanic said the brake lines were rotted and that all needed replacement. Is this normal wear?
ANSWER: I see a lot different brands of vehicles that have rotted both brake and gas lines, and this is because of the poor quality metal lines that a lot of manufacturers use. There are some very good quality coated aftermarket lines that most auto parts stores have. This is what we use, and I urge other shops to use the same. Ford does offer a line replacement that in some cases have both the steel line and flex line together, especially for the rear brakes when equipped with disc brakes.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on new 2012 Porsche Cayenne hybrid verses either the regular V/6 or V/8 version?
ANSWER: No matter which Cayenne you go for they are all very well built and loaded with amenities. I spent a few days in a 2012 hybrid and can tell you that it was one of the smoothest hybrid vehicles I have driven to date. The Cayenne has plenty of power, and coupled to an eight-speed transmission this SUV has power at all speeds and conditions. All the cockpit electronics take a bit to get used to. Once you understand how everything works and its location, you are driving a piece of paradise. Our test Cayenne had a base price of $69,000. Like most evaluation vehicles it was loaded and had a sticker price of $99,045. Gas mileage was in the low 20s combined driving. Keep in mind this is not an ordinary SUV. I personally owned a twin turbo Cayenne for four years and my neighbor now owns it. He always remarks at 8 years old it still feels great. I personally do like the V/8 version for the performance and a twin turbo at 500 plus smooth horsepower is like having a both sports vehicle and SUV all together, one vehicle instead of two. It’s like two for the price of one expensive sports car.
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Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.