Saturday, October 4, 2008

Is Honda's new Prius-fighter the one for me?

Much to my surprise, at 110,000 miles, my 1997 Dodge Intrepid is still humming along. But winter is approaching. I need four new tires, the front windshield has a crack on the lower right passenger side and the brakes occasionally send back funereal tones.

It could be time for a new--or at last newer car--and I need advice on which way to go.

As one who wishes to limit his own personal contribution to the oil companies' excess profits, the idea of driving a hybrid is appealing. One that's caught my attention is the Insight (pictured above), which Honda unveiled last week at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show.

The C-Questor blog posted an interesting piece today on the five-door hatchback which will go on sale here in the spring at prices that may be $2,000 less than the Prius's MSRP.

These days, I spend much more time in front of the computer screen than behind the wheel. Last year, I probably didn't drive more than 7,000 miles. So I wonder how much gas I'd actually be saving with a hybrid and whether that savings in gas would offset the added cost of a hybrid vehicle.

What do you think? Does a new hybrid, like the Insight, make sense? With my limited driving needs, would buying a used hybrid be a better move? Maybe I should be looking for a standard car that gets better than average gas mileage?

Or, with the GM Volt and other all-electric vehicles only a year or so away from production, should I turn my 18-mpg Intrepid over to a good mechanic, make the necessary repairs, buy new tires, and hope to coax another year or more out of it?

Let us know by clicking on the tiny "comments" link below. Tell us what vehicle you're driving (or would like to be driving) and why.

And thanks for your help!

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