Buying a used hybrid is a popular option for car buyers, and this option is growing more attractive each year. As technology improves, more and more motorists are being exposed to a newer generation of hybrids. Many have served a useful past life and sit alongside other used vehicles found on car yards scattered across the country.
Hybrids are not the alien they once were. They can be seen as an attractive alternative to those simply looking for a fuel efficient and affordable means of transport, but still require a car that is able to travel a considerable distance.
Used imports have assisted in swelling the number of hybrids on our roads with some of those earlier generations coming in more affordable when compared to say 10 years ago.
Top reasons for buying a used hybrid
• Save money on fuel bills
• Produce lower emissions than similarly sized vehicles
• Getting a used hybrid for the same price of a dedicated petrol model
• Avoid a huge initial depreciation hit on a new hybrid
Top reasons not to buy a used hybrid
• Battery replacement price is still a large expense depending on the model
• Hybrid cars sometimes feel less responsive or less powerful than dedicated petrol powered models
• Servicing and knowledge of hybrids can be hard to find in some areas
Issues to consider when shopping for used hybrid cars
Battery life: In New Zealand, all new hybrids are sold with a generous warranty on the main battery. Toyotas for example are all sold standard with an eight year or 160,000km warranty.
Now that the first hybrids have seen some time on our roads, these battery packs have proven their longevity. But the reliability of each car's battery depends on many variables and the only real way to check out a battery’s true condition is at the dealership using its factory software. Investigate the service records thoroughly to see if any battery issues have occurred in the past before you buy. As long as the mileage is low, around 50,000 to 80,000kms, you should still get plenty of life out of the battery.
Battery replacement: Not all hybrid battery packs are equal. Replacing the battery on one model may vary significantly to the next. Do some research on the replacement cost prior to purchase, especially if it has above average mileage. If you buy a model that has a transferable warranty and only plan to keep the car as long as the warranty lasts, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Driving experience: If you have never driven a hybrid, make time for an extended test drive before you buy. Ensure you drive it in pure electric mode, and in the mode where you're accelerating. See how reliant the hybrid system is on the conventional engine. A good hybrid system should be able to manage the use of both its battery and engine power efficiently changing between the two power sources seamlessly.
Used hybrids definitely have their place on our roads and bridge the gap for motorists who want to reduce emissions, however can’t quite enter the EV world due to the distance they need to commute or budget constraints.