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Hybrid Car Comparisons

For the model years 2005 and 2006, a hybrid car comparison of the various models will help people differentiate and decide which model is right for them. With sport-utility vehicles and trucks, a hybrid car comparison can be valuable especially when compared to their conventional gas-powered cousins.

The Ford Escape incorporates a sophisticated system that can run the car solely on electric power, gas power, or a combination thereof. A Hybrid car comparison showed that the Ford Escape hybrid can get up to 36 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Compare this with a 19/24 city/highway performance of the gas-only Ford Escape with a V6 engine, and a 23/27 performance with a four-cylinder engine. It's interesting to note that the hybrid car comparison's city rating is higher than its highway rating. This is because the electric power takes over during low speeds and while stopped, while the gas engine is shut off automatically. This allows the car to conserve fuel until it gets to higher speeds.

Another Hybrid car comparison showed that the Escape hybrid sports a 2.3 liter, 133 horsepower engine along with an 87 horsepower electric motor. The SUV also has a 38 horsepower motor that starts the gas engine, recharges the 330-volt nickel metal-hydride battery, and regulates the distribution of power. During braking, this second motor operates like a generator to recharge the batteries. It also functions to shut down the engine when the car is stopped as well as while decelerating in order to conserve gasoline. When coupled with a four-wheel-drive mechanism, hybrid car comparisons show that the hybrid Escape can perform as well as a regular 200 horsepower Escape with a V6 engine.

Following Escape's lead are the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h. A Hybrid car comparison revealed that Toyota is an innovator and front-runner when it comes to hybrid technology. The Highlander and RX400h use Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, which combines a 3.3 liter V6 with a stronger electric motor. The result is a 270 horsepower machine that outperforms the gas-powered V6 Toyota and Lexus SUVs, all with the fuel economy of a compact automobile.

Honda takes a slightly different approach to their hybrids. Honda has an Integrated Motor Assist system that uses the gas engine continuously, utilizing the electric motor during more power-hungry applications such as acceleration, towing, and hill-climbing. Hondas do not have the capability of running solely on electric power. However, the fuel economy doesn't suffer, as they consistently rate among the best when in fuel economy using the Integrated Motor Assist system.

There aren't many hybrid sport-utility vehicles and trucks on the market today. However, with rising gas prices, SUVs and trucks stand to benefit the most from hybrid technology.

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Hybrid Car Acronyms and Definitions:
  • D-FAS - Draft Assisted Forced Auto Stop.
  • Solar cell, or photovoltaic cell - a semiconductor device consisting of a large-area p-n junction diode, which in the presence of sunlight is capable of generating usable electrical energy. This conversion is called the photovoltaic effect.
  • Oil - Oil, a liquid fossil fuel, is formed from layers of buried plants and animals that have been subjected to geologic heat and pressure over a long period of time. The energy that the plants and animals originally obtained from the sun is stored in the oil in the form of carbon. In addition to carbon, oil contains elements such as nitrogen, sulfur, mercury, lead, and arsenic. Oil is a nonrenewable resource because it cannot be replenished on a human time frame.
  • TRAC - Acronym which means Traction Control System.
  • D-FAS - Draft Assisted Forced Auto Stop.


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