IntelliChoice checked out the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over five years (or 70,000 miles) of 25 hybrid cars. They found out that the TCO of hybrid cars is lower than the vehicles they directly compete against.
Bell said that aside from lower fuel costs, other factors playing a role in hybrids’ cost performance are better-than-expected depreciation and resale value. Also, contrary to skeptics and critics, repair and maintenance costs have not proven to be higher than those of other vehicles.
"Up to now,” Bell added, “The Prius has been the darling of the hybrid set, and it remains our highest rated value for hybrid vehicles. But this survey validates the cost performance of the other many hybrid models that are currently on the market. All of the hybrids in our study have achieved ‘Excellent’ ratings in their respective classes from IntelliChoice.com.”
This chart ranks hybrids in order of their performance against their peer group:
5 year expected cost
5 year actual cost
Hybrid w/Nav (Auto)
Hybrid Limited 2WD
Hybrid Limited 4WD
LT Hybrid 2WD*
SLE Hybrid 2WD*
LT Hybrid 4WD*
SLE Hybrid 4WD*
* All trim lines 1500 Extended Cab
When analyzing Total Cost of Ownership, IntelliChoice.com focuses on seven key criteria, including depreciation, fuel cost, finance costs, insurance, repairs, maintenance and applicable state fees. In the case of hybrids, IntelliChoice.com also factors in federal tax credits.
For the survey, 2006 model year hybrids were analyzed for their Total Cost of Ownership over a five-year or 70,000-mile period. The five-year expected Cost of Ownership for each hybrid vehicle is based on the average cost of all vehicles in each class.
“Hybrids are proving themselves to be an excellent alternative for car buyers. Even when factoring in the additional upfront costs for their purchase, the long-term savings hybrids generate makes them a sensible and attractive purchase,” said Bell.
Against all criteria, IntelliChoice.com found the Toyota Prius to be the best in overall class. Along with the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic, Toyota Highlander, Ford Escape and Honda Insight also received top marks for value. Some of the top hybrids in the 2006 survey were previously awarded IntelliChoice’s Best Overall Value of the Year (BOVY). IntelliChoice.com’s BOVY awards recognize cars, trucks and SUVs that will cost significantly less to own than would be expected of vehicles at their purchase prices.