What models (SUV!) are available?
(I only know Escape, Lexus Rx)
are there others? any from Honda?
How are their MPG's?
does one get tax-reduction for owning a Hybrid SUV?
If anyone has any info, would be great
This is for a good friend.
Toyota has a Highlander hybrid model that is well-equipped, though it's priced about $7,000 more than I paid last May for my 2005 V6 AWD Limited model Highlander.
IMHO, the Lexus is a status symbol only when referring to their hybrid SUV. It has nowhere near the room the Highlander does, plus you're looking at almost $50,000 for that status symbol!
Honda, to my knowledge, only has the Accord and Civic in their hybrid line-up, though Toyota is introducing the Camry as a hybrid in the near future.
I'm not certain if it is a tax credit (preferrd) versus a tax deduction (better than nothing), but there is still something in place for purchasers of hybrid vehicles in 2005. The dealership personnel should know some of the details, as it is likely part of the sales pitch.
If you want a sensible hybrid (assuming that's not an oxymoron, as many believe) with some cargo volume, the Highlander is hyb is the way to go. It is pricy, but if you're willing to settle for a more basic version with cloth seats, those are appearing with MSRPs in the low-30s. The Limited versions are way up there around 40-ish. The SUV hybrids are, to me, strange animals. As noted above, the Lexus is just silly. How do you justify spending 50-60k on a vehicle (as with its close relative the Highlander, almost a 10k premium over the straight gas version) to save a little on gas??? Even baseline Highlander Hybrids are going to be pretty hard to justify on a purely mathematical basis.
They are also strange because of their lopsided mileage profiles. The Highlander Hyb is rated 33 city and 28 highway. Nowhere near the dramatic overall stinginess of the Prius, and the highway figure is barely better than a normal V-6. So the benefits are heavily in favor of the city driver, almost totally pointless for the guy who drives long distances.
But as always, it comes down to preferences. If you want a hyb SUV with some room, go check out a Highlander. If you're comfortable and can pay the freight, go for it. Just don't expect to get your money back in gas savings, unless you own the thing for a very, very long time.