A Hybrid, a Prius, or a Smart Car?

The words “Hybrid” and “Prius” have been thrown around in everyday conversations, especially now since everyone began “going green”. Car wrap Melbourne Suddenly, the “Smart Car” has been added to the mix. So, what’s the difference? As earth’s natural resources continue to deplete and our technological advancements keep improving yearly, there are many new additions to the automotive industry that many of us are not one hundred percent familiar with. Let’s take a brief look at the three alternative fuel options in the automotive industry:


The hybrid is not limited to one car company and is offered in coupes, sedans, and even SUVs. Hybrids are a combination of an engine and an electric motor. In fact, vehicles classified as hybrids can expect up to 30% of fuel savings and are much better for the environment. There are actually three classifications of hybrids: mild, full, and plug in.

The mild hybrid is composed of a smaller battery and a weaker engine. It uses a battery and an electric motor together all working with the engine. The mild hybrid will save fuel by shutting down the engine while the vehicle is stopped, but the electric motor can not drive the vehicle alone. An example of this is the Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid.

The full hybrid uses a gas engine as the main source of power and the electric engine adds power when necessary, such as the Altima Hybrid points out Tacoma Nissan. They can use the electric motor alone at low speeds which increase fuel efficiency. If you are in need of additional power, the internal combustion engine will work with the electric motor to give that extra boost.

Lastly, the plug-in hybrid is basically a regular hybrid, but it is included with an extension cord that allows it to be plugged into an outlet to be charged. This vehicle is an electric car, with a gas tank backup which can save you lots of gas money. Look at it this way: the plug-in option is perfect for those who use their car mostly around town. It runs on electric power, can get 100+ MPG, and all you need is to plug it in; you would rarely have to gas up. Driving a longer distance? No problem, the gas tank gives you that freedom – it is a perfect combination. Keep your eyes open for when Chevrolet introduces it’s own plug-in, the 2011 Volt.


Introduced by Toyota, the Prius has a combined EPA rating of 50 mpg. The Prius is a member of the hybrid class – a full hybrid – and has some of the best EPA ratings for toxic emissions, which has made the Prius a continual favorite among Littleton Toyota dealerships‘ hybrid shoppers. New to the 2010 models are that the Prius can function up to one-half mile on electric power alone, and Toyota has given their Prius battery life as well; owners can plug in their car if necessary to regain power. The 2010 Toyota Prius has a 4-cylinder, 1.8 liter engine with 136 horsepower.

Smart Car

The newest addition to the debate, the Smart Car is popularly known for its size, or lack thereof. Ironically, the Smart Car received remarkably high safety test results despite its appearance as “a death trap”. The Smart Car is not considered a hybrid and is even offered with a diesel option all the while having an EPA rating of approximately 41 mpg. The EPA has rated the Smart Car as the leader of fuel-efficiency in the car category – separate from the hybrid category. With a three-cylinder engine located in the rear, the Smart Car has approximately 70 horsepower, almost half that of the Prius. For a gasoline vehicle, though, the Smart Car is extremely fuel-efficient which keeps it just as desirable as other hybrid models. If you ask MS Honda dealerships, the Smart is certainly efficient, but its size lacks the versatility of the Honda Fit or Civic.