What is the hype about hybrid cars

98FA74BD-8B07-4756-AE55-0B27FB00D24FI recently sold my 4 year old Volvo V60 because the environmentalist at the EU decided that modern diesel cars have to have very strict catalytic converters. So if you drive under 100 miles a day on motorways you will need to have your injector/squirty bits de-coaked every six months. That is a real pain in the backside as, if you ignore the warning light, it cripples the engine performance so you end up driving to the dealership at 4mph like Mr Magoo.

So given the bad PR about diesel engines recently, I decided to ditch diesel and get proper environment-wrecking petrol engine plus a some high-tec bits and I chose a Lexus NX. This is a hybrid SUV filled to the brim with wonderful but unnecessary technology.

If you remember the ghetto blasters of the 1980’s and imagine giving one to a child and telling them to use that to design a car; you would end up with the Lexus NX.

So let’s start with hybrid. Why would you want a car that is part electric and part petrol? It might be emissions and tree hugging or it might be fuel economy. The Lexus delivers neither. Emissions are 5 CO2 (Grams per km) worse than the Volvo and the fuel efficiency is 47 mpg for the Volvo vs. 36 mpg for the Lexus. Also on pure electric only the range is 1km. A distance shorter than I can run with a hangover.

So why bother?

Initially I was very sceptical and when you read the Lexus website it doesn’t promise fuel efficiently or environmentalism. Rather it offers quiet. I agree this car is staggeringly quiet. Not why I bought it, but a very pleasant byproduct.

So the promise of hybrid is protecting the environment and fuel savings but the Lexus does neither.

Why do I like it?

The satnav system is pretty good, not Google Maps good obviously but designed by someone who has actually driven a car. The rest of the in-car ‘infotainment system’ has been designed by a man who still uses of a Nokia candy bar phone and dreams of seeing his first smart phone. Tip for Lexus engineers. Go to Silicon Valley for three months and learn about interface design.

But I like tech. The hybrid system is useless, the fuel economy sucks like an old hoover but why do I love the car?

It is designed for those who want to travel in extreme comfort and who don’t care about money. I bought a second hand one but the list price is £39,000, so not for everyone.

The SatNav is good, the audio immaculate, the toys first class. My advice is to turn the stupid voice navigation off (if you can find the setting) and enjoy the wonderful ride and the 1km electric range which is rubbish.

Oddly, I’m very happy with it.

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