Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tahoe Hybrid: Punishment for Being Green

I saw my first Tahoe Hybrid on the road tonight.
My reaction?
If you have an appreciation for Hybrid Technology (at any cost) than certainly, as the commercials say, the best application of the technology is going to be where it has the greatest potential impact. SUV's.

Save 25% (or whatever) of the fuel a Prius-sized car burns? Okay. Save 25% of what a full-sized SUV burns...now that is something.

Thing is...why is the thing so homely? Why punish those willing to pony up a few extra grand to save a few less in gas by making the rig an ugly suit?

The answer is clear and can be found in the reasons why (among others) the Honda Accord Hybrid didn't sell (and was killed) and the Prius, despite it's butt-ugliness, continues to enjoy strong sales.

The Honda didn't sell because it wasn't ugly enough. Okay, so it isn't the ugliness per se that makes the difference. Its the difference that makes the difference. The Accord Hybrid looked almost exactly like the standard version.

As for the Prius? It may be ugly, wimpy, and embarrassing, but it is distinctive. You know it's a Hybrid.

You see owners of Hybrids have been proven to be conspicuously green. They aren't content with saving the planet and keeping it to themselves. They want to be recognized for their valor!

I don't begrudge them. Anyone willing to pay a premium for a car that will only be returned to them if they keep the car for fifteen years should garner some recognition.

And that is why they made the Tahoe, replete with homely 80's-era Pontiac plastic cladding, lumpy bumper covers and four-inch high "Hybrid" decals down the sides, as ugly as they could.


Aaron APC said...

I can buy your argument about the Tahoe being styled differently, but I'm not sure I agree about the Honda Accord. The Prius is the only other design exception I can think of since it is clearly a "status" car for anyone wanting the world to know they are "green", but Toyota also makes the Highlander, Camry, and Lexus 400h that all have the exact same body styling but have Hybrid engine option. Other examples I can think of are the Honda Civic, the Nissan Altima, the Ford Escape, and the Saturn Vue that all appear the same from the exteriors but come with Hybrid options.

jroosh said...

It is true that many of the Hybrid options are not styled differently than their dino-burning counterparts however the most recent sales numbers I could find show that about half of all Hybrid sales each month nationwide are Toyota Prius sales.

Bike Bubba said...

Not only is the Tahoe ugly, you also give up a ton or two of towing capacity with the hybrid. You might as well buy a minivan and get even better mileage and almost as much towing capacity.

(yes, I said that knowing how much you hate minivans)

Bike Bubba said...

For reference, I just dropped off my GMC at the dealership for an oil change, and saw at least one Yukon SANS cheesy decals. So you don't lose your self-esteem, just a ton or so of towing capacity.