When your family is growing and your four-door sedan is becoming too small with the rest of the family (and the dog) inside, it only means one thing: you should replace your sedan with a minivan. Moreover, if you were someone who simply wants to do some good with the environment, make that minivan a hybrid minivan.
The Need for a Hybrid Minivan
A hybrid minivan’s roomy interior is the reason why a lot of people, mostly with children, have been wanting for such a car instead of a regular sedan. Also, it has been known that a minivan, hybrid or not, is fuel-efficient as compared to big trucks, SUV’s and sedans with 6 cylinders. Although a growing family needs a roomier or bigger car, it doesn’t need something that will add up to the family budget (especially for fuel consumption).
Aside from these, a hybrid minivan although is spacious, is light to carry because of its light exterior and aerodynamics.
“Muscled” Hybrids, Not Minivan
Today, there hasn’t been any hybrid minivan running the streets of any US states, although other brands have been marketing large SUV’s as minivan or an alternative to it. Yet, these “muscled” hybrids are not minivans and don’t have the qualities of a true-blue minivan: fuel saver, spacious yet light, and therefore, cannot be labeled as a “hybrid minivan.”
On the other side of the coin, muscled hybrids are good, too, especially if you are the outgoing type. Four-wheel drives, SUVs and trucks can run smoothly on rocky, dusty and uneven roads. And in flooded areas, they can move with power, assuring you and your passenger of a safe ride.
The downside of muscled or hybrid trucks is that they are more expensive, consume more fuel and electricity from the battery pack, and are too bulky for city ride.
The most anticipated brand of hybrid minivan is Toyota, a Japanese car manufacturer. Toyota holds the top spot in terms of sales for hybrid cars in the US. It enjoys 60% market share on the total sales of US hybrid cars.
The two most highly publicized and rated are Toyota’s Sienna hybrid and Estima hybrid. These two hybrid minivans are at the top of their class in terms of design, aerodynamics, fuel-efficiency and engine performance.
The Soccer Moms’ Fave Hybrid Minivan
Sienna hybrid is a hybrid minivan that soccer moms would love. In fact, even the machismo image of most males won’t be stepped on by this well-designed hybrid minivan.
Sienna resembles the design of regular Toyota minivans. The only differences, of course, is the sleeker and more modern look and the dual energy mode of hybrids. Sienna’s big brother, Estima hybrid, possesses most of Sienna’s positive features, and more.
More Efficient Than Ever
Some car makers have announced redesigns to make the minivan even more fuel efficient than it is now. Although already known to be fuel saver, the redesign allows the hybrid minivan to consume fuel as efficient and as slow as a compact four-door sedan. As per estimate, the latest hybrid van could run efficiently by 35 miles with a single gallon of fuel.
The most interesting and most talked about feature of the most advanced hybrid minivan is its exhaust heat recovery system. According to the manufacturers, this exhaust system allows the recovery of thermal energy that the engine has produced, and routes such energy to heat up the engine coolant.
This process is an effective way to help the engine to warm up even if the car is idle. This way, the energy that would have been wasted (thermal energy from exhaust) has been converted into a positive energy, and thus allows the engine of the hybrid van to shut off earlier and turn on without using up energy from fuel or from the battery pack.