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I've been doing some reading into whether it makes sense to buy the QX60 Hybrid instead of its gasoline powered brethren. The results of my research have been mixed, and pretty interesting. Let me share them with you.

Some articles that I read said that the QX60 Hybrid was a good deal compared to its gasoline counterpart. That means that you'd actually make up the difference in price due to fuel savings over time. Green Car Reports was one such publication who reported this. I'm no math whiz but I do have the numbers here for someone else to do a slight bit of calculations.

The QX60 Hybrid starts at $56,495 while the gasoline version starts at $47,495. The fuel economy for the hybrid is 7.6L/100km highway, 6.9L/100km city. The gasoline version does 11.8L/100km city and 9.0L/100km highway. It appears that the difference is enough for it to make it worth your while, but I also found quite a bit of evidence that would say the opposite.

First off, I have read that the QX60 Hybrid is "rare to non-existent at many dealerships." So it appears getting hands on one is a challenge in itself. Furthermore, one publication wrote that the hybrid system shies away from switching off the gas engine in colder weather, or when the air conditioning is on. That would indicate that the QX60 Hybrid doesn't do so well in areas with extreme climates.

Outside of issues with the QX60 itself, there are also concerns that lower gas prices and more efficient gasoline engines may make hybrids less competitive across the board. Vincentric says that in 2012 44% of hybrids were less expensive to own then their gas counterparts compared to 39% in 2013, and 32% in 2014.

So, is the QX60 Hybrid worth the premium over its gasoline counterpart? Are all hybrids destined to be money pits because of factors outside their control?
 

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The whole rare things seems true to me since i haven't seen any of them on the road aside from one rolling off a delivery truck and onto the infiniti dealers property.
 

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I had no trouble getting mine... had six to choose from. But, all the "negatives" you mentioned are true. I've gotten about 21.5 mpg, overall, in 8k miles. That's odometer miles divided by total gallons pumped into it. I have had it since March in Missouri where I use A/C all summer and heat, now. The vehicle almost never goes into EV mode (and you can't use EV once you press the gas, ever). This is a light hybrid (we own a Lexus ct200h in comparison... 40+ mpg overall).

You will likely never get your investment back in gas savings, but that's not why I bought it.

It has low emissions (lower than the 6 cylinder? I don't know) and I like to encourage hybrid technology. So I'm paying so the next generation can be engineered. It makes me feel good, in other words. Should it? Maybe not, but there you are.

I suspect that it gets better mileage under the same circumstances as the gas car. It's just hard to know how much as most of us can't afford two and can't hire a driver to drive in parallel with us to find out! Maybe that's a good test for a dealer or auto magazine...
 

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I sell these cars. And I live where people will buy hybrids and even electric cars, for reasons that transcend pure economics. Will the hybrid pay off? Tough question to answer, but basically, if you equip the cars equally, you pay a $3000 premium for the hybrid. You get about a 20% fuel economy boost. Let's leave aside the discussion of whether the cars achieve their sticker price fuel economy. As the expression goes, YMMV. But regardless of how much your mileage varies from sticker, chances are, you'll get 4-5mpg better fuel economy driving the hybrid vs the gasser, given the same driving conditions (maybe a little better delta if you can drive with the A/C off a lot of the time). Someone better than me can do the math, but at a 5mpg boost, it is going to take at least 4-5 years to pay back $3000 in gas.

The critical part of the above paragraph is the line "if you equip the cars equally". At the upper end in terms of equipment, that's easy to do. A $57K gasser will be a $60K hybrid. But it is harder to achieve parity of features at the lower end. People who want a hybrid, typically also want the safety features of the Driver's Assistance package. Infiniti has made it very difficult to equip the hybrid and non-hyrbid equivalently though - except at that $57K/$60K price point. I think we've sold one hybrid that came without a theater package (we've tried to order them, but Infiniti adds the theater package whether we want it or not). In 2014, Infiniti did not break out the Driver Assistance package as a stand-alone option for the hybrid like they do for the gasser. So while I can build a Prem, Prem+, DRI gasser for less than $52K, no such hybrid animal exists. To get those safety features in the hybrid, you had to spend $60K. And that $52K gasser, is by far the best configuration for this car. So now, you have a $8,000 price delta when you compare a real gasser car that someone can buy, to a real hybrid with the same safety equipment.

For 2015, you can allegedly build a DRI only Hybrid. Currently, 7 of those exist in the USA. My dealership has 3 of them. Another nearby dealer has one - in a hideous color combo. The other 3 I presume are spread around. Infiniti clearly doesn't want to build too many of this extremely popular (at least in my geography) feature combination. Similarly, they don't want to let us build many with Deluxe Technology, but no theater package.

Bottom line: If there's a configuration of this car that you want. And it is available that way as a hybrid, then I think you can make the argument for the economics - especially if you'll be keeping the car for a long time. But if you want a configuration where the price delta in terms of real, actual cars is more like $5-8K, good luck making up that in gas.

If someone from Infiniti is reading this, I'll tell you that I've had at least a dozen clients come in asking for a hybrid, wanting a hybrid. But left with a $52-$54K gasser because the only hybrid version of the car that was equivalent, cost $60K. Congratulations, your expectation that you'd sell a small number of hybrids has become a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the way you've packaged options.

Oh, and if someone in the Bay Area wants a hybrid with Driver's Assistance, but not the Deluxe package, contact me soon. These cars won't last long. Maybe later in the year Infiniti will realize they could sell more if they build them, but who knows.

FWIW, I drive a hybrid Q50. Totally different economic equation on that car. I get an 8mpg boost, plus 10% more horsepower than the gasser, and the MSRP premium for the hybrid was $1900 - no brainer even on a 2 year lease.
 

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As the expression goes, YMMV. But regardless of how much your mileage varies from sticker, chances are, you'll get 4-5mpg better fuel economy driving the hybrid vs the gasser, given the same driving conditions (maybe a little better delta if you can drive with the A/C off a lot of the time). Someone better than me can do the math, but at a 5mpg boost, it is going to take at least 4-5 years to pay back $3000 in gas.
Great discussion, as usual. I think in the bay area you might see this mpg difference, but I doubt that's the case where one uses the climate control a lot. That would mean the gas engine would get about 16 mpg for me which I doubt is true. I don't try to maximize my mileage, by any means, but I try to not accelerate quickly and not drive lots of short trips. I have gotten over 30 mpg on a warm day, no climate control on for about a 15 mile drive (no, not downhill!) trying very hard to maximize mpg. So I think my 21.5 is about what I could expect using the climate control and "just driving" on this thing. (And as I think everyone knows, the car's computer is about 2-3 mpg high... it tells me I do 23-24 mpg, but my tracking of miles driven divided by gas put in tank is less.)

So if my numbers are right, it will take more than eight years at $3/gallon for me to save $3k. Again, not the reason I bought this car...
 
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