Yeah, yeah, yeah... Not another one of "these" types of posts... I get it..
I realize that I've got some real "first world"-type problems here, but hey...they're MY problems to have! :-)
Anyway, due to some rather nice financial windfalls that have occurred for me this year (combined with some other occurrences that have eliminated typical deductions for us) , our family has gotten into full-on tax reduction/avoidance mode. So...we started thinking that since the wife and I both were driving full size SUVs, that maybe we could do the Earth some good (and our tax liability) by looking into getting a plugin hybrid or electric car. Now...I'd certainly go full-on BEV, but there are occasions where I do some fairly long Texas sized trips, and I typically do those in my own vehicle while leaving the wife and three kids to use her SUV while I'm out...so, BEVs quickly become problematic and not viable after just three or four of those trips per year (yeah...I could rent a car for that...but that's a pain). So, I'm mainly down to choosing a plugin...
A little background... Now, I'm coming from what I consider to be the best (even if not well received...) non-"soccer mom" family hauler around for anyone with a masculine lean...The Ford Flex. My 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD w/ Ecoboost has been a GREAT vehicle. I've got three kids (4,10, and 12) and they've loved the room that they've got when they're back there with the dual moonroofs. It's got tons of room, power, tech and comfort features...and has been very reliable. It's also completely loaded...right down to the adaptive cruise and refrigerator/freezer for the rear. So...I'm a little spoiled. I love and use the AC seats in the Hades days of Texas on a regular basis, and the adaptive cruise control has just been a godsend for me in terms of peace and stress reduction on long Texas trips. Not a huge fan, like many, of the Sync system...but it's been adequate for the life of the vehicle. Real turn off has been the difficulty in keeping my foot of the twin turbos and only getting around 15-16MPG in-town. If I've taken care of things on the highway...I think my high watermark has been around 28MPG which is pretty respectable but just demonstrates that the greatest impact on FE is driving habits and conditions.
So...with that being said...I started looking around for a good plugin. Upon first investigating the Gen 2 Volt (2017s), I learned that they had announced ACC availability, but that it wasn't yet available. I test drove a Volt and I thought that although it's a far cry from the power in the Flex...that the driving experience was pretty nice. Quiet ride, reasonably quick acceleration, and decent seats... While I thought that the backseat was a stretch for the kids (funky middle seat bulge is not good), I figured it'd last me for while for the few times when we might take the car instead of the wife's MDX, and most of the time it's just me in there...or me plus one or two kids. Big plus for it was the fact that I could realize the full $7500 credit available. So, I waited for the ACC to become available and ordered one the day it was (that was mid-April). A week after putting my deposit down, they let me know that it had a Target Production Week of 5/9 and I thought that'd be fine. Well...fast forward to now and there's still no Volt here. I started hearing insinuations online that it might be a marketing delay and that the car might not be produced until sometime in August! Worse than that...GM/Chevy had Zero information about what the fark was really going on at all... That really gave me the special flavor of posterior redness...so I started contemplating alternatives. I looked around for a BMW i3 REX, but could hardly find any... I also looked for a Sonata Plugin...none in the entire state... Then I started looking at the Fusion Energi. Found one (And yes...only ONE) in the new Platinum trim level for like a 500 mile radius. This thing was loaded too...plus has the inflatable rear seat belts and already applied 3M paint film. I scheduled a test drive and the sales guy said he'd have it ready for us when we showed up. I brought the kids and wife with me and went to go look at it... Well, show up and the car isn't even on the lot. The sales guy tells me it is on their auxiliary lot and that we'd have to drive there and get it. So, I park the wife and kids in the waiting area and go with the sales guy to get it. The car is literally in right-off-the-shipping-truck state. Plastic, transit mode, factory gas, no charge, etc... Not good. By this time, I've already done some amount of reading about the car and I know it'll work like a typical Hybrid in the state its in. I go ahead and drive the car as-is with the family. Clearly a much better family vehicle than the Volt. Kids look like they're pretty comfortable in the back, and myself and the wife have good room in the front. Really appreciate that it has dual zone climate controls, memory settings for two drivers, cooled seats like my Flex, and air registers in the rear for the kids. The car seems to drive well, but it clearly has less get up and go than the Flex...or the Volt for that matter. I tell the sales guy that this isn't a good "test" for me because I'm trying to compare it to the Volt and it would need a charge to be competitive. He asks if I'd be willing to try it over a weekend and see how it works for me. I told him that sounds good and that doing so would let me know how the reduced range vs the Volt would fit into to our typical around home travels. I tell him, that I'm going out of town for business, but that I could return and pick the vehicle up on Thursday to try it out. Well...in that time, GM/Chevy finally gets back to me that the Volt has been built and is on a train headed for the dealership.
Another kicker is that I have a 32ft Class C Gas Motor Home, and we need to be able to tow a vehicle when we go on trips...so I was very happy and surprised to learn that the FFE may even be capable of being towed four down... That's great, but not a real requirement for me, because I have a tow dolly.
So now I'm in a quandary... The reality as everyone knows is that these vehicles are very different (in almost every way that two vehicles could be). I've tried to do a pro/con list for me (and these are MY pros and cons...for others...these may be different...YMMV):
Volt Premium Pros over the FFE Platinum:
Full Tax Deduction
Sorry folks...but has the more advanced powertrain/battery management system of the two
Quicker and feels a "bit" sportier
Better cargo carrying ability...If I needed to get a full load of groceries (not that I like doing that mind you...) I think I could...not so much in the FFE
Almost certainly able to deliver full gas free living for the VAST majority of my driving (Likely 2.3X or more battery only range)
A little lighter...so maybe a "bit" easier to tow
I think MyLink might be a bit better than Sync 3 (but it's closer than people think)
Fairly new generation...so not likely to have shiny new toy feeling super soon...
Wow...it's actually offered in colors that aren't...completely boring and drab
FFE Platinum Pros over the Volt Premium:
Much better ergonomics for the family...when they're all in there.
Memory Settings, Dual Zone Climate Control, and Rear air registers
Cooled seats that also seem to "feel" a bit better/more long term comfortable than the ones in the Volt
Greater total range... (The sticker on this reads 610 miles of total range)
Pedestrian detection (Ummm...Ok. I guess it couldn't hurt...)
Volt Premium Cons:
OMG that penalty box in the back is almost exactly that...
The ordering/factory process/lack of information from GM really ticked me off...
Total range is significantly less than the FFE now...
FFE Platinum Cons:
This one is the White pearlish color (sorry...don't remember the marketing name for it), and although it's "ok"...for me...that's about all it is. Not a big white fan...
I'm not sold on the baseball glove dash bit...
Really ticks me off that there seem to be almost 5K in incentives in leftist land (AKA Cali) <just joking people...kinda> and not available here in TX...
In addition to the above buncha BS...this thing get's me $3500 less in credit :-(
Not sold on the whole battery cooling bit...especially here in Texas. I do garage my cars, but there's no doubt that it's gonna some kinda hot here every year...
Has the tan color interior that ALWAYS gets color transfer...
It's a bigger car...and I think a bit heavier than the Volt so it might be tougher to tow... (wish I made enough bank for a diesel pusher...)
Now...I've got choose... The Volt's not here yet, so I'm going to go ahead and take the FFE for a home test this weekend and see how it goes. I might decide to go with the FFE, but they'd have to make me a deal that I couldn't refuse I think...because right now...I'm sorta leaning to the Volt.
Edited by mcsenerd, 09 June 2016 - 08:12 AM.