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In this post I'd like to help potential buyers by outlining how I evaluated PHEV options and chose the Niro PHEV.

In addition to the Niro I considered the following options:
1. Prius Prime
2. Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Limited Ultimate
3. Chevy Volt Premier
4. Honda Clarity
5. Prius Two Hybrid

I was driving a 2008 Prius since late 2007. It was the most reliable car I've ever owned. The only problem it had in nearly 11 years was the keyless entry stopped working on the driver side, repair was covered under warranty. So when the time came to get a new car I never though I'd stray from the Prius. I fully expected to buy the Prius Prime until I discovered that it only had two seats in the back which was a dealbreaker for my family of 5. If the Prime had three seats back there, no question I wouldn't be posting here.

After I realized the Prius Prime wouldn't work I discovered the Niro and Ioniq. I was planning to get the Ioniq PHEV because of the better fuel economy and bigger cargo area (with seats folded up), and I determined that I needed the Limited with Ultimate package trim because of the safety features: automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and maybe one or two others. However, that car is IMPOSSIBLE to find outside of California. I checked almost every day for over a month on the Hyunday web site, cars.com, cargurus.com and even checking individual dealers web sites within a few hundred miles of Boston, and found nothing. The missing safety features were a dealbreaker.

Next I looked into the Chevy Volt which I passed on because of the poor reliability ratings and numerous stories on gm-volt.com about all sorts of defects and issues. Sometimes I wonder if this was due to the anti-Obama trolls who were upset about the GM subsidies and generally about anything that might improve the environment, but the consumer reports reliability downgrade, from average to below average, for the 2nd generation made me give up on the Volt. Also contributing were the really cramped rear seating and poor visibility.

Next up was the Honda Clarity, which seems like a great car except for one dealbreaking feature: it's not a hatchback. I only have a single car, and that car MUST have a hatchback for utility. Before my prius I spent too many years trying to fit large items into the trunk of a Camry and I just couldn't go back to that.

Finally, I sort of considered getting a regular Prius Two hybrid because of the dependability, and great fuel economy and low emissions. It's complicated to figure out the full emissions impact of a car, especially a PHEV which needs to include the emissions from electric power generation, but it seemed like the Prius HEV might actually have a similar emissions profile to the Niro PHEV. However, after 11 years of HEV driving I felt entitled to a technology upgrade ;-) and did not like the idea of doing another 10+ years of Hybrid driving while the world of transportation is rapidly moving to electricity.

Hope that helps anyone who is on the fence with any of those choices.
 

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The latest Prius model isn't the best looking car out there either, good to hear you finally found something that you like without compromising on your list of necessities. I heard the Ioniq was in very high demand so it's no surprise to read that you weren't able to find one, they're selling like hot cakes!
 

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Yes, the Prius HEV is definitely weird looking. Doesn't matter that much to me, but my wife hates the way they look. If looks are important I think the Niro is the best of the bunch. However, I finally saw a Prius prime in the wild the other day, and it didn't look much like the HEV, looked pretty good actually. The Niro is definitely well positioned to take advantage of the problems with the Prius HEV looks and lack of rear seating in the prime PHEV, should become a very popular car if the reliability continues to be good.

The latest Prius model isn't the best looking car out there either, good to hear you finally found something that you like without compromising on your list of necessities. I heard the Ioniq was in very high demand so it's no surprise to read that you weren't able to find one, they're selling like hot cakes!
 

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I am a Prius owner (2005) as well. They lost me with the new body style and interior. Ditto on your sentiments of all other PHEV's. Drove all models except Ioniq hybrid not PHEV for comparison, but car was not as comfortable compared to EX Niro Premium we now own. Still on first tank of gas after almost 6 weeks. Very happy!
 
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