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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Jun 25, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2012 Infiniti M35H
Nissan’s proprietary hybrid system appears in the 2012 Infiniti M35h, and will soon be seen in the next-gen Altima

THE POPEMOBILE GOES PLUG-IN HYBRID Will the new holy roller be a hybrid? Although Mercedes has not confirmed it, a report from a German business magazine says the new popemobile being delivered in September will be a hybrid. Pope Benedict XVI will take delivery of the new vehicle when he makes his first official state visit home to Germany. The first-ever hybrid popemobile would be able to go 18.5 miles on battery power, requiring a one-hour charge. Apparently, it was never under consideration to have the vehicle be all-electric, due to the need to have the option for the pope to make a quick getaway. Mercedes has provided vehicles to the Vatican for eight decades. THE BEST HYBRID BANG FOR YOUR BUCK While many people purchase hybrids to help curb climate change since they emit less greenhouse gases, most people also take gas savings into account when looking at the additional cost of a hybrid. If you want to know which cars give you the most MPG-bang for the money, look no further. The Hartford Courant divided the combined city/highway MPG by the base MSRP and multiplied by 1,000 to come up with a ranking of the best hybrids for your money. A high mpg rating and low price yield a high efficiency-cost rating.

2010 Honda Insight EX

And who are the winners? The 2011 Honda Insight comes in as the best hybrid for your money, at $18,200 and 41 MPG combined. The Insight is followed by the 2011 Toyota Prius and the 2011 Lexus CT 200h. At the bottom are pricey luxury cars, such as the Lexus LS 600h L, BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid, and Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid. In those cases, you're really paying for the luxury though, and the hybrid is a fringe benefit. THE RETURN OF THE ALTIMA HYBRID Although we thought the Nissan Altima Hybrid was dead, it turns out it will be resurrected in a new and improved version. The current Altima Hybrid being retired after the 2011 model year used a hybrid system licensed from Toyota. Nissan has been developing its own hybrid system, which is considerably simpler than Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The new Nissan hybrid system is appearing in the rear-wheel-drive 2012 Infiniti M35h luxury sedan, but the technology is being adapted for front-wheel drive vehicles as well. Expect to see Nissan's new hybrid system show up on a new Altima Hybrid for the 2013 model year.

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