There was a time when buying a hybrid constituted a small leap of faith. Despite all of the potential benefits, you were still buying into a new technology with an unproven track record. Now that hybrids have demonstrated their staying power, many of the original hesitations about buying one no longer exist.
If you've always admired the potential benefits of owning a hybrid, but haven't been able to get past some of the perceived drawbacks, it's time to put your fears to rest. Here are four reasons that now is a better time than ever to buy a hybrid.
* They're more affordable than ever. Hybrids were once in an entirely different price class, but with more on the market now, their price has dropped considerably. Options like the 2013 Kia Optima hybrid sedan compare favorably with most affordable new car models on the market as well as other hybrids.
* Batteries are less of a concern. Since batteries that reduced a car's reliance on gas were the main piece of innovation when hybrids were introduced, many buyers were concerned about their ability to hold up over time. Time has shown that hybrid batteries are reliable, premature battery replacements are usually covered by the car's warranty, and replacement batteries are becoming more affordable. For example, the Kia Optima Hybrid uses a lithium polymer battery, which is lighter, more compact, and more powerful than other hybrid batteries. So, fretting over eventually having to replace your battery is no longer such a concern when buying a hybrid.
* Improved looks. When hybrids were first introduced, everyone knew at first glance that you were driving one. Engineering has improved to make hybrid cars look like any other car on the road. In cars like the Kia Optima, which comes in both standard and hybrid options, there are only very subtle differences between the two.
* Proven record. Having been on the market since 2000, buying a hybrid is no longer taking a risk on new technology. Hybrids have proven to be a reliable option and are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
If you've been contemplating buying a hybrid but were held back by any of these preconceptions, there's no reason to hesitate. With so many automakers offering hybrids and technology continuing to improve, they remain a good investment.