The 2015 KIA Optima Hybrid
The 2015 Kia Optima is a hybrid mid-sized sedan that has some stylish appearances, a vast array of features and an excellent trim on the cabin. The main advantages of the sedan are its wide range of features and easy to use controls. The crash test scores are also top, and the warranty is lengthy boosting consumer confidence. The car is equipped with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side and curtain airbags. The rear side has a camera, parking sensors, cross-traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring system for safety. Roadside assistance and automatic collision notification system are also available (‘New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews and Pricing,’ Edmunds).
The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid has a lower fuel economy compared to its chief rivals. It has a combined approximation of 37 or 38 mpg, although its main competitors, the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid deliver an additional 3-10 mpg. The acceleration performance is quite average, going from 0 to 60mph in 8.7 seconds. The headroom at the back is a bit tight due to the coupe-like roofing. The trunk is also small (about 10.8 cubic feet) compared to other sedans due to the hybrid battery pack. Steering is not praiseworthy given the high effort needed. There is an odd braking response because of the regenerative braking system, coupled with a small but noticeable delay in getting the required braking force after pressing the brake pedal.
The Chevy Volt
The Chevrolet Volt sedan is a plugin hybrid vehicle manufactured by General Motors. It operates on pure electric battery until the charge drops to a particular level where the engine kicks in and powers the electric generator to extend the range of the vehicle as required. The battery range is 53 miles without using any gas, making it convenient for most people travelling to work and back. When needed, the amount of gasoline fill is significantly lower than ordinary sedans, and the quality is regular grade gasoline. The regenerate on demand paddle on the steering wheel allows the driver to adjust deceleration and the amount of braking power that can be sent back to the battery pack. Safety features include an antilock braking system, traction and stability control, driver and passenger knee airbags, and side impact and curtain airbags. Automatic crash notification, emergency assistance buttons, remote door unlock, and stolen vehicle tracking assistance (‘New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews and Pricing,’ Edmunds).
The Chevy Volt is quite expensive, going for around $30,000 for a 40-mile range vehicle. The vehicle also has a large and costly Li-ion battery which is a problem for many people that have used laptops and thus become overly cautious in case fires emerge or the battery fails thus attracting a large repair bill. The car has poor mileage compared to its competitors and lacks a power adjustable seat driver’s seat. The backseat is cramped and lacks headroom and legroom for a car of that calibre.
Ford Fusion Energi
The ford fusion 2014 model is the most fuel-efficient vehicle equipped with a one-litre eco boost engine. The brakes are consistent and firm, and the vehicle is also low maintenance. The car is rated at least 28 miles a gallon, and its range of motion is commendable. The vehicle’s inside is also appealing, and it has a wide variety of features that made the vehicle stand out.
The ford fusion is a bit noisy when accelerating; it’s heavier than most cars making it bad for family road trips and carrying luggage. The cost is also significantly higher than regular hybrids, and the electronics interface is less intuitive compared to other hybrid car systems.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
The latest Volkswagen Golf model is more refined and sharper to drive than its predecessors. The 1.6-litre diesel engine consumes 83.1 mpg, and co2 emissions are only 89g per km. Variants of the model include the all-electric e-Golf and the four-wheel drive model. Steering is well-weighted, the gearshift is precise, and the brakes are firm offering safe and balanced handling. The warranty goes for five long years and 60,000 -90,000 miles. Safety options include side scans, blind spot monitoring, dynamic lights, parking lights assists and front and rear airbags (‘Volkswagen Golf GTE,’ Auto Express).
The electric range of the battery is lower than other models, and the car is heavier due to the weight of the battery pack. The interior is not very appealing, and most features are conventional to the other model of the Golf model. The car is not that big and therefore not reliable for packing more space. It’s also somewhat expensive, starting at 33,000 euros even with government incentives to promote the use of hybrid cars.
2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The Hyundai Sonata hybrid car is almost similar to the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid in that it has many appealing features for the money, a quiet and expansive interior, reliable quality and smooth ride. It’s equipped with a 1.6 litres turbo charge engine with four cylinders and promises a high fuel economy. It runs on 28 mpg – 31 mpg on a long highway drive evaluation. Safety includes the antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front, knee and side curtain airbags (‘New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews and Pricing,’ Edmunds).
The sprint speed is low, standing at 8.3 sec to make 60mph. The overall roof style compromises the headroom for tall passengers.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the best car for my family and me because of its stylish look and impressive performance. A vast array of features is also available and the vehicle consumes less fuel per mileage. Even though the acceleration is minimal, the car is sturdy and provides adequate passenger room for a family of five. Safety is up to standard with the backup camera, power driver seat, automatic headlights, among other impressive features. The car costs around $25,000 making it affordable for its class and durable for use even during family or corporate road trips. The trunk space is big for luggage which makes travelling a whole lot easier for the family.
Impact of Hybrid Cars on the Political Relationships between the US and Oil Producing Countries
When oil prices rose to $120 per barrel in 2008, oil became responsible for 75% of the trade deficit in the US (Kenney). Hybrid cars have reduced oil imports adding to a positive effect on trade imbalance due to the high cost of domestic goods. They have also eased the tension between the government and environment protection agencies due to environment and cost concerns especially when it comes to difficult to reach reserves.
The effort by ‘green’ hybrid cars to increase fuel efficiency and lower emissions have made them a dominating force when it comes to mitigating the hazardous effects of climate change.
The government is widely supporting investment in clean energy solutions that also attract taxes on carbon emissions and subsequently high energy prices. In this proposed move to tax oil products and reduce oil consumption, the International Energy Agency outlined a strategic plan to cut the US oil consumption by 30% from 2007-2030. 60% of that cut would emanate from hybrid and plug-in cars and biofuels, and the rest from eradicating the use of oil in electricity generation and conservation in heating at homes (Levi). Making the US economy less vulnerable to oil price shocks is a top priority for the government and the IEA since it implies sending less money abroad and reducing vulnerabilities for the economy. Politically, the US foreign policy would significantly improve due to reduced hindrance by oil producing countries that are violent to the country. The investment in hybrid cars technology has lifted various feuds with oil producing countries and discouraged participation in oil turf wars for the US, for example, the recent Russian-Syrian war over control of pipelines going into Europe (Dergham).
Hybrid Technology and World Politics
The demand for hybrid technology in various global settings is on the rise due to cleaner, fuel-efficient options and potential to boost the economy. Some organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists are in the frontline in pushing manufacturing companies such as General Motors to produce more affordable and customer friendly vehicles (Fuller). For countries like the USA, which have excellent indications of being one of the largest producers of hybrid vehicles, this is a significant economic achievement and a benefit in shifting trade alliances that will see major companies export these cars to other parts of the word. Oil producing countries are already being left with abundant reserves and minimal consumption, leading to a rivalry with the US and disintegration of political alliances with similar hybrid producing countries. On the other hand, new political affiliations and collaborations are underway, leading to rival trade and political blocs.
Dergham, Raghida. "Oil, Gas, and the New Relationship between the United States and Russia."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/raghida-dergham/oil-gas-and-the-new-relat_b_4124733.html>.
Fuller, Harry. "Hybrid Cars Becoming Ever More Political | ZDNet." ZDNet. GreenTech Pastures, 3 Apr. 2008. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <http://www.zdnet.com/article/hybrid-cars-becoming-ever-more-political/>.
Kenney, Ian. "How Do Hybrid Cars Affect the Economy?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/141175-how-do-hybrid-cars-affect-economy/>
Levi, Michael A. "Reducing U.S. Oil Consumption." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 11 June 2010. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <http://www.cfr.org/oil/reducing-us-oil-consumption/p22413>
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"Volkswagen Golf GTE." Auto Express. 11 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/>.