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Deals of the week: Don’t pay full price for a hybrid

2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid


Sales of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles may reach as high as 16,000 or 17,000 units this year. Sounds like a big number, right? Wrong.

Canadians will buy more than 1.7 million new vehicles this year. Hybrids are a dot on the new car landscape, even as the number of hybrids for sale grows steadily.

The plight of the hybrid is such that the manufacturers selling them have resorted to deep discounts and price cuts. A Toyota Prius today, for instance, is nearly $2,000 cheaper than the Prius in 2011. Toyota Canada has also slapped on a $3,000 discount on Prius models equipped with the "Plus" package containing a full body skirt and 17" aluminum alloy wheels.

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Or consider the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Toyota Canada has a $4,000 sales sweetener in play here and it can be combined with a dealer discount that should range to $2,200 or more. That's a $6,000-plus price reduction in all.

Various hybrid models from Toyota's Lexus luxury brand are also on offer with factory sales sweeteners. Ford, too, has factory deals on some of its hybrid models, Audi is discounting the Q5 Hybrid, and BMW has healthy offers on its ActiveHybrids. We could go on, but the point is, no one should pay full sticker for a hybrid.

Why aren't hybrids selling on their merits alone? For starters, the price premium for the typical hybrid is not recouped through fuel savings within a reasonable time frame. As well, gasoline engines are becoming shockingly fuel efficient, which reduces the appeal of a twin powertrain vehicle – a hybrid. And a steadily growing list of diesel-powered models contains yet another alternative for shoppers looking to get great fuel economy. Indeed, diesels deliver fuel efficiency in all driving conditions, while hybrids do their most efficient work in stop-and-go driving.

The smartest auto industry observers say hybrids and other forms of "electrified" vehicles are not going away; in fact, the number of offerings will grow. But it's not because consumers are demanding them.

Government regulators are, however. They are insisting on not just better fuel economy, but electric power in a significant chunk of the new car fleet. I could get into the complex web of credits and such that's behind the electrification of the new vehicle fleet, but your head would explode and so would mine.

Instead, let's look at three other deals besides the offers on the Highlander Hybrid – which really is a terrific price on an excellent crossover SUV. Chrysler, for one, has a very appealing deal on its 30th anniversary Dodge Grand Caravan: $7,000 factory incentive, plus dealer discount and all can be combined with 4.29 per cent financing for 84 months.

Over at Nissan, the Rogue small crossover of 2013 is about to give way to a new 2014 version and that means a $5,000 factory gift for those who help Nissan dealers clear the lots. And in what may qualify as one of the most surprising discounts so far in 2013, the all-new 2014 Acura RLX sedan is now being packaged with a $3,500 cash incentive – or you if you're the right buyer, you can combine a $1,000 Acura Loyalty Bonus with 3.90 per cent financing for 60 months Deals of the Week consulted with,, and other sources on these offers. As usual, pricing information here is subject to change and dealer discounts vary, so consult your dealer for all the final details, including expiry dates for all offers.

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2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited

  • MSRP: $52,450
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,825
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,200
  • Factory discount: $4,000 (Manufacturer factory-to-dealer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $48,075
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $54,324.75
  • 2.90 per cent financing for up to 84 months cannot be combined with cash discounts

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan Chrysler Chrysler  

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary

  • MSRP: $34,490
  • Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,830
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $900
  • Factory discount: $7,000 (Manufacturer factory-to-dealer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $28,420
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $32,114.60
  • 4.29 per cent financing for 84 months can be combined with cash incentives

2013 Nissan Rogue Nissan Nissan  

2013 Nissan Rogue AWD SV

  • MSRP: $29,478
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,885
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,000
  • Factory discount: $5,000 (Manufacturer factory-to-dealer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $25,363
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $28,660.19
  • 0.0 per cent financing for 84 months cannot be combined with cash discount

2014 Acura RLX Honda = Honda  

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2014 Acura RLX Sedan Tech Pkg

  • MSRP: $55,990
  • Freight, PDI, AC tax: $2,130
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,200
  • Factory discount: $3,500 (Manufacturer factory-to-dealer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $52,420
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $54,324.75
  • $1,000 Acura Loyalty Bonus can be combined with 3.90 per cent financing for 60 months

Pricing information source: and Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Where noted, "dealer discounts" are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis. Unhaggle Savings are actual discounts received by Unhaggle customers.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More


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