QOTD: Hybrid Versus Conventional Drivetrains


Which drivetrain would you prefer: The hybrid two-motor setup that Toyota has paired with their 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder that puts out 245 horsepower or Kia’s conventional V6 that produces 294 HP?

These are the drivetrains you’ll find in the new 2021 Toyota Sienna minivan, or the upcoming 2022 Kia Carnival, which won’t be out until sometime this summer.

The Toyota has already been selected the 2021 Family Green Car of the Year for its Hybrid System II that delivers an EPA-estimated 36 combined MPGs. No idea at this time what the Carnival will achieve mileage wise, but the Carnival’s predecessor, the Sedona, gets a combined 21 MPGs, a respectable number that the new model should surpass, although by how much is anyone’s guess.


Complexity of design may be an issue if you keep one of these family wagons beyond the warranty period, which now makes it your problem if a mechanical breakdown occurs. Toyotas have achieved remarkable longevity, and their reliability and dependability are among the top reasons for their popularity. Kia has also done very well improving their durability, so this one’s sort of a wash. I’d go with the Kia simply for the number of moving parts, and their availability five, maybe ten years down the road.

If you’re someone that doesn’t keep vehicles for very long, complexity and parts availability are not your concerns, nor is the owner who will inherit one of these machines. Compare it to the simplicity of a Timex watch, versus that of the current crop of smartwatches, which will tell you everything from the number of calories you’ve burnt while working from home, to your heart rate, and the weather outside. Yes, you may need to wind the Timex each day or replace its battery every year or so. The movement within the Timex may not have been changed as long as you’ve been alive, unlike the smart watch, whose next-gen internals are already being tested, along with which new features should be added.

It’s your call, the internal combustion engine you know, or technology no one but an authorized dealer and their technicians are equipped to handle. Which would you choose?

[Images: Toyota, Kia]

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