Not The Next Valley Status Symbol: The Hyundai Hybrid

The Prius is a well-established Valley totem of faux humility. Priced a little over $20k, the hybrid isn’t exactly a status symbol. But it does imply a smug superiority.

Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak famously was ticketed going 104 in a Prius on Highway 5. And Google (GOOG) founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page did their part to save the environment with Priuses – before they bought a Boeing 767.

So what are the odds that hybrid Hyundais, which hit the market next year, attain the same status? What do you think?

It’s not price: Other hybrids, like the Ford Escape, are more expensive than the Prius, but don’t carry the same cachet. It’s just that a hybrid Hyundai is a … Hyundai. Not that we have any problem with that: We’ve driven cross-country three times in a Hyundai, and we’d be happy to do it again. And we wouldn’t mind spending less on gas next time we do it.

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