Carmakers also want to please "car enthusiasts" and automotive journalists because they know very well that these people are an important part of any marketing strategy, but sadly for those who want fuel economy hybrids to be made, these people are usually more concerned with zero-to-sixty and quarter mile statistics (Is a tenth of a second really going to change your life? Would you even notice it without a stopwatch? Anyway....) than with fuel economy and lowering polluting emissions.
But there is a third way. Or rather, it is possible, thanks to the fact that computers are now a big part of any drivetrain and especially of hybrid ones, to take both paths at the same time.
Owners of future hybrid vehicles might be able to choose between high gas mileage or more performance by pressing a button on the instrument panel, said [Jim] Press, [Toyota's U.S. president and chief operating officer,] according to the Automotive News report. (you can also read about it in this New York Times article (might require registration)).
This would mean that hybrids with that feature could attract "car enthusiasts" and impress the automotive press while having less of an impact on the environment than the cars usually chosen by that type of people, and for the rest of us, the "eco" mode will do nicely.
We do hope that this is the path that will be taken by Toyota and other hybrid-makers. It would be sad to see them go in the "muscle hybrid" direction and not use the great potential offered by hybrid technology.