Best Hybrid Cars on Autosaur
Hybrid cars are all the rage — and it’s easy to see why. They have far greater fuel efficiency than conventional gas-powered vehicles, so you can make massive savings on fuel and cash. There are two main types:
1) Normal hybrid cars, which mainly use a combustion engine but engage electric motors to help when the car is being inefficient. These do not have to be plugged in to a power source, as the batteries are charged by the engine.
2) Plug-in hybrid cars, which are charged with an external power source, and use electric motors as the main source of power. These can often be switched between full electric, hybrid and gasoline modes, and are seen as even more fuel efficient than normal hybrids. Unlike normal hybrids, most are also currently eligible for federal tax credits in the US (an incentive to encourage drivers to buy more environmentally friendly cars) meaning you save money if you buy one.
Here are the ten best hybrid cars and plug-in hybrid cars available today:
10. Toyota Prius Plug-in
The first of three Prius’s on this list, and easily the most superior in terms of efficiency. The Toyota Plug-in Hybrid can do an estimated 95mpg in purely electric mode, and 50mpg in hybrid mode. It’s Toyota’s answer to the best-selling Chevrolet Volt, and can be charged in just three hours using a standard power outlet at home. It’s currently only available in 15 states in the US, but you can still buy one from a dealer in one of the states if you live somewhere that doesn’t sell them. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is eligible for a $2,500 federal tax credit if bought new. Prices start at $32,000.
9. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
A Porsche that you can plug in? Surely not! Actually, it’s true. The Panamera S E-Hybrid can travel up to 23 miles using just electric power, with a top speed of 84mph in purely electric mode. After that, the eco credentials go out the window when a supercharged V6 gasoline engine takes control. But it does mean you can have a Porsche to run around town in without pumping out harmful emissions. Then, when you decide to take it out for a blast on Sundays, you’ve still got all the power of a normal Porsche at your fingertips. The top end of the hybrid cars market. All yours for $99,000.
8. Ford Fusion Energi
The Ford Fusion Energi SE does the equivalent of an incredible 100mpg in electric mode, but still manages around 43mpg when just using gas. It has a starting price of $38,700, which makes it $11,000 more expensive than the normal Ford Fusion hybrid (which does 47mpg). That means it’s only really worth the extra money if you have somewhere you can charge the car overnight or live in an area geared up for plug-in hybrid cars like California. If you do, though, you’re in for massive savings when it comes to your gas bill. The Ford Fusion Energi is renowned as an all-round good drive, and is one of the most comfortable and reliable hybrid cars available. It’s eligible for a $4,000 federal tax credit.
7. Toyota Prius V
Prius number two on this list, and the one aimed most at families. The Prius V retails from $26,750, and is the most roomy of all the different Prius models. The rear has over 34 cubic feet of room, more space than you get in most small SUVs. It doesn’t have quite as impressive efficiency as the other two Prius’s mentioned here, managing only 40mpg combined. But that’s still much better than most normal gas-powered cars of the same size available in North America today. It means the school-run can be a much more environmentally-friendly affair.
6. Honda Insight
A star performer when it comes to safety, the Honda Insight hybrid is good looking and cheap too — with a starting price of just $18,600. In fuel efficiency terms, it manages an average of 42mpg. It was named a top safety pick in 2013 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and is the cheapest of all gas-electric hybrid cars on the market. The Insight can do 0-60mph in around 10 seconds. It was voted the most reliable vehicle in the US in 2009, and has seen several improvements since then. It’s just a normal hybrid, so you don’t have to plug it in.
5. Ford C-Max Energi
Like the Fusion above, there are two hybrid models of the C-Max. One that you don’t have to plug in, and the Energi — which you do. In electric mode it can do the equivalent of 100mpg, while the 2.0liter engine manages 43mpg when you combine urban and highway driving. It’s not as roomy as the Fusion, but more sporty looking, it has a range of 21 miles in purely electric mode which is fine if you’re just motoring around town or have a short commute. Top speed is an estimated 85mph when just using electric mode, or 102mph when the gas engine kicks in. Prices start at $25,200, and it’s eligible for a $4,000 federal tax credit.
4. Lexus CT200h
If you’re looking for a bit of luxury in the eco-friendly small-car market, this is where it’s at. There’s actually two versions of the CT hybrid, the CT 200H and the CT F Sport. Both feature the same 1.8liter inline-4 Atkinson-cycle engine and hybrid drive, but the CT 200H is slightly cheaper at $32,050 standard compared to $33,050 for the F Sport. They are the same in terms of fuel efficiency, delivering an estimated 42mpg combined. The only real differences between the two vehicles is that the F Sport has tuned up suspension as well as 17in alloy wheels with a graphite finish.
3. Toyota Prius C
The best-looking and cheapest member of the Prius family, the hatchback Prius C will set you back $19,080. But despite the cheaper price tag, it actually has better fuel economy than a normal Prius (which didn’t make this list) at an estimated 50mpg. It’s aimed at a younger, more city-based customer than the other members of the Prius family — hence the sexier, sportier styling. Like most Japanese cars, the Prius C is extremely good in terms of reliability. So good, in fact, that it was voted the most reliable car in the US in 2012.
2. Chevrolet Volt (most popular of all hybrid cars)
This is General Motors’ offering in the planet-friendly car market, and it’s been a massive success for the auto maker — becoming the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the US. The Volt couples sexy looks with excellent 62mpg fuel efficiency — making it the most fuel-efficient car with a gas engine in the US today. In purely electric mode, it can drive for 38 miles on a full charge. Prices start at $26,685 (which includes a $7,500 federal tax credit). Savings can also be made with any local state rebates available for plug-in hybrid cars (for example, you can get one of $1,500 in California, or up to $4,400 in Colorado).
1. Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is the Japanese giant’s main eco-friendlly car other than the Prius. It can do an estimated 41mpg, and unlike most hybrid cars is actually more fuel efficient in the city (43mpg) than on the highway (39mpg). They’re reasonably affordable too, with a starting price of $26,140 ($27,670 for the Extra Luxury Edition) compared to $22,235 for the most basic normal Camry. But as well as improved fuel efficiency, the hybrid version boasts all the same good qualities that make the standard Camry the best-selling car in North America. It’s comfortable, spacious, and excellent driver visibility. What’s not to like.