Technology

Best hybrid cars to test drive now

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If you are planning to purchase a new car, consider a hybrid.  They offer great fuel economy, high resale value and a variety of options for every vehicle size. Here are our top hybrid car picks.

If you have been thinking about purchasing a hybrid vehicle, now is the time.  The options have grown beyond the Prius to include a variety of compacts to SUV’s and prices are competitive with single engine vehicles.  As always, before you make a major purchase, you should do your homework.  We consulted the experts at U.S. News & World Report and Car & Driver magazines to determine the best hybrid cars to research.   

Best Compact Hybrid – Toyota Prius – Starting at $23,770

There is a reason the Prius has become synonymous with hybrids – it is one of the most reliable, fuel efficient ones around.  With an average MPG of 52-54 in the city and 48-50 on the highway, the Prius has great gas mileage while being environmentally friendly.  And with the Prius, unlike many in its class, you don’t have to give up comfort and options for price.  The Prius offers a cushioned ride, solid handling, room for five passengers and a large amount of cargo space for a compact.  This make also offers options found in other Toyota models including the Toyota Safety Sense Suite™, touch screen display with three USB ports and advanced voice recognition.  The Prius is also one of the few hybrids to offer all-wheel drive.

Best Midsize and Domestic Hybrid – Chevrolet Malibu – Starting at $29,095

If you are looking for a domestic vehicle, look no further than Chevy’s Malibu.  With an attractive exterior, spacious cabin, solid handling and a four-cylinder engine, it is no surprise that the Malibu made Car & Driver’s list of the best hybrid vehicles.  Although not as “upscale” or fun to drive as its competitor, the Honda Accord, the Malibu offers great gas mileage for a midsize (46 average MPG) along with an infotainment system and driver assist technology.

Best Hybrid – Large Car – Toyota Avalon – Starting at $37,595

Winner of U.S. News & World Report’s “2019 Best Large Car for the Money” and runner-up on their survey of the “Best Hybrid and Electric cars,” the Avalon allows you to get the comfort of a large car without sacrificing fuel efficiency.  With an average MPG of 44 highway and spacious seating, the Avalon offers a smooth ride and such high end standard features as a 9-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, a surround-view camera, and rear cross traffic braking.  By locating the battery pack underneath the rear seat rather than in the trunk, this model also offers more cargo space than is typical on many hybrid vehicles.  The Avalon also won the coveted “top safety pick award” for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  Although the base price is higher than most hybrids, the Avalon is only $1000 more than the non-hybrid model and saves over $700 in annual fuel costs.

Best Hybrid SUV – Kia Niro – Starting at $23,490

Although more of a crossover vehicle than a true SUV; with its lower base sticker price and 43-50 MPG, the Niro offers good value, reliability and solid fuel economy.  Although it doesn’t have many of the higher end safety and cabin features, the Niro offers roomy seating in both the front and back, plenty of cargo space and an easy-to-use touch screen infotainment system with smart phone integration.  The Niro offers several model options – a plug-in hybrid (starting at $28,200) that offers a 26 mile range on battery power alone as well as an all-electric option with a generous 239 mile range.  Unfortunately, the different options do not include all wheel drive, unusual for an SUV.

Best Overall Hybrid – Midsize Toyota Camry – Starting at $29,330

Rated the #1 electric and hybrid car according to the U.S. News & World Report survey, there is a lot to like about the Camry.  It offers fantastic fuel economy more similar to the compact Prius (47-43 MPG highway and 44-51 MPG city) but with roomer seats, a much more comfortable, quiet cabin and a larger trunk.  The Camry hybrid also offers a large number of standard features including driver assist technology, heated front seats and a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa and a Wi-Fi hot spot.  Unlike a lot of hybrids, the Camry also has lot of power – 208 horsepower to be exact – great for freeway driving and actually higher than the base engine in the non-hybrid Camry.

With the advantages of better gas mileage, being more environmentally friendly, lighter and having a higher resale value, now is the time to consider purchasing a hybrid.  Although typically priced higher than a single engine vehicle, there are tax credits and incentives available to make owning a hybrid more affordable.  In addition to the make and models listed, you can research Car & Driver’s and U.S. News & World Report’s top hybrid picks by visiting the links below:

U.S. News & World Report List or  Car & Driver List

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