Even though hybrid cars are still not the most popular choice amongst consumers, they are certainly gaining ground. It’s factual to state that they make up quite a small percent of car sales in the United States, but it’s also worth noting that with gasoline prices on the rise and the environment being a trending topic, quite a few people are giving them a chance. While the cars propose higher price tags and increased insurance costs, their fuel economy helps to offset the price. Perhaps it doesn’t do too convincing a job at justifying the inherent costs of the vehicle, but government credits and perks (see carpool lane access) do quite a bit in compensating for the high expenses.
If you’re looking for a hybrid today, you’ll have quite a bit of brand and body style variety so select from, whether your preference lay in compact cars, trucks, or SUV’s. In response to several government mandates, these automakers are doing even more to develop hybrids with better consumer utility and drive.
When it comes to hybrid sedans, the Toyota Prius appears to be the best bet. It’s the most fuel efficient hybrid compact out there with 51 mpg city (48 mpg highway), equipped with new age technology and unprecedented interior capacity for a fuel-efficient sedan.
If price is your major concern, however, perhaps the Hondo Civic Hybrid is the best bet for you. It’s essentially a rehash of the Insight, but with four doors and a hatchback for under $20,000 and 41 mpg.
While it’s hardly gaining way on the famous “Prius,” it is certainly appealing to many ecological (and yet economically) concerned buyers.
Ford is making some hybrid magic themselves, with the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan—both adequate fuel-efficient hybrid solutions. It sports a spacious interior and comes standard with 39 mpg combined city/highway. Technology innovations have also been acclaimed, specifically Ford’s Sync, which is an easy to use and voice activated connectivity unit providing the consumer an easy user interface to access music, cell phone, or text communication.
Some of the most recurrent best sellers are the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima and both are still offered in hybrid, powered by the Toyota Synergy Drive system. They can seat up to five passengers and pass crash tests with flying colors. The financially practical option may very well by the Camry Hybrid, as it’s really not much more expensive than it’s gasoline powered counter-part. On the other hand, the Altima Hybrid is a sport model that can be a worth while drive, available exclusively in California, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Lately, the luxury hybrid has collected a bit of luster as well. In particular, the brand new Lexus HS 250h is a commendable solution starting at $34,200. The hybrid vehicle offers all the bells and whistles associated with the Lexus and a 35 mpg. Also out of the Lexus factories is the GS 450h and V6/hybrid power train.
The vehicles are both more than effective in reaching convincingly high speeds in little time, but with such accelerative ease comes a decreased fuel economy (we’re talking the mid 20’s or lower,” so keep that in mind.
These aren’t the only luxury hybrids out there, perhaps the pinnacle of consumer luxury—the Mercedes-Benz—has joined the party with the addition of the S400 BlueHyrbid to its S-Class. The hybrid automobile is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an electronic motor. The S400 model sports a 299 horsepower and its average fuel consumption falls just shy of 30 mpg.
If you desire a lot of cargo space and interior capacity, the kinds of traits offered only by SUVs, but also want something fuel efficient—you might be able to have the best of both worlds. The solution lies in hybrid SUVs, which flaunt the benefits of an SUV without the disadvantageous wasting of gasoline.
Examples include the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid, and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. You’ll find remarkable fuel economy of–34 in the city, 31 on the highway—cementing them as a fantastic solution for a hybrid vehicle with more space and better looks.
Perhaps the greatest on the market of midsize hybrid SUVs would be the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, as it combines seven-passenger seating with a premium interior design, plenty of storage space, and a price tag at only $35,000. It’s fuel economy plays somewhere in the mid-20 range and it certainly gets the job done for families and travelers.
If you really want a higher quality hybrid you can up your standard and go for the Lexus RX 450h. Even though it only seats five people, the well designed vehicle provides for what may be the finest fuel economy of all midsize luxury SUVs.
Definitely worth taking note of is the Chevrolet Tahoe, or the similar GMC Yukon. The hybrid vehicle possesses city mileage rates 50% better than that of their standard gasoline powered counterparts. If you have no interest in the ability to tow and flex muscle, there may even be some regular-gas powered crossovers less expensive than hybrids, but with very similar fuel economy and internal capacity.
When it comes to hybrid SUVs, you got the king—the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. The famously luxurious model in full hybrid form working with an MSRP starting at $73,425 offers extravagant design and a superior driving experience. Their rear-wheel-drive models can get up to 20 mpg combined, making it a fine buy if you’ve got some money to spend.
Of course there are some hybrid trucks out there as well, including a solution pickup trucks with heavy frames and fuel wasting aerodynamic composition. Hybrid pickup trucks aim to remedy the conceptual disadvantages of pick up trucks with offerings like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid and the GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. Both sport 379 hp and are offered in rear- or all-wheel drive. They get a combined city/highway 21 mpg and both trucks can get up to 29mph without leaving electric mode. This can come in handy quite often, but as always, keep in mind how you plan on using them before purchase. As like a few hybrid SUVs we mentioned, the gas only versions offer similar capabilities at less cost, so whether or not to buy them depends on individual potential application.
So the choice is yours, there are different types of hybrids, different brands, and different models. At the end of the day, the insurance and initial costs will be heavier than gasoline only models, but the fuel efficiency and perks may be enough to convince you of their merit. Either way you cut it—if a hybrid is right for you, research every model within your price range. Use our comprehensive guide to help, but only you can make the final decision and sign on the dotted line.