Finding the best hybrid cars can be kind of tricky these days. There are so many options out there ranging from SUVs and crossovers to sedans and hatchbacks. How do you know which one is best for you? Can you blend fun and enjoyment with fuel efficiency and green driving? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
- A brief history of hybrid cars
- What is a hybrid car?
- What types of hybrid cars are there?
- Who makes the best hybrid cars?
- What hybrid car has the best mileage?
- What hybrid car has the best acceleration?
- What are the fastest hybrid cars?
- How long does the battery last in hybrid cars?
- What is the best plug-in hybrid car?
- What hybrid cars are best in snow?
Hybrids have been around since 1899 when Ferdinand Porsche built the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte, a vehicle that used a gasoline engine to power an electric motor that drove the car’s front wheels. The car was sold until the 1910s when the demand for cheaper gas vehicles outstripped hybrid demand.
During the oil crisis of the 1970s hybrids got renewed interest and automakers started doing more research into creating affordable fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles for the masses. It wasn’t until Toyota introduced the Prius in Japan in 1997 that things really began to take off. While the Honda Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the U.S. in 1999, the arrival of the Toyota Prius in 2000 was what made hybrid cars really begin to take off. Now nearly every manufacturer offers at least one hybrid vehicle.
First, it’s important to understand what a hybrid car is. In general, a hybrid car is a vehicle that combines a traditional gasoline engine with an electric motor in order to propel the car. Hybrid cars can come in a variety of styles from SUVs and crossovers to hatchbacks and sedans. Today hybrid cars are so well designed that you may not even know that a vehicle is a hybrid.
Want to learn more about hybrid cars and how they work? Check out our story about all you need to know before buying a hybrid car, here.
The best hybrid cars get great fuel economy, have good looking design, and are comfortable and technology packed all for a reasonable price. Every manufacturer in the U.S. currently offers great hybrid car options, but some offer more features, better fuel economy, and better technology than others.
Toyota tends to dominate the hybrid car space with everything from the Toyota Avalon Hybrid to the Toyota Prius. They offer some of the most fuel-efficient hybrid cars in the business with the Toyota Prius getting 53 mpg combined. They also recently added the Toyota Corolla Hybrid to their line-up which the EPA has rated at 52 mpg combined.
Toyota also makes a few hybrid SUVs and crossovers that are well regarded in the industry including the RAV4 Hybrid that gets 34 mpg combined and the Highlander, which gets an estimated 28 mpg combined.
Toyota also owns Lexus, so if you are looking for a great luxury hybrid, Lexus might be right for you. They offer everything from the Lexus ES hybrid sedan, which gets 44 mpg combined, to the new UX Hybrid SUV which gets 39 MPG combined.
The next most-efficient hybrids according to the EPA are:
- The Toyota Prius Eco with 56 MPG combined.
- The Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 52 MPG combined.
- The Kia Niro FE, which gets an EPA-estimated 50 MPG combined.
The hybrid car that has the best acceleration is the Mclaren P1 which goes from 0-60 in under three seconds.
If you’re not in the market for a supercar though, the sports car with the quickest acceleration is the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid which does the 0-60 race in a claimed 3.2 seconds. For context, a BMW i8 does 0-60 in 4.6 seconds and the Lexus LC 500h follows it closely with a 0-60 of 4.7 seconds.
If you’re looking for a hybrid sedan with the quickest 0-60 time, the Honda Accord Hybrid clocks in at 7.4 seconds.
In general, most mass-market hybrid cars accelerate to 60 in around 10 seconds or so. That’s generally slower than a large size SUV and is by no means quick, but it should be enough to get you onto a good long merge on the highway. As an example, the Toyota Prius does 0-60 in 10.5 seconds.
Electric cars are much faster than hybrid cars as they leverage the low-end torque of the electric motor to launch themselves off the line. Models like the Tesla Model S and the Chevy Bolt are much quicker to accelerate than most hybrids.
The fastest hybrid car is the Koenigsegg Regera, which has a top speed of 255 mph. That is followed closely by the Mclaren Speedtail that has a top speed of 250 mph.
If you don’t have enough scratch for a supercar, a hybrid sports car might be the right ticket for you. The fastest hybrid sports car is the Acura NSX which tops out at 191 mph.
If you want something with more seating than the NSX, the fastest hybrid car is the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid which has a top speed of 192 mph.
Looking for something more every-day than a Porsche? Most hybrid vehicles top out around 120 miles per hour.
How long a hybrid battery lasts in a hybrid car depends on how well the car is maintained. Most manufacturers offer an 8-10 year/100,000-mile warranty on battery packs and are required to do so by many states like California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. In general hybrid batteries can tend to become problematic when they are anywhere from 10-15 years old.
If a battery pack in a hybrid car goes kaput and you are outside of the warranty, you can purchase a new battery pack for around $3000, depending on your vehicle. If you are considering a used hybrid car be sure to factor this into your cost estimates so you aren’t caught off guard.
The best plug-in hybrid car that blends efficiency, cost and technology is the Toyota Prius Prime. It gets an estimated 25 miles on a charge, then flips over to the hybrid gasoline-electric side to get you the rest of the way. It gets an estimated 54 MPGe which is the highest in the group. It’s roomy and spacious inside and comes packed with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 which includes everything from dynamic cruise control to a pre-collision with pedestrian detection. For a starting price of $27,350 it’s a good deal.
The best hybrid cars for snow are hybrid SUVs because most come equipped with all-wheel drive. Hybrids like the ones below would be great for snowy climates:
- Acura MDX Hybrid
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid
- Mercedes-Benz GLE Hybrid
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid
- Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
- And others
Whatever type of driving you do, purchasing a hybrid can be a great way to save some money on gas and save the planet while doing your daily commute. You can find some of the best hybrid cars by visiting AutoGravity.