Hybrid cars have come a long way from what they used to be. They now have more appealing styling, highly efficient powertrains, advanced technology and equipment, and better safety. Besides, the new range of hybrid cars – discussed here – are now more accessible and diverse and will help reduce dependence on fossil fuel while being cleaner and more environment-friendly; not to mention just as practical, versatile and fun to drive as conventional choices.
The mobility needs of the world have changed, as have priorities. Hybrids help us move forward on the path to ending fossil fuel consumption by reducing our dependence on it and are now getting more affordable and diverse.
Hybrid. The word has been around for decades now and has, at times, been scoffed at by enthusiasts and daily users alike. However, hybrid cars have not just grown in number but also in variety. A number of new hybrid cars – cars that use an efficient internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor – have potent motors that deliver just as good a drive experience as conventional cars with added refinement and much greater efficiency. Now may just be a great time to make the switch. While fossil-fuel infrastructure is still very strong, perhaps the dependence on crude oil and gasoline is what needs to be reduced before it is eliminated completely. This could just allow an electric mobility ecosystem to be developed alongside that will go a long way in supporting future needs.
So, for those who would like to trade in their six- or eight-cylinder car for something a little more – or a lot more – frugal for daily use, a hybrid may just be the solution. There are a number of hybrid cars of all kinds on the market now. They help reduce fuel bills by anywhere between five and 20 per cent. Whichever way you look at it, a hybrid makes sense in today’s day and age. If a reduction in fuel costs and lower tailpipe emissions are high on the check-list, these 10 cars, in ascending order of starting price, surely need to be considered.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Among the newest models to arrive, the Ioniq is not just one of the most affordable hybrids, but also the most efficient. The extended hatchback styling aids practicality and makes it a versatile vehicle for everyday use. A slew of active and passive safety equipment is offered as standard. The Ioniq Hybrid uses a combination of 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor that together deliver up to 139 hp. It is rated at 59 mpg and starts at $23,200 for the Blue variant. The entry model, while the most affordable and efficient, does miss out on some equipment. If more goodies are required, there are more trim levels on offer.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
A compact, yet spacious, reliable and efficient sedan, the Corolla Hybrid is a new model that comes with a fairly affordable price-tag that starts from $23,400 making it the most affordable hybrid in the company’s line-up – priced even lower than the venerable Prius. It packs a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor and delivers 121 hp. It’s an affordable front-wheel drive model ideal for everyday use for anyone looking for a no-nonsense, dependable means of transportation. However, if more space is required, one may need to look at other options. The Corolla Hybrid is rated at up to 53 mpg.
Pretty much the one that started it all, the Prius is basically an everyday hybrid that has evolved considerably over the years. It is now much safer, more efficient and better equipped than ever before. The unmistakable shape is now powered by a new-generation hybrid powertrain, comprising the 1.8-liter gas engine and electric motor, capable of 121 hp. The Prius is rated at up to 54 mpg and Prius starts from $24,325 for the L Eco variant. The new Prius is also high on safety but its styling, however, may not suit all tastes.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
A trusted American car brand that is well-known to mix driving pleasure with efficient everyday usability, the Fusion Hybrid is a great example of that. Starting from $28,000, it is a well-finished, sporty and practical sedan that brings a combination of hybrid powertrain and fun driving characteristics. The maximum power is 118 hp and it’s rated at up to 43 mpg. It also packs Ford’s cool Co-Pilot360 for added safety. There are choices and more equipment can be had but the price does jump up as well.
Ford Escape Hybrid
Need something larger, more rugged yet just as efficient? The Escape combines an SUV body style with a hybrid powertrain and commendable efficiency. Starting at $28,265, the Escape is rated at up to 44 mpg and packs a higher system power of 198 hp. It also packs Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety suite and a slew of modern goodies. It may not be a very large SUV, but it should fulfill most all-road needs. There are larger choices, and from the same brand, too.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Reliable, dependable, and a good amount of kit, the Camry Hybrid is essentially the more expensive Lexus ES 300h, but with a few changes to trim down the exclusivity and, more importantly, the price. Thus, it blends in and just, well, works. The 2.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor together put out 208 hp and more than adequate torque. The Camry Hybrid starts from $28,430 and is rated at up to 53 mpg. There are all-wheel drive variants as well, for those who need to deal with more slippery conditions regularly, but those are only available with a gasoline engine.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The RAV4 is among the most affordable and, perhaps, sensible choice for those looking for the versatility of an SUV body style with greater flexibility and a higher ride height, yet car-like handling and reliability at an affordable pricing. The RAV4 Hybrid is available from $29,645 and, like the Camry, packs the 2.5-liter gas engine and electric motor. It delivers a slightly higher system output of 219 hp is rated at up to 41 mpg. Again, it’s not a large truck and doesn’t claim to be, so if size and space are a concern, there are other options to look at.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV is among the bestselling SUVs with a hybrid driveline. While it may be considered to have a rallying pedigree, the two-motor hybrid does have its own charm. The 2.0-liter gas engine works as a generator for the 12-kWh battery pack and the two 60-kW independent front and rear motors deliver 80-hp each, with up to 101 and 144 lb-ft of torque front and rear. It starts from $36,295 and is rated at up to 74 mpg. Its mid-size proportions should suit most urban and all-road applications.
Ford Explorer Hybrid
Need even more capability? The new Explorer Hybrid brings all the abilities of a purpose-built all-road ready vehicle that doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff. There is four-wheel drive on offer with the terrain management system, and a towing capacity of up to 5000 lbs. The 3.3-liter gas engine and electric motor pairing delivers 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. The Explorer Hybrid costs from $48,380 is rated at up to 29 mpg. Yes, it’s a larger and heavier truck and will cater to a large family well, but that also means it has a greater carbon footprint and isn’t as efficient, although the hybrid powertrain does do its best to keep consumption in check.
Lexus RXL Hybrid
The premium badge brings a unique take on a premium experience with tremendous attention to detail, luxury appointments, maximum safety and seven-seat flexibility meeting a clean yet potent driveline. The Lexus RXL packs a 3.5-liter V6 with 308 hp on tap and two-motor all-wheel drive. It is rated at up to 29 mpg and the cost breaches the 50k mark at $50,510. The lighter and shorter-bodied RX 450h AWD, with the same powertrain but five seats, starts at $46,800 and is rated at up to 31 mpg. The badge does come at a price, though. If practicality comes first, other choices are available too.
These, then, are among the most affordable hybrid cars as well as the most outstanding hybrid options in their segment. Hybrid cars cost a little more than their conventional counterparts because of the added cost the motor, battery pack and the additional engineering required to make them work together and use less fuel in the process. These, of course, are self-charging and don’t need to be plugged in. Thus, the benefits include lower fuel consumption and fewer trips to the gas station, plus cleaner exhaust emissions and the satisfaction of driving a cleaner car; just to name a few. Clean cars will come at a price, but that’s a small price to pay for a richer environment.