Buyer’s Guide: Every Hybrid Car On Sale In The U.S.
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Turn back the clock by one decade, and there were three hybrid cars on sale in the U.S. One was the first-generation Toyota Prius, the original Honda Insight was still going strong as the most efficient vehicle on sale, and Honda also offered the Civic Hybrid.
Today, including different transmission options that figure has risen to 48, giving consumers a fantastic range of options for fuel-efficient hybrid motoring.
Our guide to every diesel vehicle on sale in the U.S. has proven popular, so below is our guide to every hybrid vehicle currently on sale. We’ve only featured vehicles that don’t require plugging in, so you won’t find the plug-in Prius or Chevrolet Volt in the list.
Toyota’s Prius has topped the economy charts for several years now, but currently it’s the smaller 2012 Toyota Prius C that reigns supreme, with the same 50 mpg combined economy, but a higher 53 mpg city rating. Only the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid prevents a Prius whitewash at the top, with 44 mpg combined.
Further down you’ll find the classy CT 200h from Lexus. It’s basically a Prius underneath, and although it manages a lower 42 mpg combined, it has the extra presige that some buyers may be seeking. It also features a price tag that starts $6,000 higher, at $29,000.
The 2012 Honda Insight doesn’t have prestige to its name, but manages the same 42 mpg. It’s not great to drive though, and we think it may be worth seeking out a Prius instead. It’s a shame, as the original Insight was a real game-changer.
Not all the small cars are family orientated–rounding off the list is Honda’s sporty CR-Z, which returns 37 mpg combined with a continuously-variable transmission, or 34 combined with the six-speed manual. It’s still the only hybrid on sale today with a manual gearbox option.
The market for hybrid sedans has really exploded of late. Joining the still class-leading 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid–which manages as much as 43 mpg in city driving, 41 combined–Ford fields the Fusion hybrid and Lincoln MKZ hybrid, which share a drivetrain and manage 39 mpg combined.
Hot on the heels of those are the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid, both of which again share a 2.4-liter four-cylinder drivetrain, putting power through a six-speed automatic gearbox. At around $25,000 each they’re good value, and manage 40 mpg on the highway, with 35 city, 37 combined.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu eAssist, 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist and 2012 Buick Regal eAssist are less economical, but also less disappointing. Each does 25 mpg city, 29 combined, but the Malibu has the best highway mileage at 37 mpg, to the others’ 36 mpg.
SUVs & Wagons
Need space but don’t want to sacrifice economy? You’re in luck, as hybrid SUVs are quite popular. The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid has sadly been discontinued, to be replaced by EcoBoost models for the next generation. For the ultimate in practicality and parsimony, you’ll want to look at the Prius V wagon, which achieves 42 combined.
Hot on its heels is the Lexus RX 450h, updated for 2013. A few revisions have improved the styling, and F-Sport trim is now also available. Like many hybrids, it’s at its best in the city where the electric motors can do their stuff, and it has an EPA rating of 32 mpg there. It also manages a respectable 28 mpg highway, though we struggled to better 25 mpg at highway speeds on our journey to the Geneva Motor Show.
If you want a larger SUV, Toyota sells the 2012 Highlander Hybrid. It has AWD for those tricky road conditions, and figures of 28 mpg across the board.
Porsche and Volkswagen get in on the hybrid SUV act too, with the 2012 Cayenne S Hybrid and 2012 Touareg Hybrid sharing the same 20 mpg city, 24 highway and 21 combined. That’s not as impressive as the Lexus RX, but for some the lure of a Porsche badge will be very tempting.
Right at the top of the tree, but bottom of the hybrid SUV pile, GM fields the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and 2012 GMC Yukon 1500 Hybrid. With a 6-liter V-8 the emphasis here is as much on traditional SUV benefits like towing capacity as it is on economy, and all manage 20 mpg city, 23 highway and 21 mpg combined.
Unsurprisingly, another Toyota product tops the list here, the brand new 2013 Lexus ES 300h. Think of it as a Camry Hybrid in swankier clothes, with an interior that nods towards the even more upmarket GS 450h. At 40 mpg city, 39 highway and 40 combined, it’s one of the greenest luxury cars on sale. It certainly makes a mockery of the outgoing HS 250h, with its 35 mpg combined figure.
For greater performance and still-impressive gas mileage, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h would be our next choice. It makes 34 mpg on the highway, with 29 in the city. It also looks great, has a fantastic interior and performs well–this could be a real “have your cake and eat it” car. We drove one in June, and came away impressed.
The 2012 Infiniti M35h also lets you have plenty of cake, and gets 29 mpg combined. Infiniti is at pains to remind us all that it’s also the fastest hybrid on sale, and will even see off the 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid in a drag race. Since the Porsche gets only 25 mpg combined, the Infiniti also wins at the gas station.
BMW is also fielding two luxury hybrids this year, in the shape of the 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 5. Both major on power over efficiency, so really they’re aimed at improving the gas mileage of the range-topping vehicles, rather than going for outright economy honors.
Still, it’s better than the biggest of luxury sedans. The 2012 Lexus LS 600h gets only 20 mpg combined, just pipped by the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid at 21 combined.
It’s GM or nothing here, so the General should be commended for trying to improve mileage and emissions in a sector not known for its green vehicles.
Your choice is between the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid, or the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. Both come in 2WD or AWD options, and the drivetrain doesn’t seem to affect economy. All have EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Prices start at just under $40,000.
This story originally appeared at Green Car Reports.