Today the market is flooded with hybrid cars of all types and in all segments. Although, the car manufacturers have introduced all kinds of hybrids – electric-gasoline hybrids, ethanol-gasoline hybrids, hydrogen-gasoline hybrids and many others, but the hybrid market is still held by hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
This is the reason that in any segment of hybrid cars, the top positions are always held by electric hybrids. We have listed the top 10 cars in luxury and non-luxury segments individually and described the top five hybrids in both:
Top Non-Luxury Hybrid Models
These cars are usually below 30,000 US Dollars in price. They are high on fuel efficiency but low on features. The mileage and the price of top 10 non luxury hybrids are shown in the following graphs we can see that Toyota Prius leads the segment with the highest mileage.
Another factor to compare these cars is their price Except Toyota Highlander, which is an SUV, the others fall in the range of 18,200 USD and 30,050 USD. Thus this segment is for those buyers who are looking for good mileage along with low price.
On left – milege (miles / gallon); On Right – prices (in USD '000)
The top 5 cars in the above category have been briefly discussed below:
1. Toyota Prius
It has become a synonym for hybrid car because of its popularity. Many variants have become a part of the prius family since its first model in 2001. It uses Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive System which allows it to run solely on electric power in the city. It uses Nickel Metal Hydride battery Pack which is recharged by the engine and regenerative braking. It is the only hybrid in the market which has achieved a mileage of over 50 mpg . It can seat 5 adults and has a generous cargo room at the back. It is not the quietest car and produces a noise that is quite noticeable. Although it is not the fastest or the best handling car but its excellent fuel economy appeals to the green car shopper. Honda Insight and Ford Fusion are its main competitors.
2. Ford Fusion
It is the most fuel efficient sedan hybrid. It has many awards at the auto shows and by various car magazines. Some reviewers say that it is the best hybrid in the market. If accelerated carefully, it can run on pure electric mode for quite a time. Its Advanced Intake Variable Cam Timing provides smooth transition between gas and electric mode. Unlike Prius, it has perfect handling and high-tech interior. Its only downside is its small trunk and high base price. With its dynamic handling and smooth drive, Ford Fusion is the best car in its segment.
3. Honda Civic
It is the greatest competitor for Ford Fusion in the sedan segment. It uses a lithium-ion battery in combination with a larger gasoline engine. Exteriors are not much different from other hybrids but it has used inferior material for the interiors. Also the interior volume is quite less whereas the trunk space is more because of smaller battery pack. It lacks the ability to run on electric mode only. The Civic maintains its reputation of comfortable ride and easy handling. Although, Toyota Prius leads Honda Civic with a better fuel economy, but Civic continues to lure buyers with its reliability and smooth ride.
4. Honda Insight
It is a 5-door hatchback with a low price and fuel efficiency compared to Prius. It is sportier in looks and handling than many hybrid cars making it a top contender for the best hybrid in the market. Its most fuel efficient affordable hybrid tag comes with a few drawbacks. Its engine is low powered, its interior is quite below the standard and the space is quite small. It uses a hybrid system known as Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), which means that the electric motor assists the gasoline engine rather than working with it. Noise from resistant tyres and buzzing sound from the engine is an issue with Honda Insight. Despite all its shortcomings, Insight attracts buyers who want an efficient hybrid at a low cost.
5. Hyundai Sonata
It makes to the list of top hybrids because of its fuel economy, smooth transmission amd many other features. It has a long warranty, high class interior, easy handling and good acceleration. These make it a perfect choice whose top priority is driving comfort. Sonata’s stylish looks and technically advanced equipments makes up for its little low fuel economy. It can operate on only electricity, only gasoline or both. It uses lightweight lithium polymer battery to increase its mileage. It has a great aerodynamic design and is absolutely noise free. It offers too many features for its price thus making it a top choice amongst hybrid cars.
Top Luxury Hybrids Cars
They usually fall in the high price segment. The customer demands great luxury features from these hybrids and are ready to compromise on fuel efficiency and price. All the cars in this segment have adequate luxury features, hence that can be compared best upon their mileage. The graph below lists their mileage. Although its mileage is less than Infiniti and Lexus GS 450h but Mercedes has been ranked higher because of its excellent engine, high performance and great luxury features.
On left – milege (miles / gallon); On Right – prices (in USD '000)
We can see that apart from Lexus CT 200h, all others are priced over 30,000 USD. Top 5 of these hybrids have been described below:
1. Lexus CT 200H
It is the only hybrid SUV with a mileage above 40mpg. It is a perfect choice for the customers looking for luxury and great driving experience. It comes with a warning system that makes the pedestrians aware of the presence of a car. It has a nickel-metal hydride battery. The transition between gasoline and electricity is so smooth that the driver cannot notice the difference between conventional car and a hybrid. It has got a large boot space and comes with great luxury class features. Its main competitors are Audi A3, Lincoln MKZ and Toyota Prius V.
2. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
It is the luxury hybrid sedan entry for Ford in 2011. It is a perfect blend of luxury and economy. It has a nickel-metal hydride battery pack which allows the car to run up to 47mph in electric mode when fully charged. Here also, the transition from electric motor to engine is imperceptible. Its regenerative braking is also very smooth. Although, the mechanics is one of the best in its class but the interior falls short of the standards set by other luxury cars. Its visual and sound communication with the driver is very interactive. In addition to this it comes with a variety of electronic features and safety systems.
3. Lexus HS 250H
Lexus noted that many of the luxury car buyers were looking for a hybrid with good fuel economy. It responded with its first dedicated hybrid, Lexus HS250h. The car runs on three modes – Power mode, Eco mode and EV mode, which can be selected by the driver. Not only does it use a hybrid powertrain, but its interior is made from earth friendly material known as ecoplastics. It has got all the features of a luxury car but its cabin is not totally free from noise. Its special feature is the mouse like controller on the console which acts as an interactive device between the driver and the car. It lies somewhere in between good fuel economy and great interior but is not the best in any of these classes.
4. Lexus RX 450
This gas electric hybrid is derived from Lexus RX350 crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV). It is an All Wheel Drive (AWD) SUV having a third rear mounted motor-generator to supply more torque when the road conditions demand. The RX has all the features that one can expect from a hybrid SUV but some of them may cost extra. There is a touch activated joystick located at the console that shows various vehicles running information. The transmission and the engine start/stop function are very smooth. The RX 450h is quite expensive but this crossover is one of the best alternatives for the eco-conscious people who want to do their small bit for the environment.
5. Mercedes Benz S400
It is the first mass-production automobile which uses a lithium ion battery. It is also the first gas-electric hybrid from the German automaker, Mercedes. It has a very powerful engine but it cannot run on electric mode alone. Although its fuel economy is not very high but it contributes to the environment by super ultra low emission. Mercedes lives up to its standards by providing plush interior with high-tech features. Unlike other hybrids, its hybrid model is cheaper than its gasoline counterpart but that does not make it any less expensive. It offers such high levels of luxury and performance that many will be willing to pay for it.
The top 10 hybrid car in the market today can be combined from the above two lists by picking top 5 from each. The Hybrid Market faces tough competition and it will not be wise to say that the others are way out of the league. The car manufacturers are coming up with improvements each day and the list will change accordingly but as per the current performance, the top 10 list of hybrids is pretty much the same as described above.