9 Excellent Hybrid Cars

Though they started out purely as a means to improve fuel economy, today they not only excel at that mission, they have expanded to include performance applications too. Check out our roundup of great hybrids.


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Gas prices. The environment. Performance. Whatever your motivation is for wanting a hybrid vehicle, the availability of mixed propulsion vehicles grows every day. But finding some of the best hybrid cars on the market can be a difficult venture, so we've narrowed them down for you and arranged them in a list (in no particular order) categorized in three groups: traditional hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and performance hybrids.

To curate some of the best hybrid cars, we've assessed the following:

  • Fuel efficiency: Each of these vehicles (except for performance) must have an EPA-estimated 44 mpg or greater.
  • Comfort and convenience: Each vehicle on this list supports Apple CarPlay, climate control, and driver assistance packages.
  • Price: Affordability is relative, so this list includes a variety of price points to provide the widest range of some of the best hybrid cars.

Traditional Hybrid

A hybrid vehicle is powered by an internal combustion engine that works in harmony with an electric motor. The energy is stored in batteries that regenerate themselves during braking, providing a seamless experience with no additional steps required besides fewer trips to fill up.


1. Toyota Prius

It's impossible to talk about hybrid cars without mentioning the granddaddy of them all: the Toyota Prius. The first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in history, the 1997 Prius launch in Japan then spread across the world. Roughly one-third (1.9 million) of the 6 million units sold have been in the U.S., keeping the Prius at the top of the hybrid heap, for just around $25,000, according to the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

With an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined, this hatchback includes pedestrian detection, pre-collision braking, and adaptive cruise control. Thanks to the hatchback design, the Prius also features 50.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which rivals some SUVs. The Prius also is available with electric all-wheel drive on-demand (AWD-e).


2. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

If you're looking for Prius efficiency but in a luxury sedan, perhaps the Avalon, at around $37,000 according to the MSRP, is right for you. With a manufacturer-estimated 44 mpg combined, the Avalon may not sip as little fuel as its five-door sibling, but its upscale ride is built to impress. The Avalon's more aggressive drive and luxurious styling include tan leather, standard Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay capability, as well as a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty on the hybrid engine.


3. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

If your commute is a drag on your soul, not to mention your wallet, consider this compact hybrid sedan for around $24,000, according to the MSRP. With new styling and an EPA-estimated 54 mpg combined, the Elantra hybrid is a crowd-pleaser, even when that crowd is the highly discerning North American Car of the Year judges. The Elantra base model took the coveted award's top spot.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Another type of hybrid vehicle that's gaining popularity is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Like a traditional hybrid, it runs a traditional, gas-powered engine but in concert with an electric motor. The difference here is that a PHEV can use a much larger battery because the external power source is able to charge it, facilitating greater fuel efficiency, and it can travel a certain number of miles on the charge alone before ever using a drop of gas. Also, many PHEVs qualify for federal tax credits up to $7,500 in savings.


4. Chrysler Pacifica PHEV

The first plug-in hybrid minivan, the Pacifica hybrid achieves more than 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and has an all-electric range of 30 miles, for around $45,000, according to the MSRP. This family-friendly vehicle features conveniences such as the FamCAM, which allows the driver to see the interior passengers, including a glimpse at a rear-facing child seat.


5. BMW 530e

BMW's popular mid-size sedan, the 5 series, has been reinvented with the 530e, priced at around $55,000, according to the MSRP. Featuring a 2.0L twin-turbo inline four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, this PHEV will get your blood pumping but not your fuel. The 530e is also available with xDrive, BMW's all-wheel drive system.


6. Honda Clarity

This plug-in mid-size sedan boasts one of the longest all-electric ranges in its segment, with an estimated 47 miles and a price tag of around $33,000, according to the MSRP. The 2021 Clarity PHEV runs on a 1.5L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. To spice things up, the Honda Clarity also offers three drive mode selections: Normal, Econ, and Sport. The HV mode can preserve the battery's charge for later use.

Performance Hybrid

Fuel efficiency isn't the only exciting benefit of hybrid cars. When paired with a traditional engine, an electric motor can provide instant torque and/or power to the selected wheels when paired correctly. These performance hybrid cars are here to wow way more than your fuel intake.


7. Acura NSX

When Acura discontinued the NSX in 2005, hybrid vehicles were hardly considered relevant in performance circles. When the NSX was revived for its second generation, Acura paired a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 engine with no less than three electric motors, at the price of around $169,000 (Type S). This all-wheel-drive supercar achieves 600 hp through its innovative drive train and its intelligent use of materials, including aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel.


8. Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

If you think all hybrid sedans are boring, consider the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which stands out even in its own lineup with an output of 563 hp from its 4L twin-turbo V8 and 134 hp electric motor. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid comes standard with a torque vectoring system and an electric roll stabilization system to ensure the drive is as exhilarating as possible. It also comes with a price tag of around $190,000, according to the MSRP.


9. Polestar 1

The Polestar 1 is a sleek coupe that really drives home the point that hybrids don't have to look different to be efficient. The sleek styling is reminiscent of Volvo because Polestar is an offshoot of the Swedish automaker. The Polestar 1 is the car that launched the brand, and it's an impressive hybrid too. The gasoline engine is both supercharged and turbocharged, and when combined with a trio of electric motors it makes an astounding 619 hp! With a range of 52 miles in all-electric mode, Volvo claims its the segment leader for plug-in hybrids. It comes with a starting price of around $155,000, according to the MSRP.

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Amelia Dalgaard
From reading my dad’s car magazines under the covers to writing in the automotive space, my job is a dream come true. I am the woman who took her toddlers to car shows and married the man that thought a test drive was the perfect first date. I love nothing more than helping all consumers find a vehicle that will enhance their lives.