Are high gas prices burning a hole in your wallet? Then maybe it’s a good time to consider a hybrid vehicle. Hybrids gain improved fuel efficiency thanks to specialized powertrains that combine a gas engine with at least one electric motor that’s powered by a battery pack that does not need to be plugged in. In many cases, the price difference between hybrid and non-hybrid models is small enough that the hybrid will pay for itself or save you money after just a few years of ownership.
But which hybrid models are the best? To help you in your search for the top fuel sipper, Edmunds’ car experts highlighted five of their highest-ranking hybrids in a variety of prices and body styles.
This isn’t your parents’ Prius anymore. Unlike previous models, the redesigned 2023 Prius is one of the most attractive cars in Toyota’s lineup. It’s also more powerful and much better at getting up to highway speeds quickly. To top it off, it achieves an impressive EPA fuel economy estimate of 49-57 mpg in combined driving. Weather-beating all-wheel drive is available too.
The new Prius keeps its convenient hatchback body style and has a new interior design that is more conventional-looking than past models. We also like that it comes with many standard advanced driver aids. On the downside, the gas engine is noisy when on, and rear seat headroom isn’t generous.
Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $28,545
Surprised not to see the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord hybrids here? They’ve been outperformed by the Sonata Hybrid, one of Edmunds’ highest-ranking sedans. The electrified sedan gets an EPA-estimated 47-52 mpg in combined driving and offers a long list of technology features that work well. It’s also comfortable and easy to drive.
The most efficient and affordable Blue trim level is reasonably well equipped, but advanced features such as larger display screens, a surround-view camera system and a lane centering system for easier highway driving only come standard in the top Limited trim. Other minor downsides to the Sonata Hybrid include ho-hum cabin materials and noticeable road and wind noise on the highway.
Starting MSRP: $29,565
Kia’s redesign of the 2023 Sportage introduced the first-ever hybrid model, and it’s a doozy. The Sportage small SUV aces most categories and is one of Edmunds’ top hybrids. It delivers 43 mpg in combined driving with front-wheel drive and 38 mpg with all-wheel drive — among the highest for an SUV. And its 227-horsepower hybrid powertrain is no slouch.
The Sportage Hybrid is also affordable and has more cargo room than most rivals. If that’s not enough, it also boasts a comfortable ride and top-notch tech. As compelling as this hybrid is, we wish front-wheel drive was available on more than just the base trim, and we’d like a sportier driving experience.
Starting MSRP: $28,815
The F-150 is the Edmunds Top Rated Truck for 2023, and its available PowerBoost hybrid powertrain makes it even better. This powertrain is more powerful than similar non-hybrid F-150s and also more efficient: The EPA estimates that it gets 25 mpg combined with two-wheel drive and 23 mpg with four-wheel drive. And its 12,700-pound max towing capacity is impressive.
Another benefit of the PowerBoost is that it opens up the availability to get the most powerful version of the F-150’s optional Pro Power Onboard system. This equips the truck with a variety of household-style outlets that can power large electronics or power tools. The hybrid powertrain is pricey, though Ford says it will be more affordable on the refreshed 2024 F-150.
Starting MSRP: $47,270
The only luxury model on this list has been offering a hybrid powertrain for many years, but the RX’s 2023 redesign added another hybrid model. The base 246-horsepower RX 350h gets a respectable 36 mpg in combined driving. The new sporty RX 500h packs a more powerful 366-horsepower hybrid powertrain, but its efficiency drops to just 27 mpg.
The RX is a solid choice for a luxury hybrid SUV. It’s comfortable and quiet, and it boasts an elegant interior with excellent build quality. The Lexus is also priced below its European rivals and comes equipped with lots of standard features. However, its cargo space is lacking, and its infotainment system and some controls can be frustrating to use.
Starting MSRP: $51,800
The above hybrids are class leaders, but there are other compelling choices to consider such as the Kia Niro, Ford Maverick and Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. As fuel economy regulations become stricter, expect to see more hybrids in the coming years.
Michael Cantu, The Associated Press