AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA) are based on 73,000 surveys completed by owners of new cars and light trucks in the United States in the first half of 2011.
For vehicles equipped with two powertrains, one gas and one battery-powered, or pure electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF, they all fall into the hybrid segment. This segment includes vehicles from the Honda CR-Z to the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Customers are primarily focused on fuel economy.
This year's AutoPacific IVA Hybrid Car winner is the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Read on to see the entire list of category candidates and how they scored.
*NOTE: Results for 2010 Model Year Vehicles are Included in the 2011 Model Year Research Because of Availability. Scores Are Shown Where Sample Sizes Allow
#1 Hybrid Car: 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid owners rate the car at the top of the Hybrid Car class in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Awards. As the class winner, owners of the Fusion Hybrid don’t want much changed with the significant exception of cargo room. The battery pack compromises cargo room and over 50% of Fusion Hybrid owners want more cargo room. Similar to the normally powered Fusion, about 30% want the car to be easier to get into and out of and about 25% want better visibility. About 15% want a softer ride. Fusion Hybrid owners most like the seat comfort of the car. The Fusion Hybrid outpoints the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, a sibling to the Fusion, by only a few points.
#2 Hybrid Car: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s pricing might surprise you: the luxury brand has given it an identical MSRP to the standard gasoline-powered MKZ. The fact that you don’t have to pay more for the extra miles per gallon offered by the sedan’s hybrid drivetrain is sadly a novelty in the premium car market.
#3 Hybrid Car: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt offers close to 40 miles of battery-only driving, backed by another 300 miles of gasoline-assisted range. If those numbers didn’t get your attention, then you might also be interested in knowing that the Volt offers an electric car experience that doesn’t in any way draw attention to the engineering magic going on under its metal skin – the vehicle runs and drives like any other compact sedan on the market.
#4 Hybrid Car: 2011 Nissan Leaf
The 2011 Nissan Leaf’s pure electric drivetrain is a first amongst mass-produced, commercially-available automobiles. The Leaf offers plug-in recharging and a battery range of 100 miles, depending on driving conditions. Although small in stature, the mere presence of the Leaf on the market is a big indicator of where electric automobiles might be heading in the years to come.
#5 Hybrid Car: 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Looking for a mid-size hybrid sedan with decent power, solid fuel economy and a reasonable price tag? The 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid is all of these things, and it also comes with an impressive list of standard equipment and available luxuries such as heated leather seats and navigation. The Camry Hybrid can also operate exclusively under battery power for short distances.
#6 Hybrid Car: Honda Civic Hybrid (2010)
The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid is an ultra-fuel-efficient compact sedan that gives up only a little bit of trunk space to house its battery pack. The Civic Hybrid is as practical as its gasoline-only counterpart, but does come with a higher price tag that makes many Civic buyers uncertain as to whether the savings at the pump will eventually even out the extra initial outlay at the dealership.
#7 Hybird Car: Toyota Prius (2010)
The 2010 Toyota Prius is the elder statesman of the hybrid market, a compact hatchback that wows with its 50-mpg capability and its reasonable performance around town and on the highway. Although somewhat small compared to other cars on this list, there’s still a lot of practicality packed into its well thought out design.
#8 Hybrid Car: 2011 Honda CR-Z
The 2011 Honda CR-Z is a sporty hybrid in search of a market. Not particularly quick, but fairly competent through the corners and offering a six-speed manual transmission (unusual in a hybrid automobile), the two-seat battery-assisted coupe hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. It could be that its mediocre fuel economy – at least for a hybrid – has turned off most potential buyers.
#9 Hybird Car: Lexus HS Hybrid (2010)
The 2010 Lexus HS Hybrid was an experiment on the part of the luxury car company to see if the world was ready for a compact premium hybrid car with an equally premium price tag. Based on the same mechanicals as the popular Prius, the HS Hybrid really hasn’t ignited the same level of interest amongst drivers as its more pedestrian cousin.
#10 Hybrid Car: Honda Insight (2010)
The 2010 Honda Insight is not a bad hybrid option – it’s just not a great one. Slightly cheaper than the Prius, but not quite as efficient, the Insight doesn’t stack up well when compared against larger and more livable hybrids such as its Honda Civic Hybrid stable mate.