Although it might seem like import automakers have lead the way in hybrid sales, there are a surprising number of American hybrid cars that are also on the market. Some of these battery-assisted models actually represent the base trim of a model not typically associated with the hybrid landscape, while others power truck-based SUVs seeking to squeak out every last bit of possible fuel mileage. Finally, there are the cutting-edge hybrid exotics, plug-ins, and near-electric vehicles that have spring forth from Detroit and beyond to illustrate American engineering know-how.
Let's take a quick look at 10 American hybrid cars.
American Hybrid Cars - 01 - 2013 Chevrolet Volt
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt has become the poster child for the electric car movement in the United States, but this vehicle is more properly termed an extended-range hybrid due to the fact that its electric motor is backed-up by a gas generator that can step in and provide 300 miles per tank of driving after the initial 50 mile battery charge has been used up. The compact Chevrolet Volt hatchback sedan provides comfortable seating for as many as four passengers, and its 149 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (managed by a special automatic transmission) give it more than enough kick to deal with the realities of daily traffic.
American Hybrid Cars - 02 - 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is presented as a direct challenger to the Toyota Prius family of cars. The Ford C-Max Hybrid is somewhere in between on the size chart when looking at the standard Prius and the roomier Prius V, which means it offers five passenger seating along with 52.6 cubic feet of total storage space. Fuel mileage for the C-Max Hybrid is listed at 47-mpg in city driving and 47-mpg on the highway, and it combines a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with a single electric motor in order to generate a combined 188 horsepower.
American Hybrid Cars - 03 - 2013 Buick LaCrosse
If you want to sample the hybrid version of the 2013 Buick LaCrosse, all you have to do is pay the entry-level price: the mid-size sedan features GM's eAssist system as its most affordable drivetrain. This American hybrid car's eAssist feature makes use of a small electric motor to take some of the load off of the Buick LaCrosse's 2.4-liter, four-cylinder gas engine. Together, they produce a respectable 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, and unlike many hybrid designs a traditional six-speed automatic transmission shifts the gears for the premium automobile. The 'eAssisted' Buick provides fuel economy of 25-mpg around town and 36-mpg on the highway.
American Hybrid Cars - 04 - 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a big and brawny SUV that can haul as many as eight passengers, transport up to 109 cubic feet of gear, and tow a respectable 6,200 lbs. This is possible due to the fact that it's 6.0-liter V-8 engine (aided and abetted by a pair of electric motors) produces 379 horsepower (and is available with either two or four-wheel drive). Although the vehicle's 20-mpg city rating and 23-mpg highway performance might not seem all that worthy of a hybrid vehicle, the stop-and-go figure represents a 25 percent improvement over the fuel consumption of the standard edition of the Chevrolet Tahoe.
American Hybrid Cars - 05 - 2012 Fisker Karma
The 2012 Fisker Karma - corporate drama aside - is one of the most striking American hybrid car designs available. This high end, semi-exotic sedan doesn't just look great, but it also backs up its arresting appearance with stellar acceleration thanks to its available 403 horsepower from a unique twin-electric motor / turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine combo. The plug-in setup can use the gas engine as a range-extender or add it to the mix via a generator for maximum performance. Fuel mileage for the Fisker Karma shows as 52-mpg-e, and it offers 32 miles of battery-only cruising.
American Hybrid Cars - 06 - 2013 Ford Fusion Energi
The 2013 Ford Fusion Energi improves on the 'standard' Fusion Hybrid by adding the additional wrinkle of plug-in charging for the vehicle's battery pack. The Ford Fusion Energi features the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor setup shared by the Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max Hybrid, which means 188 horsepower and 47-mpg in both city and highway driving are par for the course. A bigger battery, however, plus the ability to recharge via an electrical outlet, mean that it's conceivable to drive the Ford Fusion Energi using very little gasoline - the electric-only range for this mid-size sedan is an impressive 21 miles.
American Hybrid Cars - 07 - 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco presents another iteration of the same mild hybrid drivetrain that is found in the Buick LaCrosse. The Chevrolet Malibu Eco is a separate trim level for the affordable mid-size sedan that comes with aerodynamic improvements and additional fuel saving tricks like an automatic start/stop system. Power is listed at 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder / electric motor combo, and the Malibu Eco returns fuel mileage of 25-mpg in stop and go driving and 37-mpg on the highway - not at the top of its bracket, but the most efficient version of the Malibu available.
American Hybrid Cars - 08 - 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is aimed at luxury sedan shoppers who want a comfortable, fuel efficient mid-size sedan but who don't want to pay extra for the privilege. By pricing the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid the same as the gas-only model of the car, Lincoln has given shoppers a green choice without forcing them to cough up any additional dough. The MKZ Hybrid features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that works in tandem with a single electric motor, producing 188 horsepower (as the drivetrain also does in the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid models). Fuel economy is quite good for a luxury car, with a 45-mpg rating listed in both city and highway columns.
American Hybrid Cars - 09 - 2013 Buick Regal
The 2013 Buick Regal is the last of the mid-size sedans on this list to benefit from the inclusion of the eAssist drivetrain. Like its larger LaCrosse cousin, the Buick Regal's eAssist system slots in as the entry-level engine for the premium sedan, and it offers up 182 horses and 172 lb-ft of twist (using the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder / small electric motor combination). Fuel mileage for the Regal shows as 25-mpg in city driving and 36-mpg during highway cruising, which is an improvement of five and four miles per gallon, respectively, when compared against the next-step-up Turbo trim level.
American Hybrid Cars - 10 - 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
The 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid rolls into the room on a raft of assumptions about over-consumption and vehicular brashness, but this electrically-assisted edition of the iconic full-size luxury SUV makes more than a token attempt at being eco-friendly. Fuel mileage - like that of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid with which it shares its drivetrain - is listed at 20-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, and its 6.0-liter V-8 (and two electric motors) deliver 379 total horsepower. This is far thriftier than the traditional Escalade, without sacrificing any of the high end features (leather, leather everywhere) or much of the utility expected by buyers (eight passenger seating, 109 cubic feet of total cargo space, available four-wheel drive).
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