Honda and Toyota certainly seem to have this whole hybrid car thing figured out. There are seven hybrid models on sale for 2012 that get a combined fuel economy rating of 40 mpg or better, and one of these two companies builds each of them.
That said, not all hybrids are created equal, and not all hybrids are designed to get great fuel economy. Some car companies use hybrid technology to improve power and performance as much as they do to boost gas mileage. For example, the Lexus GS 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 making 303 horsepower, and is rated to get 28 mpg in combined driving. By comparison, the hybrid-powered Lexus GS 450h pairs a V6 engine with electric assist motors and a battery pack to generate a combined 336 horsepower, and the hybrid model gets 31 mpg in combined driving.
We’re here to talk about the hybrids that get the best fuel economy, and the Lexus GS isn’t one of them. Determining the best mpg hybrid cars of 2012 is pretty simple. Using the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website search tools, we were able to narrow the list of 2012 high MPG hybrid cars and then sort by the combined fuel economy rating. The resulting list actually features six models rather than five, because there was a three-way tie for fourth place.
On the pages that follow, you’ll find the six best MPG hybrid cars for 2012, listed from least to most fuel-efficient and, in the case of our three-way tie, in alphabetical order. Had we elected to include all models with a combined rating of 40 mpg or better, that seventh car would have been the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid.