In 2007, the replaced the (pictured) as the most affordable hybrid vehicle on the market, with a base MSRP of $22,045. In 2008, Toyota countered by introducing a new, stripped-down Standard Prius model. By eliminating previous base standard equipment such as heated mirrors and cruise control, the Prius once again reclaimed the title of lowest priced hybrid on the market (with a base MSRP of $21,500). This price drop would prove unnecessary, however, as the 2008 Saturn Aura base MSRP jumped to over $24,000 and then to $26,325 for 2009.Toyota PriusSaturn Aura Green Line
The 2009 model year for both the Prius and Aura brings a slight increase in base MSRP. The Prius' boost is incremental, however, and allows it to maintain its standing at the top of the leader board. The Saturn Aura hybrid has dropped a few slots to place 5th among the 2009 hybrid models when it comes to price.
List of Most Affordable Hybrid Vehicles in 2009
The competition facing the Toyota Prius has grown considerably since it was first introduced in the 2001 model year. Back then, the lone hybrid competitor was the . For 2009, over 20 other models boast hybrid technology. Out of these, only a handful of vehicles feature a base MSRP below $30,000. These affordable hybrids are as follows (not including destination charges):Honda Insight
- 2009 Toyota Prius Hybrid: $22,000
- 2009 : $23,650Honda Civic Hybrid
- 2009 : $25,555Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
- 2009 : $26,150Toyota Camry Hybrid
- 2009 Saturn Aura Hybrid: $26,325
- 2009 : $26,650Nissan Altima Hybrid
There are two SUVs below the $30,000 mark:
For the 2010 model year, we'll see the following added to the roster:
The 2009 Toyota Prius
Not only is the 2009 Toyota Prius the most affordable hybrid on the market, it is also the most fuel-efficient. With an estimated EPA fuel rating of 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, the only hybrid to even come close to matching the efficiency is the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid (40 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway). EPA ratings fall steeply after the Civic, with the majority of the pack posting mpg ratings in the high 20s to mid-30s. Add in these considerable fuel savings, and the Toyota Prius easily extends its lead as the most cost-effective 2009 hybrid model.
A New Contender in 2010:
The Honda Insight
While few would dispute that the Toyota Prius is head and shoulders above the current hybrid competition in terms of overall cost and efficiency, a new competitor promises to threaten Toyota's comfortable lead. After a 5-year absence from the North American market, the Prius' original competitor, the Honda Insight, returns for the 2010 model year. Completely redesigned, Honda has high hopes that the 2010 Honda Insight will have the necessary feature set to finally knock the Toyota hybrid from the top of the leader boards.
As part of this goal, Honda has announced that the Insight will significantly undercut the current price of the Prius. While an official base MSRP for the Insight has yet to be announced, Honda anticipates it will come in around $19,800. Compare this to the estimated 2010 Prius price of $23,000, and it seems like the Insight will indeed become the most affordable hybrid vehicle on the market. Add in the fact that the Insight is expected to deliver 40 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, and the result is the first real contender for top market share in the hybrid segment.