The best hybrid cars for the money combine high value with high fuel economy ratings, and at this stage in the game, picking them has become a particular challenge. When Autobytel experts put together this gallery, more than 30 different hybrid vehicles were on the market. Further, the current crop of hybrids has more than just compact hatchbacks; hybrid crossovers, hybrid midsize sedans, and even a hybrid minivan are now all available for customers. (There are luxury hybrids, too, of course, but we’ve steered clear of those today in our quest to focus on affordability.) With an ever-increasing number of practical choices like these, strongly supported by continued customer demand, it’s clear that hybrid technology remains an important part of the industry.
10 Best Hybrid Cars for the Money
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Prius
The best hybrid cars for the money have to have impressive fuel efficiency marks, and they don’t get much more impressive than those for the 2017 Toyota Prius. Indeed, the standard EPA ratings for the Prius are 54 mpg city/50 mpg highway/52 mpg combined, while the Prius Eco raises the fuel economy bar to 58 mpg city/53 mpg highway/56 mpg combined. With results like these, the EPA also indicates an estimated savings of $3,750 in five-year fuel costs as compared to the “average new vehicle.” Yet a well-equipped Prius—with LED daytime running lights and Entune infotainment—starts as low as $24,685. The better-equipped Prius Eco provides the lineup’s top fuel efficiency performance at $25,165.
Photo Credit: Ford
2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The Blue Oval’s efforts to develop the best hybrid cars for the money have created a serious contender in the form of the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Offered in a full range of trims, from the entry-level S to the luxurious Platinum, the Fusion Hybrid has EPA ratings of 43 mpg city/41 mpg highway/42 mpg combined. It also has an easy-on-the-wallet MSRP of $25,295 for that starter model, which actually comes with relatively premium content such as dual-zone climate control, a 9-speaker audio setup, LED taillamps, halogen fog lamps, and SYNC, Ford’s hands-free communication and entertainment system. Highlights in the Fusion Hybrid Platinum include leather-trimmed seating, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and navigation.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
If you’re shopping for the best hybrid cars for the money, crossovers like the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid also may fit your needs. Yes, the RAV4 Hybrid has sterling fuel economy marks, with EPA estimates of 34 mpg city/30 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. That’s 48 percent better in the city than a standard RAV4, and 28 percent better in combined travel. But what really sets the hybrid apart is that it achieves those grades with electrically enabled all-wheel drive, and that it’s also the fastest RAV4 in the lineup. At the same time, its MSRP remains under $30K and covers a rearview camera, app-based navigation, automatic forward braking, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.
Photo Credit: Kia
2017 Kia Niro
A new name to consider among the best hybrid cars for the money is the 2017 Kia Niro. The brand’s first dedicated hybrid here in the United States, the Niro notches EPA ratings of 52 mpg city/49 mpg highway/50 mpg combined in its most fuel-efficient—and least expensive—FE trim. In fact, the starting price for the Niro is a mere $22,890, which includes a rearview camera, a 7-inch color touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and the industry’s latest Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone-integration technologies. And on the topic of technology, Kia serves up available driver-assistance measures such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assistance.
Photo Credit: Honda
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid stands out from the best hybrid cars for the money as the most fuel efficient midsize sedan of the bunch: Backed by Honda’s 2-mode hybrid propulsion system, the Accord Hybrid can post EPA ratings of 49 mpg city/47 mpg highway/48 mpg combined. Additionally, that green performance requires relatively little of your green, since the car’s entry price is below $30,000. It’s not cheap, but then again, the Accord at that price features a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as LED fog lights, daytime running lights and rear light-bar accents. For driver assistance, the Honda Sensing bundle is standard with collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, and a blind spot system.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
2017 Hyundai Ioniq
Another of the best hybrid cars for the money comes from a brand well regarded for its value. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq lives up to that tradition with an MSRP of $22,200 and standard content that extends to a rearview camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and active grille shutters. Moreover, this versatile hatchback is more fuel efficient than a Toyota Prius, thanks to EPA grades of 55 mpg city/54 mpg highway/55 mpg combined. In terms of upgrades, heated leather seats, Infinity audio, and navigation are all optional, as is the Ioniq Blue model. This is the most fuel efficient unplugged hybrid in the country, topping out at 57 mpg city/59 mpg highway/58 mpg combined.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid
Already one of the country’s best-selling crossovers, the Nissan Rogue now counts as one of the nation’s best hybrid cars for the money. That’s because the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid is rolling into dealerships with an MSRP of $26,240, which is only $1,000 more than for the same SV trim with a traditional gas engine. Also, helping make up for this increase, the Rogue Hybrid will save drivers $1,750 in fuel costs during the first five years of driving (per the EPA and as compared to the “average new vehicle”). To accomplish that, this new Nissan product returns EPA ratings of 33 mpg city/35 mpg highway/34 mpg combined.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
When designing the Malibu, the Bowtie brand targeted the best entries in the midsize sedan segment—and hit the bullseye. So it’s unsurprising—but still worth pointing out—that the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is one of the best hybrid cars for the money. Right off the bat, the 2017 Malibu Hybrid boasts EPA grades of 49 mpg city/43 mpg highway/46 mpg combined, giving the Chevy higher ratings in all three measures than a Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Malibu Hybrid also presses its advantages with a standard mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, 4G LTE connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, and Chevy’s rear-seat reminder system, all for $27,875.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Prius c
Purely based on pricing, the 2017 Toyota Prius c has a bit of an edge against the rest of the best hybrid cars for the money. After all, the Prius c is priced from only $20,150 and, for extra value, it comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense-C system. Owners can rely on that bundle for lane departure assistance, automatic high beams, and a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking. Naturally, the Prius c checks in with lofty EPA line as well: 48 mpg city/43 mpg highway/46 mpg combined. The city-sized Prius c also comes standard with LED headlights and fog lights, along with an Entune multimedia package with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and voice recognition.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid is no longer the most fuel efficient kid on the midsize block, but it still has plenty to recommend it as one of the best hybrid cars for the money. For instance, one important benefit is that the cost of a Camry Hybrid—$26,790—is noticeably lower than for a Chevy Malibu Hybrid or Honda Accord Hybrid. Then there’s the car’s robust level of standard equipment, such as Toyota’s Entune multimedia technology and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Oh, and the Camry Hybrid continues to put up superior fuel economy results, with standard models rated at 42 mpg city/38 mpg highway/40 mpg combined.