Hybrid cars offer excellent fuel economy, especially in the city, without the downsides associated with other green vehicles. The number of hybrid models on the market has exploded in the last few years, from small economy cars to larger vehicles and sports cars. To keep the list sane, we haven’t added any of the hypercars that use hybrid technology mainly to improve their performance on a track (and let’s face it, they are unobtainable for most of us anyway). Read on to see our perspective on the ten top rated hybrid cars.
10 Top-Rated Hybrid Cars
Photo Credit: Toyota
1. Toyota Prius Eco
When you think about hybrid cars, there’s a good chance that the Toyota Prius is the first car that pops into your mind, and for good measure. The Prius Eco is the most fuel efficient hybrid available today, soundly beating its competitors on that front. The new Prius handles much better than older generations, the ride is improved, and the powertrain now delivers its meager power in a much quieter manner. Inside, the car looks modern with a clean interior design and good quality materials. The latest Prius looks and drives more like a "normal" car than ever before.
Photo Credit: Ford
2. Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid that uses a gasoline engine to recharge the batteries as necessary. Electric-only range is impressive, and those who only use their car for short commutes and are religious with their recharging might see a single tank of fuel last for months on end. The interior is quiet, uses nice materials, and is comfortable for four people. Like some of the other top rated hybrid cars, the new Volt looks and drives more like a regular car, performance is respectable for an economy vehicle, and it handles better than most of its rivals.
Photo Credit: General Motors
3. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid shares many drivetrain components with the Chevy Volt, but it isn't a plug-in hybrid. Instead, it uses a smaller battery and relies on regeneration to charge its batteries, and the result is surprisingly good fuel economy and more than reasonable performance for a mid-size, four-cylinder powered car. Like most top rated hybrids that weren’t designed from the ground up to hold their additional powertrain components, the trunk’s cargo capacity does suffer from the intrusion of the battery back, but otherwise, the Hybrid Malibu is just as practical as its normally-powered brethren.
Photo Credit: BMW
4. BMW i8
The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid sports car, powered by a small three-cylinder turbocharged engine and an electric motor. Acceleration is quick, and while fuel economy isn’t great for a hybrid, it’s very respectable for a car with the i8’s performance. Despite the i8’s carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body, it isn’t a lightweight. Grip isn’t quite equal to some of the other dedicated high-performance cars (probably because of the eco-friendly tire selection), but the i8 has excellent handling and is a joy to drive. The i8 seems expensive, until you think of it as a bargain version of those insane hypercars we were talking about earlier.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
5. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Volkswagen isn’t currently offering their diesel-powered cars because of emissions-related issues, but that doesn’t mean that the brand no longer offers fuel-efficient choices. The Jetta Hybrid beats the previously available diesel engine in both city and highway fuel economy, and its plenty of fun to drive, largely thanks to a seven-speed DSG gearbox instead of the typical hybrid CVT. The battery pack steals some trunk space, but there is still lots of usable cargo space. The interior is attractive, and the ride is typical European sedan—firm but compliant. It all adds up to a package that might be better than the diesel, and definitely one of our ten top rated hybrid cars.
Photo Credit: Ford
6. Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid is a sleek and attractive mid-size hybrid car that is also available as a plug-in model (called the Fusion Energi). The interior looks clean and simple, yet is simultaneously full of interesting details and quality looking and feeling materials. The ride is comfortable, and the cabin is quiet even at speed. Fuel economy is rated competitively for a hybrid of the size, and it is one of the better handling hybrids on the market, though it does lag slightly behind the non-hybrid versions of the Fusion due to the extra weight. Going with the hybrid Fusion brings many positives and very little in the way of negatives.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
7. Infiniti Q70 Hybrid
The Infiniti Q70 Hybrid isn’t the most economical car on this list of top rated hybrids, but its fuel economy is reasonable and its hybrid system is powerful, making the Q70 one of the fastest hybrid sedans available. It isn’t a particularly sporty car, but handling is secure and predictable, and as long you don’t push too hard the Q70 doesn’t mind the corners. The interior is nicely detailed with real wood trim, and the Deluxe Touring Package includes high-end options like a Bose sound system, semi-aniline leather, and a power rear sunshade.
Photo Credit: Toyota
8. Toyota Prius V
You could look at the Toyota Prius V as essentially an extended station wagon version of the regular Prius, or alternatively as a hybrid minivan. Either way, there is lots of room for front and rear passengers, and though the load floor is a bit high (due to the batteries that are hidden under them) there is still plenty of cargo room. Handling is sound and the ride is comfortable. The Prius V uses the same powertrain as the previous generation Prius, but because of the increase in size and weight over the smaller car, both fuel economy and performance suffer.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
9. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The Sonata Hybrid is one of the models that show just how far Hyundai has come in the last 30 years. Currently in its second generation, the hybrid Sonata is also available as a plug-in, and both models feature a very impressive warranty, good power and respectable fuel economy. Interestingly the Sonata is one of the few hybrids that uses less fuel on the highway than it does in the city. The interior is relatively plain but attractive enough and particularly quiet, and while the Sonata can’t be considered sporty, it is quick enough and comfortable.
Photo Credit: Toyota
10. Toyota Prius C
Yes, there’s another Prius on our list of the ten top-rated hybrid cars. The Prius C is related to the Toyota Yaris, making it the brand’s smallest (and cheapest) hybrid. Pricing is very reasonable for a hybrid, though the low combined horsepower output makes acceleration a slow and sometimes arduous process. Other downsides include a ride that can be a bit rough at times and an interior that befits a car in this price range. On the other hand, it is quite roomy and the Prius C’s fuel economy is very good, beating just about everything in its class.