2011 Toyota PriusTurn back the clock by one decade, and there were just three hybrid cars on sale in the U.S.
2011 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
One was the first-generation Toyota Prius, the original Honda Insight was still going strong as the most efficient vehicle on sale (and only plug-in cars better it today), while Honda also offered the Civic Hybrid. Today, including different transmission options that figure has risen by dozens, giving consumers a fantastic range of options for fuel-efficient hybrid motoring.
Our guide to every diesel vehicle on sale in the U.S. has proven popular, so below is our guide to every hybrid vehicle currently on sale. We've only featured vehicles that don't require plugging in, so you won't find the plug-in Prius or Chevrolet Volt in the list.
Click on any vehicle's name to go straight to our overview pages, with reviews, news and more.
Small Cars and compacts
It's business as usual at the top, where the 2013 Toyota Prius C reigns supreme. It tops the list with 50 mpg combined economy, and an impressive 53 mpg city rating--higher than the 48 city of that old Insight!
Next up is a relatively new entrant, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. With a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine VW promises plenty of fun, but a Jetta diesel-beating 45 mpg is also there for the taking. Its closest rival in size, the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid, is still hanging in there too with 44 mpg combined.
Further down you'll find the classy CT 200h from Lexus. It's basically a Prius underneath, and although it manages a lower 42 mpg combined, it has the extra prestige that some buyers may be seeking. It also features a price tag that starts significantly higher, at $32,050. The 2013 Honda Insight doesn't have prestige to its name, but manages the same 42 mpg. It's okay to drive, but we think it may be worth seeking out a Prius instead. It's a shame, as the original Insight was a real game-changer.
Not all the small cars are family orientated--rounding off the list is Honda's sporty CR-Z, which returns 37 mpg combined with a continuously-variable transmission, or 34 combined with the six-speed manual. It's still the only hybrid on sale today with a manual gearbox option. It was updated for 2013 with a little more power, which has helped bump up the fun factor.
2013 Ford Fusion HybridEnlarge Photo
Another Toyota tops the midsize list--the venerable 2013 Toyota Prius. Years after its launch, rivals still haven't matched its 51 mpg city, 48 highway and 50 mpg combined ratings without using a plug--and with a new Prius on the way for 2014, expect the goalposts to move even further.
Several new hybrid sedans have appeared in the last year or so, and they've all shot straight above their predecessors. Most significant is the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan, which touts an EPA-rated 47 mpg combined. The previously class-leading 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid, which manages as much as 43 mpg in city driving, 41 combined, has now dropped down the order, but it's still a reliable, economical prospect. The same can be said of the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which just falls behind the Camry at 40 mpg combined.
Hot on the heels of those are the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid, both of which again share a 2.4-liter four-cylinder drivetrain, putting power through a six-speed automatic gearbox. At around $25,000 each they're good value, and manage 40 mpg on the highway, with 35 city, 37 combined.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu eAssist, Buick LaCrosse eAssist and Buick Regal eAssist are less economical. Each does 25 mpg city, 29 combined, but the Malibu has the best highway mileage at 37 mpg, to the others' 36 mpg.
SUVs & Wagons
Need space but don't want to sacrifice economy? For the ultimate in practicality and parsimony, you'll need to look at the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. Real-world mileage falls a little short, but the EPA rates it at 47 mpg in city, highway and combined driving. For an alternative, check out the 42 mpg 2013 Toyota Prius V wagon.
Further back, but still the most efficient hybrid SUV on sale, is the 2013 Lexus RX 450h. Revisions last year improved the styling, and F-Sport trim is now also available. Like many hybrids, it's at its best in the city where the electric motors can do their stuff, and it has an EPA rating of 32 mpg there.
It also manages a respectable 28 mpg highway, though we struggled to better 25 mpg at highway speeds on our journey to the Geneva Motor Show.