2011 Porsche Cayenne HybridEnlarge Photo
Porsche and Volkswagen get in on the hybrid SUV act too, with the 2013 Cayenne S Hybrid and 2013 Touareg Hybrid sharing the same 20 mpg city, 24 highway and 21 combined. That's not as impressive as the Lexus RX, but for some the lure of a Porsche badge will be very tempting.
Right at the top of the tree, but bottom of the hybrid SUV pile, GM fields the 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon 1500 Hybrid. With a 6-liter V-8 the emphasis here is as much on traditional SUV benefits like towing capacity as it is on economy, and all manage 20 mpg city, 23 highway and 21 mpg combined.
Previously it was a Toyota product that topped the list here, the 2013 Lexus ES 300h. Think of it as a Camry Hybrid in swankier clothes, with an interior that nods towards the even more upmarket GS 450h. At 40 mpg city, 39 highway and 40 combined, it's one of the greenest luxury cars on sale.
However, it's been displaced by the Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which gets 45 mpg combined--plus 45 mpg in city and highway driving, too.
Another new entrant to the market for 2013 is the Acura ILX Hybrid. Based on the Civic Hybrid, the sportier and more luxury-orientated ILX achieves combined mileage of 38 mpg and as much as 39 mpg in city driving.
For greater performance and still-impressive gas mileage, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h would be our next choice. It makes 34 mpg on the highway, with 29 in the city. It also looks great, has a fantastic interior and performs well--this could be a real "have your cake and eat it" car. We drove one in June, and came away impressed.
2013 Lexus GS 450h First Drive. [Photos: Antony Ingram]Enlarge Photo
The 2013 Infiniti M35h also lets you have plenty of cake, and gets 29 mpg combined. Infiniti is at pains to remind us all that it's also the fastest hybrid on sale, and will even see off the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid in a drag race. Since the Porsche gets only 25 mpg combined, the Infiniti also wins at the gas station. However, Porsche's recent launch of the Panamera S E-Hybrid should give consumers a significantly more efficient vehicle, with around 20 miles of electric range.
BMW is fielding a selection of luxury hybrids this year, including the 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 5. Both major on power over efficiency (the 3 gets only 28 mpg combined), so really they're aimed at improving the gas mileage of the range-topping vehicles, rather than going for outright economy honors. The same could be said of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 7L, with its 25 mpg combined.
Still, it's better than the biggest of luxury sedans. The 2013 Lexus LS 600h gets only 20 mpg combined, just pipped by the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid at 21 combined.
It's GM or nothing here, so the General should be commended for trying to improve mileage and emissions in a sector not known for its green vehicles.
Your choice is between the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid, or the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. Both come in 2WD or AWD options, and the drivetrain doesn't seem to affect economy. All have EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Prices start at just under $40,000