Which hybrid cars accumulate the most mileage over time?
According to a new data analysis, there's one hybrid that stands head and shoulders above the rest--and it's not the Toyota Prius.
2009 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Used-car listing aggregator iSeeCars analyzed more than 20 million used-car listings posted during April and May, looking specifically at the listed mileage on the cars.
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Specifically, the site split out hybrids with 150,000 miles or more listed, to see what percentage of the total number for sale were at that level--which it suggests is a proxy for lasting a long time.
2012 Ford Escape HybridEnlarge Photo
The Honda Civic Hybrid, which first went on sale back in 2003, had by far the highest percentage of high-mileage listings: 5.4 percent of the total, the only car to exceed 5 percent.
Next came two hybrid SUVs, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which were tied for second place at 2.7 percent each.
The Toyota Prius took third place, at 2.1 percent, followed by the Lexus RX 400h at 1.4 percent.
The last two cars in the iSeeCars listing, the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Honda Insight (presumably both generations of that nameplate), were both under 1.0 percent, at 0.7 and 0.6 percent respectively.
Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars, suggested to Green Car Reports that the two hybrid SUVs may have been used as family vehicles, meaning higher mileage from vacations and holiday road trips.
2006 Toyota Highlander HybridEnlarge Photo
To which we might add that the Honda Civic Hybrid may have had a higher percentage of fleet buyers, who tend to wring every last mile out of their cars to minimize lifetime ownership costs.
On the other hand, Honda's fleet sales are historically low compared to other makers, including Toyota, so our suggestion may not be accurate.
It's also worth noting that Toyota dominates the list, with four of the seven highest-mileage used hybrids--though given its dominant position in hybrid vehicles globally, that's probably not too much of a surprise.
In any event, long life in a hybrid doesn't necessary translate to rock-solid reliability: the Honda Civic Hybrid has had several recalls of different model years for battery problems and other issues.
That said, Ly said the ratio of used Prius listings to used Civic Hybrid listings matched the ratio of their respective sales totals--meaning the battery-life issues may not have played much of a role in the cars' overall durability.