2011 Toyota Prius
2011 Toyota Prius
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 still better it today). Honda also offered the Civic Hybrid. And Ford's Escape Hybrid had just made its debut back in 2004.
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.
2014 Toyota Prius C
Small Cars and compacts
It's business as usual at the top, where the 2014 Toyota Prius C reigns supreme. It tops the list with 50 mpg combined economy, and an impressive 53 mpg city rating.
Next up is a relatively new entrant, the 2014 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 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid, matches it for combined economy, beats it in the city (44 mpg versus 42 mpg) and lags 1 mpg on the highway (47 mpg to 48 mpg).
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 2014 Honda Insight doesn't have prestige to its name, but manages the same 42 mpg (41 mpg city, 44 mpg highway). If you want one for any reason you'll have to act fast, as it isn't long for this world.
The Insight might be on the chopping block but Honda's sporty CR-Z has earned a stay of execution. It returns 37 mpg combined with a continuously-variable transmission, or 34 combined with the six-speed manual--the only manual hybrid on the market.
It's not the most efficient hybrid on the market but it's peppy to drive--and the recent introduction of a supercharger kit makes it even more fun.
2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Midsize and more
Another Toyota tops the midsize list--the venerable 2015 Toyota Prius. Years after its launch, rivals still haven't matched its 50 mpg combined rating (51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway) without using a plug--and with a new Prius on the way in 2015, 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 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, which has become Honda's most efficient hybrid model. Combined economy is 47 mpg (50 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) and it's one of the best-driving hybrids in its class.
Next up is the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan, which touts an EPA-rated 42 mpg combined (44 mpg city, 41 mpg highway). Those ratings have dropped a little after Ford's run-in with the EPA, where several models struggled to hit their window sticker numbers.
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid
The previously class-leading 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid, rated at 41 mpg combined, has now dropped down the order, but it's still a reliable, economical prospect. The same can be said of the 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which just falls behind the Camry at 40 mpg combined.
Hot on the heels of those are the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and 2015 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 share economy figures at 38 mpg combined (36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway)
Matching those on 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway) is the more recently-introduced 2014 Chevrolet Impala eAssist.
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid - Quick Drive, July 2014
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 2014 Toyota Prius V, which achieves 42 mpg combined (44 mpg city, 40 mpg highway)
Next up is the 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid. Concerns over real-world mileage led to Ford dropping its official rating from 47 mpg combined down to 40 mpg combined (42 mpg city, 37 mpg highway) and below the Prius V as a result. It drives better than the Toyota, though.
Deposing the 2015 Lexus RX 450h as the most efficient hybrid crossover on sale is the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Not only is all-wheel drive standard (like all Subarus) but its 31 mpg combined rating is 1 mpg better than the Lexus can offer.
2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport
The Lexus still features neat styling though (the jury is out on the Crosstrek), it still drives well and its 32 mpg city economy makes it one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers you can get in lower-speed driving. 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.
If you want a larger SUV, Toyota sells the 2015 Highlander Hybrid. It has AWD for those tricky road conditions, and figures of 28 mpg across the board. 2 mpg shy of this are the 2014 Audi Q5 Hybrid, 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid.
Bringing up the rear, Porsche and Volkswagen get in on the hybrid SUV act too, with the 2014 Cayenne S Hybrid and 2014 Touareg Hybrid sharing the same 21 mpg combined rating (20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway). That's not as impressive as the Lexus RX, but for some the lure of a Porsche badge will be very tempting.
2015 Acura ILX
The 2014 Lexus ES 300h tops the list here. Think of it as a Camry Hybrid in swankier clothes, with an interior that nods towards the even more upmarket GS 450h. It's rated at 40 mpg combined (40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway).
Matching it on combined mileage is the Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which also gets 41 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. It was above the Lexus before, but Ford's mpg-slashing closed up the field.
A recent entrant to the luxury hybrid market is the 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid. Based on the Civic Hybrid, the sportier and more luxury-orientated ILX achieves combined mileage of 38 mpg (39 mpg city, 38 mpg highway).
Three more luxury cars all hit 31 mpg combined--the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, the 2014 Infiniti Q70 Hybrid, and the 2014 Lexus GS 450h. All also manage 29 mpg in the city, but the smaller Q50 is most efficient on the highway with a 36 mpg figure to the other cars' 34 mpg.
All go about achieving that mileage in a similar way, with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and automatic transmission, an e-CVT in the case of the Lexus. Opt for all-wheel drive on the Q50, or the Q50S, and combined mileage drops to 30 mpg.
2013 Lexus GS 450h
Also hitting 30 mpg (28 mpg city, 32 mpg highway) is the 2014 Acura RLX Hybrid. It too has a 3.5-liter six-cylinder and automatic transmission, though isn't quite as sporty as its Japanese rivals.
You might have forgotten about BMW's ActiveHybrid 3, but it's still soldiering on for 2015 at 28 mpg combined. BMW still sells the 26 mpg ActiveHybrid 5 too, and the 25 mpg ActiveHybrid 7--all cars rather better at speed than they are at frugality.
The 26 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway) 2014 Mercedes-Benz E400 Hybrid is another with these characteristics, but does give buyers a little more choice.
Right at the bottom of the pile though is another Lexus, the LS600h. Hybrid drive here is more to offset the thirst of its 5.0-liter V-8 than challenge the Toyota Priuses of the world, but 20 mpg combined won't be winning you any green-natured friends at the local golf course...