Hybrids have been flooding the market in recent years, as manufacturers strive to meet eco-friendly quotas and consumers become more aware of the dangers of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels. But which models are the best of the bunch this year, and why?
Coming in at #1 as always, the Toyota Prius has simply set the standard for hybrid automobile for more than 10 years running. First on the road and still offering the best gas mileage around at 50 mpg, the Toyota Prius also has the advantage of a longer history, which has allowed the company to work out bugs and potentially dangerous features which may not yet be evident in newer vehicles. If you’re looking for reliability, ample storage space, and great gas mileage, the Prius is the hybrid to choose.
The Honda Civic is a great choice for those who want a sedan with a hybridized engine. While some consider it a sort of “runner-up” to the Toyota Prius, at 41 mpg the Civic holds its own as an efficient hybrid in today’s market. In some circumstances the Civic can shut off all cylinders and run entirely on the electric motor, saving significant amounts of fuel. It is one of the less expensive hybrids on the market, and has the comforts and legroom of a traditional sedan.
The Ford Escape was the first hybrid SUV to hit the market in 2000, and today is still a great choice for those who want the space and rugged capabilities of an SUV without the gas-guzzling mileage that typically accompanies them. With 34 city/31 highway mpg, the Escape is not the most impressive of performers in the mileage department, but it does perform at least as well as a typical sedan, and produces far less pollution than a typical SUV.
Not a true hybrid in the sense that the engine itself cannot run electrically, the Chevy Silverado is nonetheless an acceptable choice for those who want a pickup truck that’s a bit easier on the environment than most. It was originally very limited in distribution, but has become more easily accessible in recent years. With the Silverado, you can haul that firewood or help a friend move without the guilt of knowing your car is a gas-guzzler!
Another good sedan in the hybrid class, the Toyota Camry is an extremely popular car on the American market. It was released as a hybrid in 2006, and gets approximately 31 mpg. While not as fuel-efficient as the Prius, the Camry may be a good choice for customers who want something a little more traditional and comfortable. It features a number of hybrid-specific features including electric power-steering and an eco-operating mode for the heating and air conditioning system to reduce gas usage.
If you’re hoping to make a hybrid the next audition to your automobile family, the 2011 models mentioned above should be a good place to start!