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Best Hybrid Cars For The Money

Despite Tesla fever, there’s still an appetite for vehicles that blend traditional internal-combustion engines with electric motors. Price is one big reason — while Tesla’s all-electric fleet starts at $44,000, the lowest-priced hybrids on our list are half that.

Many consumers are still not ready to take a chance on electric vehicles that need to be recharged. With many brands making hybrid — and EV — versions of some of their most popular models, getting an electric motor is almost as easy as getting heated seats or a roof rack. But the differences can be confusing. We’ll explain the differences between hybrids, plug-in hybrids and yes, EVs. However, vehicles on this list are hybrids only, and all under $40,000. We focus on non-plug-in hybrids, because those tend to be lower in price.

We organized the best hybrids of 2019 by price, including only those vehicles that come highly rated by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and/or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Best hybrids under $25,000

2019 Honda Insight

  • MSRP $22,930
  • 55 city, 49 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick; 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (50 reviews)

If you love the Honda Civic, then get ready to fall even deeper in love with its hybrid cousin, the Honda Insight. This handsome sedan has some exceptional hybrid efficiency thanks to 55 MPG in the city and the especially alluring price of under $23,000, especially compared with Honda’s other hybrid offerings including the Accord and plug-in Clarity. Every Honda comes with the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver-assisted technologies. This compact hybrid also has a great resale value though perhaps not as good as the Prius. (Because so little information is available on the redesigned but not yet released 2019 Prius, it’s not on this list.) Unlike the Prius, whose flashy style made it stand out as hybrid, the Insight is good for those who don’t want to show off their eco-friendly status.

2019 Kia Niro

  • MSRP $23,490
  • 52 city, 49 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick
  • 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)

Anyone that is looking for a eco-friendly vehicle that is suited for families should take a good, hard look at the 2019 Kia Niro. The Niro’s 4-door-hatchback design makes it look partially like a small SUV, which is what gives it the room and versatility that families need. Although it has several competitors, the Niro has a combined 50 MPG fuel-economy rating and, best of all, a warranty that’s hard to beat. The standard MSRP includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which means that this five-passenger car is a great bang for its buck. Unfortunately, the Niro doesn’t offer an all-wheel drive, which can be a deal-breaker for some families. Meanwhile, the Toyota Prius offers a better fuel economy at a similar price and also has a better resale value.

Best hybrids under $30,000

2019 Kia Optima Hybrid

  • MSRP $28,090
  • 39 city, 45 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick; 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)

For those who want a midsize sedan with good fuel economy, the Kia Optima Hybrid is a great value and ranks as one of the company’s best-selling models thanks to its technology, value and ease of use. The Optima Hybrid comes with a standard 7-inch touch screen that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The basic MSRP model also includes a standard suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, including Forward Collision Avoidance Assist and other technologies like Forward Collision Warning and Driver Attention Warning. And just as its cheaper cousin, the hybrid Kia Niro, the Optima Hybrid has a superb warranty (10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty) that competitors just can’t beat.

2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid

  • MSRP $28,150
  • 51 city, 53 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick; 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)

When Toyota decided to make one of its most popular models into a hybrid version, it seems they knew what they were doing. Only in its second year and already the best version of itself, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a sporty sedan that is a nice improvement on the traditional car. This one is a great option for families looking for a sedan, especially since it comes with great fuel economy and continues to have a stellar reputation for reliability and durability. However, the Camry loses out on Android Auto fans since only Apple CarPlay comes standard in this vehicle. The Camry Hybrid also does not have the trunk space of some of its competitors, so families looking for a little more room may need to look elsewhere.

2019 Honda Accord Hybrid

  • MSRP $25,320
  • 48 city, 48 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick; 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.7 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (1 review)

As one of the most highly recommended sedans on the road, Honda’s go-to car only improves by adding fuel-efficiency. The Accord Hybrid comes with the same Honda Sensing® we mentioned above, plus 48 miles-per-gallon and the same safety and reliability that families love about the midsize sedan. The Accord Hybrid, just like its non-hybrid version, really delivers a great overall value.

2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid

  • MSRP $27,555
  • 43 city, 41 highway MPG
  • 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.1 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)

If you’re a Ford fan, then you probably already know that the company is slowly saying goodbye to its sedans in favor of the booming SUV market. However, that’s not so for the Ford Fusion or its hybrid counterpart. The Fusion Hybrid is a comfortable midsize sedan that was restyled for 2019 and comes with the all-new Ford Co-Pilot360 Protect™. This standard driver-assist technology includes the Lane-Keeping System, Pre-Collision Assist and more. The Fusion Hybrid is an upgrade from the standard model and also comes in a few upgraded trims, including a Hybrid SEL ($31,520) and Hybrid Titanium ($34,485). The Fusion also comes as a pricier (base $34,595) plug-in hybrid capable of 103 MPG equivalent.

Best hybrids under $40,000

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • MSRP $36,970
  • 30 city, 28 highway MPG
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick; 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)

Families that want the room of a crossover SUV but the fuel-efficiency of a hybrid should turn their eyes toward the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Not only is the regular Highlander one of the most recommendable crossover SUVs but the Highlander Hybrid brings everything that the vehicle has to offer along with an impressive 30 miles-per-gallon for city driving and 28 miles-per-gallon for highway. That’s a full 9 miles more for city driving than its non-hybrid predecessor. Unfortunately, the Highlander Hybrid doesn’t come with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a loss. The upgraded trim models, Highlander Hybrid XLE ($42,030) and Highlander Hybrid Limited ($45,510), do come with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio Integration, though, along with other premium features for those who want more than the basic hybrid model. The Highlander isn’t the only Toyota SUV to be offered as a hybrid — the popular RAV4 has a hybrid version as well, but there was little information on the redesigned 2019 version as of publication.

2019 Lexus NX 300h

  • MSRP $38,735
  • 33 city, 30 highway MPG
  • 5 stars NHTSA
  • 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.6 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (8 reviews)

With the SUV market only growing, it’s no wonder that some luxury car companies are expanding their SUV line to include hybrid options. The Lexus NX is one of the best of its kind. This premium-compact-crossover SUV comes with standard all-wheel drive is built with all of the quality and reliability that you would expect from the Lexus brand. Plus, the car’s resale values make it a winner in this category. However, because it is an SUV, you won’t see the same MPG as you can on the sedan models. However, for families looking for a utility vehicle with more room and fuel efficiency, the NX is a great fit.

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric — what’s the difference?

There is a world of difference between hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. In order to focus on the lowest-priced options, this list only includes the traditional hybrid model. Plug-in hybrids, while pricer, have even greater fuel-efficiency thanks to the fact that you can charge them via an electric outlet at home and drive a certain number of miles before ever relying on a gas tank, which makes them excellent commuter vehicles. Electric vehicles, meanwhile, run on electricity only, relying on high-capacity batteries. They’re capable of 100 miles or more on a charge.

Methodology

The hybrid cars on this list were chosen for their fuel-efficiency as well as their overall value to consumers. We primarily used Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds scores, as well as safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and/or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to determine the best 2019 hybrid cars. Each car featured here had to have at least a 4 from KBB experts and a 3 from Edmunds consumers, as well as a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA and/or be a top pick by the IIHS. The MSRPs listed above are for the base trim of each vehicle, available on manufacturer websites. MRSP and rate information mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

 

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