Teslas and other electric cars get so much attention that hybrids can be overlooked. Check out the best ones from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Range Rover, and BMW.


Polestar 1

  • Electric vehicles get a lot of press, but there are still many new and used hybrids on the market.
  • I currently own two Toyota hybrids and have been very satisfied with their combination of value, performance, reliability, and fuel-economy.
  • Buyers aren’t confined to Toyota, which put hybrids on the map with the Prius. That car has sold over three million units.
  • Brands such as BMW, Range Rover, Ferrari, Acura, and the upstart carmaker Polestar offer terrific vehicles, at a range of prices.
  • Hybrids continue to provide owners with versatility that all-electric vehicles still can’t match.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The electric vehicles are taking over!

Well, not quite yet. They actually make up just about 2% of global vehicle sales. But they are definitely where the action is, and many eyes have been on Tesla for years.

Still, EVs continue to have recharging challenges. For many prospective owners, the appeal of going electric to mitigate global warming or simply to avoid fill-ups forever ebbs when lengthy, inconvenient charging times and locations are taken into account.

Fortunately, gas-electric hybrids remain an excellent alternative. The legendary Toyota Prius has been around since 2000 and the number of those cars that were sold have easily climbed into the multiple millions. You can buy a new one for about $25,000. But there are many other hybrids on sale, as well as a spate of hybrids that have driven off into the sunset, but can still be found on the used market.

Here’s a rundown, featuring names as big as Ferrari and vehicles as charming as those from MINI:

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I’m a happy hybrid owner and have been since 2015, when I bought a certified pre-owned Toyota Prius.

Read about owning a Prius.

My Prius is a third-generation vehicle, but in 2015, the fourth-gen rolled out, and it went on sale in the US in 2016. The design was controversial, but the new car definitely improved on the outgoing generation.

Read the review.

The Prius had come a long way from its humble roots. The first generation of the vehicle to hit US shores arrived in 2000 and was based on the Toyota Echo.

The heart of the Prius is the Hybrid Synergy Drive. The powertrain is a “parallel” hybrid, meaning that its gas engine and electric motor operate at the same time (although in some versions of the car, the electric drive can take over completely).

The Prius now has a different look under the hood. The car is still a grand bargain, starting at about $25,000.

When I tested the newer Prius, I averaged an impressive 51 mpg in some not-holding-back combined city and highway driving (I’m the farthest thing there is from a hypermiler). That’s a noticeable improvement on the 40 mpg I see in my older Prius.

I also own a Toyota RAV4 hybrid, which brings the powertrain to the wildly popular crossover SUV platform. It has a larger gas engine than the Prius — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder — and can’t touch the Prius for MPGs, but it does offer a boost for fuel-economy and reduces emissions.

Sadly, I had to fix a dent in the bumper, but that didn’t detract from the the MPGs: north of 40 in city driving. In practice, I usually end up getting slightly less than that.

I fixed the dent for CHEAP!

Toyota has extended its hybrid tech to its Lexus luxury brand. For example, the CT 200h, which was a wagon-ified Prius. I rather liked this car, but it wasn’t a hit with consumers, and Lexus discontinued it in 2017.

Read the review.

Now, just in case you thought the Toyota hybrid powertrain was confined to a modest hatchback (albeit bestselling ones) and suburban sport-utility vehicles, I give you the stonking Lexus LC 500h and its $100,000 price tag. That’s, um, four Priuses.

The LC 500h is a hefty car, at almost 4,500 pounds. With a 0-60 mph time of just over five seconds, this machine is quick without being blisteringly fast. But the weight means that solid brakes are essential. Bottom line is that what we have here is a proper GT, powerful but also capable of comfortable cruising.

The LC 500h has a far more impressive-looking hybrid powertrain under the hood than the Prius.

Read the review.

It’s also a more complicated piece of engineering.

The motor is a 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 — in and of itself, a pretty tasty powerplant. A pair of electric motors bumps the output to 354 hp (with power stored in a lithium-ion battery). And then comes the complicated transmission.

It’s effectively a CVT combined with a more familiar four-speed gearbox, two transmissions for the price of one. I’ve experienced the general idea in other vehicles, and the concept is to overcome the balky torque delivery of a CVT and provide the spirited driving dynamics that enthusiasts crave from conventional geared transmissions, but without hurting the hybrid fuel economy.

The best way to think about it is that the LC 500h can be driven like a car with a normal transmission, either in full auto or manual mode. Especially in manual mode, you want the power to be delivered in a crisp manner, without any lag.

What the LC 500h’s system does is provide the torque required when the driver wants it, until the driver doesn’t want it, at which point the LC 500h goes back to behaving like a Prius in nature — until the driver wants torque again.

Yes, there’s a lot of engineering behind all this. But the bottom line is that it’s tremendous in practice. That sort of buzzy, always tapped-out CVT feeling that Prius owners such as myself know and love is never in evidence.

Lexus has also added hybrid goodness to other vehicles, such as the $42,000 Lexus UX 250h subcompact crossover.

Read the review.

Under the hood, the UX 250h has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that when yoked to an electric battery mounted over the rear axle serves up 181 total horsepower. That mill, matched to a smooth continuously variable transmission with a sport-manual mode, can propel the crossover from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable if not exhilarating 8 1/2 seconds.

A fallen Prius rival was the innovative Chevy Volt. This hybrid used a “serial” design, which meant that when the electric battery was drained, a small gas motor kicked in to generate more electricity. The car first appeared in 2011.

Read the review.

Chevy updated the Volt for 2016, but the carmaker decided to sunset the vehicle for the 2019 model year.

In the hybrid wars of the early 2010s, the Honda Insight was initially a Prius rival. But the early iteration of the car was kind of a flop, so Honda revamped it for the 2019 model year.

Read the review.

It’s worth noting that the true first-gen Insight was a fuel-sipping two-door that beat the original Prius to market. It was an oddball two-door.

I tested most recently a well-optioned, $29,000 Insight from model year 2019, but the base price is more like $23,000. Honda’s Earth Dreams hybrid tech uses a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder power plant, making a total of 151 horsepower. Honda calls it a “two motor” hybrid, and the electric side draws on a modest 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The transmission is a continuously variable unit (CVT), sending power to the front drive wheels. CVTs are annoying to some — noisy and odd if you’re used to gearshifts, of which there are none — but they contribute to higher MPGs.

And those MPGs are a true selling point: 45 highway/51 city/48 combined (the Insight does better in town because it can favor the electric motor at lower speeds). Honda estimates annual fuel costs at a mere $800.  

The Chrysler Pacifica minivan is currently the only model of family hauler that can be had in hybrid trim. I tested a $50,000 version.

Read the review.

The Pacifica’s eHybrid system has a 3.6-liter V6 yoked to a hybrid-electric system whose two electric motors provide 260 total horsepower. It’s hooked up to a continuously variable transmission or CVT.

The hybrid powertrain can run on electricity only for about 33 miles. On gas alone, the Pacifica’s combined city/highway number is 30 mpg, while “MPGe” is 82. Those are good numbers for a minivan.

The all-new Toyota Sienna, on sale later in 2020, now joins the Pacifica in the hybrid minivan ranks. With a twist! You can only get the new Sienna as a hybrid. No other drivetrain will be available.

Read about the new hybrid-only Sienna.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is — as tested — $38,000 of Subaru dependability.

Read the review.

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid trim gets a 2.0-liter engine mated to a pair of electric motors and an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, with a total system output of 148 horsepower.

Kia Niro Hybrid a very affordable car. The EX trim level starts at an appealing $25,700. But the model pictured below is priced at $28,895, with some extras.

Read the review.

The Niro hybrid comes with a 6-speed dual clutch transmission, a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine, and an electric motor capable of producing 43 hp. Combined, it makes 139 horsepower.

The MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid starts at $36,800, but extra touches like Parking Assist and Sirius XM radio bumped the final price as-tested to $39,700

Read the review.

This is a plug-in hybrid that MINI says gets a combined 65 MPGe. The 7.6-kWh battery produces 87 hp with 122 lb.-ft. of torque, which isn’t half bad! It has all-wheel drive, which is a great perk for a hybrid, and a six-speed automatic transmission.

Hybrids aren’t just for high-MPG cravin’ folk. They can add staggering levels of performance, for enthusiasts. The Ferrari SF90 Stradale, for example, appeared last year.

Meet the Stradale.

The hybrid system combines a turbocharged V8 with three electric motors, two on each front wheel and one amidships, collectively making nearly 990 horsepower.

The powerplant is the 3.9-liter mill from the Ferrari 488, with the addition of the hybrid, which adds oomph and about 15 miles of all-electric range. This combination — with power sent to the first-ever all-wheel-drive setup on a Ferrari sports car through an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission — can achieve 0-60 mph in a blistering 2.5 sec, based on Ferrari’s testing. Top speed is 212 mph.

The $195,000 Acura NSX also taps into hybrid tech to enhance performance.

Read the review.

The NSX’s 573-horsepower powerplant is a marvel of compact, mid-mounted majesty. It’s tucked beneath a carbon-fiber cover that comes as part of a $12,600 exterior sport package. The 0-60 mph dash passed in three seconds, and the NSX tops out at 191 mph.

Up front, we find the hybrid-electric end of the party. This joins with a direct-drive assist motor yoked to the V6. So in addition to the gas-powered mill, the NSX has three electric motors (there’s one at each front wheel), bumping total power up to 573 horses.

The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is a hybrid version of Porsche’s first-ever production wagon. We tested a $211,000 version.

Read the review.

The Turbo S E-Hybrid is powered by a 550 horsepower, 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 along with a 136-horsepower hybrid drive unit to produce 680 horsepower.

The hybrid drive system is inspired by the million-dollar 918 hybrid hypercar. According to Porsche, the hybrid V8 wagon can go from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 192 mph.

I tested a 2018 BMW X5 xDrive40e, which adds a plug-in hybrid option to a popular luxury SUV. Price? $75,000.

Read the review.

The plug-in hybrid system yields a combined MPGe of 56 miles; on gas alone, it’s 24 mpg, which isn’t bad.

The system conjoins a fairly small 9 kilowatt-hour battery drivetrain with a twin-scroll turbocharger, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that on its own makes 240 horsepower. The electric motor makes 111 hp, and the total output in 308 hp. It’s all piped to the the X5’s all-wheel-drive axles by an eight-speed transmission.

Fully charged, the system will give you 20 miles of all-electric motoring, provided you have that option selected. Otherwise, opting for Sport, Comfort, or Eco will put the hybrid system into assist mode, adding oomph to the gas engine. The nice thing about this setup is that you can plug the X5 into a 240-volt outlet and replenish the battery in a few hours. Fast charging isn’t needed. And you can always skip it and run the SUV more or less on gas only.

We tried out a $140,000 BMW i8 in 2015. Sadly, BMW has discontinued the eye-catching, space-age supercar.

Read the review.

The BMW i8 boasts some impressive numbers

BMW claims the i8 will do 0-60 mph in about 4 seconds and achieve an artificially limited top speed of 155 mph along with a total range of 330 miles and 76 MPGe. Our test car burned through just 16 gallons of premium on our 750-mile trip. 

BMW has also discontinued the more modest i3. I tested a $46,000 version, which featured a range-extending engine.

Read the review.

There was a small gas motor in my i3. It used a 2-gallon gas tank and kept the car rolling for another 50 miles after the batteries are exhausted.

Last year, I tested a $60,000 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid.

Read the review.

The hybrid system is related to the powertrain in the Acura NSX supercar.

The 3.0-liter V6 cranks out 290 horsepower, but the hybrid powerplant’s three electric motors brings that to 321 hp. In real life, this crossover feels quite robust, and it can dash to 60 mph in less than six seconds. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission channels the power to the MDX’s all-wheel-driver system.

The $157,000 Polestar 1 is a spectacular insight into what Volvo’s new brand can achieve. I also think it’s the best car China has ever built.

Read the review.

The 2.0-liter inline four is turbocharged and supercharged, cranking out 326 horsepower before a pair of battery packs (34 kilowatt hours total) and two electric motors take that to 619 horsepower.

All that power is piped to a hybrid all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Top speed is 155 mph and the 0-60 mph run happens in 4.2 seconds.

The truck showcases the battery-electric connections, behind a clear panel. They have to be bright orange so that emergency crews can identify them.

Here’s the Cadillac CT6 hybrid, which went away in 2018. My well-optioned test car tipped the price scales at $82,000.

Read the review.

The Chinese-built CT6 plug-in makes use of a gas-hybrid electric drive system linked to a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that can be had on the gas-only CT6.

Believe it or not, this hulking $69,000 RAM 1500 full-size pickup truck is hybridized!

Read the review.

A mild hybrid “eTorque” system is coupled to the 5.7-liter V8, making a total of 395 horsepower with 410 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph time is about six seconds. Fuel economy is OK: about 17 mpg city/22 highway/19 combined.

The $109,000 Range Rover HSE P400e is a notably expensive, luxury hybrid SUV.

Read the review.

Under the hood, the Range Rover HSE P400e has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 296 horsepower, plus a 114-horsepower electric motor that runs off a 13-kilowatt-hour battery. The total power output is 398 horsepower, with a stout 472 pound-feet of torque.

The charge port is located under a hatch in the front grille. Jaguar Land Rover says the recharge time from basic 110-volt outlet is 14 hours. With level-two charging at 220 volts, you’re looking at something like four hours.

If you’re looking for a small, sporty luxury sedan in the mid-$40,000 range with excellent fuel economy, the BMW 330e is a good choice.

Read the review.

The $70,000 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring is a suave SUV that brings plug-in hybrid power to the party.

Read the review.

The Aviator can offer about 20 miles of all-electric range, but what the hybrid system really does is punch up the performance of the turbocharged V6, bringing its output to nearly 500 horsepower with gobs of torque on offer.