Today's Most Affordable Hybrid Cars
If you’re ready to add a little bit of electricity to your drive, but don’t have regular access to charging at work or home, a hybrid might be the best option for you. Hybrids combine the best of the gasoline and electric worlds. You get significantly improved fuel consumption as the electric motor “helps out” the gas engine when needed, and you don’t have the inconvenience of trying to figure out how to charge.
Fortunately, the selection of hybrids on the market is better than it’s ever been. And there are hybrid cars at every price point. If you’re a dollar-conscious shopper, there are some great options – even if you’re looking for a pickup truck!
How times have changed. There was a time that “hybrid” stood only for small economy cars. Now, the most affordable hybrid for sale in the U.S. is actually a pickup truck – and a very capable one at that. The compact Ford Maverick is a flexible, fun, and affordable pickup that breaks all kinds of stereotypes – not least for fuel economy. The 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain is enough to haul five people and 1,500 pounds of gear effortlessly – delivering 42 MPG in the city, way better than any other pickup on the market.
It's not just in the economy stakes that the Maverick is a game-changer. Because it is based on the platform of the Escape SUV, it drives more like a smooth, responsive car than it does a pickup truck, without sacrificing the versatility you’d expect from a pickup. There’s an 8-inch LCD touchscreen that gives easy access to all of the Maverick’s infotainment functions. Standard safety features include pre-collision assist and automatic emergency braking.
- Starting MSRP: $20,995
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 42/33
Kia’s long, tall Niro hatchback has been one of the only green vehicles on the market available with three distinct powertrain configurations – regular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full electric. The latest-generation Niro Hybrid features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder and a 32-kW permanent-magnet electric motor, for a combined maximum power output of 139 horsepower, returning 53 MPG. A clever Green Zone drive mode, automatically switches the Niro Hybrid into electric drive mode in residential areas, and near schools and hospitals.
We like the Niro’s tall hatchback body – it is very practical without any of the unnecessary height and bulk of an SUV. Upscale touches abound inside, and the interior of Niro EV is composed of animal-free textiles. Available dual 10.25-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment system are available. Standard advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection; lane keeping assist; lane following assist; blind spot monitor; rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist; and more.
- Starting MSRP: $24,690
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 53/48
The Prius is one of the original hybrids, and in many ways, it has set the template for every hybrid to come, with its teardrop shape, hatchback body, compact drivetrain, and exceptional economy. What’s great about the latest version is its adventurous, high-tech interior, which is very well-made, and also versatile thanks to its wide-opening hatchback. There’s plenty of room for a growing family, and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa are all standard, all operated through a large central screen.
In 2022, there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the Prius’ hybrid drivetrain: its amazing efficiency comes as a result of constant evolution as well as relentless detail improvements. A 1.8-liter gasoline engine is augmented by an electric motor to produce 121 hp, while the body has received careful aerodynamic sculpting for maximum efficiency. Together, they mean the lightweight Prius feels eager and responsive on city streets and freeways, while delivering a 56 combined EPA MPG. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 features include active cruise control, lane assist, automatic braking, and pedestrian detection.
- Starting MSRP: $25,075
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 58/53
Not many people remember the original Honda Insight. It was the first hybrid car on sale in the U.S., beating the Toyota Prius to market by a few months. The original insight was a sporty, ultra-efficient two-seater with tiny wheels; it has long since evolved into a spacious, versatile family sedan, with a sleek shape and room for five in its thoughtful interior. In typical Honda fashion, it is well-made, and comfortable. But while the Insight is very well-equipped, with CarPlay, Android Auto, and a big central screen and instrument cluster, it also retains physical knobs and buttons for the climate control, audio volume, and other key features, making it very easy to use.
Insight is powered by a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine paired with an electric motor and CVT transmission to produce 129 hp, competitive with the Prius, and 52 combined MPG. One of the more entertaining hybrids on the market to drive, the Insight is smooth and responsive, with great steering and brake feel alongside its impressive efficiency. Its Honda Sensing suite of safety features also includes collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.
- Starting MSRP: $25,760
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 55/49
Ford Escape Hybrid
Built for families with active lifestyles, the Ford Escape lets you hit the road in style. There are a number of trim levels, including two hybrid versions available. All versions of this crossover seat five and have more legroom than the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V. Ford’s available Co-Pilot 350 system includes the latest driver assistance technology. The Sync infotainment system can be operated with a convenient dash-mounted touch screen or even with voice controls, and features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
Escape Hybrid combines a powerful 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a 96-kW electric motor to produce enough power and performance to haul the whole family while delivering 44 MPG in the city. All-wheel drive remains an option on Escape Hybrid, meaning you don’t suffer the weight and fuel-economy penalty of the extra hardware unless you need it. Starting at just over $30,000, the Escape Hybrid is a very appealing package.
- Starting MSRP: $30,185
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 44/37