Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrids

By
Dave Nichols
Updated:
Sep 2022
Time to read:
7
min
Plug-in hybrid technology is becoming more and more democratic, and is now available on vehicles starting under $30,000. Here is our list of the five most affordable plug-in hybrids.
Woman smiling while charging her EV and getting groceries

Considering a Plug-In Hybrid?

Driving a pure-electric vehicle isn’t the only way to save thousands on fuel and do your part for a more sustainable future. While full EVs offer zero emissions and the best performance and refinement, they aren’t the best fit for drivers that regularly travel longer distances, or that don’t have regular access to home charging. For those drivers, plug-in hybrids offer the best option – combining the ability to drive emissions-free in many circumstances with the flexibility and fast refueling times of gasoline.

A plug-in hybrid offers the best of electric driving for daily use – even the least expensive models have more than enough range to complete the average daily commute – with long-range capability and convenience catered to by efficient gasoline engines. And because their batteries tend to be smaller, they also tend to charge much more quickly than pure EVs.

Today's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrids

If you want your next car to be electrified, but you’re not ready to dive into full electric, a plug-in hybrid may be for you. There are some remarkably affordable models available on the market, and their affordability is further bolstered by substantial federal and local incentives. We trawled the GreenCars Buyer's Guide for the five most affordable plug-in hybrids, and have also listed their pure-EV and total range numbers below. All ranges shown are EPA Estimates. You can find all of these vehicles and more on the GreenCars Marketplace powered by Driveway.com.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

Some of the most popular plug-in hybrids these days are crossovers, which shouldn’t be a surprise – it seems like crossovers are taking over the world. The 2022 Tucson PHEV is one of the best compact crossovers as well as being one of the most affordable. Even in its least expensive SEL trim, it comes loaded with 19-inch alloy wheels, HTRAC all-wheel drive, and Hyundai’s BlueLink connected car system. The luxurious interior has a giant central touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless charging; and there’s plenty of space for your whole family and their stuff. A powerful 1.6-liter turbo engine and electric motor deliver 261 horsepower and impressive performance, and you can cruise on electric power alone for 33 miles. Factor in potential federal incentives, and you have an affordable package that looks and feels far more expensive than it is.

  • Total range: 420 miles
  • Electric range: 33 miles
  • Charging: 13 kWh / 1:50 to fully charge on level 2
  • ‍MSRP starts at: $40,000

2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

The Ford Escape is perennially a top-selling compact SUV, and it’s not hard to see why. It offers lots of features, lots of space, and lots of technology in an attractive package at a reasonable price. In 2022, the most appealing Escape is the plug-in hybrid version, which has an impressive all-electric range of 37 miles thanks to its 14-kWh battery; combined with a powerful but fuel-sipping Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, total range is an impressive 520 miles. Standard tech features are impressive and include Ford’s CoPilot 360 advanced driver assistance suite with pre-collision assist, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and more. Inside, the Sync 3 operating system offers a digital instrument cluster, user-friendly touch screen, voice control, and Amazon Alexa functionality. The Escape plug-in is a looker, too, with Aston Martin-esque styling wrapped around its spacious cabin.

  • Total range: 520 miles
  • Electric range: 37 miles
  • Charging: 14 kWh / 3:30 to fully charge on level 2
  • ‍‍MSRP starts at: $35,455

2022 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

If a crossover is halfway between a car and an SUV, the Niro is sort of halfway between a car and a crossover – it has no pretensions of ever going off-road but has a higher seating position and a boxier body for more passenger and cargo room. Niro’s long, long wheelbase makes the rear seat particularly spacious, and you can actually slide and tilt the rear seats individually. Power is delivered by an efficient 1.6-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor; the compact 8-kWh battery doesn’t eat up any space and delivers a useful all-electric range of 26 miles. As you’d expect, the tech is right up to date; you can use your phone to monitor your state of charge, lock and unlock, and even remote start. A standard 8-inch touch screen has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and you can use your voice to operate most vehicle functions.

  • Total range: 560 miles
  • Electric range: 26 miles
  • Charging: 8 kWh / 2:40 to fully charge on level 2
  • ‍‍MSRP starts at: $29,590

2022 Toyota Prius Prime

It’s not surprising that a Toyota Prius is on our list of the most affordable plug-in hybrid vehicles, as the Prius is one of the original hybrids, full-stop. Introduced in 2000, the Prius has always been a leader in fuel economy and low running costs, thanks to the careful aerodynamic sculpting of its body and the relentless efforts of Toyota’s R&D department. In many ways, the Prius set the template for every hybrid to come: teardrop shape, hatchback body, compact drivetrain, exceptional economy. What the Prius Prime adds to the package is the ability to plug in and recharge a larger battery that gives significant electric-only range: while the original Prius could barely go a mile without needing to activate the gasoline engine, you might be able to do your entire commute in a Prime running on electrons. The Prime’s total range of 640 miles is an indication of just how efficient the overall package is, not just its electric components. Combine that capability with Toyota’s traditional rock-solid build, amazing reliability, and high resale values, and you have an incredibly intelligent buy – and our second-most-affordable plug-in hybrid for 2022.

  • Total range: 640 miles
  • Electric range: 25 miles
  • Charging: 8 kWh / 2:40 to fully charge on level 2
  • ‍‍MSRP starts at: $28,770

2022 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Think of Hyundai’s Ioniq as a Korean Toyota Prius, and you wouldn’t be far off. Both are economical, intelligently designed hatchbacks with compact exteriors but surprisingly spacious interiors; both have sleek aerodynamic profiles which contribute to impressive efficiency; and both feel high tech and ahead of their time. The Ioniq plug-in hybrid – “regular” hybrid and full-electric models are also available – wins on both price and electric capability. It is $1,400 cheaper than the Prius Prime, and its full-electric range stretches to 29 miles, four miles more than the Toyota. Inside, you’ll find high quality materials, an intuitive touch-screen interface, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Moving up to the more expensive $29,800 SEL trim level from the base SE adds additional active safety features and a wireless charging pad for your phone, as well as some additional luxury features. The top-level $33,250 Limited adds semi-autonomous highway driving assist, a sunroof, and a premium audio system.

  • Total range: 620 miles
  • Electric range: 29 miles
  • Charging: 8 kWh / 2:40 to fully charge on level 2
  • MSRP starts at: $26,800