Saturday, November 16, 2019

Toyota Prius c now starts for less than $19,000 and saves with fewer trips to the gas station. The “c” is the compact sport member of the Prius family – officially known as Prii. This new compact Prius 5-door hatchback uses the same fuel-efficient hybrid Synergy drive as its classic midsized cousin and is at least $4,000 less expensive to buy.This fuel economy champion leads with 53 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 46 highway, and 50 combined. If you want better mileage drive in Eco mode.


Toyota Prius Liftback continues its 12-year hybrid car leadership with the best fuel economy, lowest carbon emissions, and in hybrid sales. Customers keep voting for the Prius with their pocketbooks. This fuel economy champion leads with 51 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 48 highway, and 50 combined. If you want better mileage drive in Eco mode. The 5-door Prius Liftback seats 5 in its midsized interior. The 60/40 split backseat can be lowered to make room for lots of work gear, home improvement projects, 2 bicycles, and other stuff. Manufacturer suggested price starts at about $23,520 MSRP (all prices in this article are starting points for negotiation, are subject to change, and can be higher due to destination, handling, and options).  


Ford C-MAX Hybrid 2013 is a new crossover with more room for cargo and 5 passengers than some small SUVs. Drivers will make fewer trips to the gas station. This crossover delivers 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg combines. It prices a bit lower than the new Prius v crossover and gets better mileage. Drop the back seat and you have major cargo space for work, home projects, and sports. Ford will go the Prius v one better and also offer the C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid where your first 20 miles can be from a garage charge.


Ford Fusion Hybrid 2013 is the most fuel-efficient sedan you can get without buying its plug-in hybrid cousin the Ford Fusion Energi. The Fusion Hybrid midsized sedan achieves 47 city, 47 highway, and 47mpg combined. Accelerate carefully and you can even stay in pure electric mode for a while. The Fusion Hybrid provides a smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride with the a third-generation drive system that includes 2 electric motors and new lithium battery pack. The trunk only holds 12 cubic feet and the backseats do not lower. Ford has included a number of telematics and infotainment electronics. $27,200 MSRP. 


Honda Accord. I was impressed with my test drive of the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid that will go on sale in early 2013 in California and New York for about  $39,800. I also expect Honda to announce a 2014 Accord Hybrid that should get an impressive 47-mpg. This new 4-door, 4-seat sedan, will price for less than the plug-in alternative.


Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid was fun for me to drive. For 2013, you get the Jetta with good mpg, better if you mainly drive on highways with the Jetta TDI diesel, and best if you do mainly city driving with the Jetta Hybrid, which delivers 42-mpg city, 48 highway, and 45-mpg combo. Starting at about $25,000, this 4-door, 5-seat hybrid sedan, with more trunk space than many is giving the Camry and Fusion Hybrids something to worry about.


Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is an entry-level luxury sedan with a h interior and the smoothest test drive that I have experienced. Now you can have luxury appointments and roomy midsized interior without sacrificing fuel economy. Using the same drive system as the Fusion Hybrid, The 2013 Lincoln MKZ offers 45 city, 45 highway, and 45-mpg combined. The trunk only holds 11 cubic feet and the backseats do not lower. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at about $36,000 for this luxury hybrid – the same price as the Lincoln MKZ non-hybrid!


Honda Civic Hybrid is new for 2013 with improved styling, handling, and electronics. With a lithium-ion battery the new Civic Hybrid delivers 44-mpg city, highway, and combined mpg while starting for about $22,000..  


Toyota Prius v Crossover – My test drive of the new Prius v convinces me that you can get 42 MPG with comfort for 5 people and the flexibility to hold the cargo carried in most SUVs. The Prius v is shaking-up the crossover SUV and wagon market, selling for only $26,400. At 44/40/42 MPG combined, the Prius v delivers double the mileage of many SUVs with more cargo flexibility than most.


Lexus CT200h delivers great mileage in a premium sport 5-door hatchback with 42 mpg by using the Prius Synergy drive system. I was delighted with my test drive of this in Sport mode on the track and Eco mode on the streets and highways. Now you can enjoy the premium features of a Lexus and still get 43 city, 40 highway, and 42 combined mpg. Legroom in this compact is fine for most, but a 6-foot, 3-inch driver complained about wanting more in the front and back seats.


Honda Insight is a 5-door hatchback and a hybrid price leader under $19,000, competing with the more full-efficient Prius c. The Insight delivers 41 city, 44 highway, and 42 mpg combined. The Insight is sportier in looks and handling than the Civic. Unlike the Civic Hybrid, the backseats can be lowered for more cargo in the Insight. An alternative to the Insight is the Honda CR-Z, a fun sports coupe with good handling and performance. Sport car lovers are likely to get the 6-speed stick, although the CVT automatic transmission includes paddle shifters.


Toyota Camry Hybrid LE 2013 delivers 43 mpg city, 39 highway, combined 41 mpg. Touch the EV button and drive over a mile in electric mode. The Camry is so popular that 15 million have been sold. It has been America’s best selling car for 9 years. Starting at $25,900, The Camry Hybrid LE  with excellent fuel economy will not take long to pay for the roughly $3,000 premium over the non-hybrid Camry. 


Lexus ES 300h puts you in an entry-level luxury sedan that requires fewer expensive stops at the gas station. Your friends will be impressed with the quiet elegance of the exterior, Takumi hand-stitched leather, and beautiful bamboo steering wheel. This luxury sedan delivers 40 city, 39 highway, and 40-combined mpg. The Lexus ES 300h starts at less than $38,900. Pay extra for a panoramic sunroof and safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep.


Toyota Avalon Hybrid gives you the same hybrid drive system as the Lexus ES 300h but costs almost $3,500 less due to a premium rather than luxury cache. It has more room and premium appointments than the popular Camry Hybrid. The new Avalon Hybrid offers a big-boost in mileage with 40 city, 39 highway, and 40 mpg combined. Sorry, you can’t lower the back seat for more cargo.



With high oil prices, hybrids are more popular than ever.  People have their favorite hybrid. Perhaps your favorite does not have quite the mileage of the above. Car owners that really want to reduce their gasoline use and carbon footprint are lining up to buy new plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and pure battery-electrics such as the Nissan LEAF.

You can get good mileage without having to spend over $20,000 for a hybrid. Good mileage is available with the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze, and MiniCooper. If you spend most of your time on freeways, turbo diesels are appealing alternative to hybrids.

This top 10 hybrid comparison includes the hybrid cars available for sale in the United States this year. Therefore it does not include the Honda Fit Hybrid and Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which we hope to see in the U.S. in the future. The list is commercially available cars and not specialty and conversions that might show-up in a few fleets and garages.

Cash Savings and Carbon Footprints

As I was being video taped, an interviewer asked me why anyone would buy a hybrid when they could not cost justify the added cost. I answered that when I bought my 2002 Prius, I paid about $5,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid, saved $1,000 per year for 7 years, then sold it for $4,000 more than a non-hybrid. For me it was a money maker. For those that don’t drive much, a hybrid may not save. Some hybrids are about performance and not saving money. In cities like San Francisco and New York, where taxis cover 90,000 miles per year, most buy hybrids and pay for the hybrid in months with major fuel savings.

Hybrids with the best mileage save at the pump year after year. They make the United States more energy secure. The U.S. is presently quite vulnerable to oil supply disruption, since 95 percent of U.S. transportation now depends on oil. Hybrids help clear the air with lower emissions.

The best hybrids emit less than half the greenhouse gases of average cars, which produce 400 grams CO2-equivalent per mile, and a third of most SUVs. For example, the Toyota Prius c only emits 179 grams per mile; add another 43 grams per mile to include the lifetime emissions required to mine the materials and manufacture the car. This 222 g CO2e/mile (US EPA GREET 2) gets us close to the 2025 U.S. CAFÉ standards, twelve years early.

From practical hatchbacks, to crossovers with the room of SUVs, to luxury sedans, you now have unprecedented choice in hybrid cars. Enjoy the drive.

John Addison is the founder of Smarticd and continues to occasionally contribute to the publication. He is the author of Save Gas, Save the Planet and many articles at Smarticd. He has taught courses at U.C. Davis and U.C. Santa Cruz Extension and has delivered more than 1,000 speeches, workshop and moderated conference panels in more than 20 countries.


Jack July 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

31JAN2013 to 27JUN2013

First 10,000 miles on 2013 Toyota Camry LE mileage IS:
38.36 miles per gallon. Also, if one wants to take 50% more time to get somewhere and use all the hypermiling techniques on roads without impeding traffic, on one 100 mile round trip in 90 degree temperatures with the air conditioning on 52.4 miles per gallon was attained (tire pressure 45 lbs).

    Michael Coates July 4, 2013 at 12:38 am

    @Jack As you say, there are ways of getting really high mpg, but they don’t always coincide with the main purpose of an automobile–getting efficiently from point A to point B. There are different sides to efficiency. ed. Michael

murdo July 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

you can hypermile all you like but when I was draining out all the fuel from an Prius that had been filled with diesel last night – he got o.o mpg! –

    Michael Coates July 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    @murdo Unfortunately, there appears to be no easy cure for human stupidity; at least with an electric car it’s a bit harder to misfuel! ed-Michael

irwin August 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

my lexus es300h doesn’t come close to the city mileage driving in eco mode I get 29mpg, although all my driving is 2 mile-4 mile trips. On the highway- 40 mpg as long as I stay to the speed limit…:)

    Michael Coates August 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm


    This is a big problem with not only hybrids but many gasoline cars. The test cycle used to create those fuel economy numbers, despite recent tweaks, still does not represent typical real world driving. Hybrids can typically reach the numbers if driven very conservatively and paying much attention to the “eco” mode. Same goes with gas engines, particularly the small boosted ones that are becoming more common. Diesels seem to be the only ones immune to this issues, usually turning in better than the EPA numbers.
    -ed. Michael

Fox Toyota September 28, 2013 at 10:44 am

Couldn’t agree more with the Prius as your top choice! We have so many people coming to us asking about the Prius especially when gas prices begin to climb we always have a influx of traffic. It’s the best hybrid out there and will be for quite a while!

    Michael Coates September 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    @Fox Toyota,

    The Prius is clearly top of the hybrid market. And now as the franchise expands with the c and V, it would seem to be cemented in that premier spot for some time to come. How do the c & V shake out in sales at your dealership? ed-Michael Coates

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