Hybrid vehicles, or more specifically hybrid-electric cars, have been the centre of debate since the first models made their debut back in the 1990s. Environmental activists advocated reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, critiques claimed that these cars were not really that cost-effective.
Hybrid vehicles use two or more different power sources that work together in order to create power. While there is a wide assortment of vehicles that run on hybrid power sources today, cars enjoy the most popularity among consumers. With elegant brands, such as Toyota Prius making great headway in hybrid technology, these hybrid machines are here to stay.
Some of the top hybrid automobiles in the market today use plug-in electric technology. The owner gets to charge the car battery by plugging it into an electric outlet. This allows for an even greater output of electrical power, leading to greater preservation of gasoline for the drive. The regenerative braking system on the model offers an even greater thrust of electrical power derived from braking and coasting.
Hybrid cars can rightly be termed the transportation machines of the future. Thinking of buying one? Well, take a look at the 15 most popular hybrid cars on the market today:
The sleek and affordable Toyota Prius is unquestionably a top player in the market. Sales of the plug-in electric car have surpassed a whopping 3 million cars, with 2014 proceeds already reporting close to 5 million. What makes the Prius so special? It’s easy to drive, contains ample cargo space, a touch-screen infotainment system and much more. The fully-loaded versions of the brand even come with automatic self-parking system and adaptive cruise control. Its cost-effective price and high fuel efficiency makes it an all-time favorite of environmentalists. With power sunroof, updated traffic information, navigation systems and high quality JBL sound system, what’s there not to love about the Prius 2014?
HONDA ACCORD HYBRID 2015
The 2015 version of Honda Accord hybrid is a great option for someone looking for an affordable mid-sized hybrid car. With precision steering, ample leg space and generous amount of trunk space, this hybrid car makes good competition to Prius. Reviewers are satisfied with its infotainment display and delighted with the hands-free texting feature. Automatic climate control, a USB port, satellite radio, lane departure and forward collision warnings make this model truly unique. Many industry experts cite that this model has what it takes to make Honda a serious contender in the hybrid market, while Toyota invariably leading the pack. Driving this sedan is a breeze as the responsive steering and phenomenal cruise control makes it a reliable option for families.
TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID
With reported sales of 21,466 cars in 2012, Camry is priced slightly above $30,000. A family sedan, this model of hybrid car is best known for its smooth transition of power from gasoline to electric even at high speeds. Whereas its acceleration is commendable, the Camry suffers in fuel economy department compared to Prius and Ford fusion hybrids.
The 2015 model was revamped to contain opulent interiors and better visibility for the driver. It also comprises standard features, such as climate control, sunroof, JBL speakers, adaptive cruise control and smart app navigation system. Definitely worth a look if you wish to drive at high speed.
FORD FUSION HYBRID
Ford Fusion is widely known for its seamless transition between gas to electric power and vice-versa. Most reviewers reporting comfortable seating and smooth driving experience. Apart from responsive driving, the Ford Fusion is to known to provide a myriad of driver assistance options, which make driving a breeze. Automatic headlights, a sync system that can be trigged by the driver’s voice, and option of parental control for volume and speed makes this beauty one of the top hybrid vehicles. However, the infotainment system is a bust with many drivers reporting that it isn’t user-friendly. Still, this Ford model is a feasible option for those seeking a comfortable driving experience.
Toyota Avalon has all the features that any typical hybrid car has, but what makes it different is its palatial interiors. Using some of the finest of materials, Toyota has created a visually-appealing design that will impress your family members, friends and colleagues. It is extremely comfortable and has more than sufficient room for passengers. Fuel economy is average and most drivers are content with this hybrid vehicle. Other standard features include Bluetooth audio streaming, 6.1-inch touch-screen display, a USB port, 8 speakers from JBL and adaptive cruise control.
This is undoubtedly a rare car with an idiosyncratic design and extremely compact feel. Made for two passengers, Renault Twizy makes a style statement like no other hybrid vehicle in the world. It’s the most affordable vehicle in the class and although it quickly goes from zero to thirty in merely four seconds, the Twizy comes with two major setbacks. It’s more of a quadricycle than a traditional car. It also lacks a battery that the driver has to procure on lease. It’s extremely light-weight and battery is fully charged in three and a half hours.
The Hyundai Sonata bags points in interior design and affordability though it is not that great in terms of fuel-efficiency and suave driving experience, compared to some of its competitors. The trunk and front seats are very spacious, and the vehicle provides many standard features at a modest price range. It has automatic climate control, heated front seats for staving off chilly winds, audio systems comprising 6 speakers, a USB port, satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth and a 4-inch touch-screen display.
It is one of Hyundai’s limited hybrid models that offer some rivalry to Toyota and Honda. If you’re operating on a budget, it might be a good idea to test drive this model.
Chevrolet Volt operates slightly differently than other hybrids. Most use a combination of gasoline and electric power but Volt uses two electric motors. The motors provide powerful acceleration and steering, which is quite impressive for a hybrid car running solely on electric power. But once the electric power diminishes, gasoline kicks in and that’s where the efficiency drops. However, driving the vehicle is pleasant with sensitive steering and quick acceleration. Chevrolet Volt also lacks a comfortable seating arrangement and reviewers have constantly complained of its lack of space for passengers. The interiors are stylish but the climate control buttons are oddly-placed and can be activated accidentally. Volt is also deemed as one of safest vehicles by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Ford C-Max is another great hybrid. In fact, many critics note that its driving experience outshines many of its rivals. Additionally, this vehicle is also acknowledged for its fuel efficiencys. However, its infotainment system is not that great, which has significantly reduced its rankings. Additionally, the cargo space is limited.
Still the good sides are obvious. The design of this car offers a classy and chic vibe. Plenty of legroom for passengers makes travelling an enjoyable experience.
This car scores points for prompt acceleration, an array of features for its pocket-friendly price range and use of choicest of materials for its interiors. Alas, the vehicle fails to do what a hybrid is meant to do: provide fuel economy. At 36/40 mpg, it is not as good as its competitors. Another problem reported by several automotive journalists is the rickety transition between gas and electric power, which dampens the driving experience. Restricted space for rear seat passengers also adds to its disadvantages making it less popular than its rivals. Sonata Hybrid would be a better option within the same price range.
Unlike other hybrid-electric cars discussed above, Nissan Leaf is an all-out electric car. Powered by an electric motor, it provides speedy acceleration and is ideal for getting around the city. The engine is smooth and silent, and fuel economy great. However, you may have to frequently charge the Leaf as its battery power drains every 84 miles. This makes it unsuitable for long-distance travel. The interiors are spacious, and the vehicle contains a variety of features typically found in an electric car. A great purchase for environmentalists and those who plan to drive it around the city. Leaf is probably the only Nissan model that has made serious headway in the hybrid market.
The Honda CR-Z is another hybrid designed for smooth navigation. The steering is highly responsive, and braking provides minimal impact. The car reacts promptly to changes in direction, which makes driving effortless even in traffic. It is one of the few two-seater hybrid cars, which makes it ideal for couples and young executives, but not so much for large families. Interiors are spacious and this model offers a variety of attributes that owners can enjoy. Fuel economy is average.
Smart ForTwo is a compact hybrid automobile, good for the city rides. The batteries can be leased, which reduces its overall cost of purchase. A fully functioning battery is also provided by the automobile company and it comes with a warranty. It takes 6-14 hours for the battery to fully charge depending on the voltage of the electric outlet. There are a few downsides. First, the brakes. Not very smooth. And the second: its two-seater capacity is limiting in many ways.
FORD C-MAX ENERGI
Handling this car is simple and easy. Its braking system is excellent.However, the cargo space is highly restricted, making it difficult to transport large items. Lustrous leather upholstery and swanky interiors makes up for the lack of cargo space. It comes with heated front seats, Sony audio system, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, USB port, satellite radio, parallel parking assistance and more.
Despite being fuel efficient and highly affordable, it makes a lot of noise. Moreover, many drivers have complained that handling the car is problematic. Reviews have been unfavourable, pointing out that there are many better hybrid vehicles that come with same or better features.