Hybrid car statistics show that there have been over 200,000 hybrid cars sold in the U.S. Nearly every production hybrid on the road today uses a powertrain combination that consists of a gasoline engine and an electric motor, which is connected to a nickel-metal hydride battery. This may make all hybrids seem similar, but each of them takes a different approach with their hybrid technology. Below are the most popular hybrid cars in America today.
The Prius has been the most popular hybrid since its United States introduction in 2000. In fact, most people associate the word "hybrid" with the Toyota Prius. Redesigned for the 2010 model year, the Prius is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which pairs a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor driven by a nickel-metal hydride battery, getting 48 mpg on the highway, and 51 mpg in the city. Starting at $22,000, the Prius can be optioned out to fit nearly any hybrid buyer's budget.
Every Prius comes standard with driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag and rear curtain airbags. Additionally, all Priuses have front seat (driver and passenger) active headrests, front and rear crumple zones, and side impact door beams. An available option is what Toyota calls a Pre-Collision System, designed to reduce the crash speed in certain front-end collisions. Crash tests have shown that the Toyota Prius has excellent safety for both front and side collisions.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota scores another vehicle on the list with the somewhat larger Camry. The Camry hybrid gets an impressive 34 mpg on the highway and manages 33 mpg in the city. It seats five passengers and provides you with a positive hybrid driving experience at a good price. This particular Camry carries some impressive safety and reliability stats, but it's currently caught up in the wave of controversy over the now 10-million-plus recalls that Toyota has been forced to make.
The Insight is the most direct competitor to the Prius. They look similar, but that's where many of the similarities end. For the 2010 model year, the Insight introduced a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery. As compared to the Prius, the Insight is estimated to get a little lower fuel economy, with 43 highway mpg, and 40 mpg in the city, but it also starts at only $19,800.
Insight also scores highly in all IIHS crash tests. It has driver and passenger front, side and curtain airbags standard, in addition to rear curtain airbags. Other standard safety features include driver and front passenger Active Head Restraints and Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. In the event of a head-on crash, ACE is designed to reduce the impact of the crash in the passenger compartment by spreading the force of the crash evenly throughout the front of the car.
Honda Civic Hybrid
The Civic is the top of the line of Honda's hybrid technology. It gets 45 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg in city driving. It is only available in the sedan version. It provides lots of comfort and options, such as an interesting semi-heads-up display, power everything and nice handling with supportive seats.
The Fusion was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show by a panel of journalists. It also appears on the IIHS "Top Safety Picks" list. In addition to dual front, side, and curtain airbags, the Fusion Hybrid also comes standard with a driver's knee airbag and rear curtain airbags.
The Fusion is a regular mid-sized sedan that uses hybrid technology to achieve 36 mpg on the highway and 41 mpg in the city. It has a 2.5 liter, 4 cylinder engine and has all the amenities of a mid-sized car.
Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape Hybrid has plenty of acceleration with its 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine. It still manages to get 31 highway mpg and 34 mpg in the city. It is available as a front or 4-wheel drive.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota has yet another vehicle on the list. It is a fairly large SUV that still manages to get 25 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city. It is only available in AWD and base or limited trim levels.
Chevy Malibu Hybrid
The Malibu uses Chevrolet's mild-hybrid system and regenerative braking to achieve 34 mpg highway performance and, 26 mpg when cruising in the city.
Lexus RX 400H
This car is based on the RX 350. This crossover uses a lot of advanced technology to achieve a fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. It can run solely on the electric power if necessary but does not need to be plugged in.
Nissan Altima Hybrid
The Altima hybrid is the last car on the list and is a good looking hybrid that offers great performance and still manages to get 33 mpg highway and 35 mpg City.