The Toyota Hybrid Car: A Comparison Against the Competition

March 27, 2012

Toyota hybrid cars have virtually defined the hybrid car category. See how the Prius, Camry, Highlander, and Matrix stack up against the competition.

Toyota Hybrid Car

A Toyota hybrid car such as the Toyota Highlander, Toyota Camry and the Toyota Prius compare favorably with other hybrid cars on the market. The Toyota Hybrids rank among the highest of all hybrids in terms of fuel efficiency and car safety ratings. These high marks make Toyota hybrids the best hybrids to buy, when compared to those made by other car companies.

Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Toyota Camry hybrid gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. At a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $26,150 for the 2010 model, it's a good value among hybrids. It has near zero emission advanced technology and operates on a 2.4-liter, 4-cycle ECVT engine.

The chief competitors are the Nissan Altima hybrid, with a 2.5 liter, 14-valve engine, the Saturn Aura hybrid, with a 2.4-liter 14 4A engine, and the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid, also with a 2.4 14 4A engine.

The Toyota Camry hybrid compares very favorably with these other sedans. As for price, the MSRP for the Camry hybrid is less than the other comparative sedans, except for the Chevrolet Malibu, which is $625 less. The Camry has higher or comparable city and highway mileage ratings, except for the city mileage for the Nissan Altima, which is 35 miles per gallon. The braking system for the Toyota Camry hybrid exceeds that of all of the comparable hybrid sedans.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander hybrid gets 27 city and 25 highway miles per gallon. The 2010 Toyota Highlander hybrid lists for a MSRP of $35,700, has a 6-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a torque of 212 horsepower at 3,600 rpm. It operates in 4-wheel drive on a 3.3-liter, 6-valve ECVT hybrid engine.

The competitors for comparison with the Toyota Highlander hybrid include the Saturn VUE hybrid, the Ford Escape hybrid and the Mercury Mariner hybrid. It should be noted that the Toyota Highlander has a 6-cylinder engine versus a 4-cylinder for the others. The mileage and fuel economy comparisons are slightly lower for the Highlander compared to the other three models. The Highlander hybrid is slightly higher in price than the Saturn VUE and the Ford Escape, but lower than the Mercury Mariner.

Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius II has the highest fuel economy of any comparable hybrid model. The Prius gets 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 miles per gallon on the highway. This far exceeds its competition, the Honda Insight, which gets 40/43 miles per gallon city and highway, and the Honda Civic hybrid, which gets 40/45 city and highway. The MSRP for the Prius II is $23,150, which is about a little more than $2,000 higher than the Honda Insight but about $1,000 lower than the Honda Civic hybrid.

Toyota Matrix
Toyota's Matrix is a cross between a fuel-efficient compact car, mini wagon and a crossover utility vehicle. Introduced in 2003, the Matrix has spawned many imitation vehicles from competitors. Available in 1.8 L and 2.4 L versions, the Matrix provides a lot of power when compared to many other hybrid vehicles. While the matrix is one of the better performing hybrid vehicles, its fuel economy does suffer a bit and averages just below 30 miles per gallon for combined city/highway driving.

Nissan Hybrid Cars vs. Toyota Hybrid Cars

Nissan's hybrid line is actually comprised of only one vehicle. The Altima was outfitted with a hybrid motor in 2007 and has continued, with minor developments and alterations, since then. Nissan has not announced plans to create a new hybrid car, but has instead opted to continue to improve on and tinker with the Altima model.

The Altima is interesting to compare with Toyota hybrid cars because it contains hybrid technology that was developed by Toyota. Although Nissan plans to develop its own hybrid engines, the current Nissan hybrid car is powered by a Toyota motor. Therefore, the specs for many of these cars are very similar. Nissan Altima hybrids have 2.5-liter engines that receive about 35 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

Toyota Hybrid Cars
Toyota is considered to be the pioneer company in terms of hybrids. The Prius was the first hybrid vehicle to be commercially available, and it is still today the top grossing hybrid car ever manufactured. It is no wonder, then, that Nissan looked to the Prius when designing the internal components of the Altima hybrid.

Many people prefer the Toyota Prius or other Toyota hybrid cars to the Nissan alternative because Toyota was the company to develop the technology. It points to a more forward thinking mentality, and Toyota's cars have developed more rapidly as a result. Additionally, there are alternative Toyota options to the Prius (unlike Nissan, where the only hybrid option available is the Altima).

Ultimately, both hybrid cars by Toyota and Nissan are good choices for fuel efficient vehicles. Pricing will vary, though the Toyota models are oftentimes somewhat more expensive. Be sure to consider other factors like warranty guarantees as well when you make your decision.

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