Are Hybrid Cars Worth It?

By

Automotive Contributor

Sean is an automotive enthusiast with a background in sports journalism. He is a graduate of California Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Science in Business.

, Automotive Contributor - December 12, 2023
2023 Ford Maverick front three-quarter view

Hybrids were all the rage when they first entered the market, but the (relative) decrease in gas prices and increasing popularity of EVs and PHEVs has had consumers wondering if traditional hybrids are right for them. Several automakers have gone so far as to stop offering hybrids, as they shift their focus towards EVs. Hybrids still occupy an important part of the market though, and we gathered some info to help decide if a hybrid is worth it for you.

The biggest selling point for hybrid cars is their improved fuel economy when compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars. However, hybrids tend to be more expensive than gas cars, and the price premium can alienate consumers from choosing one, as it might not seem worth the additional cost just to save on gas.

So are hybrids worth it? As with most automotive questions, it depends. In some cases, like certain Ford Maverick trims, the hybrid version is more affordable than the gas model. In most instances though, you'll need to do some math to see when upgrading to the hybrid will "pay for itself," and if that amount of time is worth it to you. According to Consumer Reports, hybrid SUVs tend to offset their additional cost quicker than smaller vehicles, since heavier SUVs get lower MPG, making an increase in fuel economy more substantial.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid front three-quarter view

This doesn't mean that smaller hybrids can't be good buys though, as CR reports that the Toyota Corolla Hybrid will offset the additional cost in just one year. It's worth noting that their calculations are based on gas costing $3.55 per gallon and assuming 12,000 miles of driving per year. You'll have to factor in the cost of gas and how much you drive to get the most accurate results. If you do a lot of driving you'll save more with a hybrid sooner, and vice versa.

In addition to fuel economy benefits, another thing to consider would be the increased performance of some hybrids compared to the equivalent gas models. The Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, for example, has almost 30 more horsepower and offers a more refined driving experience than the standard Corolla Cross in addition to getting better mileage.

In some instances, the more expensive hybrid model can be more affordable to lease than the gas version, usually due to a higher residual value. You shouldn't count on this phenomenon, but it's worth keeping an eye out for.

Source: Consumer Reports (Subscription Required)

Pictured: 2023 Ford Maverick (top), 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid (middle)

, Automotive Contributor

Sean is an automotive enthusiast with a background in sports journalism. He is a graduate of California Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Science in Business.


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