Let's start with some of the hybrid vehicles currently available on the market. These are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Insight, the Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Honda Accord Hybrid. These are the four major hybrid cars available at dealers at the moment.
There is also the Ford Escape Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, Toyota Highlander and the Mariner Hybrid.
First consideration is “mileage"
The Honda Insight was mainly manufactured to obtain the best mileage possible. Thus making it the leader in terms of gas mileage. The traditional manual transmission hybrids have EPA estimates of 60 mpg in the city and 66 mpg on the highway. The automatic versions however are slightly lower at 57 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway.
The second choice is the newer version of the Prius at 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. The reason the city mpg is higher on this vehicles is due to vehicle being able to operate on battery power alone when at low speeds.
The 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid is available with a manual transmission of 46 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, the automatic is approx 48 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. The hybrid sedan is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Size does matter
Another point to consider when purchasing a hybrid vehicle is the size. When hybrids where first introduced they only came in two sizes but the manufacturers have since listened to their customers and are now responding to customers specific needs which means there have now been improvements.
Firstly you should look at how many people will be in the vehicle and what you typical load would be.
The Honda Civic Hybrid is a compact sedan. It has five seats and generally from the outside looks the same as a non-hybrid Civic. The interior is exactly the same, the only difference is the truck which is slightly smaller due to having to accommodate the battery.
The Prius 2000-2003 models have 5 seats, compact capacity, and has since been redesigned in 2004 which has now evolved into a mid-size category car. This larger edition also includes a hatch back.
Below is a means to compare current available hybrid cars. It's not a clear-cut pricing table, but this will at least give you some indication.
- 2006 Toyota Prius, $21,2745
- 2006 Honda Insight, $19,330 manual transmission; $21,530 for automatic
- 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, $21,850
- 2007 Lexus GS 450h, $54,900
- 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid, $25,900
- 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid, $30,140
- 2006 Ford Escape hybrid begins at $27,515 for the two-wheel drive version and $28,595 for four-wheel drive.
- Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid SUV (summer 2006) $23,995.
- 2006 Lexus RX400h $49,060.
- 2006 Mariner Hybrid $29,840
- 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid $33,030 for the two-wheel drive; $34,430 for four-wheel drive.
The last consideration is of course the appearance.
You can either choose a hybrid car that looks exactly like the non-hybrid model or if you prefer you may want to go for one that is completely different.
Dave Leonard operates a The Hybrid Car Site Visit his site for more information on comparing hybrid cars and choosing the best hybrid car to save fuel.