Toyota Came First with the Prius, but Today There are Plenty of Eco-Friendly Choices.
It’s been a decade since the hybrid Toyota Prius hit the American car market and set the car buying public on fire with its unique style and eco-friendly design.
Because a hybrid uses two forms of energy to propel the vehicle, it saves on gas and emissions. For example, when the vehicle is stopped at a red light, hybrid-control software shuts off the engine then automatically restarts it when the light turns green and the driver releases the brake pedal. That means the car is not wasting energy or emitting gases while idling at the light.
While hybrids are not as eco-friendly as all-electric vehicles, they can offer owners a different kind of security: the security of knowing they will get to where they are going. Unlike all-electric cars that can go only as far as the charge in the engine allows, a hybrid car has a gas engine that kicks in when the electric engine lacks the power to go on.
In the decade since that first Prius started turning heads on the highway, more than 4 million hybrid vehicles have been sold in the U.S. Here are six hybrid cars worth considering if you are searching for a new eco-friendly ride.
1. Nissan Rogue Hybrid
This year’s model of the Nissan Rogue has been advertised as a way to “take on the galaxy” thanks to the company’s partnership with Star Wars. By choosing to buy the hybrid version, drivers can make sure that taking on the galaxy can also be eco-friendly to the planet where they currently live, not to mention fuel-efficient.
This car does 33MPG on the highway and around 28MPG average overall. It offers a sport mode, all-wheel drive and a virtual “efficiency coach,” which is meant to help you with fuel efficiency. The Rogue has style with a “modern edge,” according to AGirlsGuidetoCars founder Scotty Reiss. Other features include an automatic kick gate, pedestrian sensors and a surround view rear view camera.
Hybrid Rogue models run for around $30,000.
2. Kia Niro
Like the Rogue, the Kia Niro also boasts a roomy interior… with an even better MPG. The Niro is rumored to get nearly 50MPG with the Touring edition.
This edition is the “fully loaded” version of the vehicle, which includes all of the car’s extra features. Features like a child-proof household plug, adaptive cruise control and an efficiency coach, much like the Rogue’s.
The Kia Niro will cost you anywhere from around $22,000 to $30,000.
3. Toyota Prius Prime
The Toyota Prius has been an icon of the hybrid car movement since it first debuted. It has quickly made its mark on American popular culture with catchy theme songs, brightly colored ads and, of course, a great reputation.
The new Prius Prime will likely keep up the brand’s reputation for fuel efficiency and style, offering 54-55MPG. Not to mention that 25 miles can be driven without using any gas while the vehicle is in EV mode.
The Prius also offers safety features such as adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and lane departure alert.
AGirlsGuidetoCars contributor Robin Hutson says the car’s interior is very focused on its tech, with a sleek and simple design that highlights its features.
This hybrid will set you back around $27,000 to $33,000.
4. Honda Accord Hybrid
The Honda Accord Hybrid has, hands down, the best fuel efficiency on this list. More than 54MPG, according to AGirlsGuidetoCars contributor Judy Antell, who drove the car from New York City to East Hampton.
Like every other car on this list, and most new cars on the market, the Honda Accord comes with a rear-view camera and other high-tech safety features. It also has a “luxurious” interior with room for the whole family plus luggage for those long road trips.
The Honda Accord Hybrid’s price is around $37,000.
5. Lexus NX300h Hybrid
Speaking of luxury, Lexus has joined the hybrid race to the top with the NX300h model.
What this car lacks in fuel efficiency (only getting 35MPH in the city and 30MPG on the highway) it makes up for with luxury features. Those luxury features include Lexus Enform, which can operate many of the car’s features from the driver’s phone and a series of additional apps such as Open Table, Yelp, Pandora, and Movietickets.com. And then there is the vehicle’s impressive interior and exterior looks.
A Lexus NX300h Hybrid costs around $41,000.
6. Toyota Rav4 Hybrid
Let us be the first to tell you the legend of a car that gives you better mileage in the city than on the highway… except this is not a legend, it is the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid.
This small SUV is estimated to do 34MPG in the city and 31MPG on the highway. This is truly a car for the city slicker who also likes to go hiking on the weekends.
The Toyota Rav4 Hybrid offers three driving modes, Toyota’s Star Safety System, all-wheel drive, front and rear parking sonar and countless other features.
AGirlsGuidetoCars contributor Judy Antell says that although the Rav4 is not a luxury car, like the Lexus, it offers luxury extras like heated seats, a moonroof and a quiet engine.
This hybrid starts at $33,000 and can cost up to $36,000 with added features.
This post was written by Alexandra Olsen, a journalism major at Columbia College Chicago graduating in May. She was previously an intern for Travelingmom.com and has written several posts about her travels and road trips. She has driven a lot in her college years, taking long drives to both coasts as well as several explorations of the Midwest.