The Hybrid Vehicles (Including 2 Crossovers) That Start Below $25K
By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines noting how trucks and SUVs are outselling sedans and small cars on the U.S. market. Really, you only need to check with your own eyes when you pull into a supermarket parking lot to know that’s the case.
However, there’s another trend happening in 2018 that’s related: rising oil prices. Since the end of last year, the cost for a gallon of regular gas has risen over $0.40 in the U.S., with the residents of six states paying $0.50 more than they did a year ago.
Soon enough, people who don’t want to spend the extra $350 or so on gas every year might begin looking into hybrids and electric vehicles. While these models used to be expensive, the falling cost of EV batteries has changed the market. Here are eight hybrid models that start below $25,000 in 2018, ranked by price.
8. Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
- Combined fuel economy: 105 MPGe as EV, 46 mpg as hybrid
If you decide on a plug-in hybrid, you’ll end up spending a small fraction of your gas budget every month. In a model like the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid, which gets 26 miles on electric power before switching to hybrid mode (583 miles total range), it’ll cost you about $1 to charge your battery.
No matter where you live, that’s less than half what a gallon of gas costs — and about 70% less than it costs in California. In hybrid mode, this crossover gets a combined 46 mpg, making it the most economical crossover you can buy in 2018.
While plug-ins have a higher starting price (in this case, $27,900) than regular hybrids, the advantage is the federal tax credits. Niro qualifies for $4,543 off the purchase price, bringing its net cost to $23,357. State incentives will bring that down even further, depending on where you live.
7. Toyota Prius Prime
- Combined fuel economy: 133 MPGe as EV, 54 mpg as hybrid
Outside of a pure EV, you won’t find a car that uses less gas than the Toyota Prius Prime. During a week-long drive in California, we averaged over 100 mpg in this car without really trying. In EV mode, you can cover 25 miles at an amazing 133 MPGe. After that, you switch into hybrid mode at 54 mpg combined. (It has a total range of 640 miles.)
With some regular charging in any household outlet, you’ll save about $1,000 per year compared to drivers who get 27 mpg. (Considering how few cars hit that mark, the reality is you’ll save more.) At a starting price of $27,300 with $4,502 in incentives available, the net MSRP of Prius Prime stands at $22,798. In other words, it costs less than the regular Prius.
6. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
- Combined fuel economy: 119 MPGe as EV, 52 mpg as hybrid
The third plug-in hybrid on the list is the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid. This model achieves a combined 119 MPGe in the 29 miles it gets in electric mode before hitting an impressive 52 mpg as a standard hybrid. (Its total range is 630 miles.)
In the case of the Ioniq PHEV, we don’t even need to use incentives to bring its MSRP below $25,000. It starts at $24,950 before destination charges, so with the $4,543 in available federal incentives the price drops to $20,407. That’s a great value for a car that saves you over $1,000 in fuel costs every year, compared to the average vehicle.
5. Kia Niro
- Combined fuel economy: 49 mpg
While Toyota and Nissan both have hybrid versions of their popular compact crossovers, neither comes close to the fuel economy (49 mpg) or price of the standard Kia Niro. Like the Prius, this model was built from the ground up as a hybrid, and its ability to cover ground on minimal gas set a new benchmark in the industry.
Niro starts at $23,490, which is about $4,000 less than the Rogue and RAV4 hybrids. Meanwhile, Niro gets more than 15 mpg better than either model. By the start of 2019, Kia will deliver an all-electric version of this model as well.
4. Toyota Prius
- Combined fuel economy: 52 mpg
The vehicle that basically invented the hybrid car industry is still going strong. After the last redesign, Prius manages to hit 52 mpg in its base model and an incredible 54 mpg in Eco variants. Even with that fuel-saving technology, it remains reasonably priced at $23,475 in 2018.
Meanwhile, Prius has proven to be one of the most reliable cars of the decade. It would be hard to find a safer, more economical bet these days, though several automakers are trying.
3. Honda Insight
- Combined fuel economy: 52 mpg
We applauded Honda for the winning Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, a comfortable midsize sedan that covers 47 miles on electric power. The automaker deserves more praise for new Insight hybrid, which manages to get 52 mpg in a sharp-looking package.
At $22,830, it’s also a great value on the U.S. market for the 2019 model year. As far as we understand this model, it’s basically the Civic hybrid we never got, though it may upstage Honda’s iconic compact car at the curb.
2. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
- Combined fuel economy: 52 mpg as hybrid
You might not love the exterior styling of the Hyundai Ionic Hybrid, but no one will argue with its incredible economy (52 mpg) at such a low price ($22,200). Compared to vehicles that boast solid fuel economy (27 mpg), this Ioniq will save you about $800 a year in gas costs, according to EPA estimates.
As oil now tops $73 a barrel for the first time since 2014, cars like the Ioniq will get more consideration in these coming months. Meanwhile, its relatively normal styling should appeal to consumers who don’t want that quirky Prius look.
1. Toyota Prius c
- Combined fuel economy: 46 mpg
Toyota has a hybrid for just about everyone these days, and that includes the subcompact car market, which gets the diminutive Prius c. At a starting price of $21,530, it’s a solid option when you consider you save about $750 a year driving this car compared to a 25 mpg model.
Those numbers will only get better for hybrids and EVs as analysts forecast a march to $100 oil. Heading into 2019, the market has come a long way since the days hybrids were simply too expensive.
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