With the large variety of hybrid vehicles on the market today, choosing a high-performance, high-quality version can be confusing. Here are snapshots of the top five hybrid vehicles based on fuel economy, performance, overall quality and reliability. They're listed below in no particular order for the 2012 model year.
5 of the Most Popular Hybrid Vehicles for 2012
A quick look at some of the most popular hybrid vehicles.
Currently on its third generation, the Prius has earned its place as the third-best-selling Toyota model in the U.S. The larger body is offset by extra power from the gas engine and electric motors; as a result, the Prius maintains its position as the only gas-powered vehicle that achieves 50 miles per gallon. Its speed and handling aren't top-of-the-line, but the awesome fuel efficiency can only be beat by all-electric cars. Reviewers give high marks to the quiet cabin, comfortable ride, roomy trunk, and high-tech electronics but it loses points for the unimpressive acceleration and soft suspension and brakes.
2012 Prius V Video Review
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford's hybrid family sedan has won several industry awards for value, family fit and safety. Its fuel economy ranks highly at 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway, and the transitions between gas and electric mode feel smoother than in other hybrids. The refined ride quality, including everything from handling to braking, offers only comfort and convenience. The high-tech interior offers the latest gadgets. Simply put, the car is fun to drive. Many reviewers have praised the Fusion Hybrid as the best mid-size hybrid available. The only downsides cited are the high price and small trunk -- not bad for such a well-rounded package.
2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid Test Drive & Car Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Given that the conventional Camry has remained the top-selling sedan in the U.S. for nine out of the last 10 years, it makes sense that Toyota would offer a hybrid version. Fortunately, this rendition keeps the model's trademark dependability, reliability, comfort, and safety while offering 41 mpg in combined city and highway driving. After being revamped for the 2012 model year, the Camry nows earns acclaim as one of the best midsize hybrids in showrooms. The transitions from gas to electric mode feel seamless, and the car drives like a gas-only vehicle. However, some contend that the regenerative brakes feel grabby and need firm pressure.
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Test Drive & Car Review
Lexus RX 450h
This top-selling hybrid SUV favors luxury, comfort and fuel economy over sporty performance, which fits nicely with most luxury vehicle shoppers' priorities. It has even won an award for value among all hybrid SUVs. Reviewers report that the engine feels quiet and capable, and the ride feels smooth. The high-tech offerings are more plentiful and user-friendly than those of other luxury brands. However, the soft suspension translates to an unexciting road performance. Fuel economy rates at 30 mpg combined, making it one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive vehicles on the market.
GMC Yukon Hybrid
For those who just have to have a full-size SUV, the Yukon Hybrid offers 21 mpg, a well-made interior, high seating capacity, and the ability to tow 6,200 pounds. It's even more powerful than the conventional gas-powered versions of the 2012 Yukon. Handling is respectable considering its bulk and body-on-frame build. However, all these features come at a steep price. Since most people don't need to tow such heavy loads or carry seven passengers regularly, some reviewers suggest that a crossover hybrid SUV might offer a better fit.
Image © GM Company.