11 of the Best Hybrid Cars 2018 Has to Offer
If You’re a Fan of Fuel Efficiency, Look For These Hybrid Cars in 2018
Ever since the Toyota Prius debuted 20 years ago (can you believe it’s already been that long??), hybrids have been on a steady rise. The thought that they didn’t manage to fulfill their potential somehow still looms in the air, however. Even two decades after the Prius revolutionized the market, hybrid cars are still on margins. They have come a long way and they’ve even been bolstered by plug-ins and all-electric vehicles, but the vast majority of cars currently available on the market are still conventional gasoline-powered. This doesn’t mean the hybrid car market isn’t diverse enough, though. There are plenty of choices in most segments and we’ll focus on the best hybrid cars 2018 has to offer here.
Unlike the case with the best hybrid SUVs of 2019, we’ll exclude all-electric vehicles entirely. Only fully-fledged hybrid cars will be considered, no matter how small or large they are. Furthermore, we won’t separate luxury from affordable cars, and all available segments will be included as well. Even differences between conventional and plug-in hybrids will be disregarded. In order to keep things fair, however, five of these ten hybrid cars will be luxury models, while other five will come from non-luxury badges. Of course, we’ll remove extremely expensive exotics and electric hypercars from the equation.
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11. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid kicks off our list with one goal in mind: affordability. The Ioniq is one of the cheapest hybrids on the market and serves as a very approachable entry-level offering from the South Korean automaker.
Boasting 119 MPGe and a 29-mile all-electric range and up to 58 mpg combined (base model) in true hybrid mode, the Ioniq can travel and absolutely incredible projected range of 630 miles. While the interior is most certainly not on par with premium offerings in the segment, the Ioniq is still quite smartly designed both inside and out.
While the list of standard features isn’t terribly impressive, the available options menu really is. With safety features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alerts available for the limited trim, as well as America’s Best Warranty, you can rest assured that the Ioniq will tick just about every box you could ask it to.
It also comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto as standard, as well as a rearview camera, heated front seats, and automatic projector headlights. Complaints about the Ioniq include a cramped rear seat, less than stellar ride quality with road noise, vague handling characteristics compared to rivals, and uncomfortable seats.
10. Volvo S90 T8 eAWD Plug-in Hybrid
As the Swedish automaker’s flagship sedan, the 2018 Volvo S90 offers a gracious and serene design both inside and out while, at the same time, bringing superlative safety to the table. The S90’s most expensive T8 eAWD Plug-in Hybrid models add even more. Apart from the obvious bump in fuel economy ratings, the S90 hybrid packs more of a punch. The conventional models’ 2.0L 4-cylinder gets both a turbocharger and a supercharger for a total of 316 horsepower. That’s not all, of course, as an 87-hp electric motor further raises the total to 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates the Volvo S90 hybrid at 29 mpg combined (26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway).
As is the case with most Volvos, the S90 isn’t all that fun to drive. It emphasizes comfort and safety, first and foremost. That’s likely its only real downside. That and the fact it costs between $63,500 and $68,000 in its stock form. Then again, most of its direct competitors exhibit even higher stickers. As expected, the S90 hybrid gets standard low and high-speed automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. All of the aforementioned active safety features are bundled up together in what Volvo markets as a semi-autonomous driving mode. Don’t let the S90’s calm and soothing demeanor fool you, though. You’re still required to impact the drive as you would be in any other car.
9. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Being the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market, one would think the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has it all on the platter. Be that as it may, FCA’s multi-purpose vehicle still aces a number of categories. The most obvious one is its efficiency backed by a more than adequate amount of power. A 3.6L V6 paired to a couple of electric motors generates a satisfying 260 horsepower. Hybrids are heavier than gasoline models and come with 26 ponies fewer, but thanks to a 9-speed automatic transmission and the fact that electric generators develop instant torque, performance is practically unaffected. As far as efficiency goes, setup is good enough for a healthy 32 mpg combined. What’s more, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid offers up to 33 all-electric miles and 84 MPGe when operating on battery alone. Very good figures for commuters which, incidentally, are the exact group of people who are driving minivans.
An abundance of space and seating for seven can’t really be considered as one of the Pacifica’s advantages since minivans are supposed to be spacious, but let’s mention it anyway. FCA’s minivan also sports an upscale interior with abundance of standard and optional features. Considering that hybrids start from $40,000, that doesn’t really come as a surprise. Moreover, the IIHS rates it “Good” in all major categories, while giving it their Top Safety Pick+ badge in the process. They’ve also rated the Pacifica’s optional active safety gear as “Superior.” Blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors don’t count since they’re standard from the get-go. Finally, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid prides itself with a comfortable ride and nimble handling. Well, nimble for a minivan.
8. Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Toyota’s flagship sedan’s hybrid versions start from $37,500, making them only $4,000 more expensive than entry-level gasoline models. Moreover, every Toyota Avalon comes with standard leather upholstery and an elegant and comfortable interior which is really quite spacious. So, what are the Avalon’s downsides? For starters, top-tier models are well within the Lexus price range. They’re well-equipped with tech and very refined, as mentioned above, but why not go for a Lexus instead of the $40,000+ Toyota? Then, being a full-size sedan, the Avalon was never exactly a contender for the most fun to drive car award. It showcases surprising flexibility and control, but it’ll never be a sports car.
The Avalon hybrid’s 2.5L 4-cylinder engine, pair of electric motors, and sealed Ni-MH battery are good enough for 200 horsepower. Not the power conventional models generate through their 3.5L V6’s, but enough to help Avalon accelerate to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds without too much droning. What’s more, this well-balanced setup returns 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway for 40 mpg combined – a figure you’ll be hard-pressed to see with any other full-size sedan out there. Maybe the 2018 Toyota Avalon forgoes performance for efficiency but then again, that’s exactly what hybrid cars are all about.
7. Lexus GS 450h
Speaking of Lexus, the 2018 GS 450h and 450h F Sport are likely your best bets here. They combine the meticulous styling, an abundance of comfort, tech and safety features, and comfortable ride of their gasoline counterparts with their efficient hybrid powertrain for a winning combination. Not only does their 3.5L V6 deliver 31 mpg combined, it also generates up to 338 horsepower with help from its Ni-Mh battery pack and electric motor. This actually makes the 450h and its F Sport iteration the most powerful GS models of the lot.
The 2018 Lexus GS hybrid comes at a hefty price, though. The base 450h starts from almost $64,000 while the F Sport costs almost $69,000. For the extra $5,000 or so, the Lexus GS 450h F Sport offers adaptive suspension and active steering with variable ratios. This transforms the already nimble hybrid car into crisp-handling fun on wheels. For even more stability, there’s also the optional active rear-wheel steering. The F Sport’s only downsides are its 19-inch wheels with low profile tires which will remind you of their existence every time a pothole appears underneath them. Despite the positives, a Lexus will never be able to offer that genuine luxury touch of a high-end German car. It’s luxurious all right, but some plasticky touches here and there clearly give away the Japanese origins of the Lexus GS.
6. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is the perfect choice for buyers in the market for a spacious intermediate sedan. The Malibu is a class leader in boot space, though hybrid models come with restrictions in that regard. Otherwise, the Malibu comes with no real advantages. On the other hand, it doesn’t have any real downsides either. It’s everything you might expect from a mid-size Detroit car. Hybrid models with their 1.8L 4-cylinders and electric motors are the real winners here. They offer up to 46 mpg combined which is a great result from a vehicle that’s not a dedicated hybrid. On the other hand, they only deliver 124 horsepower which most people might find anemic.
For $28,750, the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid doesn’t offer too much active safety tech. Only a rearview camera is standard while forward collision warnings, a high-speed automatic emergency braking system, and lane-keep assist all come as options. Still, even after equipping all this extra safety tech, the Malibu hybrid’s price should sit somewhere around the $35,000 mark. Despite the spartan basic safety equipment, both the NHTSA and the IIHS rate the Malibu hybrid with their highest respective scores. When all is considered, the Chevy Malibu is a well-rounded car with a few significant strengths and very few disadvantages.
5. Mercedes-Benz C 350e
You can have a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for about $40,000 these days. Sure, they’ll be spartan in terms of available equipment, but their flair and refinement will still be present. There’s only one hybrid version of the C-Class, and that one starts from around $48,000 which is already quite a steep jump compared to the base C300 sedan. You might be eligible for a federal tax incentive of up to $4,000, however. The C350e plug-in hybrid combines a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an 80-hp electric motor and a 6.2 kWh battery pack for a combined output of 275 horsepower and a whopping 443 lb-ft of torque. It should return between 35 and 40 mpg combined.
More or less, every Mercedes-Benz offers an almost unique level of comfort and refinement, and the C-Class is no different. The 2018 C350e, however, goes from pricey to exorbitantly expensive rather quickly. Especially for a small luxury car. Apart from that, it doesn’t offer too much cargo room and rear seat space isn’t class-leading either. Splash enough cash on it, though, and you’ll get yourself an advanced, cushy car with features such as night vision camera, voice control, and automatic braking. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, too. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class handles exquisitely even without any drive enhancing upgrades.
4. Acura NSX
The second generation Acura NSX has been around for a couple of years now, but unlike the iconic car from the early nineties, the 2018 NSX is now a hybrid. It’s still a supercar, though. It does, after all, generate a whopping 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. Honda’s supercar manages such explosive figures thanks to a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine and three electric motors. The gasoline engine alone is good enough for 500 ponies thanks to 15.2 psi of boost. Considering the above, it’s no wonder the NSX accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds. Finally, there’s no need mentioning the NSX’s exquisite handling and sporty, fun driving dynamics.
Despite being co-powered by three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack, the 2018 Acura NSX doesn’t manage to return more than 21 mpg combined. Then again, that’s as good as supercars do. In fact, the NSX is a leader in efficiency among modern-day supercars. The NSX’s biggest disadvantage is its price which starts at $156,000. Keep in mind that’s before optional carbon fiber upgrades which, as we know, are also extremely expensive. Furthermore, Honda’s performance champion doesn’t offer the level of refinement we’ve been mentioning when talking about German cars. This might not be in its nature, but one would still expect a plushier cabin to accompany the six-digit price tag.
3. BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance
Unsurprisingly, the BMW 7-Series hybrid finds itself among the best hybrid cars 2018 has to offer. Unlike its conventional siblings, which all pack everything between 6 and 12 cylinders, the 740e actually comes with a smaller 2.0L twin-turbo 4-cylinder engine. The unit alone is good enough for 255 horsepower, but the BMW bolsters it with a 111-hp electric motor and a 9.2 kWh battery pack for a combined output of 322 ponies. This setup adds some 400 pounds to the base 740i models – something which is felt right away. However, the 7-Series hybrid also allows up to 23 miles of all-electric range (by driving it up to 75 mph) and is rated at 27 mpg combined by the EPA.
As always, the BMW 7-Series is downright expensive. The 740e starts at $86,000, but don’t let that fool you. Decide to include a few extra options and watch that figure soar well north of the 6-digit mark. You do get one of the most comfortable and refined cars around for that money – but that was to be expected. The 2018 BMW 740e also offers an abundance of tech features, including a Harman Kardon sound system with 16 speakers and a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. However, standard advanced safety gear is sparse. An additional $3,400 is required in order to enjoy the BMW’s self-driving suite, which isn’t quite as capable as its competitors’ top safety options.
2. Honda Accord Hybrid
The Honda Accord isn’t one of the best-sold mid-size sedans for no reason. Hybrid models play an important role in allowing the Accord to compete with juggernauts such as the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima. In fact, the Accord comes in second behind the Camry and just in front of the Altima. Starting from $29,500, the Accord hybrid doesn’t tax its potential buyers too much while, at the same time, offering up to 48 mpg combined according to the EPA. This makes it a class leader in the hybrid car segment. There’s a trade-off to the Accord’s sublime fuel efficiency, however. Its small, 2.0L 4-cylinder ICE and dual electric motors only develop 212 horses which result in plenty of engine grunt – especially at higher speeds.
Despite being noisy at times, the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid offers a comfortable ride and plenty of features for the money. It might be more expensive than some of is rivals, but equip Accord’s competitors with all the features the Accord gets, and watch them soar over its base price. Sadly, Honda has decided to discontinue the plug-in version of the Accord hybrid, but current models now feature three different operating modes. For instance, the Accord hybrid now drives on electricity alone until it passes the 30 mph mark while also remaining in gasoline-saving mode under lighter engine loads. It still doesn’t handle as well as the Ford Fusion hybrid, but it does manage to beat the rest of its opponents. All things considered, this newly redesigned Honda hybrid could be one of the best hybrid cars 2018 has surprised us with.
1. Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid
The 2018 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid offers what precious few cars do. For starters, it comes in two different body styles – the Panamera’s conventional oddball sedan/hatchback and the Turismo wagon. Furthermore, the oddball Porsche doesn’t stop at one available engine. The less expensive Panamera 4 models feature a 2.9L V6 mill, while performance Turbo models come with 4.0L V8s. Both are mated to electric motors and lithium-ion battery packs which, together with the mentioned gasoline units, develop a whopping 462 hp and 680 hp respectively. As you can imagine, Porsche Panamera hybrids certainly don’t lack any power.
Nor do they lack refinement, for that matter. Their exquisite interiors will leave you drooling, but they also come with a hefty price to pay. Entry-level Panamera E-Hybrids cost just shy of $100,000. Opt for the larger engine and Turbo models, and watch that price tag double. Turbo hybrid Panameras cost between $185,000 and $195,000, and that’s without the extras. Still, base models should be good enough for around 20 all-electric miles and up to 50 MPGe, with Turbo units trailing behind. Overall, the 2018 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid stands out as one of the best hybrid cars 2018 has to offer. However, you can definitely make do with one of the less expensive options. Even if you’re in the market for a fully-fledged luxury German hybrid car, there are definitely cheaper options.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do hybrid cars work?
Hybrid vehicles use a combination of electric motors and small internal combustion engines in unison to achieve superior gas mileage to a solely internal-combustion-engined counterpart. There are many different approaches to the way a hybrid system operates; some vehicles use only electric power under 15 mph or light loads and kick in the combustion engine during heavy loads or heavy acceleration. Some factor in how far the accelerator pedal is depressed when accelerating to determine whether or not to include the combustion engine while others go off of how quickly it was depressed.
For the most part, highway cruising sees the combustion engine maintaining speeds and charging the battery packs since it is easier and more fuel efficient during these times. Some systems can only be recharged when plugged in while others incorporate regenerative braking, or charge the batteries with the combustion engine under light loads. While a hybrid can operate exclusively under battery power, it’s the combination of both the combustion engine and electric motors under heavy acceleration that makes the package shine.
The ace up the sleeve for hybrids is a power-split transmission, which can combine the torque of the two motors for greater power.
What does hybrid mean?
Hybrid simply means that instead of using solely an internal combustion engine like most vehicles, the vehicle also utilizes the power of an electric motor under lighter loads or in unison with the combustion engine to maximize efficiency. Hybrids are typically much more fuel efficient because of this and can go much farther distances before requiring more gasoline.
Are hybrids worth it?
This depends entirely on you. Most hybrids are not sporty or fun to drive, but they make great people movers and can be excellent for stretching your dollar if you do a lot of city driving or sitting in traffic. Hybrids feature lower emissions and are generally better for the environment, so if reducing your carbon footprint and polluting less is important to you, this is a good way to do it. On a more personal note, hybrids require less gas for greater distances traveled, which means you’ll be saving a lot of money each time you fill up!
While all of these may sound like bonuses, the ultimate answer is that you should do your research on the subject, because there are a lot of factors at play. Depending on your average commute, driving style, how much you want to spend on a car, and whether or not there are incentives available for the vehicle you’re looking at purchasing, buying a hybrid could either be a wise decision or a waste of money for you. If you don’t mind paying more up front for cheaper gas throughout the life of the car, go for it!
The longer you own your hybrid vehicle, the easier it will be to recoup your initial investment so whatever you do, make sure you’re in it for the long haul. It is worth noting, however, that fully-electric vehicles are getting more and more accessible every year, so if you’re considering a hybrid, you might as well look into the option of an entirely electric vehicle while you’re at it, and cash in on some even bigger rebates.
Are hybrids reliable?
Ultimately, hybrids are no less reliable than their internal combustion counterparts and in fact, could even be more reliable in some cases. Hybrids use proven, low displacement high-efficiency reliable combustion engines that generally see fewer major issues throughout the life of the vehicle with routine maintenance. There are a lot of myths floating around that battery packs will wear out over time and will be extremely expensive to replace, but this is simply untrue.
Battery packs are generally designed to last the entire lifetime of the car and many manufacturers offer some pretty insane warranties on them, some even for the life of the vehicle. There are plenty of stories about hybrid cab drivers pushing a few hundred thousand miles with no serious issues thanks to routine maintenance.
Battery packs can usually be replaced for under $5,000, which, considering how important it is to the vehicle, isn’t that bad of a deal. And with hybrid and EV technology advancing more and more every year, these parts are just getting more accessible and more affordable.
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