Once largely considered a novelty car for the granola crowd, hybrid vehicles are becoming more commonplace on the road today. With gas prices proving to be unstable, more drivers are turning to hybrid and other alternative-fuel vehicles to stabilize their fuel budget.
How Reliable are Used Hybrids?
If you’ve dealt with rechargeable devices in your home, no one is going to blame you for being concerned about the battery life of a hybrid vehicle. As with any vehicle purchase, it’s wise to do your homework before you start test driving used hybrids. Check the manufacturer’s warranty—and double-check that the car you’re interested hasn’t exceeded the time or mileage limitation. Some manufacturers have separate warranties that cover the hybrid equipment and, depending on where you live, your state may mandate a longer warranty period on hybrid parts.
Below are some of the best hybrids on the market, based on factors that include the manufacturer’s overall reliability.
The plug-in hybrid Volt offers some of the best fuel economy in its class with a range of over 50 miles before the gas engine engages. For drivers with commutes under 50 miles may see their gas reward points expire before needing to stop for a fill-up. If you have young or new drivers in your family, opt for a 2017 or used 2018 to get the Teen Driver and other safety features standard. You can find used Volts with premium trim levels for under $25,000.
After nearly 20 years on the market, the Prius’ silhouette is on its way to becoming an icon in its own right. Along with its distinct lines is its unparalleled gas mileage: at over 50 MPG combined, the Prius is the car you buy when fuel economy is at the top of your checklist. Available in a wide variety of trims, you’re certain to find a used Prius with all of the features on your wish list at a great price. The one drawback to the Toyota hybrid is its smartphone integration, which forces you to use its Etune interface.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Hyundai redesigned the Sonata Hybrid in 2016, making it not just a great commuter car—with fuel economy in the 40 MPG combined range—but comfortable for taking the family on road trips as well. The quiet cabin offers passengers plenty of leg and shoulder room. Although you can fold down the rear seats for additional cargo space, the Sonata’s 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space is more than ample for grocery trips and weekend getaways.
Lexus ES Hybrid
For those who like a little luxury, the Lexus ES offers impressive fuel economy (estimated 40 MPG combined) in a 200-horsepower engine. The drive is about as smooth and quiet as you’ll find in any luxury hybrid sedan. And if you want to be extra-eco-friendly, you can look for a used model with sustainably-grown bamboo trim! You should be able to get a newer-model used Lexus ES for under $30,000, which is still a good deal on a premium vehicle.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
You’re keen on the fuel economy of a hybrid, but you need the space and versatility of an SUV. Enter the Toyota RAV4 hybrid. With 35.6 cubic feet of cargo space (over 70 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded), you have plenty of space to take your squad on an adventure and haul all of your necessities. The estimated combined MPG in the low-to-mid-30s might not sound very hybrid-like, but it leaves its gas-powered Crossover/SUV competition at the pump.
Something for Everyone
The manufacturers on this list are known for their overall vehicle reliability and warranties. If you want to get into a hybrid at the lowest price point, you find mid-2010 models for under $15,000. If you prefer to have the latest available technology in a used vehicle, you would likely want to buy no earlier than 2016. Given how manufacturers are striving for relevancy in a diverse hybrid marketplace, there is a hybrid vehicle to suit pretty much everyone.