Gas prices may be the lowest they’ve been in years, but that doesn’t mean you should be flagrantly wasteful. Helping you curb your fuel consumption, there are plenty of excellent hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles available today, which all save loads of fuel. In no particular order, here are some of the Roadshow team’s favorites.
What are the Roadshow team’s favorite hybrids?
The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is efficient and upscale
First up, a Toyota, but probably not the model you’re thinking of. Did the Prius come to mind? Instead of that groundbreaking model, we’ve selected the Highlander Hybrid. A large and versatile three-row utility vehicle, this thing has an upscale interior, plenty of high-tech goodies and loads of refinement. Of course, it also delivers incredible fuel economy. The front-drive model stickers at 36 miles per gallon combined. That’s crazy for something that can seat up to eight people.
Honda Insight wows with impressive efficiency, premium trimmings
Our next selection is not only thriftier than Warren Buffet — a legendary cheapskate — it’s also roomy inside, has a premium cabin and looks like a normal car. The Honda Insight is totally a stealth hybrid. It’ll get you better than 50 mpg without even trying, yet nothing about it screams “economy” or “hypermiling.” No, it’s not the fastest thing around, but it’s still got plenty of giddy-up for normal use. According to Honda, the Insight’s two-motor hybrid drivetrain has a total system output of 151.5 horsepower. It’s unclear which half of the horse is being counted, but let’s hope it’s the front.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo looking cool in blue
Now it’s time for a plug-in hybrid, and a luxury model, no less. Porsche offers a couple different gasoline-electric powertrains in its Panamera. There’s the 4 E-Hybrid and the Turbo S E-Hybrid. Each powertrain is offered in the standard sedan, extended-length Panamera Executive and even the Sport Turismo wagon body styles because that’s not confusing.
Anyway, the less-potent of these two powertrains features a twin-turbocharged V6 augmented by an electric motor. This package delivers 462 hp and 516 pound-feet of torque. The more muscular variant is built around a twin-turbo V8 that’s also bolstered by a motor. That setup gets you 680 hp and 626 lb-ft of twist! In either case, a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides an electric-only driving range of 14 miles. As for fuel efficiency, expect right around 50 MPGe for each powertrain, less than half that when running on gasoline only.
Toyota is the automaker best known for building hybrids, but Ford has sold more than its share of gasoline-electric vehicles as well. Now, you’d never know that based on the new Explorer Hybrid, which is not great, but its little brother, the Escape Hybrid, is actually super nice to drive. Its amped-up powertrain is smooth and reasonably potent, delivering around 200 horsepower. Fuel economy is, naturally, a strong suit. Front-wheel-drive versions sticker at 41 mpg combined, and that’s hard to argue with. For even greater efficiency, a plug-in version of this vehicle is in the works as well.
Ford, and other automakers, too, are rapidly shifting away from sedans. But what if you want a fuel-efficient vehicle that’s not a crossover or SUV? Well, Toyota will happily take your money in exchange for an Avalon Hybrid.
This sizable four-door is cushy and comfortable, with a large interior and plenty of refinement. Under the hood you’ll find a 2.5-liter gasoline engine augmented by a couple electric motors. This team delivers 215 hp and up to 44 mpg combined.
The XLE trim serves base duty and kicks off at just about $38,000 including destination fees. Just be thankful they don’t charge based on the square footage of its grille. If they did, Jeff Bezos couldn’t even afford this car.
Much like the Toyota Highlander mentioned earlier, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a large and useful vehicle with tons of interior space for passengers, packages or both at the same time. With a plug-in powertrain, it’s also super economical, returning 82 MPGe combined when running on electricity.
Under the hood is a 3.6-liter V6 and a pair of motors that, among other things, function as a continuously variable transmission. Total system output measures 260 hp. With a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack onboard it offers and electric-only driving range of about 32 miles.
The new Honda CR-V Hybrid builds on the all-around excellence of the standard CR-V utility vehicle by delivering significantly improved fuel economy and better refinement.
With standard all-wheel drive, its smooth-running two-motor hybrid system gives you 212 hp to play with, a nice upgrade over the regular model’s 190. As or fuel economy, expect 38 mpg combined. When you factor in this Honda’s versatile cabin and standard driver-assistance technology it’s easy to see why it’s a Roadshow favorite.
One of the most beautiful plug-in hybrids available today is the Volvo V60. And hell, that’s enough of a reason right there to include it on this list. In top-shelf Polestar Engineered trim, this Swedish long-roof features a turbo and supercharged four-cylinder engine augmented by a rear-mounted electric motor. All that jazz gets you 415 hp and just shy of 500 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, the performance is stellar, but so is the efficiency. With a fully juiced battery, you should get around 22 miles of electric-only range and 69 MPGe combined. Once that electron reservoir is depleted, expect around 30 mpg in mixed driving while running on gasoline.
Finally, there’s an exotic hybrid worth mentioning. It has 573 hp on tap and can hit 60 mph in around 3 seconds. It’s easy to forget the Acura NSX is a hybrid, but it is, one with three electric motors providing extra oomph and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Efficiency ain’t one of this car’s strong suits, expect 21 mpg in mixed driving, but it goes like stink and gets loads of attention wherever you take it.