Hybrid Cars: Top Three in MPG

By dancurranjr On February 20th, 2009

save-moneyIf you’re looking for the very best fuel economy and insurance you can get, it’s a no-brainer that a hybrid car will have to be your choice, at least if you’re doing a lot of city driving, but even among hybrids there are varying levels of economy.

If the cars rated in the 2008 (and now 2009) model year seem somehow less impressive than their predecessors, or at least, less improved, remember that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) overhauled their ratings system in 2007, with 2008 models the first to be measured by the new standard, which is based on combined city and highway driving.

Nevertheless the top three cars of the year were all hybrids. Here’s a brief look at each of them:

  • Toyota Prius: A five-seat lift-back with a plug-in version expected in the 2010 model year, the Prius has long been the poster-child of hybrid technology, despite the fact that it wasn’t actually the first to be sold. The old numbering system rates it at 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, thanks to its 4-cylinder, 1.5 liter gas engine and electric motor which work together to provide 110 horsepower. Currently, the only transmission available is a CVT (continuously variable transmission) system. No manual transmission is offered, or planned, at this time.
  • Honda Civic Hybrid: Frequently compared to its direct competitor, the Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid was actually the first such car to be marketed in the USA. Its gas engine is smaller the Prius’s, but more powerful (1.3 liters & 95 bhp) while its electronic assist motor is less powerful. The current version of the Civic Hybrid (2nd generation) is based on the 4th generation standard Civic.
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid: While most other hybrids (Prius, Civic) are smaller cars, the Camry, which ranks as the third most fuel efficient hybrid, is on the larger side. This mid-sized sedan offers a roomy interior, the same clean, curves as the standard Camry, and a gas-electric powertrain system that produces something close to a V6 engine cranking out 187 hp. Its combined fuel economy is 35 mpg.

What about 2009?

For 2009, the first two cars on the most efficient list remain the same – Toyota Prius in the number one spot and Honda Civic Hybrid in number two, but the Toyota Camry Hybrid falls to sixth place, with the Nissan Altima Hybrid rounding out the top three instead. It has a combined fuel efficiency of 35 mpg for 2009, while the Camry is only rated at 33 mpg.

Does this mean prospective purchasers should only be looking at the Prius and Civic? Of course not  – unless they want the absolute best fuel efficiency available, and don’t mind getting it in a small package.

Source: Insurance Specialists

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