While the subcompact Honda Insight looks a lot like the Prius and is several thousand dollars cheaper, it's smaller inside and doesn't deliver the same 50 mpg that the larger car does.
Perhaps a more logical rival sits in Toyota's own showroom: The new-for-2012 Camry Hybrid offers a 41-mpg combined rating, mid-size sedan room and comfort, and it doesn't require the owner to put up with Prius jokes.
In the same vein is the laudable Ford Fusion Hybrid, with a 39-mpg combined rating in a refined, comfortable, and very competent U.S.
The Lexus CT 200h is also a hybrid hatchback, though it's a compact and several thousand dollars pricier.
But it adds back the fun-to-drive factor, not to mention a larger dollop of luxury.
Finally, for drivers who do most of their miles on the highway, the clean-diesel VW Jetta TDI (offered as a four-door sedan and a Sportwagen) gets highway mileage that approaches the Prius figures, and is far more rewarding to drive.
Its city mileage, however, is nowhere near the Prius.
|2012 Toyota PriusGet FREE Price Quote||2012 Lexus HS 250hGet FREE Price Quote||2012 Lexus CT 200hGet FREE Price Quote||2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid||2011 Honda InsightBrowse Used Listings||2011 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used Listings|
|51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy||35 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||40 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy||43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy|
|Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I4||N/A||Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I4|
|5dr HB One (Natl)||4dr Sedan Hybrid||FWD 4dr Hybrid||N/A||5dr CVT||FWD 4dr Hybrid|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||N/A||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Hatchback||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Hatchback||N/A||5 Door Sedan||4 Door Hatchback|
|Continuously Variable Ratio||Continuously variable ratio||Continuously Variable Ratio||N/A||Continuously variable ratio||Continuously Variable Ratio|