For the first time, the 2013 Toyota Prius has direct competition--and it's a worthy competitor.
The Ford C-Max Hybrid delivers an EPA-rated 47 mpg combined, it's a dedicated hybrid too (no gasoline-only version), and its quieter, more powerful, and far more luxurious inside than the Prius.
The subcompact Honda Insight shares a shape with the Prius and is $5,000 cheaper, but it's much smaller inside and only delivers 42 mpg.
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, and still delivers 40 mpg.
Two other competitors sit in Toyota's own showroom, both new for 2012: the new Prius V wagon, at 42 mpg, which is larger inside and will appeal to families; and the more conventional Camry Hybrid four-door sedan, at 41 mpg.
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) is far more rewarding to drive.
Its highway mileage approaches the Prius figure, though its city mileage isn't even close.
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|51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy||41 MPG City / 44 MPG Hwy||43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||44 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy|
|Gas/Electric I4||N/A||Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I4||Gas/Electric I4||N/A|
|Midsize Cars||N/A||Compact Cars||Compact||Midsize Station Wagon||N/A|
|5-Door HB Two (Natl)||N/A||5-Door CVT PZEV||5-Door Sedan Hybrid||5-Door Wagon Two (GS)||N/A|
|Front Wheel Drive||N/A||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||N/A|
|Continuously Variable Ratio||N/A||Continuously Variable Transmission||Continuously Variable Ratio||Continuously Variable Ratio||N/A|