Over the past fifteen years, hybrids have evolved, graduating from standalone, far-out models exhibiting maximum gas mileage to what's now the more common way to see a hybrid badge: on a special variant of an existing model. Yes, the Prius remains a hybrid icon today, but there are plenty of other ways to go hybrid.
With engine technologies like turbocharging and direct-injection, as well as a new generation of transmissions and incremental features like engine stop/start, the fuel efficiency of non-hybrid models sure has improved in recent years. Yet hybrids remain at the front of the pack, especially for those who drive mostly around town and in low-speed stop-and-go conditions. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids have emerged as a 'gateway' vehicle for those who might have liked to buy an electric vehicle but need a longer driving range.
Which new hybrid should you buy? That leaves a lot of options and questions; yet here at The Car Connection, you can focus in on a few of the factors that are most important to you, and let them lead you through the process.
We've looked at the data, we've considered the ratings we apply to every new vehicle we review—and have come up with this buying guide, to help you find the best hybrid you can buy more quickly.
To qualify as one of our Best Hybrid To Buy 2015, a vehicle must:
- score at least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection's full review
- have a base price of less than $100,000—twice the amount we allow for our Best Car To Buy competition
- have no reported score lower than four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Keep in mind, these hybrids may finish with higher scores than our annual Best Car To Buy winner—because that vehicle is chosen from brand-new or significantly changed vehicles in a model year. These rankings pit all vehicles against each other, regardless of how many years they've been on the market, and they're open to every vehicle on sale during the current model year.
After vetting all the minivans offered for the 2015 model year, we've narrowed it down to the following set of vehicles, and given our insight in the bottom line from our original review. They're ranked in the order of scoring as of our latest update. Since our reviews are updated frequently for safety data, late model changes, or fuel-economy revisions, the order may change occasionally.
Keep in mind that these are primarily models that are top-rated vehicles, as judged in all of our categories, that also happen to be offered as hybrids. If you place more emphasis on the idea of getting a hybrid and being noticed as having done that, then you should also expand your list to include standalone hybrid models like the Toyota Prius or Ford C-Max, with unique designs that single them out at a distance as hybrids.
Back to the above set of standards, here are the vehicles that stack up as the best models offered as hybrids today:
TCC Rating: 9.2
2015 BMW 7-Series
The 2015 BMW 7-Series is exceptionally quick and technologically advanced, but also very luxurious and wonderfully comfortable. Read more »
TCC Rating: 9.0
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The 2015 Ford Fusion continues to offer an excellent blend of top-notch safety, solid fuel economy, and stunning good looks–all without compromising on interior space and comfort. Read more »
TCC Rating: 8.8
2014 Infiniti Q70 Hybrid
With a new long-wheelbase model, the 2015 Infiniti Q70 sedan range isn't just fast, fun to drive, and ahead of the tech curve--it's a real alternative to the German elbow-throwers. Read more »
TCC Rating: 8.6
2015 Honda Accord Hybrid
The 2015 Honda Accord is sensible, smart, and frugal, in nearly every way; but it's also surprisingly fun to drive. Read more »
TCC Rating: 8.4
2015 BMW 3-Series
The 2015 BMW 3-Series lineup is a sport sedan at heart, but with Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo (hatchback) models, it's a lot more than that. Read more »
2015 Infiniti Q50
With a hot new look, a Hybrid, some world-first technology, and much-improved cabin refinement--combined with a sharp, eager driving character--the 2014 Infiniti Q50 seeks new sport-sedan believers.Read more »
2014 Kia Optima Hybrid
The 2015 Kia Optima meets all your needs in a sensible four-door sedan, but exceeds expectations for more flair and features. Read more »
2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E550 4MATIC)
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup is many vehicles in one, with comfort and luxury across the board and sporty manners for those who want them. Read more »
TCC Rating: 8.4
2015 Audi Q5 Hybrid
The 2015 Audi Q5 remains one of the most elegant, truly car-like crossovers on the market.Read more »
TCC Rating: 8.2
2015 Toyota Avalon Limited
The 2015 Toyota Avalon is no longer just for retirees, although they'll appreciate the attractive design, available fuel-sipping Hybrid, and rejuvenated driving dynamics as much as anyone. Read more »
2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
The 2015 MKZ has great potential as a contemporary sports sedan--it's the Lincoln heritage that's missing.Read more »
2015 Buick Regal
The Regal GS is the best driver's car in the Buick lineup, and it makes for an interesting alternative for cars like the Volvo S60. Read more »
2015 BMW 5-Series
Whether it's more of a classic sport sedan or a technology-packed tourer you seek, the 2015 BMW 5-Series fills both roles admirably.Read more »