Consumers’ Favorites: Best Hybrids

Consumers’ Favorites: Best Hybrids

Still boasting a winning combination of comfortable ride, spacious cabin, meager appetite for fuel and plenty of features, the Toyota Prius (including V model) took first place with 19.7% of the vote. The Chevrolet Volt that allows one to drive nearly 40 miles on electric power alone was right there in a photo-finish second place with 19.3%. The more distant third went to elegant Hyundai Sonata Hybrid at 12.4%.

Toyota Prius (including Prius V)
Toyota Prius (including Prius V)
Toyota Prius (including Prius V)

Toyota denotes Prius variants using Roman numerals. The base model is Prius I, and comes with CD player, air conditioning, power windows, auxiliary audio input jack, power door locks, power mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, push-button starting and height-adjustable driver’s seat. 15-inch aerodynamically designed alloy wheels are also standard, and Prius I offers three driving modes depending on driver’s preference: Power, Eco and Normal.

Stepping up to Prius II variant adds EV driving mode, which allows Prius to travel at speeds up to 25 miles per hour on battery power alone. In addition, the Prius II adds cruise control, better stereo, rear window wiper, Smart Key keyless entry for driver’s door, Touch Tracer steering wheel controls, which initiate matching display in instrument panel when touched and cargo cover.Opting for Prius III will get you Bluetooth handsfree calling and upgraded JBL audio system with six-disc CD changer and satellite radio. The Prius III also features an optional Navigation Package, which includes voice activated touchscreen navigation screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, XM NavTraffic real-time traffic reporting, iPod connection, reversing camera and USB port. The Solar Roof Package is also available on Prius III, and includes Navigation Package plus solar-powered moonroof.

Those who are looking for a dose of luxury, the Prius IV is the model you want. It includes lumbar support for driver, leather, heated front seats, Homelink, Smart Key entry for four doors and auto dimming rearview mirror. The Prius IV is equipped with upgraded interior trim, water repellent window glass for front doors. Options include Solar Roof and Navigation Packages.

The range topping Prius V trim level is identified by foglights, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED auto-leveling headlights with washers. The Prius V is solely available with Advanced Technology Package that includes features from Navigation and Solar Roof Packages with Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Parking Assist, Pre-Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet sells the Volt in single level of specification with just few options. Standard feature highlights include power mirrors, power windows, cruise control, power door locks, cloth seats and tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. In addition, every Volt comes standard with automatic climate control, Bluetooth, premium Bose surround sound audio system with pause and play radio functionality, satellite radio, auxiliary audio input jack, USB port and real-time traffic and weather reports and hard drive navigation system with storage for music files. The 5-year subscription to OnStar Directions and Connections service is also included with LED running lights, automatic headlights, LED ambient cabin lighting and LED taillights.The Chevrolet Volt also features configurable displays, MyLink mobile application, which enables smartphone users to adjust or program charging schedules, remote “start” and futuristic touch-panel controls. Other Volt features include HomeLink universal remote, keyless entry and push-button starting, lightweight 17-inch forged aluminum wheels and heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators. Its Premium Trim Package gets leather wrapped steering wheel, perforated leather upholstery, premium door panel trim, polished aluminum wheels and heated front seats to add touch of luxury to the car. Shoppers can also specify Park Assist and Rear Camera Package that includes rear and front parking sensors and rearview camera.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can be equipped with 1 of 4 trim levels. The entry-level Sonata GLS includes power locks, windows and heated side mirrors; 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps; cruise control; tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls and air conditioning. You can crank out tunes through 6-speaker stereo system with satellite radio and auxiliary audio input jack. All Sonata models come with standard Bluetooth handsfree technology and Blue Link telematics. Optional features include alloy wheels, automatic headlights and eight-way power driver’s seat.

The Sonata SE includes keyless entry and ignition, standard six-speed automatic transmission, sporty leather and cloth upholstery, some exterior enhancements and eight-way power driver’s seat. It is the sport-oriented variant so steering and suspension are tightened up and SE rides on 18-inch wheels. You can opt to upgrade the SE with Sunroof and Navigation Package, which includes HD Radio and backup camera.The Limited trim level adds wood grain and piano-gloss accents throughout cabin, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, standard panoramic sunroof and heated front and rear seats. The optional Navigation Package gets backup camera, navigation, and enhances your playlist with HD Radio and Infinity speakers.

Opting for Hyundai Sonata Hybrid model will get everything that comes standard on GLS plus several upgrades. Eight-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, electroluminescent gauges, special display screen with hybrid-related information and upgraded cloth upholstery are included at base price. Exterior gets LED accent lights and foglights; unique front styling with automatic projector-beam headlights, LED taillights in back and unique wheels. The Premium Package includes navigation, leather, Infinity sound, HD Radio, 17-inch wheels, handful of additional features and panoramic sunroof.

Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is offered in two well-equipped versions, the lesser of which is dubbed LE. Here, shoppers will find automatic headlights, 16-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, push-button ignition system, dual-zone automatic climate control and common amenities like power door locks, power windows, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with incorporated audio controls and power mirrors. The list goes on to include split rear seatback, which folds on passenger side, height-adjustable driver’s seat, audio system which is iPod compatible and Bluetooth connectivity.Exterior enhancements include fog lights, abundance of chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels. The cabin inside comes with auto dimming interior rearview mirror, power-adjustable driver’s seat, upgraded audio system with 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth enabled music streaming, leather trim and more. Factory options are limited to XLE, including heated front seats, leather upholstery, blind spot monitor, rearview camera and power moonroof. New for 2012 include JBL audio, Toyota’s Entune multimedia technology with voice recognition, HD radio and Internet access and different navigation systems.

Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford Fusion Hybrid

With four engine choices, available all-wheel-drive system and five trim levels, the Ford Fusion Hybrid offers nothing if not variety. Base models feature S designation, come with air conditioning, six-speed manual transmission, power door locks, power windows, power blind spot side mirrors, remote keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, auxiliary audio input jack, CD player, 16-inch alloy wheels and trip computer. The company also adds MyKey programmable feature technology on Fusion S. Automatic transmission and floor mats are optional on this model.

The Fusion SE is one of the most famous models, which is updated with attractive 17 inch alloy wheels and standard six-speed automatic transmission. It also gets power driver’s seat, floor mats, satellite radio, stereo controls on steering column and front passenger’s seat, which folds flat for carrying long items inside the vehicle. You can identify Fusion SE by its body colored mirrors and foglights. The variety of options are offered on SE, including power sunroof, 3.0-liter V6 engine, Ford Sync technology and reverse sensing system. The Appearance Package includes sporty exterior trim and larger 18-inch wheels.The Fusion SEL is one of the most prestigious variants, which comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather, Sync, dual power heated front seats, auto dimming rearview mirror and ambient cabin illumination. With its SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission, the driver benefits from manual control over gear changes. The SEL also gets heated side mirrors with puddle lamps, automatic headlights and SecuriCode keyless entry pad of Ford. The 3.0 liter V6 engine is offered with reverse sensing system, all-wheel drive and power sunroof. Optional features include Blind-spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, navigation system with reversing camera and Sony premium surround sound stereo system. Shoppers can also choose sport tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels, along with Luxury Package, which provides premium leather with special interior detailing and contrast stitching.

The Fusion Sport is a performance-oriented model, which adds SelectShift automatic transmission, 3.5-liter V6 engine, hydraulic rather than electric steering and sport suspension. Distinctive 18-inch alloy wheels, decklid spoiler and body kit dress up the exterior, while interiors get leather wrapped steering wheel, leather seats with power eight-way adjustment for driver, Sync, leather seats, sport themed interior trim and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Those looking to maximize fuel economy or simply live greener lifestyle will want to consider the Hybrid. In terms of equipment, it mirrors standard features list of Fusion SEL with few exceptions. The 17-inch alloys get unique design, seats upholstered in eco-friendly cloth instead of leather, reverse sensing system, CD changer and 110-volt power outlet. Heated front seats, Leather, Sony premium sound, navigation with reversing camera, power sunroof and BLIS with Cross Traffic Alert are optional.

Kia Optima Hybrid
Kia Optima Hybrid
Kia Optima Hybrid

The Kia Optima Hybrid is available in with one of four trim levels. The base LX model is identified by 16-inch steel wheels with plastic wheel covers along with plethora of comfort and convenience comfort features including power windows, air conditioning, power mirrors, power door locks with remote keyless entry, trip computer, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rearseat and manual driver’s seat height adjuster. Bluetooth handsfree calling is standard, and stereo system includes satellite radio with three free months of service, CD player, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack. Striking goodies which you wouldn’t expect on entry-level model’s standard features list include heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, dual exhaust outlets, glovebox with cooling feature and foglights.

Optional equipments and features on Optima LX include automatic transmission with ECO active fuel economy optimization feature. Additional features are dual-zone climate control, Infinity premium sound system, power driver’s seat, navigation system with a reversing camera, HomeLink garage door opener and other upgrades.Opting for Optima EX will get you eight-way power driver’s seat, more luxurious interior slathered with leather seats and trim, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, UVO by Microsoft hands-free entertainment and communication system, automatic headlights, keyless entry and push-button ignition and more. Exterior enhancements are LED taillights and 17-inch alloy wheels. You can further outfit EX with heated and cooled front seats, power front passenger’s seat, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, navigation system, Infinity premium sound and panoramic sunroof.

Those looking to want slightly more adrenaline with their morning commute can check out the Optima SX that comes with 18-inch machined finish alloy wheels and powerful turbocharged engine. It also adds side sill trim, auto-leveling high-intensity discharge headlights, special grille design only on SX and rear lip spoiler. The cabin inside offers carbon-look dash trim, black leather seats, light-up doorsill trim, metal pedals, paddle shifters and Supervision gauges and LCD screen.

Opting for Hybrid means that keyless entry with push-button ignition, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fixed rear seat with center pass-through and dual-zone automatic climate control are yours for the taking. Features exclusive to Optima Hybrid include revised side mirror design, special exterior visual effects, added chrome trim, 16-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tires and lip spoiler for trunk lid.

Infiniti M Hybrid
Infiniti M Hybrid
Infiniti M Hybrid

As compared to other M variants, the Infiniti M Hybrid is only available as rear wheel drive sedan, meaning four-wheel-drive capability isn’t the part of the deal. This hybrid is hardly bare-bones with 18-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable tilt and telescoping steering wheel, moonroof, HID headlights, leather clad seats and rain-sensing wipers. The front buckets are heated and power operated. Other interior elements include auto dimming rearview mirror, stainless steel trim, genuine wood accents, universal garage door opener, push button ignition system, dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. Other features include USB port, XM satellite radio, active noise control and rearview monitor, which serves for providing quiet traveling experience.The Hybrid can be updated with 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. Buyers can also select from Deluxe Touring, Technology and Premium packages, which up the ante with Bose surround sound system, touchscreen navigation unit, ventilated front seats, Bluetooth streaming audio, auto-leveling headlights, host of advanced safety features and upgraded interior materials.

Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid is marketed in XLT, XLS, Hybrid, Hybrid Limited and Limited trim levels. The least expensive model is XLS, which comes standard with cruise control, tilt steering wheel, power windows, air conditioning and power door locks with remote keyless entry. The Escape XLS adds alloy wheels, power blind-spot side mirrors, auxiliary audio input jack, Ford’s MyKey technology that enables owners to program limits for speed and stereo volume and CD player. The XLS can be optioned with automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, Ford Sync wireless technology and floor mats.

The Escape XLT includes floor mats, automatic transmission, auto dimming rearview mirror, dark tinted rear glass, compass and outside temperature display. The driver sits on power adjustable seat facing leather wrapped steering wheel, while the XLT gets SecuriCode keypad entry system of Ford, automatic headlights, roof rails and foglamps. The XLT model can be slathered with heated front seats, optional leather, premium sound system with HD Radio, navigation system with reversing camera, Ford Sync, towing package and power moonroof. The Sport Appearance Package is also offered adding blacked-out exterior trim and rear spoiler.Hybrid models come standard with Sync, 110-volt power outlet and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Limited version of Escape Hybrid includes same features found on standard Limited model along with power sunroof, rear parking sensors and reversing camera system. Either Hybrid model can be equipped with high definition Radio and navigation system. The power sunroof is optional on standard Hybrid model, while Hybrid Limited is available with Active Park Assist.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid lineup includes V6 AWD, Hybrid and V6 models. Each is highly well equipped, including typical luxury equipment suspects plus features such as plush perforated Bridge of Weir leather upholstery; 10-way power front seats with heating and cooling and genuine wood trim on door panels, steering wheel and dashboard. The MyKey allows parents to program vehicle limits and settings aimed at helping teenagers driver more responsibly, and Sync handsfree Bluetooth technology including Directions, Information and Traffic service with 911 Assist that alerts rescuers when MKZ’s airbags have deployed. LED taillights, heated blind-spot side mirrors and 17-inch machined-finish alloy wheels are also standard. The MKZ Hybrid gets SmartGauge with EcoGuide system, which displays leaves on vine blooming with white flowers as driver maximizes fuel economy.

Options for MKZ are combined in different packages. The Navigation Package comes with DVD playing capability, hard drive navigation system with jukebox feature and music storage capability, reversing camera, Blind spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert and HD Radio. On Hybrids, the Navigation Package includes THX-II Certified 5.1 Surround Sound system. The Ultimate Package has Navigation Package features along with ambient cabin lighting, chrome wheels, rain sensing wipers, high intensity discharge (HID) adaptive headlights and power sunroof. MKZ V6 models come equipped with this package plus THX-II Certified 5.1 Surround Sound system. The Executive Package adds additional wood trim to dashboard, premium floor mats with Lincoln logos, upgraded leather for the seats and other upscale trim details.

What Is a Hybrid Car? How Do Hybrids Work?

 

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