Only 2 Hybrid Cars Are Available for Less Than $25,000

Now that automakers across the globe are fully invested in electrifying their fleets, electric vehicle and hybrid prices are beginning to fall. Not only is the technology becoming easier and cheaper to mass produce, but with so many EVs and hybrids on the market, automakers have now begun to compete in terms of price. Despite substantial price drops in both segments, there are still just two hybrids you can buy for less than $25,000: the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid. Let’s look at both and see if these affordable hybrids are worth serious consideration.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The rear badging of a red 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid model
2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid badging | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid shares the same sleek exterior design as its gas-powered counterpart. However, under the hood is a different story. As per Edmunds, the Corolla Hybrid’s powertrain is a 1.8-liter inline-four engine paired with an electrical system that produces 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. It’s not the most powerful vehicle in the segment, but it performs relatively well and has excellent fuel economy. You’ll get 53 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway, saving you quite a bit in ownership costs over time.

Inside the Corolla Hybrid, there’s not a tremendous amount of space. The trunk is 13.1 cubic feet, which is not especially high for a modern sedan. There’s also 42.0 inches of legroom in the front and 34.8 inches in the back, which may make the Corolla Hybrid feel cramped for taller drivers and passengers. You’ll also find an 8.0-inch touchscreen that comes standard with the base model and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s also a six-speaker audio system for your music and calls.

The Corolla Hybrid comes in just one trim level – the LE. The LE starts at just $24,050, which is a steal. However, the LE lacks many amenities that many drivers have come to expect as standard features. For example, while the Corolla Hybrid comes with emergency braking assistance and a lane departure warning system, you’ll need to buy other advanced safety systems like blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts separately.

The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

Unlike the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid comes in two trims: the Elantra Blue Hybrid and the Elantra Limited Hybrid. However, it’s the former option that starts at under $25,000. The Elantra Blue Hybrid can be bought for just $24,400 and, depending on your preferences, may be quite a steal at that price.

Edmunds notes that under the hood, you’ll find a 1.6-liter inline-four engine and an electrical system that can generate a combined 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. In addition to being more powerful than the Corolla, the Elantra Hybrid’s fuel economy numbers are also slightly more impressive. You’ll get 53 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway, which can be a significant cost saver over time.

The Elantra Hybrid is also a bit roomier than the Corolla Hybrid. The Hyundai has a 14.2 cubic feet large trunk, as well as 42.3 inches of legroom in the front and 38.0 inches in the back. It also has an 8.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a six-speaker sound system. You can get more advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, and lane departure warning.

Other affordable options

While the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Hyundai Elantra Hybrid are the only two hybrids on the market with starting MSRPs below $25,000, a few come in just slightly over that threshold. U.S. News and World Report notes you can obtain a Toyota Prius for just $25,075. A Prius is somewhat underpowered, with its engine and electrical system generating just 121 hp. However, its fuel economy numbers are excellent: 58/53 mpg city/highway.

Additionally, you’ll get more cargo space in the Prius than either of the sedans mentioned above: 27.4 cubic feet of storage space behind the back row and 50.7 cubic feet with the back row folded down. The Prius also sports a 7.0-inch touchscreen, compatible with Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker sound system.

The Honda Insight is another hybrid sedan that comes at around $25,000. You’ll find it sports a 1.5-liter engine and electric motor that generate 151 horsepower and gets you 55/49 mpg city/highway. The Insight is more spacious than the builds of the Corolla and Elantra, with 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space. Inside, you’ll also find some great tech amenities, such as an 8-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker stereo system, all for just $25,760.

However, if you’re married to the $25,000 threshold, there’s also the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, which comes in at just $23,600. You’ll have to buy a 2022 model; Hyundai has discontinued this model for the 2023 model year. The 2022 model’s powertrain generates 139 hp using a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and 1.56 kWh battery pack. Fuel economy tops the pack with 58/60 mpg city/highway. Cargo space is solid, with 25.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Additionally, riders have access to an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system, among other features.

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