Between chip shortages, companies struggling to rehire for positions cut during the pandemic, and rising gas prices, new cars are expensive to purchase and keep on the road. Used cars cost more lately, too. But some pre-owned models offer excellent fuel economy and value. Below are the top five used hybrid cars under $15,000, according to U.S. News.
1. 2011 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt made its debut for the 2011 model year. Kelley Blue Book calls it a “perfect compromise between the EV you want and the gasoline-powered vehicle that more practically fits into your daily routine.”
This first-generation Volt produced 149 hp from its plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s a fuel-sipper even compared to modern standards. It gets 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway on gas alone. The 2011 Volt can even go up to 50 miles on electric power alone.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt seats four and offers 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. It also provides plenty of standard features, including touchscreen navigation and Bluetooth.
In addition, U.S. News reviewers note the Volt’s high safety ratings, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick.
Costing an average of $6,152, the 2011 Chevy Volt is also the cheapest car in U.S. News’ “Best Used Hybrid Cars under $15K for 2022.”
2. 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Landing the second spot on U.S. News’ list of the best used hybrid cars under $15,000 is the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Fusion had been in production for five years before the hybrid version debuted for the 2010 model year.
The hybrid model performs much like the gas-only Fusion but with fuel economy estimates closer to the Volt’s (36 highway mpg and 41 city mpg). Impressively, 2010 was the Fusion Hybrid’s first model year, and it won North American Car of the Year.
In addition, this hybrid offers plenty of driver’s aids. Cruise control, parking sensors, traction control, electronic stability control, and Ford’s Sync infotainment system are standard.
Though the 2010 Fusion Hybrid gets top marks for reliability and cost — priced at an average of $7,066 — U.S. News reviewers scored it the best in safety. In fact, this model was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Furthermore, U.S. News ranks it first among best used midsize cars under $15,000, most affordable midsize cars of 2010, and best 2010 hybrid cars.
3. 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid and 2010 Toyota Prius (tie)
Tied at the third spot on U.S. News’ list of the best used hybrid cars under $15,000 are the 2010 Mercury Milan and 2010 Toyota Prius. These models offer drivers two approaches to the used hybrid market.
Mercury — the now-defunct brand under Ford Motor Company — produced the Mercury Milan Hybrid alongside the Ford Fusion. The Milan was the premium version of the two, with an upscale interior to complement the steady drive and many technology features.
On the other hand, the Toyota Prius was the fuel-economy champion of 2010. The 2010 Prius averages around 50 mpg combined and boasts plenty of cargo space and standard safety features.
U.S. News estimates the purchase price of a 2010 Mercury Milan at $6,990 and a 2010 Toyota Prius at $7,494 to $12,430.
4. 2011 Toyota Prius
One model year later, the Prius remains a worthwhile option. Its high fuel efficiency, spacious interior seating five, and bountiful safety features make the 2011 Toyota Prius an excellent choice. But like the 2010 model, the 2011 version remains less fun to drive than the Milan and Fusion.
The potential for lower mileage with a 2011 Prius than a 2010 model makes it an attractive option. But with its average price range between $9,046 and $15,742, it’s also one of the more expensive used hybrid cars on U.S. News’ list.
5. 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota’s third entry on this list of used hybrid cars is the Camry, one of the most popular sedans. The 2011 model was the last one before a redesign came for 2012.
U.S. News says the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid is much like the Fusion Hybrid — it performs well on the road and provides plenty of technology. However, the Camry’s interior is more spacious.
In addition, the sedan body style is popular with drivers who might think the Prius is ugly. Plus, the 2011 Camry Hybrid harnesses 147 hp — a significant upgrade from the 2011 Prius’ paltry 98 horses.
But ironically, the biggest reason for buying a used hybrid — fuel efficiency — is where the 2011 Camry Hybrid falls short. With 31/35 mpg city/highway, the fuel economy is much lower than the Fusion and Milan hybrids and a considerable drop from the Prius.
As for purchase price, the 2011 Camry Hybrid comes in at $10,035 to $10,364.
Is buying a used hybrid worth it?
Rising gas and used car prices have made buying a used hybrid car more appealing in 2022. Getting a reliable hybrid like the models on this list could save you money over time without sacrificing what you like in a sedan or hatchback.
If you’re looking for the best price and nearly the best fuel economy, the Chevy Volt is likely the best option.
But if you want a better driving experience, go for the Fusion Hybrid, though a Milan Hybrid could give you a similar experience with more luxury for a comparable price.
And if fuel efficiency is king, look to the Toyota Prius — the pioneer of hybrid cars.