Gas prices are down in 2015, and that has put a squeeze on standard hybrids while electric vehicles continue to sell. As a result, you will find auto dealers looking to move hybrid inventory for as long as they pile up on the lot. These breaks mean huge savings when calculating the total cost of ownership over the life of a vehicle.
Even without incentives, there are a number of affordable hybrids on the market that offer excellent economy, regardless of fluctuations in the price of oil. Considering a driver holds on to a car for at least 6 years on average, efficient vehicles are a great investment for the long term. (Ever heard of gas prices holding steady for six years? Neither have we.) Falling hybrid repair costs are another reason to give hybrids a look.
While you browse through the market of efficient vehicles, here are the seven most affordable standard hybrid models on the U.S. market in 2015. Prices do not include destination charges.
7. Kia Optima Hybrid
The base 2015 Kia Optima hybrid offers a solid package for consumers. Economy is rated at 36 miles per gallon in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the highway while 199 horsepower and 235 pounds-feet of torque keep the driving experience enjoyable. Optima is one of the more spacious sedans in the midsize class and, at $25,990 for the base hybrid, the premium over the standard gasoline model ($21,690) that gets 27 combined miles per gallon seems reasonable.
6. Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford’s Fusion is one of the gas-electric models that does not force consumers to stand out from the pack. Like Optima, you get the attractive styling and spaciousness of gasoline models while economy improves considerably. The 2016 Fusion hybrid ($25,185) delivers up to 44 miles per gallon in city driving and 41 miles gallon on the highway. Compared to 22 miles per gallon on gas models ($22,110), the move to a hybrid does not seem significant.
5. Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda’s hybrids are some of the most efficient vehicles on the market and, in the case of the Civic hybrid, among the most affordable in their respective classes. (The Accord plug-in is a glaring exception.) The Civic hybrid sedan can return 44 miles per gallon in the city and 47 miles per gallon on the highway. At $24,735, this model does represent a large premium over the standard Civic sedan ($18,490) that gets 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 39 miles per gallon on the highway.
4. Toyota Prius
The standard Toyota Prius has always been the best-selling hybrid by a landslide because of its incredible efficiency (50 miles per gallon combined) and affordability ($24,200). Compared to the more affordable Prius C, the liftback model provides drivers with more interior space as well. Can four million Prius buyers be wrong after all these years? Unless you are driving a pure electric vehicle, it’s unlikely you can beat the Prius’s lifetime cost of ownership.
3. Ford C-Max
Ford had some bad news for its workforce when it announced it would cut a shift at its green car plant in April, and the culprit was slow sales of models like the C-Max, the brand’s only dedicated hybrid. At $24,170 with 42 city miles per gallon, there is a strong case to be made for this vehicle that offers more cargo space and horsepower (188) Prius liftback does at the same price.
2. Honda CR-Z
You aren’t going to be knocked out at the fuel economy ratings of the base 2015 Honda CR-Z. It boasts just 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 miles per gallon on the highway — inferior to several gasoline cars. However, it does offer manual transmission and a starting price of $20,145, not to mention performance that everyone will prefer to a Prius. Automatic models ($20,795) deliver much better economy (37 miles per gallon combined).
1. Toyota Prius C
As the most efficient non-plug-in on the U.S. market (53 miles per gallon city) and the cheapest available hybrid ($19,080 for a 2014 model), the Prius C has several things that should appeal to car shoppers. It may be the smallest of the Prius family, but the city economy is impossible to beat. The 2015 model is only slightly more costly at $19,540 if you cannot stomach the idea of driving last year’s model. Even with gas prices so cheap, Prius C drivers still save an average of $4,500 on fuel costs over the course of five years, compared to the average (24 miles per gallon) vehicle.