Once, compact hybrids like the Toyota Prius were too compact to be as practical as their SUV competition. Thanks to advances in battery technology that has changed. Now, it’s almost too easy to find a compact hybrid that will offer you 99% of the practicality as a compact SUV at half the size. Easier parking isn’t the only upside here, and these Consumer Reports picks are the best of both practicality and fuel economy.
2021 Honda’s Insight compact hybrid
So, kicking off the list is Honda’s Insight hybrid. The model is effectively a hybridized Honda Civic, which is not a bad place to start. Fitting of this list, the Insight’s best attribute is its fuel economy. Testing from several publications, Consumer Reports included, reveals that the Insight manages a healthy 54 MPG. But, there’s more to the Insight than just outright fuel economy.
The electric system in the compact hybrid gives it great acceleration, a far cry from the laziness of the first-gen Toyota Prius. What’s more, there’s also plenty of great safety features and storage to be had. Highlights are forward collision warning and lane-keep assist, but there’s plenty more on offer depending on the trim level. However, it must be said that the gas engine can be bothersome and noisy, and the sedan body style isn’t as practical as some hatchback offerings.
Toyota’s 2021 Corolla compact hybrid
Unfortunately, the 2021 Toyota Corolla doesn’t do any better with regard to cargo capacity. Once again, the model is let down by its low roof and small trunk, arguably more so than the Honda. Just like the Honda, the Corolla’s powertrain becomes lacking once the gas-powered motor kicks in, also due to cabin noise. Thankfully, this is where the issues end for the Corolla, keeping it a strong contender in the compact hybrid segment.
Standard features are the name of the game for this little Toyota, which has plenty to offer in this regard. In addition to managing a strong-ish 48 MPG, the Corolla packs a lot into its small frame. From standard Android Auto and Apple Carplay, the Corolla goes from strength to strength with its safety features. Blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise are optional, but cost next to nothing, and are certainly worth looking hard for.
Toyota’s 2021 Prius Prime
Talking of Toyotas, it’s time to move to the best of the best on this list. The perennial compact hybrid: the Toyota Prius. In Prime spec, the Prius offers plenty of storage space, allowing it to keep pace with larger SUVs. Also on offer are Toyota’s suite of safety features, as mentioned above.
Offering an excellent 69 MPG overall, the Prius barely sips gas. The small hybrid has been the high watermark for this segment for some time, and it continues its dominance to this day. If a small, practical, hybridized vehicle is what you’re looking for, it is nearly impossible to go wrong with the Toyota Prius.