Consumer Reports: How to Decide if a Hybrid Vehicle Is Right for You

The pressure to switch to an electric vehicle, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid vehicle is real right now. Consumer Reports has a lot of reviews for hybrid cars and pretty positive responses from owners about reliability. How do you know if this is the right new car for you?

Consumer Reports reccomends hybrid vehicles

Consumer Reports on how to know if a hybrid is right for you
A photo shows the logo of Hyundai hybrid SUV | Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The hybrid vehicle is basically the best of both worlds. According to Consumer Reports, “hybrids team an electric motor with a gasoline engine to provide efficient transportation.” You don’t have to plug in this type of vehicle, and the models look and act a lot like the gasoline versions.

There are various affordable options out there, usually under $25,000. In some of the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Surveys, owners have expressed satisfaction with hybrids. These versions tend to score better in overall owner satisfaction than the regular Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) version.

Hybrid vehicles get pretty excellent gas mileage thanks to the inclusion of a gas engine and an electric motor. The electric motor helps the gas engine during low speeds or when it doesn’t need as much power. Then regenerative braking also helps charge the battery pack for the electric motor.

The pros of owning a hybrid as decided by Consumer Reports

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Hybrid vehicles get solid fuel economy, as previously mentioned. Since hybrids don’t use gasoline all of the time, these produce lower emissions overall. The electric motor doesn’t have any emissions. Owners do not need to plug in the car at any point, making it convenient for those who might be in more urban areas.

Another benefit of a hybrid is not having to seek out particular locations for fuel or power. You can fill up at a regular gas station, making it easier if you have a long commute or like to road trip a lot. Thanks to the addition of the motor, the hybrids usually have more power than the gas-powered equivalent.

When it came to recommendations, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson hybrid checks all the boxes. Consumer Reports says it has “the best qualities of its gas-only counterpart: sharp handling, a roomy interior, and easy-to-use controls.” It received the “recommended” tag, the “green choice” recommendation, and above-average scores for the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. It gets 226 hp from the engine and motor, plus managed 35 mpg overall.

The cons of owning a hybrid are still worth checking into

Compared directly to the non-hybrid models, the hybrid usually costs between $1,000 and $3,000 more. That might pay off down the line when you don’t need to stop for gas as frequently, but it depends on the commute. In some of Consumer Reports’ testing, the hybrid models didn’t stop as well as the regular version. This appeared in the CR brake testing.

Most models use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that can be loud. Owners have noted, “high engine revving compared with the vehicle’s acceleration.” This is called “rubberbanding” and has been called disagreeable by those testers who experienced it.

The 2022 Toyota Camry LE hybrid had much of the same praise. It managed 47 mpg overall and above-average scores across the board. Consumer Reports notes that it has the same amount of trunk space as the gas version, too!

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