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Forget what you think about hybrid reliability. Although they’re still a relatively new category, they perform exceptionally well compared to their combustion-only counterparts, enjoying high-reliability rankings across the board. However, one cheap hybrid compact car performed better than the rest in 2022. Not only is it a pleasure to drive, but a pleasure to own as a low-cost, fuel-efficient five-seater sedan.

How experts assess a brand-new car’s reliability

Various experts and automotive outlets will test new-model cars and rate them. To shape that data into metrics the public can use, publications analyze dozens of different vehicle areas that often cause trouble. These areas include the engine, brakes, transmission, electronic systems, and suspension, among others. Afterward, a vehicle’s reliability can be represented by the number of problems per 100 vehicles, a rating out of five stars, or on a 100-point scale.

Out of the many models and brands, Asian automakers from Japan and South Korea typically receive higher scores than American, German, and British manufacturers. As for vehicle categories, hybrid cars now lead the pack as some of the most reliable, with hybrid and plug-in SUVs ranking further toward the bottom. But, which hybrid earned top honors?

The winner should be no surprise for those familiar with Toyota’s reputation for superior reliability. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid has the highest reliability score of all hybrids by a wide margin. Owner reports on Edmunds give the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid’s reliability a near-perfect rating. But even more can be surmised through the car’s four-year history.

There are no recalls on the 2023 Corolla Hybrid and none on the 2022 or 2021 model years. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) issued two on the 2020 Corolla Hybrid, though. The government agency explained the rear seat belt failed to lock, and it had a faulty brake booster assembly. Otherwise, the Corolla Hybrid has a squeaky-clean bill of health.

A look at the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

A side profile shot of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Infrared Special Edition compact sedan model, the most reliable cheap hybrid compact car of 2022
2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Infrared Special Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

With a starting MSRP of $21,550, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is affordable and an excellent and dependable car, albeit with a fairly mundane exterior and interior design. You won’t mistake it for a supercar with a more than 10-second 0 to 60 mph acceleration time. However, its hood hides an engine that performs well relative to the vehicle it’s in. Hybrids come with a 169-hp 2.0-liter engine and an electric system that helps it get a combined 48 mpg.

The interior is bland, with lots of hard plastic trim and relatively little cloth. However, the Corolla Hybrid has decent legroom in the front (42.0 inches) and the rear (34.8 inches). Additionally, the 13.1 cubic foot trunk is solid, if not stellar, for the segment. It also comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a personal assistant feature, and over-the-air updates.

The Corolla Hybrid is quite safe; according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the NHTSA, the 2022 model is a perfect five-star and Top Safety Pick+ sedan. The company’s entry-level hybrid comes with the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 system, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, lane-centering, lane-departure warning, auto high beams, and road sign assistance. These safety systems can reduce the risk of an accident, thus keeping repair costs low and boosting vehicle reliability.

What’s the least reliable hybrid vehicle?

One interesting trend rating agency-wide is that hybrid full-size pickup trucks are some of the least reliable. Given their relatively recent debut, it isn’t surprising that Ford’s first full-size truck with a hybrid drivetrain isn’t known for its Teflon dependability.

While the F-150 Hybrid successfully replicates much of what Ford enthusiasts love about the model, it isn’t as reliable. Additionally, the non-hybrid version of the pickup isn’t much better. Ford Authority notes potential problems throughout the powertrain, from the engine to the transmission to the fuel and drive systems. With a starting MSRP range of $34,585 to $84,910, you could spend tens of thousands on repairs if your F-150 breaks down.

That’s not to say the hybrid F-150 is a bad vehicle. It wouldn’t be the U.S.’s best-selling truck if it were. It’s powerful, with the engine component generating 430 hp. It can tow up to 12,400 pounds. The F-150 Hybrid also offers much better fuel efficiency than other full-size trucks. Additionally, its equipped with features that make it ideal for work, from a tailgate that doubles as a workbench and a center console that offers a hidden desk.

Still, if you’re looking to replace a worn truck with a Ford F-150 Hybrid, keep its reliability score and likely high long-term ownership costs in mind. But if you’re entering the hybrid car market, Toyota’s diet Prius is the best example to begin with.

Related The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Gets You a Fuel-Efficient All-Wheel Drive Car Under $30,000

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Gets You a Fuel-Efficient All-Wheel Drive Car Under $30,000