AAA quotes gasoline prices up in May 2014 by 10 cents or more when compared to 2013?s numbers. Whether or not the idea of decreasing carbon emissions enters someone’s head, the investment in electric vehicle technology is worth exploring when considering savings on fuel over the life of a vehicle. To make the transition easier, Detroit automakers have introduced hybrid vehicles in their luxury lines that do not cost more than standard models.
These no-premium hybrids are among the best-selling in the class among U.S. consumers in 2014. Though the sales figures show pure electric vehicle sales are rising the fastest among all green cars, there are several luxury hybrids hitting the mark for automakers in the first third of the year. Here are the eight top-selling hybrids from the world’s luxury brands.
8. Acura ILX Hybrid ($28,900)
There isn’t much power to access in the Acura ILX Hyrbid, but the respectable 39 mpg city is convincing enough consumers to bite. The ILX Hybrid takes eighth place on the U.S. sales list through April 2014. The numbers aren’t that large. Acura sold forty-nine models of the ILX Hybrid in April and has posted 164 units sold through the first four months of 2014.
Those figures are down nearly 70 percent for both month and year. Perhaps the slump can be traced to the 1.5-liter VTEC engine that has an output of maximum 111 horsepower.
7. Cadillac ELR ($75,000)
One can call the Cadillac ELR a “range-extending electric vehicle,” but the effect is the same once battery power ends and the gas-powered motor takes over. In fact, the MPGe number is designed to offer an equivalent or EV plus combustion efficiency. The ELR gets up to 37 miles on electric power before switching over to its gasoline-only engine, or 82 MPGe.
In April, Cadillac sold sixty-one models of its pricey plug-in and has clocked 241 units sold through the first four months of 2014.
6. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid ($70,900)
The Cayenne Hybrid is not exactly a star green car with its 24 mpg highway rating. However, if you are in the market for a luxury SUV with a sliver of green credentials, this Cayenne may be the best one can do. Compared to the competition in this segment, that’s enough for U.S. buyers.
Porsche sold eighty-four units of the Cayenne Hybrid in April, which pushes the total to 289 units in 2014. No doubt the 380 hp engine is appealing, as is the maximum 428 lb-ft of torque. To get a taste of a Cayenne plug-in expected to get 22 miles of electric-only power, luxury SUV drivers will have to wait for the 2015 model due out in late 2014.
5. Buick Regal eAssist ($31,560)
It may be hard to navigate the Buick website to find details on any vehicle, but enough buyers have found the Buick Regal eAssist hybrid in dealerships to place the car fifth on the list of top sellers in 2014. Buick sold forty-one in April and counts a total of 302 units through four months in 2014. That represents huge drops (90 and 79 percent, respectively) compared to the sales in 2013.
Shoppers who can locate the eAssist option on the Regal home page will find the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine offers 36 highway mpg with 182 hp.
4. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid ($99,999)
Porsche may take the “Just $9.99!” approach too far with the Panamera hybrid’s pricing, but the point is usually moot among interested shoppers. U.S. buyers bought sixty-three models of the “parallel plug-in hybrid” in April and 317 through the first four months of 2013. Porsche calls the Panamera S E-Hybrid parallel because it can run on pure electric power, on just gasoline power, or by both at the same time in traditional hybrid style. All told, this 416-hp thriller can get 50 MPGe and can cover 15 miles on electric power alone.
Of course, it’s not your aunt’s electric vehicle, even if it does have four doors. The Panamera S E-Hybrid can hit a top speed of 167 mph.
3. LaCrosse eAssist Hybrid ($33,535)
Buick doesn’t sell its eAssist Hybrid models of the LaCrosse at a premium as it does with the LaCrosse. U.S. consumers have warmed to the LaCrosse eAssist in 2014, buying 2,203 models on the year and 716 (up 13 percent) in April. With an EPA-estimated 25 city and 36 highway mpg, there are plenty of reasons to opt for higher fuel economy (though less power) in the hybrid model.
Part of the reason behind the LaCrosse hybrid’s success could also come in the marketing. Buick doesn’t force consumers to dig through its website to locate the fuel economy, pricing, or engine specs of the LaCrosse hybrid. The same can’t be said for the slumping Regal.
2. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid ($35,190)
Ford has found considerable success in the marketing of its MKZ hybrid. As with the LaCrosse hybrid, auto consumers can pick up the Lincoln MKZ with hybrid or Ecoboost engine specs for the same price. Lincoln goes out of its way to highlight this attractive selling point on TV spots while contrasting the premium buyers would pay for rival hybrids by Lexus.
It appears the message is getting across. A total of 1,047 MKZ hybrids sold in April (up 18 percent over the previous year), which pushes the total to 4,103 sales to U.S. buyers on the year. That puts the MKZ up 155 percent compared to sales through the first four months of 2013. It has an EPA-estimated rating of 45 city and 45 highway mpg with 188 horsepower.
1. Lexus CT200h ($32,050)
With 134 hp to offer drivers, the Lexus CT200h isn’t winning U.S. consumers over on power, but it is leading the pack in the premium hybrid segment in 2014. Through the first four months of 2014, Lexus has sold 5,054 units of the CT200h, which marks an increase of 14 percent over 2013?s number to that point and included 1,054 cars sold in April.
Offering economy of 43 city mpg and 40 highway mpg, the CT200h doesn’t meet the bar set by the MKZ hybrid but costs over $3,000 less. Lexus doesn’t break down the sales of its other hybrid models yet, but there may be more performers on the charts for the premium Toyota brand in the months ahead. On the heels of its success with the Prius, Toyota doesn’t appear ready to pause by any stretch in the green car department.