Hybrid vehicles allow people to use less gas as they combine a combustion engine with an electric motor powered by a battery. When it comes to fuel, the results are impressive. While many mistakenly believe hybrid vehicles cost too much, the price to own one is surprisingly reasonable.
Toyota makes two of the better hybrids on the market, the Camry Hybrid and Prius. Here’s how these hybrid stars match up when it comes to comfort, cost, fuel economy, and safety:
Comfort: Toyota Camry
The Camry Hybrid beats the compact Prius when it comes to comfort. With plenty of headroom and legroom in the front and back, this midsize sedan fits five people in roomy, supportive seating. Both cars use quality materials inside, but the Camry has an edge with a smart, practical layout.
Cost to own: Toyota Prius
The starting price of a 2019 Toyota Prius is $29,844, and a 2019 Camry costs $31,129. So, the Prius wins by costing about $2,200 less. Even when you consider the total cost of owning either car — factoring in depreciation, taxes, insurance, repair costs, and fuel — this round goes to Prius.
Both cars are pretty well-matched when it comes to insurance and repair costs. Financing and taxes with fees play out similarly. However, the Camry has a higher depreciation while Prius costs more for maintenance (on average). These costs don’t factor in any available tax credits.
Fuel economy: Prius
The Toyota Camry gets good gas mileage. But the Prius gets exceptional gas mileage. It earns an EPA-estimated 58 MPG in the city and 53 MPG on the highway — impressive for a compact car. The L Eco trim level is the most fuel-efficient model, but the upper trim levels offer 54/50 MPG with the all-wheel-drives getting 52/48 MPG.
The Camry Hybrid is fuel-efficient for a midsize sedan. The base model gets an EPA-estimated 51/53 MPG with upper trim levels rated at 44/47 MPG. The upper trim packages will cost drivers an average of $100 more per year in fuel. The difference in mileage is due in part to different batteries.
With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration giving it a perfect five-star safety rating overall, the Camry Hybrid is hard to beat when it comes to safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also named the Camry as a 2019 Top Safety Pick+, the highest safety rating the agency gives.
The vehicle got top marks for its front crash prevention measures and headlight performance. Earning a rating of Good in all six crash-test categories, the Camry is loaded with safety features like two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The system got the highest rating available in ease-of-use from the IIHS. (The Prius also uses the LATCH system.)
When it comes to safety, the Prius is no slouch. It received five stars from NHTSA for overall safety. It got five stars for the side crash test and four stars for both the rollover and frontal crash test.
Verdict: a tie
Sorry, but we just can’t pick a side. Both of Toyota’s hybrids are winners. Those looking for a safer, more comfortable hybrid car can’t go wrong with the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Those who want to pay a little less for the cost to own as well as fuel prices may consider the Prius instead.