Toyota Took Major Losses in This Contest for the Best Hybrid Cars of 2021

Toyota’s vehicles are known for their reliability. Toyota was also the first automaker to popularize hybrid cars with the release of the Prius. The brand has gradually added more hybrids to the lineup, including the freshly redesigned Sienna and RAV4 Prime.

But surprisingly, none scored a spot on Good Housekeeping’s “The Best Hybrid Vehicles of 2021” list. GH judged hybrids based on their batteries’ efficiency and scrutinized plug-in hybrids for their range and charging times. The hybrid segment has grown highly competitive, and it seems Toyota can’t keep up.

The 2019 Toyota Prius with all-wheel drive on display at AutoMobility LA on November 28, 2018, in Los Angeles
2019 Toyota Prius AWD | David McNew/Getty Images

The Toyota Prius is iconic, but it’s certainly showing its age. It makes a maximum of 121 hp, putting it well behind several rivals. Still, it has impressive fuel economy estimates (up to 56 mpg combined) and an expansive cargo hold despite its small size.

The Toyota Sienna minivan’s powertrain also offers great gas mileage and three ample rows of seating. However, with only 245 hp, its powertrain might struggle while trying to pass other vehicles on the highway. Seats in the third row are lightweight for easy removal, but second-row seating can’t be detached.

Good Housekeeping’s favorite small hybrid cars

Good Housekeeping recommends the Honda Accord Hybrid for families because of its smooth ride and generous interior dimensions. The standard trim also comes with more driver’s aids compared to last year and a new 8.0-inch touchscreen. The interior isn’t as quiet as other hybrids, so keep that in mind if you plan to transport dozing little ones.

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is slightly more expensive than the Accord but offers a quieter drive with comfortable and supportive seating. GH says it’s not the most engaging car to drive, and it makes less power than the Accord. Still, the Sonata Hybrid gets good mileage and offers one of the best warranties in its class.

In the luxury hybrid class, the BMW 530e sedan offers the same smooth and sporty ride as its gas-powered siblings. It’s also eligible for the federal tax credit. However, the base model comes with only three standard safety features.

Good Housekeeping recommends these hybrid SUVs

The Kia Niro comes in hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, but GH says the hybrid model is superior. It has a balanced albeit boring ride quality, and shifts between gas and EV mode aren’t exactly seamless. But it’s nicely equipped, gets excellent fuel economy, and is a great value with its 10-year drivetrain warranty.

It’s no surprise to see the Honda CR-V Hybrid on this list, too, especially with its fun handling and standard all-wheel drive. It can hold plenty of cargo and five passengers comfortably, with cozy heated seats for front-seat riders. The standard trim feels slightly bare-bones in terms of technology, but sizing up won’t put a terrible dent in your savings.

According to Good Housekeeping, the Ford Escape Hybrid is the best PHEV among SUVs, with 37 miles of all-electric driving. Additionally, GH appreciated all the standard features and smooth ride quality.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid technically isn’t an SUV, but this minivan is an even better deal for big families. It comes with plenty of standard features, and its back seats are easy to configure for extra cargo room. However, it suffers from the same acceleration problem as the Toyota Sienna, but it gets much better mileage at 82 MPGe.

GH’s favorite luxury hybrid SUV is the Audi Q5 PHEV. It stutters when switching between drive modes, and its range is short compared to some competitors. Still, it exhibits exceptional performance and boasts a user-friendly infotainment system.

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