Earth Day: Hybrid cars, SUVs, trucks with ‘most bang’ for bucks

Earth Day

Three Toyotas, including two versions of the Prius, are among the best hybrid vehicles for the money, according to a Cars.com list marking Earth Day 2013.

The subcompact and midsize hatchback Prius models rated best overall of a dozen vehicles. Also making the Cars.com editors’ list of top hybrid vehicles for Earth Day 2013 were two models each from Ford, Chevrolet and Lexus, as well as one model each from Honda, Acura and BMW.

“To help green-car shoppers get the most bang for their buck, Cars.com experts looked at each car’s average fuel economy and base sticker price,” the car-shopping resource said on its Website.

The subcompact and midsize hatchback Prius models are listed at $19,875 and $24,995, with city/highway fuel-efficiency ratings of 53/46 mpg and 51/48 mpg, respectively. Prices on other vehicles making the list range from $19,390 for the compact Honda Insight, the lowest-priced hybrid on the Cars.com list, with fuel-efficiency reported at 41/44 mpg, to $85,195 for the full-size luxury sedan BMW ActiveHybrid 740Li, the most-expensive vehicle listed, with fuel-efficiency at 22/30 mpg.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Prius also led a recent 24/7 Wall Street list of The 10 Best-Selling Hybrid Cars, rankings that also include models representing Ford, Chevrolet and Lexus.

But naming the best hybrid vehicles for Earth Day 2013 is a little more complicated than it might appear.

“Simply because a hybrid gets great gas mileage doesn’t necessarily mean you save money in the long run, because that same hybrid often comes with a higher price tag,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com Executive Editor. “We analyzed overall cost compared to the car’s efficiency.”

Besides the top two Toyotas and the Highlander midsize SUV/crossover, 2013 hybrids on the Earth Day 2013 list are the midsize sedan Ford Fusion and full-size C-Max, both with 47/47 mpg, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and Tahoe full-size SUV/crossover, and Lexus ES 300h midsize luxury sedan and RX 450h luxury SUV. The Cars.com experts also cited the Acura ILX compact luxury sedan.

“Hybrids come in all shapes and sizes these days,” said Wiesenfelder in the Cars.com report. “Many people think that a hybrid won’t accommodate their lifestyle because they assume all hybrids are small like the Prius or Insight, but our list helps shoppers looking for a cost effective, efficient car in just about every size and category that can meet the needs of any car shoppers.”

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