Top 10 Hybrid Cars - Best Ranked
Are you looking for the best and top ranked hybrid car or truck? Here is a list of the Top 10 hybrid automobiles available in 2010. Which hybrid car would you rank number one in your Top 10? Rank it here.
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The third-generation 2010 Toyota Prius, officially unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January 2009, went on sale last April. The updated Prius is bigger and more powerful. The engine grew from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters—giving a boost in horsepower from 110 to 134, and thereby reducing zero-to-60 time by a full second. In addition, the body is about four inches longer and about an inch wider. Despite the added power and size, the 2010 Toyota Prius becomes the only vehicle available today to offer 50 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving.
The Civic matches a sporty design with all of Honda’s engineering prowess put to action. Honda is on the fourth generation of its integrated engine/motor hybrid design. The system combines a 1.3 liter iVTEC 4-cylinder engine with a 20-hp electric motor to deliver a total of 110 hp. The Civic can save gas by de-activating all of its cylinders when they are not needed, and uses eight spark plugs to allow greater flexibility with the firing order for more complete combustion of fuel in the cylinder. Add improved battery packs and regenerative braking from the previous generation to produce a hybrid with Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions status. The feather in its cap is top safety rankings from NHTSA and IIHS.
The 2010 Honda Insight is a major improvement from the legacy model. In Sept. 2006, Honda stopped making the old Honda Insight, a teardrop-shaped two-seater that was loved by many happy owners, but also perceived as impractical by mainstream consumers. Despite the old model’s real-world fuel economy of nearly 70 miles per gallon, the company sold fewer than 2,000 Insights in 2005, and fewer than 1,000 units through Sept. 2006 before the company pulled the plug.
The five-door 2010 Insight breathes new life into Honda’s hybrid efforts. It’s the first of several vehicles that Honda will build on a dedicated hybrid platform—the next will be the sporty two-seater CR-Z. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid was awarded the North American Car of the Year prize at the 2010 Detroit auto show. A panel of 49 North American automotive journalists selects the winners based on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. One month later, the Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award, organized by BermanWorks, the publishers of HybridCars.com, gave its inaugural prize to the 2010 Fusion Hybrid. The car was also named Motor Trend's Car of the Year.
Why is the Fusion Hybrid racking up awards? Because the vehicle sets a new benchmark in hybrid technology. Marrying a seamless, sophisticated hybrid powertrain to the outstanding Fusion platform—positioned solidly in the middle of the mainstream market—proved to be a winning combination. It’s fun to drive and speaks of refinement all around, from handling and braking through comfort and convenience. Yet, the Ford Fusion Hybrid has been a sleeper, selling far fewer units than the Toyota Prius or the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Perhaps this recognition as the car of the year, and other accolades, will help consumers become more aware of the Fusion Hybrid in their purchase decisions.
The 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid is a very close cousin to the more popular 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, so we have reposted our review of the Fusion Hybrid below. (Photos were swapped out to show the Milan Hybrid.)
If the Fusion Hybrid appeals to you—many reviewers believe it’s the best hybrid on the road—then the Milan offers a stylistic alternative. The Milan Hybrid's base price is slightly higher than Fusion’s, but close enough that your choice of optional equipment means they are essentially priced the same—just north of $30,000 out the door.
The choice between Milan Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid comes down to style: the design of the grille, the cut of edges between roofline and windshield, the distance between and angle of the headlights, the shape of taillights, and the curve of the back bumper. Check out the long list of detailed close-up photos in our comparison of Fusion and Milan.
The CR-Z borrows much of the hybrid system from the Honda Insight—but its engine has 16 valves instead of the Insight's eight. This is to help increase power at higher rpm and improve efficiency at lower speeds. The Honda CR-Z’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine—compared to the Insight’s 1.3—is also mated to a six-speed manual gearbox—making it the only hybrid on the market available with a manual transmission. Drivers of the CVT version, when selecting “sporty" mode can simulate stepped shifting manually by flipping paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The "normal" and "economy" modes are designed for greater efficiency.
The wedge design features an oversized front grille with small openings on each side of the front panel. The CR-Z clearly borrows its overall shape from the Honda CRX sports car, a version of the Civic that was produced from 1984 to 1991.
According to some reports, Honda is already considering adding battery storage and making the motor and inverter smaller and lighter to deliver better performance.
Under the hood, the Altima Hybrid is essentially a Toyota hybrid wrapped in Nissan’s attractive packaging. The carmaker licensed Toyota’s hybrid technology, made a few key adjustments, and transplanted the hybrid system and drivability into its own product. Those adjustments are actually pretty noticeable in the computer control system. Where Toyota opts for calm and comfort, the signature qualities of the Camry, Nissan allows a little more noise and rumble in exchange for more power in passing.
The Altima carries a 2.5-liter engine that provides 158 horsepower and an electric motor capable of providing an extra 40 horses, for a total of 198 horsepower—that's 23 more ponies than a standard V4 non-hybrid Altima and 11 more than the Camry Hybrid. The Altima Hybrid’s fuel tank, at 20 gallons, is three gallons larger than the Camry's, boosting the driving range another 100 miles or so.
The Altima Hybrid is also noticeably more responsive than the Camry Hybrid, though not as smooth. “Although the suspension is decidedly sporty for this class, it also crashes over potholes, expansion joints, and broken surfaces in general,” says Automobile Magazine. Some drivers will cherish a little extra pep and are more than willing to forgo the ultra-quiet (some may call it “numb”) ride of the Camry.
The HS 250h is the Lexus brand’s first dedicated hybrid, just as the Prius was for its parent brand Toyota. Previous Lexus hybrids were adaptations of existing vehicles, including the popular RX 400h crossover—replaced for 2010 by the RX 450h—the GS 450h sports sedan, and the full-size luxury barge LS 600h. But the HS will be sold just as a hybrid, with no gasoline-only version.
The comparison to the 2010 Prius is apt, since the two cars share the same basic platform. They both ride on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, though the Lexus HS 250h is 2 inches wider, half an inch higher, and a full 9 inches longer than its hatchback relative. The HS also has a larger 2.4-liter engine—similar to the one in the Toyota Camry Hybrid—against the 1.8-liter engine used by the 2010 Prius. The complete hybrid system in the Lexus is fully 40 percent more powerful than that of the Prius: 187 horsepower compared to 134.
So while the two cars have different bodies, different engine sizes, and certainly different personas, you can view the HS 250h as a new Prius with a trunk, a raft of luxury accoutrements, and a different tradeoff between fuel economy and features.
As long as you're being practical, then why not invest a few extra dollars for the Camry with a hybrid drive that offers an EPA rating of 33 miles to the gallon, and gives you around 700 miles between visits to the gas station?
In the Toyota Prius, the hybrid system was a bold move into unknown technology. The hybrid option on the Camry seems like a common sense choice for an era when one storm—meteorological or political—could send gas prices toward $4 per gallon. Consumers who care about fuel economy can choose between the standard Camry's four-cylinder combined highway/city mpg rating of 25 mpg; the V6's mpg rating of 23; or the hybrid's 33 mpg.
The first half of the Camry Hybrid drivetrain is a 147 horsepower version of the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. The second half is a 105-kW electric motor and 244-volt battery pack that delivers a peak of 45 hp. The battery pack consists of 34 nickel metal hydride modules, each of which contains six 1.2-volt cells. Run it all through a continuously variable transmission, and it adds up to 192 horsepower, versus the standard Camry's 158 hp. For a point of comparison, the Camry Hybrid moves from 0 – 60 in about 8.9 seconds, nearly a second faster than the Toyota Prius.
Consider one simple fact: The Ford Escape Hybrid is the most efficient hybrid SUV on the market. The front-drive Escape Hybrid has government fuel economy ratings of 34 city/31 highway, while the AWD version offers 30 city/27 highway. What else do you need to know, except that the Ford Escape Hybrid offers plenty of space, comfort, and versatility?
In 2009, the Ford Escape Hybrid replaced a 2.3-liter engine with a 2.5—boosting net horsepower from 155 to 177. According to Ford, the new system delivers zero-to-60-mph acceleration equivalent to that of a 240-horsepower V6—eliminating any prior complaints about sluggishness. US News and World Report calls the 2010 Escape Hybrid "a smooth-riding, powerful SUV" that "doesn't even feel like a hybrid."
Ford engineers refined the Escape hybrid’s braking system to allow for better traction and stability control, and a smoother feel to the brakes, previously not incorporated into the hybrid system. Noise and vibrations were reduced in the process. This is especially evident when the engine shuts off and the vehicle moves into all-electric mode.