The hybrid segment of the automotive marketplace has expanded exponentially over the past 10 years. We’ve long since passed the days when Toyota’s Prius was the only game in town. These days, you can get a hybrid powertrain in mainstream economy cars, flagship luxury sedans, and even exotic sports cars. A broad array of hybrid models is offered in the bread and butter four-door Sedan category, which (not coincidentally) is also where the market’s perennial top sellers live. The best hybrid sedans combine strong fuel economy with exceptional value and style. There’s also quite a bit of innovative engineering at work in this segment. While fuel economy is paramount, performance is a consideration too.
Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
Teaming three electric motors with a 3.5-liter V6, the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid claims 377 horsepower for its all-wheel drive powertrain. One of the motors is integrated into the seven-speed automated manual transmission, while the other two are dedicated to one rear wheel each. This gives Acura a hybrid sedan with better performance than its non-hybrid counterpart, plus all-wheel drive and better fuel economy. The base front drive RLX makes 310 horsepower and returns an estimated 20 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 24 combined. The hybrid does 28 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway, and 30 combined. Pricing starts at $59,950.
BMW was one of the first manufacturers to posit the Concept a hybrid powertrain could also be used to improve performance. Consider this, the BMW ActiveHybrid3 makes 335 horsepower and 333 ft-lbs of torque, compared to the standard 335i’s 300 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque. Basically, the hybrid powertrain makes 35 more horsepower and 30 more ft-lbs of torque—while employing the same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. In practical terms, this means the most powerful non-M six-cylinder BMW 3 Series sedan is also the most fuel-efficient. The EPA says to expect 25 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 28 combined. Pricing starts at $50,100.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
One of the least consumptive hybrid sedans offered today, the Ford Fusion Hybrid returns 44 miles per gallon in the city, 41 on the highway, and 42 miles per gallon combined. The powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 188 horsepower. For even better fuel economy (at a higher price), Ford offers the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi. Whichever route you take, you’ll get a handsomely styled car with a broad range of cutting edge comfort and convenience gear. Ford Fusion Hybrid pricing starts at $26,085, Fusion Energi pricing starts at $34,800.
Honda Accord Hybrid
Year in and year out, Honda’s Accord is one of the best selling cars in America. And for good reason; it’s quiet, comfortable, well equipped and good looking. Accord Hybrid adds the frugality of a hybrid powertrain to all of the above. Power comes from a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor. This feeds the hybrid Honda’s front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid’s best in class fuel economy is estimated at an amazing 50 miles per gallon in the city, 45 on the highway, and 47 miles per gallon combined. Pricing starts at $29,305.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is quite possibly the hybrid sedan with the best value story in the segment. A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor to deliver a total system output of 199 horsepower. Fuel economy is rated at 36 miles per gallon in the city, 40 on the highway and 38 combined. While this is remarkable, consider; for a starting price of $26,000, the Sonata Hybrid also delivers keyless entry and ignition, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, automatic headlights, heated exterior rearview mirrors, and cruise control—along with the hybrid powertrain.
Infiniti Q70 Hybrid
The luxurious Infiniti Q70’s hybrid system is employed to improve performance while delivering fuel efficiency more akin to that of a less powerful car. The model teams a 3.5-liter V6 with a 50kW electric motor to produce a total system output of 360 horsepower. This is compared to the base Q70’s 3.7-liter V6 powertrain, which makes 330 horsepower. The hybrid’s fuel economy comes in at 29 miles per gallon in the city, 34 on the highway and 31 combined; as opposed to 18-city, 26 highway, and 21 combined for the less powerful standard powertrain. Infiniti Q70 Hybrid pricing starts at $55,900.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Quiet, comfortable, handsome, luxuriously equipped, and smooth, the 2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid proves frugality can indeed come dressed in designer clothing. In our opinion, Lincoln still offers the nicest contemporary interior treatments of any American brand, and the MKZ bears this out magnificently. The elegant model’s hybrid powertrain consists of 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor to produce 188 horsepower. The front-wheel drive powertrain uses a continuously variable transmission and is estimated to return 41 miles per gallon in the city, 39 on the highway, and 40 combined. For the 2015 model year, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at $35,190.
Lexus GS 450h
Another example of a hybrid system employed to provide the performance of a larger engine with the fuel economy of a smaller one, the Lexus GS450h is basically a sports sedan with a rear-drive hybrid powertrain. For this application, two electric motors are teamed with a 3.5-liter V6 to make a total system output of 338 horsepower. Lexus also offers an even more performance-oriented version of the car—the Lexus GS450 hybrid F Sport—with aggressive exterior styling features and a rear wheel steering solution to improve cornering performance. Fuel economy for the GS450h is estimated at 29 miles per gallon in the city, 34 on the highway, and 31 combined. Pricing starts at $60,430.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
America’s best-selling four-door sedan’s hybrid was also heavily reworked for the 2015 model year. The exterior styling was redesigned for a more upscale appearance, while the interior was redone to make it more spacious and contemporary looking. The powertrain is comprised of a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine working in concert with an electric motor to produce a combined system output of 200 horsepower. The front wheels are fed through a continuously variable transmission. In an effort to broaden Camry Hybrid’s appeal, a new SE version of the model is being offered with more sporty touches. Fuel economy for the base Camry Hybrid is rated at 43-city, 39-highway, and 41 combined. Pricing starts at $26,790.
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Volkswagen’s Jetta sedan has offered a hybrid powertrain since 2013. The model combines a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce a 170-horsepower total system output. Volkswagen’s innovative hybrid solution places the electric motor and the clutch of the seven-speed direct shift gearbox into a single module. Capable of operating on electric power alone at speeds up to 37 miles per hour, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid’s fuel economy is rated at 42 miles per gallon in the city, 48 on the highway, and 45 miles per gallon combined. Pricing starts at $31,670.