Given the breadth of the hybrid segment, it’s perhaps surprising to note the combined gasoline/electric propulsion system has only been around since 1999. In the beginning, there were only two models, and they were quite derisively referred to as “science experiments” by a number of noted auto industry executives who really should have known better. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and today many of those same people are talking their latest and greatest hybrids up like they’re absolutely the best things on the road. With models employing this powertrain solution in practically every category, the most comfortable hybrids tend to fall within the luxury sphere—as this list of the most comfortable hybrids of 2016 will bear out.
Acura RLX Hybrid
The 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid four-door Sedan is the way to get an all-wheel drive version of Acura’s flagship. The RLX Sport Hybrid goes into the 2016 model year with revisions to the chassis and suspension system to improve overall ride quality—further ensuring its inclusion among the most comfortable hybrids. The 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid’s combined system output is 377 horsepower and 341 ft-lbs of torque. The model’s direct injected 3.5-liter V6 engine is combined with a six-speed automatic transmission, a three-motor hybrid system, and Acura's signature Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) technology. Pricing starts at $59,950.
Audi Q5 Hybrid
The 2016 Audi Q5 Hybrid boasts an outstanding array of standard luxury features and a dynamic diving experience. Proving once and for all beauty can be deeper than the sheetmetal, Audi’s handsome and stylish hybrid SUV offering also presents itself with good power, respectable fuel economy, and a level of comfort and convenience approached only by the most formidable competitors in the segment. The 2016 Audi Q5 hybrid is powered by 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a system output of 245 horsepower and 354 ft-lbs of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $52,500.
BMW ActiveHybrid 5
While many people think of hugging trees when they think of hybrids, BMW’s ActiveHybrid 5 hugs the road too. BMW’s hybrid sedan uses the propulsion system more to improve performance than efficiency. This infuses the powertrain with an additional 35 horsepower for a total of 335—while achieving virtually the same fuel economy ratings as the 300-horsepower 535i. The hybrid system is made up of BMW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged straight six, an electric motor, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The lithium-ion battery pack is located in the trunk. Pricing for the BMW of the most comfortable hybrids starts at $62,100.
Buick Lacrosse Hybrid
As the marque’s flagship, the 2016 Buick LaCrosse is modern, elegant, engaging to drive, exceptionally spacious, quiet, and without question one of the most comfortable hybrids. But unless you took special notice, you might never notice the Lacrosse even has a hybrid powertrain. Pairing a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an 11 kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, the hybrid Lacrosse gets 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs of torque from the propulsion system. This is fed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for the hybrid version of the 2016 Buick Lacrosse starts at $34,735.
Honda Accord Hybrid
One of few popularly priced models among the most comfortable hybrids, the exact specifications of the 2016 Honda Accord Hybrid have yet to be announced in the wake of the debut of the all-new Accord for 2016. We’ve been told it will feature an updated version of the current Accord Hybrid’s powertrain and fuel economy surpassing the 47-mpg figure is expected. Fans of the plug-in Accord Hybrid will have to learn to love the standard hybrid model, as the Accord Plug-in didn’t get a callback for the 2016 model year. Pricing has yet to be announced, but should start close to the 2015 model’s at $29,305.
Infiniti Q70 Hybrid
Infiniti is another performance-oriented manufacturer employing hybrid propulsion to improve performance—while avoiding a fuel economy penalty. As an example, the standard Q70 3.7 uses a 3.7-liter V6 to generate 330 horsepower and returns a combined fuel economy rating of 21 miles per gallon with its rear-drive powertrain. Meanwhile, the Q70 hybrid has a 3.5-liter V6 teamed with a 50kW electric motor, and generates a total system output of 360 horsepower while returning a combined 31 miles per gallon. As luxurious as it is powerful, the 2016 Infiniti Q70 Hybrid easily ranks among the most comfortable hybrids. Pricing starts at $55,900.
Lexus GS 450h
The direct descendant of the first performance-oriented Lexus model, the rear-drive 2016 Lexus GS 450h now fulfills the same role in the carmaker’s hybrid portfolio. With its strong dynamics on the road, capacious interior, comfortable accommodations, and typical Lexus attention to detail, the GS 450h is a very strong contender among the most comfortable hybrids. The powertrain is comprised of a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a pair of electric motors generating a total system output of 338 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission routes the GS 450h powertrain’s output to the rear wheels. Pricing starts at $61,330.
Lexus ES 300h
One of the two mid-level Lexus passenger cars, the ES is the best selling car in the Lexus lineup. Further, this is the mid-size Lexus sedan to get if you covet quiet and smoothness over outright performance. The front-drive Lexus ES 300h also boasts an exceptionally spacious interior to go along with its highly sophisticated demeanor on the road. The beautifully finished interior accommodations further the case for inclusion of the 2016 Lexus ES 300h among the most comfortable hybrids. The powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor combined to push 200 horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $40,920.
Lexus LS 600h L
Unquestionably one of the two most luxurious hybrids offered today, the 2016 Lexus LS 600h L is exceptionally quiet, palatial in its accommodations, and extremely well crafted. This alone is enough to rank it among the most comfortable hybrids. However, the Lexus LS 600h L is also the flagship Lexus sedan, and is outfitted with all the best features in the Lexus catalog. Two electric motor/generators and a 389-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 combine their output to produce 438 horsepower. The drivetrain feeds all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission with manual shift control and three driving modes -- Normal, Power and Snow. Pricing starts at $120,440.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Handsome, well crafted, and extremely tech-laden, the 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid offers luxurious transportation with near anonymity and exclusivity. If you absolutely want to keep your carbon footprint light and remain out of sight, the low-key Lincoln hybrid luxury car will serve you right. It will also place you at the wheel of one of the most comfortable hybrids for 2016. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s powertrain is made up of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 188 horsepower. The front wheels are fed by a continuously variable automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $35,190.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid
The hybrid variant of the benchmark by which all other mainstream luxury cars are defined, the Mercedes-Benz S550e is a technological marvel. Boasting quiet, smooth and determined acceleration, otherworldly ride comfort, and tech features seemingly out of a science fiction novel, this is easily the mot comfortable of the most comfortable hybrids offered today. The plug-in hybrid powertrain is comprised of a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 teamed with an electric motor integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. Capable of traveling 20 miles on electric power alone, total system output is 436 horsepower. Pricing starts at $95,650.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
At Porsche, luxury and performance are synonymous—they’re just part of the overall package. So when the company does a hybrid, you know it’s going to be the fastest hybrid on the market. And indeed, when it comes to handling and speed, none of the other most comfortable hybrids best the 2016 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid. A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is paired with a 95 horsepower electric motor to produce a total system output of 416 horsepower. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic with manual shift control. A plug-in hybrid, the Porsche is capable of up to 83 miles per hour on electric power alone. Pricing starts at $96,100.
Toyota Avalon Hybrid
As the first manufacturer to experience a real mesure of success in the hybrid arena, it is perhaps logical Toyota would offer more hybrids than other manufacturers. At last count, the marque boasted seven models with the gasoline/electric powertrain—and yes, this includes its flagship Avalon model. Avalon Hybrid gets 200 total system horsepower out of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. This is fed to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. As Toyota’s top model, Avalon offers near-Lexus levels of luxury and refinement—without the accompanying price tag. Easily one of the most comfortable hybrids offered by a mainstream manufacturer, 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid pricing starts at $36,650.