Buying a hybrid car can be a kind of challenge, since usually you need to pay more in order to get some money saving in future. The best hybrid cars used in our rating will make the task easier – all of them are affordable, yet eco-friendly, fuel efficient and by no means outdated. The list comprises both American and Asian manufacturers offering the best combination of performance, low fuel consumption, comfort and style, while allows choosing your preferred option depending on a car class.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Overview

Engine: 1.4L EcoFlex I4
Power: 84 horsepower
Transmission: Multi-mode electric transaxle
Wheelbase: 2,685 mm
Curb Weight: 1,721 kg

2011 Chevrolet Volt 

In 2011, Motor Trend and Green Car Journal awarded the Chevrolet Volt "the Car of the Year" and since that time the Volt has been listed among top hybrid cars both in the U.S. and Europe.  This 4-door hatchback features two motors – a four-cylinder 1.4 (84 hp) gasoline engine and a149 hp electric motor with a powerful 74 hp generator.

Unlike other best used hybrids that employ an ICE as the main driving power, the Volt is propelled by the electric motor that is connected to the gasoline engine via a planetary gear, which allows them to work both together and separately. There are three driving modes – "Normal", "Sport" and "Mountain" (the latter is used for off-road driving).  Normally, the Volt is driven by the electric motor for 25-50 miles (depends on the speed and driving style) and when the battery starts discharging, the gasoline engine comes into operation, generating power for the battery. Having the fully charged batteries (the charging time at 220-240V is 4-5 hours) and 35 liters of gasoline in the tank, the heavy Volt can cover more than 350 miles.

Featuring the price of about $40,000 when debuted, nowadays the 2011 Chevrolet Volt costs less than $12,000, which makes it one of the best used hybrid cars under $15000.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Overview

Engine: 2.5L Atkinson-cycle I4
Power: 156 horsepower
Transmission: eCVT
Wheelbase: 2,728 mm
Curb Weight: 1,690 kg

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid ranks high among the best used hybrid vehicles for its excellent safety scores (it was included into the IIHS 2010 "Top Safety Pick's"), good fuel economy (41 mpg according to EPA), quality interior and performance that is similar to that of gasoline vehicle (which is not so common in hybrid cars).

In addition to the gasoline engine with the brand fuel saving system, this four-door sedan of a midsize class features a 106 hp electric motor and a 275V hybrid battery to save the power. The car can be driven by the battery power alone or by the gas engine, as well as by a combination of both. When driven by the electric motor, it can speed up to 47 mph, which is more than sufficient for city driving. Similar to other hybrids, the Fusion’s petrol engine shuts down when stopping at traffic lights, while other systems keep working supplied by the battery. When the car starts moving again, the engine is started by the electric motor as against the regular starter.

Since you can buy the Fusion Hybrid for about $9,000, it ranks among the best used hybrid cars under $10000 adding easy handling and spacious interior to the value.

2010 Toyota Prius

Overview

Engine: 1.8L 2ZR-FXE I4
Power: 98 horsepower
Transmission: eCVT
Wheelbase: 2,700 mm
Curb Weight: 1,379 kg

2010 Toyota Prius

Redesigned for 2010, the Toyota Prius attracted more buyers by getting more power (as against the previous 1.5L models), consuming less fuel (51 mpg), boasting the elaborate steering and user-friendly controls, as well as its streamlined body. Nowadays, the third-generation Prius claims to be the best used hybrid car in the under $15k category due to its large luggage compartment and interior space in combination with the high-grade materials and comfortable cabin.

The 5-door family liftback features a petrol engine that can accelerate it up to 100 mph, while its 134 hp electric motor have the maximum speed of about 40 mph. The choice of driving modes allows both fuel-saving (Eco Mode) and dynamic (PWR Mode) driving, though the latter cannot boast the low gasoline consumption (about 30 mpg at 85 mph).

The 2010 Toyota Prius traditionally provides decent sound insulation through the use of special materials and the electric motor. Smooth motion is achieved by means of the suspension that prevents excessive fluctuations when driving on an uneven surface. The electric power steering provides better contact with the front wheels, while retaining the usual convenience when it comes to parking.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Overview

Engine: 1.5L i-VTEC
Power: 90 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,670 mm
Curb Weight: 1,280kg

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Thanks to its low gasoline consumption and affordable price, the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid can be considered as the best used hybrid car to buy for a family. This compact four-door sedan boasts quite a roomy cabin, comfortable seats and large windows, which compensate for a shortcoming of the trunk space. Though not striking, the design is rather stylish and modern day, while the standard interior details include a touchscreen navigation system, 6-speaker audio system with CD changer, a USB port, Bluetooth and some other conveniences, which were unavailable in the previous generations.

The third and the last generation got a larger engine and a lithium-ion battery instead of NiMH, thus producing 110 hp, which is ample for daily in-city driving.  Definitely, fast acceleration is not the Hybrid’s strong point, but fuel economy is – the car features 44 mpg (one of the best in the category) and high air pollution score (8). This makes the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid a really cool environmental friendly car in the range of about $10k.

2011 Honda Insight

Overview

Engine: 1.3L L-series I4
Power: 98 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,552 mm
Curb Weight: 1,237 kg

2011 Honda Insight

The 2011 Honda Insight is a good choice for someone who considers buying a fuel efficient and reliable hybrid car for less than $10,000. The five-door hatchback wins in its high safety score and low fuel consumption – 40 mpg put it on a par with the best hybrid used cars. The standard safety systems cover all kinds of front and side airbags, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, driver and front passenger’s active head restraints and a bodywork structure that provides passengers protection.

The 13 hp electric motor gives a boost to the gasoline engine and comes into play when it is required to accelerate or to maintain a cruising speed, while during braking it works as a generator and charges the battery. The ECO ASSIST system helps to reach the best fuel efficiency depending on various driving styles. The steering and breaking are also praiseworthy, while the acceleration time is rather slow, which is quite common in the hybrid world.

This didn’t prevent the Insight from being awarded by ACEEE as the "Greenest Vehicles of the Year" for 2011. The same award was won by the first Insight’s generation in the early 2000s, so you can consider the line-up among the best used hybrid cars under $5000.

2007 Lexus RX 400h

Overview

Engine: 3.3L 3MZ-FE V6
Power: 208 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,715 mm
Curb Weight: 1,980 kg

2007 Lexus RX 400h

The 2007 Lexus RX 400h became the world's first hybrid luxury crossover that combines sport features and low fuel consumption compared with that of compact sedan (under 30 mpg). This luxury five-door SUV is powered by Hybrid Sinergy Drive, which consists of a six-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors, each driving a separate wheel pair. All three motors produce the power of 268 hp and are used to promptly accelerate the vehicle (the acceleration time is less than 8 seconds). With the charged battery, at low speeds the auto is propelled by only the electric motors and drives almost noiselessly, while by pressing the gas pedal you get the petrol engine connected and then you can enjoy its powerful dynamics.

Along with the excellent fuel saving and off-road features, the RX 400h offers all conveniences of luxury vehicle  including soft-touch interior materials, a dual-zone climate control system, a 8-speaker audio system with a CD changer, power seats, nine airbags and other classy features. At an average price of $12,000, the 2007 Lexus RX 400h is a high-end, yet affordable SUV.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Overview

Engine: 2.5 L 2AR-FXE I4
Power: 154 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,775 mm
Curb Weight: 1,447 kg

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets its place in the rating due to its improved powertrain that added some horsepower, while reducing the fuel consumption compared with the previous generation. As the result, the 2012 Hybrid features a total of 200 hp and the advanced regenerative brakes system that converts more energy into electricity. Its combined fuel economy rating is 41 mpg – the Camry Hybrid is a top ten environmentally friendly and fuel saving hybrid in the family car class.

Quite an aggressive design supplements the sharp performance, giving a modern look to this midsize sedan that also offers a roomy cabin and quality interior materials. The entry-level model boasts 16-inch steel wheels, auto headlights, a remote engine start system, a dual-zone climate control and a cruise control, not to mention Bluetooth, a 6-speaker audio system, a CD-changer and a USB-port.

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Overview

Engine: 2.4L Theta II I-4
Power: 166 horsepower
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,794 mm
Curb Weight: 1,587 kg

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

The first version of Kia Optima Hybrid was rather successful, since it set a Guinness World Record for its low fuel consumption almost immediately. Six years later, it still has a decent EPA rating among midsize cars (35 mpg) and an affordable price of about $12,000.

The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid is equipped with a fully independent suspension, optimized tires, a regenerative braking system, electric power steering and air compressor, a 6-way driver seat with lumbar support, a keyless entry and other multiple tech features. The interior is roomy and provides plenty of space for passengers on the rear seats, while the materials are rich and durable. The Hybrid looks well and performs well, reaching100 kph in about 9 seconds. Though the braking performance is inconsistent and the electric-gas transition is somewhat coarse, the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid is a good fuel economy/performance trade-off for the money.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Overview

Engine: 2.0L Duratorq I4
Power: 140 horsepower
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 2,648 mm
Curb Weight: 1,750 kg

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is a practical five-door MPV that looks nice and compact, though it cannot boast an edgy design and has a rather small trunk.  However, the C-Max Energi offers plenty of space for 4 adult passengers, while the high ceiling and large windows provide good visibility. The ergonomic design is supplemented by various tech features available in optional packages, which can include a hands-free liftgate, dual-zone climate control, active park assist and touchscreen infotainment system.

But the main competitive advantage of the minivan is its smooth driving and advanced performance. The MPV features the total power of 188 hp and can accelerate up to 85 mph when propelled only by the electric motor, while the maximum speed in the hybrid mode is 115 mph. Using only the electric power the C-Max Energi can drive about 20 miles and when the battery is fully charged and the tank is filled, it can go as much as 550 miles and show a nice EPA rating of 38 mpg. 

2012 Honda CR-Z

Overview

Engine: 1.5 L LEA I4
Power: 111 horsepower
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 2,435 mm
Curb Weight: 1,211 kg

2012 Honda CR-Z

The 2012 Honda CR-Z successfully combines advantages of a stylish coupe and an eco-friendly hybrid car, providing responsive steering and breaking along with nimble handling and smooth running. Though the CR-Z boasts its best fuel saving features with the CVT (optionally available), it also shows a reasonably good EPA rating with MT – 31/37 mpg for city and highway driving respectively.

The 3-door hatchback features a sleek design and catches the eye immediately with its LED lighting, blue optics and futuristic outlines. The interior befits the sporty look emphasized by the cool colorful gauges, while the facial panel and some other interior details got more refined touch compared with the previous models. The front seats are very convenient and allow multiple adjustments, however the same can't be said for the rear seats. The standard audio system with a subwoofer provides quite a powerful sounding to make driving this car a real fun.