What are the best value hybrid cars available? It’s a popular topic on many automotive forums, and basically centers on the question: does the money you save on gas offset the extra money you have to spend on a hybrid option? Industry analysts at Vincentric recently tested 25 popular, US-market hybrid models and compared them to equivalent ICE versions in an attempt to find out which hybrids (if any) deliver real savings over the life of the vehicle.
Surprisingly (to me, anyway) 11 of the 25 hybrid models tested actually did save their owners money! Check out the top 10, below.
1. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (-$7,001)
2. Mercedes-Benz S Class Hybrid (-$4,242)
3. Lexus HS 250h (-$3,747)
4. Toyota Prius V (-$1,804)
5. Toyota Prius C (-$1,469)
6. Ford Fusion Hybrid (-$1,202)
7. Kia Optima Hybrid (-$779)
8. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid (-$672)
9. Honda Insight (-$656)
10. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (-$319)
Overall, Vincentric noted that the average cost to own and operate one of these hybrid vehicles was $1,223 more than their all-gasoline powered counterparts over 5 years. That figure was calculated assuming 15,000 miles of driving per year. Fuel prices used in this report were calculated using a weighted average over the previous five months. Vincentric’s own summary of their findings notes that “the range between the best and worst savings was significant, with the 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid saving buyers $7,001 while the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid cost buyers over $8,065 more to own (than comparably equipped conventional vehicles).”
The big winner here, obviously, is Ford’s premium Lincoln brand – which has surprised even Ford with its success in selling the MKZ hybrid. Their efforts to cut hybrid technology costs and pass those savings along to the customer also seem to be paying off here, making the decision to move the model “up-market” with features like a full panoramic roof a no-brainer. Congrats to Ford, then, for building ’em right!
As for that honorable mention Lexus? Vincentric notes that the Lexus RX450h hybrid SUV saves its owner – ahem! – a whopping $17 over 5 years. That’s 17 AMERICAN DOLLARS, by the way, so … that’s something, I guess?
You can check out the full report by clicking the link, at bottom.