Introduction

Introduction

As fuel prices creep up, many consumers are looking at hybrid vehicles as a way to go green and save just as much.

The problem with many hybrid vehicles, however, is that they're more expensive than the average car. All that surplus technology costs money and the consumer ends up paying a healthy premium.

We've rounded up the top hybrids that start under $30,000.
Honda Insight

Honda Insight

MSRP: $19,800 - $21,300

Fuel Economy: 43 mpg Hwy, 40 mpg City

The 2010 Honda Insight has returned to the showroom for the first time since the 2006 model year. The Insight is now a four-door, five-passenger hatchback with a unique aerodynamic shape to help it achieve greater fuel economy.

The Insight is powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system, which is a combination of a 1.3-liter gas engine and a 13-hp electric motor, all attached to a continuously variable transmission. The engine and motor combined generate 98-hp and 123-lb.ft of torque, and provide 40-plus mpg fuel economy.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

MSRP: $22,000 - $27,270

Fuel Economy: 48 mpg Hwy, 51 mpg City

The Toyota Prius is a gas-electric hybrid that sets the standard for environmentally-friendly transportation. This front-wheel drive, five-door liftback delivers comfort, value and a smooth ride, as well as impressive fuel economy and low emissions.

The Prius is available in four trim levels - Prius II, Prius III, Prius IV and Prius V - with a base Prius I trim scheduled to arrive later in the model year. All trim levels employ Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, a hybrid powertrain technology that unites a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with a powerful electric drive motor to generate 134 combined horsepower, mated to a continuously variable transmission. Every Prius is equipped with a high level of standard equipment.

Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Honda

Honda Civic Hybrid

MSRP: $23,650 - $23,650

Fuel Economy: 45 mpg Hwy, 40 mpg City

The Civic Hybrid is the flagship example of Honda's hybrid technology in an efficient practical package. It is based off the regular gas-powered Civic that has been a best seller in the compact car market for years.

The Civic Hybrid is only available in a sedan model. It is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a light-weight, brushless electric motor that is sandwiched between the engine and the CVT transmission. Combined, the gas engine and electric motor produce 110 horsepower and close to 45 mpg on the highway. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring system and active front head restraints.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

MSRP: $25,925 - $25,925

Fuel Economy: 34 mpg Hwy, 26 mpg City

The highly anticipated Chevy Malibu Hybrid made its' debut in 2008 utilizing GMs "mild hybrid system" which uses a belt-alternator starter (BAS) to assist the gas engine.

The 2010 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is built on the same platform as the Saturn Aura Hybrid. The hybrid Malibu uses a 36-volt electric motor/generator coupled with a 164-hp 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine and a four-speed transmission to provide seamless operation to drivers. Fuel consumption is reduced by using sophisticated controls and software to stop and start the engine in heavy traffic and to recharge the battery by regenerative braking.

Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Toyota Camry Hybrid

MSRP: $26,150 - $26,150

Fuel Economy: 34 mpg Hwy, 33 mpg City

The Toyota Camry Hybrid sedan brings the quality and reliability of the Camry together with increased fuel efficiency.

The Camry Hybrid is a front-wheel drive four-door sedan that seats five passengers. Available in one well appointed trim it comes standard with Hybrid Synergy Drive, a combination electric motor/gasoline engine fitted with an efficient, continuously variable transmission. The standard warranty for hybrid-related components is 8 years/100,000 miles. A moonroof, navigation system, leather seats and heated front seats are optional. Standard safety features include stability and traction control, six-airbags, and a tire pressure monitor.

Saturn Aura Hybrid
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Saturn Aura Hybrid

MSRP: $26,325 - $26,325

Fuel Economy: 34 mpg Hwy, 26 mpg City

The Saturn Aura Hybrid is an environmental friendly hybrid family sedan. Its electric motor assists the combustion engine during acceleration and allows the engine to shut off at a stop to save fuel.

The front-wheel drive, five-passenger Aura Hybrid is powered by a 164-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in conjunction with a regenerative nickel metal hydride battery pack mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Aura Hybrid comes with the following standard features: electronic traction and stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, six airbags, automatic climate control, satellite radio, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry.

Nissan Altima Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Nissan

Nissan Altima Hybrid

MSRP: $26,650 - $26,650

Fuel Economy: 33 mpg Hwy, 35 mpg City

The Nissan Altima Hybrid offers performance, comfort, safety, economy, and good looks in this environmentally friendly family sedan.

The front-wheel drive Altima Hybrid sedan comes with a standard 158 horsepower 2.5-liter engine coupled to an electric motor with a rechargeable battery pack and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to produce excellent fuel economy. The Altima Hybrid is well equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD, cruise control, power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry. Safety features include traction and stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with panic assist, front and side airbags, with a side curtain airbag for both front and rear passengers.

Ford Fusion Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Ford

Ford Fusion Hybrid

MSRP: $27,270 - $27,270

Fuel Economy: 36 mpg Hwy, 41 mpg City

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid offers buyers an earth-friendly alternative to regular mid-size sedans. Its hybrid system provides reduced emissions, increased fuel economy, while still providing all the normal useful mid-size sedan features.

The Fusion Hybrid uses a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine in combination with an electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery. To link the gas engine and electric motor together, a continuously variable transmission, also known as a CVT, is used to optimally match the power and gearing. Safety features include electronic stability and traction control, security system, six-airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Mercury Milan Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Ford

Mercury Milan Hybrid

MSRP: $27,500 - $27,500

Fuel Economy: 36 mpg Hwy, 41 mpg City

The 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid offers buyers an earth-friendly alternative to regular mid-size sedans. Its hybrid system provides reduced emissions, increased fuel economy, while still providing all the normal useful mid-size sedan features.

The Milan Hybrid uses a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine in combination with an electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery. To link the gas engine and electric motor together, a continuously variable transmission, also known as a CVT, is used to optimally match the power and gearing. Safety features include electronic stability and traction control, LED brake lights, security system, six-airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Saturn VUE Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Saturn

Saturn VUE Hybrid

MSRP: $28,160 - $28,160

Fuel Economy: 32 mpg Hwy, 25 mpg City

The Saturn VUE Hybrid is a compact sport utility vehicle with a European design that incorporates hybrid technology, can accommodate five passengers and has a generous cargo area.

The front-wheel drive (FWD) Saturn VUE Hybrid comes with a regenerative nickel metal hydride battery pack in conjunction with either a four-cylinder or a V6 direct injection engine. The four-cylinder is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and the V6 is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that incorporates a continuously variable transmission (CVT) component as well. The V6 also uses a two-mode hybrid system that utilizes two electric motors to assist in propelling the vehicle.

Mazda Tribute Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Mazda

Mazda Tribute Hybrid

MSRP: $29,175 - $33,445

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg Hwy, 34 mpg City

The Mazda Tribute Hybrid is Mazda's way of being environmentally responsible. This hybrid version still provides the same size and convenience as the regular Tribute, but with the added environmental benefits of a hybrid powertrain.

The Tribute's drivetrain consists of a modified 2.5-liter gas engine which works in combination with an electric motor. Power is delivered through a continuously variable automatic transmission. Available in both two and four wheel drive, the Tribute HEV can be driven at speeds up to 25 mph on electric power alone, and regenerative braking helps to recharge the battery in traffic. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front, side and curtain airbags, and tire pressure monitoring.

Ford Escape Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Ford

Ford Escape Hybrid

MSRP: $29,750 - $34,010

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg Hwy, 34 mpg City

The Ford Escape Hybrid offers buyers an earth-friendly alternative to regular SUV's. It's hybrid system provides reduced emissions, increased mileage, while still providing all the normal useful SUV features.

The Escape Hybrid is available in Base or Limited trims with either front or four-wheel drive. The Escape Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine linked to an electric motor. The net result is acceleration similar to that of a V6. As a full hybrid, the Escape Hybrid can provide truly guilt-free operation by running solely on electric power in low-load conditions. The Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, also known as a CVT, that optimally matches the power and gearing. Standard safety features include front airbags, front seat mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags for front and rear passengers. AdvanceTrac stability control with anti-rollover technology, four-wheel ABS and tire pressure monitoring round-out the impressive list. The Hybrid also offers a convenient AC outlet for powering small devices such as a laptop.

Mercury Mariner Hybrid
  • Image Credit: Ford

Mercury Mariner Hybrid

MSRP: $29,995 - $31,745

Fuel Economy: 31 mpg Hwy, 34 mpg City

The Mercury Mariner Hybrid offers buyers an earth-friendly alternative to regular SUV's. It's hybrid system provides reduced emissions, increased mileage, while still providing all the normal useful SUV features.

The Mariner Hybrid is available in one trim with either front or four-wheel drive. The Mariner Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine linked to an electric motor. The net result is acceleration similar to that of a V6. As a full hybrid, the Mariner Hybrid can provide truly guilt-free operation by running solely on electric power in low-load conditions. The Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, also known as a CVT, that optimally matches the power and gearing. Standard safety features include front airbags, front seat mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags for front and rear passengers. AdvanceTrac stability control with anti-rollover technology, four-wheel ABS and tire pressure monitoring round-out the impressive list. The Hybrid also offers a convenient AC outlet for powering small devices such as a laptop.



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