Better Fuel Economy & Lower Emissions Are an Affordable Option
You do not have to purchase a new car to reap the benefits from the higher fuel efficiency, lower emissions and lower operating costs of a hybrid. Indeed, go for a used hybrid. Many people still prefer buying used over new hybrids, and they find it a good option indeed.
But, with a wealth of different models and makes available on the market nowadays, choosing the hybrid vehicle is not easy at all. Here are our top 10 picks with key features.
1. 2013 Chevrolet Volt
2013 Chevrolet Volt offers great fuel efficiency
It seems that Chevrolet took a pretty aggressive tack with Volt in 2013. This amazing vehicle boasts a Hold driving mode, which lets you get optimal efficiency on the roads by saving the battery power. It comes with one-speed automatic transmission and 149-horsepower (hp) engine. Fuel efficiency: 101 city/93 hwy MPGe.
2. 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in
The 2013 plug-in Toyota Prius hybrid version is propelled by a powerful mix of a 1.8L I-4 gasoline engine and an electric motor. It comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a electronicly controlled CVT transmission, 15-inch aluminum wheels, integrated navigation system, advanced cruise control and a whole lot of airbags. Fuel efficiency: 90 city/102 hwy MPGe.
3. 2013 Ford Fusion Energi
This vehicle is meant to provide customers with a mixture of the top-notch Ford Fusion hybrid parts with attributes of a completely electric car. The standard features include 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic air conditioning, AdvanceTrac electronic stability and traction control. It is powered by an Atkinson-cycle 141hp, 2.0L four-cylinder engine that is combined with 7.6-kWh Li-ion battery pack. Fuel efficiency: 95 city/81 hwy MPGe.
Ford has two fuel-efficient options–the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi
4. 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Here’s another great blend of hybrid and electric car by Ford. It utilizes Ford’s 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder engine, which is coupled with an AC electric motor that runs with a 7.6-kWh Li-ion battery pack. As a result, total system power reaches 195 hp while offering 129 pounds-feet of torque. Fuel efficiency: 95 city/81 hwy MPGe.
5. 2012 Toyota Prius V Five
With some 2012 upgrades and improvements, this five-passenger vehicle uses exactly the same powertrain like the Prius sedan, but it offers a significant 58 percent increase in cargo space. The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five boasts a wagon body, electronicly controlled CVT transmission and 1.8-liter I-4 98 hp engine. Fuel efficiency: 44 city/40 hwy MPG.
6. 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
With an integrated navigation system, six-speed automatic transmission, as well as superb driveline traction and cruise control systems, driving this hybrid car is a real delight. This is supported by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine which produces decent 159 horsepower. Fuel efficiency: 36 city/40 hwy MPG.
7. 2007 Lexus RX 400h
The 2007 Lexus RX 400h was one of the early hybrid offerings
This hybrid features 3.3L 208hp V-6, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and CVT transmission. It is equipped with a driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor as well as curtain head and side airbags for the great safety. There is also an all-wheel drive, ABS, cruise control and traction control. Fuel efficiency: 28 city/25 hwy MPG.
8. 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
The Kia Optima Hybrid EX is powered by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine that develops 166 horsepower and is mated to six-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features worth mentioning include 16-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, cruise control, curtain overhead airbags, side seat-mounted airbags and automatic air conditioning. Fuel efficiency: 34 city/39 hwy MPG.
9. 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The key features of this heavy-duty vehicle include second and third row overhead airbag, 19-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive and cruise control, among others. Under the hood, there’s a powerful 3.5-liter 231-hp V-6. It comes with a CVT transmission along with overdrive. Fuel efficiency: 28 city/28 hwy MPG.
10. 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular hybrid midsize cars sold in the US. And the 2010 Camry sedan can still pack a punch with a reliable hybrid system and plenty of great features. It comes standard with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) and a distinctive grille. Fuel efficiency: 33 city/34 hwy MPG. Check out 2010 Camry for sale in Austin, Texas.
Venerable but Viable
The hybrid vehicle segment is now old enough that some models have been around for quite a while. Toyota’s Prius–the name many associate with the word “hybrid”–is nearly 20 years old, and is currently in its fourth generation. The 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid is getting long-in-the-tooth (it was introduced in 2012), but it is practically unchanged.
The old and the new together
There’s a lot to like with the C-Max. Originally a European minivan (which they style as an MPV or multi-purpose vehicle), the hybrid models have been built in Wayne, Michigan. It’s is a bit more compact than an American-size van, and has satisfying ride and handling, despite a rather large turning radius. You feel in control, sitting up high and perusing traffic through an expansive windshield.
I’ve tested three C-Maxes in the past—the first one nearly five years ago. The 2017 models are nearly identical, with just some minor grille and taillamp tweaking. This year, the new Titanium series replaces the SEL; it includes 17-inch machined aluminum wheels, leather-trimmed seats and a 10-way power passenger seat with lumbar support.
Two Choices of C-Max
As it has been since 2012, you can choose the Hybrid or the Energi (plug-in hybrid) version. My tester, in this case, was the Hybrid, so all its electricity came from regenerative braking stored in the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. Simply press the brake—or roll downhill—and the car charges its battery.
Room inside like an SUV
That means you can drive in pure EV mode part of the time during commutes or short trips in town, but the car normally shifts automatically between the 2.0-liter engine and the electric motor, depending on driving conditions. The Energi model comes with a plug and a larger lithium-ion battery, so it acts like a pure EV more often, supplying that smooth, silent propulsion so welcome in EVs.
Not afraid to load up the top
The engine/motor combination is good for 188 combined horsepower and 129 lb.-ft. of torque, so the car moves along OK, but you won’t win any green light grand prix against other all-electric vehicles.
Fuel Economy Boost
Hybrids help the gas engine work a lot less, so you get much better fuel economy. There is no gasoline-only C-Max in the U.S. to compare it to, but the same drivetrain is used in the Ford Fusion. Comparing Fusions, the gas-only model earns 21 city/31 highway/25 combined while the hybrid gets 43/41/42 respectively. That’s a significant difference.
My Ruby Red Tinted Clearcoat tester’s official scores were 42 city/38 highway/40 combined. Emitting 222 grams of CO2 per mile, essentially half a typical car, and gets a commendable 8 for Smog and 9 for Greenhouse Gas from the EPA.
An upscale, if old dash
Years of experience can be a good thing. The bugs are worked out, some updates have been applied, and everything’s familiar. The 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid, in the lower SE level trim, though, seems a little old now. It came with a metal key, which I had to take out of my pocket, insert into the ignition, and turn to start the car. That felt like grabbing a vinyl LP and dropping the needle down for some music. The center dash screen, although it has the latest (and much improved) Ford Sync interface, is very tiny, so what are usually four tabs on the touch screen are rendered as separate strips below the screen. Of course, there’s no keyless access from outside, so you need to take out the fob and press a button.
Old (Design) Language Still Spoken Here
Ford has moved its interior design language forward, but the C-Max has the look of a 10-year-old model inside, with edgy, aggressive shapes that have been banished from newer models.
Put me in the game, coach
You still get the tools you need to drive efficiently. The instrument panel lets you view your fuel use history, and provides three horizontal bars that tell you how well you’ve been driving for Acceleration, Braking, and Cruising. You can also elect to view the Efficiency Leaves, which grow lush when you’re motoring cautiously and wither away when you press too hard on the accelerator.
The left panel gives you choices of how you view the interplay between the engine and the motor, as well as a way of seeing whether your behavior is charging or discharging the battery. There’s also a Brake Coach, so you can learn how well you’re regenerating power. I scored 100% sometimes, which gave me some satisfaction. This data helps you learn to drive more efficiently, but you can apply the techniques in any car.
Thanks to its efficient package, the C-Max flaunts a 540-mile driving range, a welcome benefit for long trips. Prices for the 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE start at $24,175; the Titanium model begins at $27,175.
The 2017 Ford C-Max still provides an alternative to other hybrids, but there’s lots of competition now, including the stylish and trendy Kia Niro, among others like the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. With a slew of fresh product on the way, Ford will be in great shape in this segment in the future. For now, The C-Max is a golden oldie.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electric Vehicle Day brings out 15 different models for test drives
PG&E employees got a chance to try out pure EVs and plug-in hybrids
If one of the 20,000 employees of the giant Northern California utility, PG&E, was interested in taking advantage of the federal, state and company incentives to buy a plug-in vehicle, a recent program gave them a chance to have some hands-on experience to figure out which vehicle they might want. A recent Electric Vehicle Day program drew representatives from almost all of the companies with pure electrics and plug-in hybrids on the market, giving employees a chance to test drive vehicles and learn more about how they work.
A PG&E spokesman said more than 1,000 employees had already taken advantage of the company’s vehicle purchase incentive program and 315 had booked appointments midday on a Friday to take a look at the more than a dozen different vehicles, either as a new buy or replacement.
Almost all EVs where there
At the Fair, in alphabetical order, were the:
Tesla was out in force, bringing eight vehicles, while other manufacturers brought one to four models to drive or display. The program was busy for its duration of almost four hours. PG&E holds several similar events each year as it encourages its employees to “walk the walk” of automotive energy consciousness.
PG&E has a plug-in truck
PG&E brought its own portable charger
PG&E also brought out one of their own electric vehicles, a modified Ford F-550 heavy-duty work truck that had been converted into a plug-in hybrid by Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated (EDI) of Dixon, CA. PG&E has added 10 of those trucks to its fleet, using them most recently when supporting communities affected by forest fires, where it was used to power evacuation camps.
The truck, which retains its powerful diesel engine to keep things charged up, is capable of supplying enough electrical power to keep the lights on in 100 homes. In addition, it has charge ports so electric vehicles can use it for Level II (240-volt) charging and also has ports to charge personal electronics. The truck itself can also plug in to recharge its battery, which is capable of exporting 120 kW of power to the grid. It’s also capable of running more than 30 miles on EV power only. The company also has deployed similar hybrids that use electric power to run auxiliary operations like buckets and booms.
In recognition of its far-flung service territory (PG&E’s area of service covers 70,000 square miles, a land area larger than all but 16 states), PG&E is in the process of changing out its CNG-
The Tesla Model X continues to draw a crowd
powered light-duty vehicles for plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt and Ford C-Max Energi. The company also offers charging at most of its facilities (it has installed 451 charging points at company sites according to its spokesman) for what it says is the equivalent of $1/gallon gasoline.
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Clean Fleet Report has driven and tested most of the vehicles mentioned in this article and will be updating many of those tests soon.
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Road Test: Nissan Leaf
Road Test: Volkswagen e-Golf
Versatile Hatch Fills the Bill
Are you in the market for a new car? If so, then look no further than the new 2016 Ford C-MAX. This tremendous vehicle is one of the showstoppers for 2016 and is certainly worth your hard-earned cash. Check out our thoughts on one of Ford’s newest creations below.
Firstly, let us get this clear. The 2016 Ford C-MAX looks incredible. Ford have tried to stick to their ‘One Ford’ global design language with this car, and it has been successfully implemented here. Read more about their new global design language at http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/fords-new-global-design-language. This contemporary look is made up of a slender, sophisticated body with smooth edges and subtle distinctions. The body as a whole is now much stronger and lighter than its predecessor for greater safety and fuel economy. If you like good-looking cars, then you’re going to love the refreshed Ford C-MAX. Its facelift has really taken this car to the next level.
The Ford C-MAX has room for everyone
The 2016 Ford C-MAX makes an exceptional family car. Its five-seater design helps its cause greatly in that regard. The spacious cabin makes for a flexible, practical and efficient experience. Whether you are loading the boot (trunk) in a supermarket parking lot or picking up your son and his friends from football practice, the C-MAX has you covered! The three full-sized rear seats can also fold down to allow for extra storage space when required. This is ideal for transporting a heavy item or bringing the Christmas tree home during the holiday season. The possibilities really are endless with all that space (more than 52 cublic feet in the Hybrid model and 42 in the plug-in Energi with the rear seats folded down to be precise)! An impressive air conditioning system will keep everybody cool-headed, too. Thus, allowing you, the driver, to enjoy all the benefits of the C-MAX on the road.
Whether you opt for a gas or diesel engine (in the U.K.—hybrid or plug-in hybrid are the options in the U.S.), the experience is just as impressive. This car really flies! The handling on this C-MAX is incredible, too. You really won’t struggle at the wheel. The tires are grippy, the steering is accurate and, in general, this car is just a smooth operator. If you would like to test drive one for yourself, then be sure to head over to http://www.tch.co.uk/ and find a local Ford dealership where you can do so. The C-MAX is also super safe! So, you can be sure to sit back and enjoy your driving experience, rather than worry about safety. It received a full 5-star rating from surveyors Euro NCAP, making this Ford one of the safest vehicles you can drive. Be sure to read more official safety ratings at http://www.euroncap.com/en. In the U.S. it received a 4-Star Overall rating.
There are a few upgrades you can go for if you really want to maximize your C-MAX experience. Ford lets you opt in for a panoramic sunroof as well as gorgeous xenon headlights. There are also
The Ford C-MAX Energi is a plug-and-play car
further options for changing your interior with partial leather seats – or even heated front ones. Nice!
Hopefully, this review has done the 2016 Ford C-MAX justice. We loved it, and we’re sure you may well do so, too. Make sure to consider this car carefully if you’re in the market for something new. Perhaps you’re more into the Ford Fusion, than this model. However, the C-MAX is great value for money and a great car, which would be a shame to miss out on!