Sponsored Post: Top 10 Used Hybrid Cars That Still Pack a Punch

Sponsored Post: Top 10 Used Hybrid Cars That Still Pack a Punch

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

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 Fusion and C-Max

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

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.

2016 Chevrolet Volt Nabs Green Car of the Year

2016 Chevrolet Volt Nabs Green Car of the Year

Five Contenders Battle for the Green Crown

Chevrolet’s all-new, second generation Volt was named 2016 Green Car of the Year at s Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The award was established by automotive publication Green Car Journal in 2006, when the Mercury Mariner Hybrid was the inaugural winner.

2016,Chevy,Chevrolet,Volt, Green Car of the Year

Winner for the second time

The Volt is the first car to win the award a second time, repeating a victory it claimed when the original plug-in hybrid debuted a half-decade ago.

“This is the first time in Green Car of the Year history that a vehicle has won the award in two succeeding model generations,” said Green Car Journal’s editor and publisher, Ron Cogan.

“Considering all the brands and models evaluated in the award program, that’s quite a statement,” Cogan said. ”The Chevrolet Volt was a standout when it won 2011 Green Car of the Year and continues in that role today as the 2016 Green Car of the Year.”

Selecting Green Car of the Year

The Green Car of the Year is selected through a majority vote by a jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, plus leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations, including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. Green Car Journal editors round out the 11 award jury members.

Fuel efficiency, performance, affordability and Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications are criteria in selecting the initial candidates. Qualifying vehicles

2016,Audi,e-tron,A3,plug-in hybrid

Audi was a contender

have to be on sale by January 1st of the award year, in this case, 2016.

During the award’s evaluation process, judges consider all vehicles, fuels, and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to a final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance.

The other four finalists included:

  • The 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. This is the German automaker’s first U.S. plug-in hybrid model. Audi has stated it will be the first of an expanding number of electrified vehicles.
  • The 2016 Honda Civic. The top-selling compact car was redesigned for 2016. It was the only finalist without a battery and electric motors.
  • The 2016 Hyundai Sonata. This Korean midsize sedan is now offered with a high-mileage gasoline engine as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
  • The 2016 Toyota Prius. The world’s best-selling hybrid has also gone through a complete redesign. Among other things, the new Prius has increased its fuel economy by about 10 percent.
2016,Honda,Civic,gas miser,green car of the year

The low-cost contender

You’ll notice that all of the finalists are relatively affordable cars — prices range from $19,475 for the Civic to $38,825 for the Audi.

Only cars that sell in numbers that can make an appreciable difference on the environment are eligible. That’s why Tesla’s Model S and Model X, which both sell for average prices of around $100,000, have not made the cut, even though each can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge, the longest range of any electric car.

You’ll also notice there are no diesel powered cars on the list. In October, Audi and Volkswagen were stripped of Green Car awards they won in 2009 and 2008 for their ”clean diesel” engines after it came to light that the cars had software designed to cheat on emission tests.

About The Chevrolet Volt

The original Volt and the all-new 2016 model both have a gasoline engine and an electric motor. On a full charge it runs as an electric car, but once its battery runs out the internal combustion engine fires up, giving drivers the confidence they will not be stranded if the car runs out of battery juice.

The 2016 car’s increased electric range impressed Cogan, who said, “Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers

2016,Hyundai,Sonata,Hybrid,mpg,fuel economy

Hyundai Sonata competed with three variants

have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile driving range on a single charge.”

Fuel economy of the gasoline engine is also improved to an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 420 miles.  Chevrolet expects owners to travel 1,000 miles between gasoline fill-ups.

Upon receiving the crystal award, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director said, “For Volt to stand out in Green Car’s evaluation, it reaffirms Chevrolet’s commitment to being a leader in electrification.”

Company officials say they will be making the new Green Car of the Year award a centerpiece of their 2016 Chevrolet Volt marketing campaign.

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Road Test: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Road Test: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai Gets It Right This Time

When we reviewed the first Hyundai Sonata Hybrid after its arrival in February 2011, we noted it was taking direct aim at the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid, the two most popular midsize gasoline-electric hybrid sedans at the time. We also said, “Keep your eye on the new kid on the hybrid block.”

2016,Hyundai,Sonata,Hybrid,mpg,fuel economy

Back and better than ever

We weren’t wrong, the Sonata Hybrid kicked butt. After only three months on the market, the newbie became the second best-selling hybrid in the U.S., trailing only the indomitable Toyota Prius, a position it maintained through the end of 2011.

The Hybrid’s meteoric rise on the sales chart certainly wasn’t about the car’s fuel economy rating of 35-mpg city/40 highway and 37 combined — there were seven other offerings with higher ratings. Buyers were enticed by the Sonata’s eye-riveting styling and tech-rich standard equipment at a price that was difficult to pass up.

But things change can quickly in the automotive industry. Toyota brought out an all-new Camry Hybrid in 2012 and Ford began selling its all-new Fusion Hybrid not long after, both of which easily trumped the Sonata’s so-so fuel economy.

Additionally, Hyundai’s first hybrid system misfired during city driving, a calamity that was not only off-putting, but a deal breaker for many shoppers. Sales began declining in 2012 and through October of this year, where the Sonata is ranked sixth in overall hybrid sales, trailing both the Toyota and Ford.

MPG Improvement, Now a Smooth Operator

Hyundai introduced an all-new Sonata last year, but waited a year before launching the hybrid version. The wait was worth it; the 2016 Sonata Hybrid is now one of the better choices for a family hybrid sedan.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is offered in three models: SE starting at $26,835 (including $835 destination charges), Limited priced at $30,935 and a fully loaded Limited with Ultimate

2016 Hyundai, Sonata Hybrid, mpg, fuel economy

Back in the 40 mpg mix

Package that stickers for $35,395.

Criticized for its previous hybrid’s middling fuel economy, Hyundai engineers meticulously rethought and re-engineered the hybrid system that casts aside that criticism. The 2016 Sonata Hybrid SE now has an all-40 MPG government rating —40 city /44 highway /42 combined. The weight of added features and higher rolling resistance of its 17-inch tires penalizes the Limited model, which is EPA rated at 39 city /43 highway /41 combined.

Much of the mpg improvement was achieved by jettisoning the 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine of the previous model and downsizing to a more efficient direct-injected 2.0-liter four. Engine output is 154 horsepower and 140 pounds-feet of torque.

Additional gains come from higher voltage for the lithium polymer battery pack and a new electric motor’s remarkable willingness to kick into electric mode, even at 70 mph on the interstate.

To make up the performance slack of the smaller engine, the previous 35-kilowatt electric motor was replaced by a smaller, but more powerful 38 kW unit that generates 51 horsepower and 140 pounds-feet of torque. Under acceleration, the engine and motor pool their resources to provide a combined system output of 193 horsepower. The upshot is performance similar to the outgoing car — about an 8-second zero-to-60 run.

As for the hybrid system’s calamity during in-town driving, Hyundai has ironed out that issue with significant changes to the six-speed automatic transmission, which houses the traction motor. The words to describe the hybrid system are now smooth and seamless.

The South Korean automaker calls the system Hybrid Blue Drive. It’s a full parallel hybrid design that permits operating in three modes: gasoline power, electric-only power and a combination of both.

Like other systems of this type, it has stop-start capability to conserve fuel, as well as regenerative braking that feeds energy to the battery during slowing and braking.

Slick and Slippery

2016, Hyundai Sonata, Hybrid,pg

Upgrades inside and out

When Hyundai redesigned the Sonata last year, they took a step back from the forward-looking, forward-thinking example of daring and aggressive design of the previous version. The new look is conservative and mature.

With the 2016 Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai put form in the service of function — better aerodynamics. Up front, the grille features active air flaps as well as an “air curtain” method of tuning the front-end to sweep airflow outside to front wheels and over the hood.

Hybrid-specific alloy wheels help diminish wind drag, while a covered undercarriage, a rear spoiler and redesigned rear facia improve downforce. All of these touches add up to a slick and slippery drag coefficient of just 0.24 Cd, matching the Tesla Model S.

Inside there is a delicious amount of passenger space, front and rear, and the car sets a high standard for fit and finish and high-quality materials. A simple horizontal dash affords the driver easy access to controls that are easy to use, with proper buttons for basic functions such as audio entertainment, phone and navigation.

A distinctive instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch color LCD multi-purpose display lets Hybrid drivers know the status and flow of the hybrid system.

The 2016 Sonata Hybrid continues Hyundai’s knack of creating strong showroom appeal by including hot-button features as standard. These include Hyundai’s Blue Link safety, service, and

2016, Hyundai, Sonata Hybrid,aerodynamics

New wheels for the new wheel

infotainment telematics system as well as Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone linking, and satellite radio. Add to the list an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface for iPods and other digital media, plus a steering wheel fitted with audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls.

A step-up navigation system, not available on the SE, features a new split-screen mode, HD Radio, support for Pandora, Eyes-Free Siri compatibility along with built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

In case your passengers happen to be toddlers rather than adults, installing car and booster seats in the Sonata Hybrid is a breeze. Plus, there is ample room in the trunk’s 13.3 cubic feet of space to stash strollers and other kid paraphernalia. That’s thanks to Hyundai placing the battery pack under the trunk floor, which allows 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

The Sonata Hybrid’s resume includes a full suite of airbags, a backup camera and stability and traction controls. Optional are forward collision, lane departure and blind-spot warning systems along with rear parking assist with rear cross-traffic warning and active cruise control.

On The Road

2016, Hyundai Sonata,Hybrid,gauges

All the info right in front of you

Driving the 2016 Sonata Hybrid is a soothing respite to the bustle and hubbub of city traffic — nicely soundproofed, luxuriously appointed and pleasant to drive. Get up to speed from a stop via the gas engine, ease off the accelerator and the transition to electric power is uncannily smooth and allows all-electric driving for several miles.

2016, Hyundai,Sonata,Hybrid

The view many may see

Hyundai’s reason for choosing an automatic transmission rather than the more common hybrid continuously variable transmission (CVT) was to address the complaint that hybrids were boring to drive.

Mash the throttle and the six-speed transmission winds nicely toward top rpms, shifting each time somewhere around 6,000 rpm, when the full tug of torque seems ready to run out. So it would seem that Hyundai’s goal of achieving a driving experience that closely parallels a conventional car is accomplished.

As for handling, the car has balanced agility and the suspension keeps everything secure. The ride is composed and comfortable with the suspension soaking up potholes and rough pavement.

My favorite aspect of the Sonata’s road manners is its responsive steering. It has a quick and precise feeling, is balanced and firm, but never twitchy.

Regenerative and hydraulic braking play a role in the hybrid system, and the brake pedal felt squishy and unnatural, something I couldn’t get used to during our week with the car.

Accelerating moderately and keeping pace with 70-75 mph freeway traffic, after driving 189 miles in our Limited test car nearly equally divided between city and highway driving, we averaged 42.3 mpg. What likely helped beat the EPA rating was the hybrid system’s ability to travel on electric power at 70 mph, something I found fairly easy to do.

In The Marketplace

2016 Hyundai,Sonata Hybrid,aerodynamics,

Upgraded aero coming at you

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid faces different market conditions than the 2011 model. Its two main competitors, the Fusion Hybrid and Camry Hybrid have now firmly established themselves as competent and reliable vehicles with excellent fuel economy.

Also, 2011 was a high point for gasoline prices, averaging $3.53 per gallon with a peak of more than $4.00. Today, the national average is $2.21, which makes it tough to sell a gasoline-electric hybrid car.

At $26,835 to $35,395, the 2016 Sonata Hybrid isn’t cheap. Ford’s Fusion Hybrid is priced from $24,950 to $30,300, while the Toyota Camry Hybrid runs from $27,640 to $30,990.

But the 2016 Sonata Hybrid offers something the others don’t — Hyundai’s warranty that the carmaker promotes as America’s best. Basic coverage is five-years/60,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain. Owners also receive 24-hour roadside assistance at no extra charge for five-years/unlimited mileage.

Then there’s the warranty knockout punch—the Lifetime Hybrid Battery Guarantee. If the lithium polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs of the old battery pack free of charge to the original owner.

That’s impressive, and it could quite possibly help the Sonata Hybrid to move up the sales chart and become a major player once again.

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2016,Hyundai,sonata,Hybrid,plug-in

And coming soon–a plug-in version

Disclosure:

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, which does not 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, during which 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 or are among the top mpg vehicles on the market. 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 publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Top 10 High-MPG Cars’ Sales in 2014 (August check-up)

Top 10 High-MPG Cars’ Sales in 2014 (August check-up)

Electric Cars, Plug-Ins Electrics, Diesel Sales Look Good Two-Thirds of the Way Though the Year

August sales reports are in and the Nissan Leaf set a sales record, leading the way among electric cars for the year-to-date. Plug-in hybrids and clean diesels also are outpacing the market overall. Of the alternatives to gasoline-only vehicles, only traditional hybrids are lagging for the year, though they, too, had a great August. The Top 10 High-MPG cars remain a benchmark for how far and how fast automotive technology is advancing.

Because sales numbers tend to jump month-to-month based on incentives, the weather and all manner of influences, we like to take the long view, so we’ll focus on the January-August figures. Taking that longer view it’s clear that the trend to high-mileage is continuing even as those gasoline-only vehicle also continue to get more efficient.

Toyota,Prius,Plug-in, EV, HOV lane

The Prius models plug along

The leaders present a good cross-section of the high-mileage alternatives out there, ranging from the always popular Toyota Prius Liftback (and its single-letter cousins–the c and V) to VW’s diesel siblings the Jetta TDI and Passat TDI to the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. The ease of getting better than 40 mpg is clearer than ever.

One curious feature this month is the generally poor showing of the Top 10 high-MPG cars compared with last year. All but the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid are off of last year’s sales marks, although we should note the Ford Fusion Hybrid is nearly even. This may simply reflect the one category of alternative vehicles that is down from last year, hybrids. Even with a good August, hybrid sales are down 8.7 percent from last year and that segments market share has dropped below 3 percent. It may be that the proliferation of 40 mpg gasoline cars has blunted the impact of hybrids.

Plug-in hybrids, pure electrics and diesels are bucking that trend with sales outpacing an overall market that is 5 percent ahead of last year. Those three segments represent a smaller volume than the hybrid market, though, adding up to 1.62 percent of the total market.

Here are the Top 10 High-MPG vehicles with their year-to-date sales figures (January-August 2014) and their fuel economy ratings. We’re using data from Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Links with each of the Top 10 go to our road tests and new articles about the models.

  1. Toyota Prius

YTD Sales  Change from previous year    MPG 90,627                   -16.5%                                  51 MPG City

  1. Toyota Camry Hybrid

30,700                   -6.3%                                     43 MPG City

  1. Toyota Prius c

28,372                   -5%                                        53 MPG City

  1. Volkswagen Jetta TDI

27,053                   -13.2%                                  42 MPG Hwy

  1. Ford Fusion Hybrid

26,594                   -1.1%                                     44 MPG City

  1. Volkswagen Passat TDI

22,389                   -10.9%                                  43 MPG Hwy

  1. Toyota Prius V

20,725                   -20.2%                                  44 MPG City

  1. Nissan Leaf

18,941                   +34.1%                                 126 MPGe City

  1. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

16,059                   +11.9%                                 40 MPG Hwy

  1. Ford C-Max Hybrid

14,136                   -37.3                                      42 MPG City

Bubbling just below the Top 10 are some other significant vehicles–the top-selling plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt (13,146 sold), Lexus CT200h (12,507), Toyota Avalon Hybrid (11,915), Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (11,489) and Tesla Model S (10,600). Other encouraging signs are that the new BMW i3 electric car appears to be showing strong sales and the Chevy Cruze Diesel popped up to number three in the diesel market this last month.

Chevy-Volt-plugin-electric

Volt – the best from Chevy?

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Top 10 Best-Selling High-MPG Cars of 2014 (January-March)

Toyota,Prius,Plug-in,EV,sales

Still leading the hybrid way

Electric Cars, Plug-in Hybrids, Diesels Lead the New Year Charge.

When sales are down, the excuses flow. We’ve been hearing them for three months as January-March automotive sales are almost flat compared to last year in defiance of what appears to be ongoing economic recovery. It’s the terrible weather, some say. Rising prices, others add. Some alternatives to conventional gasoline-powered cars don’t have to make any excuses; their sales are humming along quite nicely, thank you.

While overall sales languished a mere 1.3 percent above the first quarter of 2013, high-mileage electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and clean diesels continued a torrid pace similar to what they were experiencing during most of last year. The only laggard in this group was gas-electric hybrids, which dropped almost 16 percent compared to last year, based heavily on declining sales of several Prius models. Check out the gains:

  • Plug-in hybrids were up 36.8 percent compared to January-March 2013
  • Diesels were up 19 percent
  • Pure battery electrics were up 13.4 percent

The year has also started with some juggling of the Top 10 compared to the previous year’s rankings. The Prius remains the top dog by a long shot, the only true mainstream vehicle among these alternatives, but Ford’s Fusion Hybrid is now a solid No. 2 and the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S (both pure electrics) appear to have moved permanently into the Top 10 along with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

What may be an interesting sidelight to the overall positive news is the decline in total hybrid sales despite a record total of 44 models on the market. The big drop among Toyota models, which continue to dominate the segment, appears to be the culprit in the slip. The 22 diesels, nine battery electric cars and seven plug-in hybrids on the market pushed the total 82 alternatives to gasoline vehicles. And of course those gasoline vehicles have been getting more efficient, too, adding to the competition.

Another sidelight to note is the exceptions to falling year-to-year sales among the Top 10. The Volkswagen Passat TDI, Sonata Hybrid, Nissan Leaf and Lexus CT 200h had increased sales compared to last year while the other six fell.

Top 10 Sales January-March 2014

On top of the group – always – is the Toyota Prius, the only model on the chart with a reasonable chance of breaking 100,000 units in sales for the year. Even dropping more than 25 percent from last year’s sales total the Prius still captures just under a quarter of the total hybrid market. Most of the rest of the Top 10 are regulars, but represent the diversity that characterizes the 21st century automotive market – hybrids, diesels, battery electrics and plug-in hybrids all have representatives. In the chart below we’ve listed the sales for the first quarter of 2014 with the 2013 numbers in parentheses.

1. Toyota Prius – 25,578 – (34,981) The Prius is unchallenged as the leader among all of the alternatives, a mainstream car that ranks up with the best selling standard cars. Its share of hybrid sales is dropping as are its sales numbers as the car comes up on a model changeover in a year or so.

2. Ford Fusion Hybrid – 9,606 – (10,266) Ford’s flagship hybrid is having a good year though not quite as good as last year at this time. What is significant is that it’s solidly outselling its main rival, The Toyota Camry

Ford,Fusion,start-stop,

Fusion moves up in sales in 2014

Hybrid.

3. Toyota Prius c – 8,833 – (9,865) The “baby” Prius continues to attract entry-level hybrid seekers and had a strong first quarter, with its sales dropping less than some of the other Prius variants.

4. Toyota Camry Hybrid – 8,782 – (12,434) The Camry’s hybrid version has slipped among hybrids this year, but its sales are still strong enough to keep it high on this list.

5. Volkswagen Jetta TDI – 8,151 – (9,604) The clean diesel standard-bearer continues to slot itself right alongside hybrid competitors, even with a drop in sales compared to last year. Along with the Passat TDI, they account for more than have of all diesel sales at this point.

VW,Passat,TDI,clean diesel

VW Passat TDI had a record month

6. Volkswagen Passat TDI – 7,769 – (7,240) The Jetta’s “big brother” has put a push on its sales in 2014, surpassing sales records for the TDI version set last year. In March the Passat TDI outsold the Jetta TDI.

7. Toyota Prius V – 6,001 – (8,525) The Prius “wagon” is having a tough year so far, dropping even more in sales than the Prius, but still maintaining a good position in the overall sales chart.

8. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid  – 5.677 – (4,256) Call it the stealth hybrid. Hyundai’s hybrid models flies under the radar somewhat, but has had a great first quarter maintaining a position it moved into last year. With the Kia Optima Hybrid using the same technology the combined sales from the Korean manufacturer have moved past the Toyota Camry Hybrid level, though slightly below the Ford Fusion.

9. Nissan Leaf – 5,184 – (3,539) Nissan’s pure electric car continues to benefit from strong word-of-mouth and a price drop earlier in the year from a shift of most production to the U.S. It has been setting sales records and appears to have established itself as a viable model.

10. Tesla Model S – 4,000 – (4,750) Tesla’s pure electric has estimated sales numbers (they release the official ones when they report their quarterly earnings so we only get a glimpse of the real numbers intermittently). Production continues at a high level, but the shift of sales to Europe and soon Asia (as well as a potential saturation of the U.S. market) is affecting U.S. sales (which is all we report). It does have the “honor” of being the most expensive car in this list by a good margin.

10. Lexus CT 200h Hybrid – 4,000 – (3,245) A redesign of Lexus’ small hybrid appears to have revived its sales and bumps it into the Top 10 for this quarter.

Bubbling below the Top 10 (or 11 in this case) are several models that help boost hybrid sales. The sales numbers are close enough to those in the Top 10 that these models are likely to move up later in the year. The Ford C-Max Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Lexus ES Hybrid have now been joined by the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. This group doesn’t rack up big numbers, but add to the strength of the whole segment.

Photos from manufacturers

Posted April 14, 2014 (compiled with Hybridcars.com & Automotive News information as reported by manufacturers)

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