The Toyota Prius may seem like the world’s most popular hybrid, but there are plenty of alternatives if you’re not a fan of its styling.
The all-new Toyota Prius is now available at dealerships nationwide, but its controversial design may cause you to shop for an alternative. Fortunately, the electrified car market has expanded significantly since the Prius first debuted and there are plenty of options.
If your one and only priority is fuel economy when it comes to shopping for a hybrid, you will actually have a fairly tough time finding something that is more fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius. That’s because the latest model returns 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway for a 52-mpg combined rating. Still, there are alternatives if you’re willing to sacrifice some fuel economy.
The 2016 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque, paired to an electric motor to provide a total system output of 121 horsepower. The electric motor itself generates 71 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. The 2016 Toyota Prius starts from $25,035 including destination.
10. Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which makes it a direct competitor to the new Toyota Prius Prime rather than the traditional Toyota Prius. Still, it’s a car that’s often cross-shopped with Prius buyers and for good reason. The 2017 Chevrolet Volt ushered in a new generation for the American automaker’s electrified offering, with up to 53 miles of pure-electric driving and up to 420 miles with a full charge and a full tank of gas. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives it a 106 MPGe rating while the gasoline engine is good for 42 mpg.
The gasoline engine is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mill with the entire drive system offering 149 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque.
Pricing for the 2017 Chevrolet Volt starts at $34,095.
See our Chevrolet Volt Review here
9. Nissan Leaf
If you’re open to an all-electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf is a great option, offering up to a 107-mile range. The base-model Nissan Leaf features a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery to provide an 84-mile range and starts from $29,860. The all-electric powertrain provides 107 hp and gets a 126-MPGe city and 101-MPGe highway rating from the EPA for the 24-kWh model. The longer-range Nissan Leaf is equipped with a 30-kWh battery and gets 124 MPGe in the city and 101 MPGe on the highway.
See our Nissan Leaf Review here
8. BMW i3
If you’re looking for something more luxurious, the BMW i3 is a good candidate as an alternative to the Toyota Prius. It can be had as an all-electric vehicle starting from $43,395 or you can add a range-extender engine for $47,245. Both models come with 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, with the all-electric version having a range of 81 miles. When equipped with the range extender engine, you can expect to squeeze 150 miles of total range.
To compare MPGe, the all-electric BMW i3 returns 137 MPGe in the city and 111 MPGe on the highway, while the range extender model gets a combined MPGe rating of 117. The gasoline engine returns a 39-mpg combined rating.
See our BMW i3 Review here
7. Honda CR-Z
For something sportier, there is the Honda CR-Z, a compact hybrid hatchback with 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy leaves a bit to be desired however, returning 31 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the manual. Opting for a CVT drops torque to 127 lb-ft, but in exchange you will get 36 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Starting from $21,130 it’s more affordable than the 2016 Toyota Prius, although the CVT will cost you $650 additional.
See our Honda CR-Z Review here
6. Mitsubishi Mirage
Not a fan of hybrids or you’re really in the market for something cheap? The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicles available today, returning 37 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. It is also one of the cheapest cars with a starting price of $13,830 – yes, you can almost purchase two Mitsubishi Mirages for the price of one Toyota Prius. You also have to give up quite a bit, as the compact Mirage is powered by a meager 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine with 78 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque.
See our Mitsubishi Mirage Review here
One of the closest competitors to the Toyota Prius is the Ford C-Max hybrid that returns 42 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Priced from $25,045, the C-Max Hybrid has a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder hybrid powertrain with total system output of 188 hp. Unfortunately, those fuel economy figures are quite a ways off compared to the 2016 Toyota Prius, showing just how quickly Ford’s hybrid powertrain has become outdated.
See our Ford C-Max Hybrid Review here
For a traditional sedan model, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid is an attractive option. Recently updated, the Korean automaker’s offering returns 39 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway while offering plenty of interior space for passengers. Pricing is also comparable to the Toyota Prius, starting from $26,835. Powering the Hyundai Sonata hybrid is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain with a total system output of 193 hp.
See our Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review here
Yes, Dieselgate is still a thing, but if you were never interested in Volkswagen diesel models, then the Volkswagen Jetta hybrid is worth a look. It’s one of the more fuel-efficient vehicles on our list with 42-mpg city and 48-mpg highway ratings, thanks to a 1.4-liter turbocharged hybrid powertrain with 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It is however, more expensive than the Toyota Prius with a starting price tag of $31,940.
See our Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Review here
2. Lexus CT200h
Sharing its platform with the previous-generation Prius is the Lexus CT200h. Essentially a luxury version of the Prius, the CT200h suffers quite a bit when it comes to fuel economy. Still, it returns 43 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway and is a viable option for those who want luxury in a compact, five-door setup. Powering the CT200h is a familiar 1.8-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain with total system output of 134 hp. As expected, luxury comes at a price with the model starting from $32,200.
See our Lexus CT200h Review here
If you can hold just a bit longer, the new 2017 Honda Accord hybrid was recently introduced and will get 49 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. It’s worth noting that those numbers are based on the EPA’s more stringent tests. Powered by Honda’s two-motor hybrid system with a 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, total system output will come in at 212 hp, which makes it the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan available.
The 2017 Honda Accord hybrid will launch this spring, so expect pricing to be announced shortly.
See our Honda Accord Hybrid Review here