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Sunday, October 2, 2016

On the Hunt for a Hybrid?

Today, almost all car manufacturers have introduced hybrids, making hybrid models an option no matter what price range you’re shopping in or whether you’re looking for a basic car, truck or SUV. 

If it’s a mid-size affordably-priced sedan with hybrid technology you’re seeking, Chevy’s Malibu has become a worthy contender with the hybrid versions of Ford FusionHonda AccordHyundai Sonata, and Toyota Camry.



We were pleasantly surprised by our recent test drive of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.  First, the Malibu’s redesign is a huge improvement in both outside and inside aesthetics.  Four inches of additional wheelbase, adds legroom and a more luxurious feel. The base Malibu is priced at $22,500 and the Malibu Hybrid is $6,145 more; with several add-on packages, our model looked and felt pretty luxurious and priced out just under $31K with some of the common extras.  The Malibu Hybrid features a new direct-injection 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor electric-drive system achieving combined 46 mpg.  

Lexus is credited with launching the world’s first luxury hybrids.  

Today Lexus retains its position as a hybrid leader with a wider hybrid model selection than any other luxury brand.  They represent all that the Lexus brand is known for—nicely crafted vehicles with well-designed, nicely-outfitted and supremely quiet cabins, appealing ride and handling—plus fantastic gas mileage.  Two stand-outs among the 2016 lineup are the ES 300h and the RX 450h.

The Lexus ES 350 has long held a nice market share for those seeking an entry-level luxury sedan; those shoppers seeking the same space and comfort in a hybrid will find great satisfaction in the ES 300h. The 2016 achieves 40 mpg via a powertrain consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to make 200 horsepower.  Our test model’s price tag with safety, luxury and convenience packages was right at $49K.


The 2016 Lexus RX 450h is a solid choice for shoppers seeking a little more passenger space than most other contenders in the luxury hybrid crossover SUV segment, though the hybrid does steal some of the cargo space.   It has a bold new look with a longer wheelbase and slightly higher ride height and slimmed out roof line, moving its overall profile closer to the crossover side and further from the SUV side.  Passengers still enjoy ample head- and legroom inside.  The gas/electric powertrain produces 300 hp while retaining its 30 mpg combined rating.  With options, expect a delivered price on this one to be around $60K.

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