Best Used Hybrid Cars to Buy in 2021

Best Used Hybrid Cars to Buy in 2021

Want to lower the environmental impact of your driving, but unprepared to commit to an all-electric car? Then you need a hybrid.

Hybrid vehicles are increasingly part of the mainstream, with over 400 thousand sold in 2019 alone, according to US government data. As the name implies, these use two forms of propulsion: a standard gasoline combustion engine, as well as a battery-powered motor.

This combination allows them to achieve lower rates of fuel-burn than a standard gas or diesel car, making them cheaper to run in the long-term. This is partly due to the use of the electric motor, as well as the use of automatic stop-and-start and regenerative braking, which automatically recharges the battery when decelerating.

Hybrids also tend to require less maintenance. The electric motors used in hybrid cars are very simple, and require little to no upkeep. Additionally, the use of regenerative braking reduces the amount of wear-and-tear on the brake system.

While hybrid vehicles tend to command a premium against conventional gas-burners, some states offer tax incentives that reduce the sting somewhat. You can also grab a hybrid from the used market, where discount vehicles are in plentiful supply.

Not all hybrids are created equal

There are three types of hybrid vehicles you’re likely to encounter, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you need to know.

Parallel hybrid cars

Parallel hybrids are the most common type, with the ubiquitous Toyota Prius the best example. Here, the electric motor is activated when the vehicle is traveling at low speeds. When you cross beyond a certain speed threshold, the gas engine will take over. This is, in part, because the battery only has a relatively low capacity.

Additionally, there’s no real need to plug it into a wall outlet or a public charging station, as the gas engine recharges the battery when active. Further battery top-ups come from the energy reclaimed when braking or decelerating.

Plug-in hybrid cars

These are less common than parallel hybrid cars, although increasingly popular. Plug-in hybrid typically come with larger batteries which can be recharged by… you guessed it… plugging it in.

These are better suited to long stretches of all-electric driving, particularly in city environments, where you’re unlikely to reach a particularly high speed. However, you may notice a slightly higher rate of fuel consumption when the gas engine is active, due to the extra weight of the larger battery.

Range extender cars

These are relatively rare. Here, the gas engine doesn’t power the car, but is instead used as a generator to power the battery. This typically kicks in when the battery is at a critically low level. As is the case with ordinary all-electric vehicles, the main source of power for the battery comes from a standard charging outlet, supplemented by regenerative braking.

The most common example of this type is the BMW i3 Range Extender. Mazda has also played around with the concept, and is expected to introduce a range-extender variant of the MX-30 to the Japanese market next year.

Mild and Supercapacitor hybrids

These are less common, but worth mentioning. Mild hybrids are effectively normal combustion-engine cars, albeit with a small motor that kicks in when the car is performing a low-speed maneuver, such as parking. As you’d expect, the fuel consumption benefit gained here is negligible.

Supercapacitor hybrids are the most uncommon form. These use a fundamentally different battery technology than other hybrids.

Whereas lithium-ion batteries store energy in chemical form, supercapacitor batteries store energy in a static state. This allows for faster charging and discharging, but comes at the expense of energy density. Put simply: they can’t hold as much power.

There’s only one real vehicle on the market that uses the technology, and that’s the Lamborghini Sian.

The best hybrid cars available used

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get behind the wheel of a hybrid, with options for all budgets. Here are some of our top picks.

2018 Toyota Prius Three (from $20,050)

 2018 Toyota Prius Three (from $20,050)

Even if you’ve never sat behind the wheel of a Prius before, odds are high you’ve been a passenger in one. Drivers for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft adore the Prius for one main reason: it’s cheap to run.

The Prius simply thrives in urban environments. On city roads, you can expect to get 54MPG, as the electric motor does most of the hard work. On the highway, things are similarly rosy, and the Prius gets about 50MPG.

As a compact car, the Prius is remarkably maneuverable, and can fit into even the tightest of parking spaces. Newer models, like the 2018, also come with basic self-driving features like automatic parking.

For this, you can expect to pay around $21,000, depending on the number of miles on the odometer.

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 2018 Toyota Prius Three (from $20,050)

Even if you’ve never sat behind the wheel of a Prius before, odds are high you’ve been a passenger in one. Drivers for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft adore the Prius for one main reason: it’s cheap to run.

The Prius simply thrives in urban environments. On city roads, you can expect to get 54MPG, as the electric motor does most of the hard work. On the highway, things are similarly rosy, and the Prius gets about 50MPG.

As a compact car, the Prius is remarkably maneuverable, and can fit into even the tightest of parking spaces. Newer models, like the 2018, also come with basic self-driving features like automatic parking.

For this, you can expect to pay around $21,000, depending on the number of miles on the odometer.

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Shop Used 2018 Toyota Prius Three

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (from $24,950)

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (from $24,950)

The Camry proves hybrids don’t have to be ugly. It is, without question, one of the best looking hybrid cars on this list. It’s also one of the most practical.

Yes, the 2018 Hybrid LE trim boasts the same exceptional mileage you can expect from a hybrid, with 51MPG on city roads and 53MPG on the highway. But it’s also fairly big, and the Camry offers plenty of room in the rear seats, making it an enticing choice for families.

And as a recent model year vehicle, bells-and-whistles are in plentiful supply. In addition to a sleek infotainment system, there’s plenty of safety features. The Camry can warn if you’re drifting out of your lane, while traction control help prevent against wheelspin when tackling tight corners, or driving on icy roads.

For this model and trim, prepare to spend around $25,000.

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2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (from $24,950)

The Camry proves hybrids don’t have to be ugly. It is, without question, one of the best looking hybrid cars on this list. It’s also one of the most practical.

Yes, the 2018 Hybrid LE trim boasts the same exceptional mileage you can expect from a hybrid, with 51MPG on city roads and 53MPG on the highway. But it’s also fairly big, and the Camry offers plenty of room in the rear seats, making it an enticing choice for families.

And as a recent model year vehicle, bells-and-whistles are in plentiful supply. In addition to a sleek infotainment system, there’s plenty of safety features. The Camry can warn if you’re drifting out of your lane, while traction control help prevent against wheelspin when tackling tight corners, or driving on icy roads.

For this model and trim, prepare to spend around $25,000.

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Shop Used 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2011 Honda Insight EX (from $8,900)

 2011 Honda Insight EX (from $8,900)

As an older hybrid vehicle, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of interior amenities. But the 2011 Honda Insight is still worth investigating thanks to its low purchase price (roughly $9,000) and its solid mileage.

It delivers 40MPG on the city and 43MPG on the highway. While this isn’t quite as impressive as the Prius or Camry listed earlier, it’s still pretty solid.

It’s also to be expected. Battery technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, with newer models benefiting from longer all-electric range and lower overall fuel consumption.

Still, there’s a lot to admire here. The Insight shares similar dimensions to the Prius, making it well-suited for city driving. While its interior isn’t the most spacious on the market, it comes with a cavernous trunk area, with plenty of room for shopping and suitcases.

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Shop Used 2011 Honda Insight EX
 2011 Honda Insight EX (from $8,900)

As an older hybrid vehicle, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of interior amenities. But the 2011 Honda Insight is still worth investigating thanks to its low purchase price (roughly $9,000) and its solid mileage.

It delivers 40MPG on the city and 43MPG on the highway. While this isn’t quite as impressive as the Prius or Camry listed earlier, it’s still pretty solid.

It’s also to be expected. Battery technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, with newer models benefiting from longer all-electric range and lower overall fuel consumption.

Still, there’s a lot to admire here. The Insight shares similar dimensions to the Prius, making it well-suited for city driving. While its interior isn’t the most spacious on the market, it comes with a cavernous trunk area, with plenty of room for shopping and suitcases.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2011 Honda Insight EX

2018 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid (from $24,300)

 2018 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid (from $24,300)

With prices floating around $24,000, the 2018 Nissan Rogue SV is a tempting option for someone looking for a hybrid SUV.

Fuel consumption is exceptional by the standards of SUVs, and you can expect to get 33MPG in the city, and 35MPG on the highway. As with conventional Nissan Rogues, there’s plenty of room on the rear rows and in the trunk, making it ideal for eco-conscious families.

It also comes with a generous assortment of extras, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM radio and traffic information, heated leather seats, and a hands-free lift gate.

There’s also a nine-speaker Bose sound system, although this will probably lose its shine after you’re forced to listen to Kidz Bop for the thirtieth time.

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Shop Used 2018 Nissan Rogue SV
 2018 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid (from $24,300)

With prices floating around $24,000, the 2018 Nissan Rogue SV is a tempting option for someone looking for a hybrid SUV.

Fuel consumption is exceptional by the standards of SUVs, and you can expect to get 33MPG in the city, and 35MPG on the highway. As with conventional Nissan Rogues, there’s plenty of room on the rear rows and in the trunk, making it ideal for eco-conscious families.

It also comes with a generous assortment of extras, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM radio and traffic information, heated leather seats, and a hands-free lift gate.

There’s also a nine-speaker Bose sound system, although this will probably lose its shine after you’re forced to listen to Kidz Bop for the thirtieth time.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2018 Nissan Rogue SV

The best of both worlds

Hybrid cars are the perfect compromise. They combine the eco-friendly values of an all-electric car with the practicality of a combustion engine. And as demand for hybrids has increased, so too has the range of options available.

While the market is largely dominated by compact city cars like the Prius, other options are available, particularly on the SUV front.

Shift makes it easy to find your next Hybrid. You can browse through our entire inventory from the comfort of your home. If something catches your eye, our concierges will bring the car to you for a test drive. There are no dealerships to attend, no pressure, and no haggling.

To find your next ride, click here.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team