When you think of a hybrid car, Toyota Prius probably comes to mind first. At least, that’s what one used to think. Today, hybrid vehicles are nearly everywhere and in every form. They now come as a sedan, an SUV, even as a plug-in hybrid. But what are the differences, and how do you choose one? With so many options out there, you can now choose a hybrid vehicle based on what you want or need. You are no longer limited to a Prius or a bulky hatchback. While the Prius is still a great option – one that has advanced significantly – it is always nice to have options.
Hybrid vs. Plug-In Hybrid
Whether you choose a hybrid vehicle to save money on gas, be more environmentally friendly, or both, hybrids or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) offer different advantages. The classic hybrid vehicle uses a gas engine with some combination of electric batteries that work together to power the drivetrain. The gas engine charges the battery which in turn reduces the energy needed to move. A hybrid vehicle doesn’t need any extra action from you, no charging or switching modes, so you can drive and fill up as you normally would, but you’ll find that you need gas much less often.
A plug-in hybrid, or PHEV, uses similar hybrid engine technology but has a bigger battery that is capable of powering the vehicle on its own, without any gas. While you will get a much smaller range than a fully electric vehicle, PHEVs offer anywhere from 15 to 50 miles of all-electric run time. Once your battery runs out of energy, the plug-in hybrid vehicle seamlessly switches over to the gas engine, and your car will then run like a regular hybrid. You technically never have to charge your plug-in hybrid vehicle, but then you will miss out on the fuel- and money-saving option of driving in all-electric mode. Toyota also offers many free charging stations within its network. So, with a plug-in hybrid, you essentially get a hybrid and electric vehicle in one.
Toyota has always been known for fuel efficiency and advanced technology. So it’s no surprise that Toyota currently has one of the largest and most diverse lineups of hybrid vehicles.
In addition to the Prius, which has expanded to include the Prius Prime PHEV, you can now get hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota Avalon, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Highlander and Toyota Sienna. There is also the strictly hybrid ultra-stylish Toyota Venza SUV, the newest addition to the Toyota family.
For those who want a vehicle with plenty of cargo room and off-road capability, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Prime offer all the benefits of the popular Toyota RAV4 SUV, but with substantially better gas mileage. Plus, as with all hybrid vehicles, torque is much improved since battery power is instant, whereas gas engines need time to warm up before accelerating at a full rate. Add in all-wheel-drive and you’ll enjoy even better performance off-road than with a gas-powered vehicle. Opt for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid for maximum capability, cargo room and style.
The redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna is also now available as a hybrid. For busy parents who are often acting as the shuttle driver, saving time and money with fewer trips to the gas station is ideal. Not only will you have more money to spend on the little ones – or yourself – but you can get to where you’re going faster with less hassle.
For the best fuel economy, choose from the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Avalon Hybrid. Depending on what style suits you best, you’ll enjoy a smooth drive, spacious interior and all the benefits you’ve come to expect from a Toyota sedan.
Speaking of fuel efficiency, just what does each Toyota model get in terms of gas mileage?
|Model||MPG City/Hwy*||MPGe**||EV range***|
|Toyota Avalon Hybrid||43/44 mpg|
|Toyota Camry Hybrid||51/53 mpg|
|Toyota Corolla Hybrid||53/52 mpg|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid||36/35 mpg|
|Toyota Prius||54/50 mpg|
|Toyota Prius Prime||55/53 mpg||133 MPGe||25 miles|
|Toyota RAV4 Hybrid||41/38 mpg|
|Toyota RAV4 Prime||40/36 mpg||94 MPGe||42 miles|
|Toyota Sienna Hybrid||36/36 mpg|
|Toyota Venza||40/37 mpg|
In addition to efficient fuel economy, hybrid vehicles have impressive power and performance. With instant traction, higher combined horsepower than their gas-powered counterparts, and AWD availability, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are simply more powerful. While they may not sound as muscular as a gas engine, don’t let their quiet rides fool you. These hybrid vehicles pack a punch.
The main obstacle to buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle vs. a regular hybrid vehicle is cost. The plug-in hybrid options are often more costly upfront. However, in the long run, you will save more on gas. There are also tax rebates – up to $7,500 – available in California for purchasing a plug-in hybrid vehicle. We expect costs to fall as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicle technologies advance and improve.
If you’ve been thinking about switching to a hybrid vehicle, what are you waiting for? Today, there is an option for every taste and driving need, as well as options at every price level. The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid starts at $23,500, and you can find a quality used hybrid for an even better value. Freeman Toyota has a great selection of Certified Pre-Owned Toyota Hybrids with low mileage.
Consider the planet, and your wallet, when choosing your next vehicle. Toyota offers an incredible array of hybrid options that are just as capable, technologically advanced, feature-packed, and safe to drive as any other Toyota model. Call or visit Freeman Toyota in Santa Rosa, California, to learn more about all of our Hybrid Toyota options. Our knowledgeable staff will happily go over the differences between models and hybrid powertrains to help you make the best decision for your situation. Hybrid and electric vehicles are the future of driving, and there’s never been a more exciting time to join in the fun. Call or visit Freeman Toyota today!
*EPA estimated city/highway mileage. Mileage may vary by trim. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mpg will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov
**EPA-estimated combined MPGe. MPGe is the EPA-equivalent of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric operation. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPGe will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov
***EPA-estimated all-electric driving range when fully charged. Your mileage will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov