When people think of hybrid cars, the image of an eco-friendly hypermiling pod often comes to mind. However, a hybrid powertrain (an electric motor paired with a gasoline engine) can be tuned for a mixture of fuel economy and performance. The hybrid battery temporarily stores energy that is normally lost during braking and then provides a boost when accelerating. Additionally, the battery will sometimes give the vehicle a lower center of gravity and improve the car's handling.
Here are eight vehicles that pleasantly surprised our editors because they were actually fun to drive. If you find one that could be on your fun-to-drive shopping list, be sure to visit our Incentives and Rebates page to learn about current incentive and rebate offers before you buy. You might also find the vehicle you're interested in offered through Edmunds.com's Price Promise® program.
Relative to its hybrid peers, the C-Max Hybrid wagon is a dynamic wonder. "Fun" and "hybrid" can actually be used in the same sentence without a whiff of irony.
This midsize sedan is definitely not the isolating transport pod you might expect a hybrid to be. The driving experience is more engaging than other hybrid sedans on the market. Some may find the challenge of driving as efficiently as possible to be engaging and even fun. We gave it an Edmunds "A" rating.
Still on sale for 2016, the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid midsize sedan is incredibly smooth and far more responsive than other hybrids. It's not the enthusiasts' first choice, but it isn't a dull pod either. This is the way all hybrids should drive. We gave it an Edmunds "A" rating.
Do you like the idea of a hybrid but still want a midsize sedan that's responsive when the road stops being straight? You may well find a happy medium in the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE. The fuel economy is as good as ever, but the SE isn't as soft and weak-kneed as some of its siblings.
The CT 200h hatchback is quite nimble and entertaining on curvy mountain roads. It's the sort of small "momentum" car we like, but in a high-mpg hybrid form that's even thriftier in the city.
The 2016 Panamera S E-hybrid certainly has the performance and poise to be fun to drive. Its Porsche pedigree is more than just a badge. It's also a very energy-frugal flagship luxury car, with a plug-in E-hybrid mode that's sure to attract EV fans who can't quite commit to a fully electric car like the Tesla. We enthusiastically gave it an Edmunds "A" rating.
Though the GS 450h sedan has a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which can be the opposite of fun, it provides a remarkably responsive driving experience when it's asked to do so. A wide range of chassis and powertrain adjustability gives it the ability to be both fun and comfortable.
Stirring yet efficient performance, exceptional quality and comfort and a claimed 28 mpg make this SUV a solid value. While the Highlander Hybrid isn't thrilling, it is immensely satisfying and more capable than it probably needs to be. And that feels very rewarding. We gave it an Edmunds "A" rating.