Whether you're looking for more fuel efficiency, an eco-friendly car that won't give you range anxiety, or maybe even the added oomph of a torquey electric motor, hybrid cars have a lot to offer. What started as a way to make economy cars even more economical has become so much more in recent years. While many vehicles are still chasing big mileage numbers, luxury brands have been figuring out how to use hybrid systems to add performance as well. Advances in battery technology also mean that new plug-in hybrids can go for miles on electricity before a gasoline engine is even turned on. There are a lot of hybrid options on the market right now, and many of them have different strengths, so we're going to run down our favorites to help you choose the right hybrid for your needs.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid / Energi: The 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid has just been updated with improved infotainment tech and more standard features. It also claims an impressive EPA rating of 42 mpg combined. The Fusion is a sharp-looking family sedan with a quiet, comfortable cabin that can be equipped with tons of advanced features. We also like the Fusion's refined road manners, although rear-seat headroom can be tight for taller passengers. There's also a plug-in version, the Ford Fusion Energi. While the Energi comes with a hefty price premium, it can drive up to 21 miles on electric power alone. Buyers with shorter daily commutes might make it through a whole workweek without burning a drop of gasoline.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid: For 2017, the Camry Hybrid lands a new infotainment system, along with some new safety features such as automatic emergency braking. The Camry is a comfortable car, but it's still a confident handler — especially in the sport-tuned SE trim. It also offers a spacious, well-laid-out interior, with lots of options for entertainment, safety and convenience technology. There's no plug-in option, but the Camry Hybrid is quicker from zero to 60 than the regular, gas-powered Camry while returning up to 40 mpg combined. A useful trunk and big backseat round out the Toyota's benefits.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: There aren't many hybrid three-row SUV options on the market, but the 2017 Toyota Highlander shows just how successfully hybrid technology can be applied to a big, family-friendly vehicle. For this year, the Highlander Hybrid gets more power and improved mileage, more standard accident avoidance features and fresh exterior styling. We like the Highlander not just for its space and practicality, but also for its comfortable seats, smooth ride and whisper-quiet cabin. It also returns 29 mpg combined, which is stellar efficiency for an SUV of this size. A range of available trims provide affordable options as well as more luxury-oriented offerings, so the Highlander Hybrid can accommodate buyers with a range of budgets and needs.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid: The 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid is a three-row SUV that offers a generous list of features and driver aids. It also showcases some very advanced technology. The hybrid system Acura uses in the MDX is actually borrowed from Acura's NSX supercar, and it is designed not just for efficiency but also for improved handling and acceleration. Even better, this sizable SUV has an EPA rating of 27 mpg combined, yet it still makes 321 horsepower. No other SUV offers this combination of performance, practicality and efficiency.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Porsche Panamera Hybrid: The 2017 Porsche Panamera Hybrid is a low-slung sport sedan with power and performance to spare. Thanks to a complete redesign, this year's model looks as good as it drives, and it offers some astounding luxury and technology. Its hybrid powerplant churns out 462 hp while returning 25 mpg combined and 16 miles of all-electric range. While the Panamera Hybrid has enough comfort and interior space to compete with full-size luxury sedans, its acceleration, handling and braking are all pure Porsche performance, making it a unique offering with very little competition — hybrid or not.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 BMW i8: The 2017 BMW i8 offers a real taste of the future, both in its design and performance. Underneath that science-fiction skin is a supercar built around a carbon-fiber passenger cell. The i8 has exceptional fuel economy for a sports car and remarkable performance for a hybrid thanks to its drivetrain. An electric motor powers the front wheels, while a turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine powers the rear. This system makes 357 hp and returns 28 mpg combined. It even has an all-electric range of 15 miles, so you can leave your neighborhood very quietly on your way to tear up your favorite canyon road.