LAUREN MCCAY: Are you the type that can never quite figure out what you want to eat for dinner? Pizza or Chinese? Well, if you live in California where fusion is king, you get the best of both worlds. That's what it's like driving a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car. You get a battery, electric motor, a gasoline tank, and an internal combustion engine all in. one.
And in this video, I'm bringing you the best of the best of these car worlds with the top hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles of 2022 and 2023 that we've tested to date. All right. Before you do anything else, make sure you subscribe to our channel. And be sure to visit edmunds.com for your next car.
I got to first address an elephant in the room. Car makers tend to be a little in the dark about the confusion many consumers have on what exactly hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars are and can do. So here's the skinny. Electric vehicles, or EVs, are completely and fully battery-powered cars. So you definitely need one of these.
A plug-in hybrid is like a junior EV. It's initially powered by an electric motor with a medium-sized battery you can charge. Don't have a plug? No sweat. When it runs out of juice or needs an extra kick, it has a gas tank and engine to keep it running like a regular car.
Now, hybrids, they're the old geezers of the group-- been around the longest. A hybrid is 100% gas-fueled but also has a small electric motor and battery to assist the gas engine in most situations. Bottom line, you're going to need gas for it.
The reason these cars are growing in popularity is because they typically provide better fuel economy compared to gas-only models. And just about everyone loves to save a little extra cash. Am I right? Now that you've gotten the lowdown, let's see which cars are topping our rankings list.
First, we're sifting through our hybrid sedans. And topping our list for the best is the 2022 Honda Accord. The long-running highly regarded Accord is Honda's largest sedan-- basically, the marathon runner in the group. The EPA estimated the combined fuel economy to be 47 MPG. But when we tested it, we found it to be only 38.
We also noticed this car takes a bit of a ding on the freeway, relying mostly on the gas engine. So once you hit about 65, you're going to likely see a decline. But unlike some hybrids, this battery pack does not affect cargo space because it's tucked underneath the rear seats. The price difference between the hybrid and the regular Accord is relatively small. But the hybrid powertrain makes more power and gets better mileage.
So this one feels like a no-brainer for us. Now, I have to mention, Honda is coming out with a new 2023 version of this Accord soon. We haven't seen it yet, but we've seen what they've done with their latest Civic and CR-V. So knowing Honda usually shares powertrains and tech between its different models and similar size classes, we can already predict what this new Accord will be like.
In the hybrid SUV department, our top-tier Titan-- all right, I just wanted to add that extra T in there-- is the fully redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson. Check out this before and after. Now, that's a makeover. OK? It's a small SUV that's historically played things safe and stuck to conservative styling, competing against the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
But Hyundai has kissed conventional wisdom goodbye. I was impressed before, but now, this hybrid SUV has the full package-- the looks, the warranty, the tech, strong acceleration, and the fuel economy, which in our testing, fell just three points below the EPA's estimate of 37 MPG.
The Tucson Hybrid delivers more than you'd expect for its price and is just a step or two above its competitors, ranging anywhere from $28,000 to $38,000. It's the top model of what a hybrid SUV should be.
Stepping off the runway, moving on, and-- look, don't at me for this-- the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Yes, our top plug-in hybrid is a minivan. But there's nothing mini about these 32 miles of all electric range, punchy acceleration, and upscale interior.
We like it because it comes packed with all the latest technology, has the usual minivan traits, including an abundance of passenger and cargo space. So come on in, soccer team. I mean, I won't even know you're there with the entertainment system cranked in the backseat. The fuel savings plus the available tax credits make the Pacifica Hybrid potentially the best value in its class.
But OK, if you're not a minivan person our number-two spot is the Toyota RAV4 Prime. It has great power, great electric range, and it's a RAV4, so you know what to expect. All right. So you want a hybrid car, but something like a Honda Accord doesn't speak to your fashion sensibilities. In comes the Lexus ES 300h. This luxury sedan is comfortable, quiet, and offers seriously impressive fuel economy.
The EPA estimates the 300h gets 44 MPG combined. But we actually got a bit more juice out of it and got 46, which is excellent for any sedan, let alone a luxury ride. Though it has lackluster acceleration, the truth is Lexus dominates our luxury hybrid category because they've expertly combined style and comfort with a hybrid powertrain. And the 300h is overall a pretty appealing sedan.
Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz may have created and mastered the mid-sized luxury sedan, but that hasn't discouraged the others. The Volvo S90 Recharge T8 is a distinctly different flavor of European sedans-- definitely not vanilla. That's why it's made our list for the best luxury plug-in hybrid car.
Like so many Volvos before it, the S90 Recharge is wildly understated. It's powerful and fuel efficient. It's also spacious and comfortable with a pretty handsome interior. The picture looks even better when you consider the long list of standard features and driver aids.
Alas, it's yet another Volvo that's finishing out our list today, which clearly shows Volvo is stepping up their game. And with this XC60-- that is a tongue twister, OK-- they are really hitting the spot with their tech and EV range. It's topping our list as the best luxury plug-in hybrid SUV.
Since the XC60 is a Volvo, safety plays a big part. Get all the expected advanced safety features as standard equipment. And it's even been named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. So you get all of that, plus great fuel economy. Running in pure electric mode to start, we got 38 miles out of it, outdoing the EPA'S projection of 36 miles.
Well, there you have it, our best of the best in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid world, which basically, is a way for you to just slightly dip your toe into the EV Olympic-sized pool that our society is moving towards without fully diving in headfirst. So we've given you our favorites.
Now, go. Try them out. Take them for a spin-- a smidge of a longer spin given their grade on miles. Did you know we have a top 10 for every category? So check out edmunds.com no matter what kind of car, truck, or SUV you're searching for.