Consumers considering a hybrid car purchase should definitely investigate which are the best hybrid cars for the money. Of course, each consumer’s wants and needs will ultimately dictate which hybrid car is best, but there are some overriding considerations that may tilt a decision one way or another.

How will the vehicle be used – mostly city driving or a combination of city/highway, or mostly highway? How large a vehicle is needed, or how many passengers will it typically carry? Is affordability more important than features? Based on these considerations, consumers should have a basis from which to choose the best hybrid cars for the money.

Here are some picks for the best hybrid cars for the money currently available. They are listed according to fuel efficiency, with the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy hybrid cars listed first.

  • Toyota PriusWith a 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway EPA-estimated fuel economy, the 2011 Toyota Prius leads the pack of best hybrid cars for the money. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the Base Prius II is $22,800. The five-passenger Prius is powered by a 98-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and 35-hp electric motor.
  • Ford Fusion HybridFuel economy for the midsize front-wheel drive (FWD) five-passenger 2011 Ford FusionHybrid is 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway. Starting MSRP is $28,100. Fusion Hybrid propulsion is supplied by the combination of an electric motor powered by a 330-volt sealed nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery and the next-generatin 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a net power output of 177 horsepower. Note: Mercury Milan Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid offer the same city/highway numbers as Ford Fusion Hybrid, although features and MSRPs differ.
  • Honda InsightAt 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway, the 2010 five-passenger Honda Insight is another good bet for best hybrid cars for the money. MSRP for thebase LS is $19,800. Power comes from a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and CD-brushless motor. Insight features Eco-Assist to boost fuel efficiency and also has continuously variable transmission (CVT).
  • Honda Civic HybridWith the same EPA-estimated 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway as Insight, the compact FWD 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid, at a base MSRP of $23,950, provides power from a combination of 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and lightweight, high-output electric motor. Civic Hybrid has CVT with an idle stop feature to shut off the gasoline engine when the car is stopped – saving on gas while keeping the air cleaner.

Want more resources on the best hybrid cars for the money? Check out KBB Green, from Kelley Blue Book, where you can explore hybrid cars in-depth. Remember that the larger the car, the more the hybrid version will cost, and the less fuel economy the hybrid will offer (compared to compact hybrids, for example).

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