Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seven Affordable Hybrid Cars

Petrol prices continue to rise, causing consumers to cut back on their spending and account for an ever greater fuel expense each month. This doesn't have to be the case, however, for consumers who trade in their existing vehicle in favour of one that utilizes hybrid technology. Far from being overpriced and out of reach, many of these vehicles are more affordable than ever. In fact, many hybrid models today are merely overhauled versions of classic makes and models. And, with the pace that new hybrids are appearing on dealer lots, it's likely that even a car the size of the Holden Colorado can be found in a fuel efficient, hybrid variety.

Among all of the cars currently on the market, there are seven hybrid models that stand above the rest. Their fuel economy is excellent, their curb appeal is fantastic, and their price tag makes them highly affordable for consumers of all types.

1. Honda Insight

As a point of reference, the Honda Insight should be considered the company's version of the popular Toyota Prius hybrid. Of course, the Insight is relatively new -- this is just its third year in production worldwide. Surprisingly enough, its price starts under $20,000 and comes in right around the same cost as any other compact or mid-sized sedan available from either Honda or its competitors. That makes it an excellent way for cash-strapped consumers to ditch the gas guzzling car in their garage for a far more efficient model.

2. Toyota Prius

Toyota's Prius has come down in price dramatically since it was first unveiled over a decade ago. In that time, the popular Japanese automaker has also introduced two additional models of the Prius line -- and both of them were designed to be even more affordable than the original model. With three different pricing tiers, starting under $20,000 for the company's subcompact Prius model, this is a vehicle that can fit virtually every budget. And that's a good thing, because the Toyota Prius has long been the gold standard by which every other hybrid vehicle has been judged.

3. Holden Malibu Hybrid

Produced by General Motors, the Malibu's hybrid model is sold under the Holden brand in Australia and under the Chevrolet brand worldwide. The car itself is a model that Chevrolet has produced since the 1950s, with a brief pause in production toward the end of the 20th century. With prices for the hybrid model starting just over $20,000, it's one of the most affordable mid-sized hybrid sedans available anywhere. And, with a high-quality name like Holden attached to the car, consumers are assured of its long-term reliability and performance.

4. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has been working diligently at bringing its Prius-style hybrid technology to virtually every car it sells, and the mid-sized Camry is no exception. The car is one of the best-selling cars in the entire world, and that makes this particular model prime for a good deal -- and excellent quality on top of it. The Camry's hybrid model starts at a little over $20,000 and, just like the Malibu, that makes it a competitive option for larger families in the market for a mid-sized sedan.

5. Nissan Altima Hybrid

In terms of going green, Nissan has been one of the most aggressive automakers anywhere in the world. Its Leaf line runs solely on electric power, and its Altima Hybrid presents a smaller sedan, a smaller price tag, and a big commitment to fuel efficiency. The car's price tag starts in the mid-20s, making it quite affordable for a Nissan vehicle.

6. Honda Civic Hybrid

Honda's popular Civic is one of the best hybrids on the market, as well as one of the most affordable. The car has long been targeted to younger buyers, and it's one of the best ways to score a great subcompact sedan, with excellent curb appeal, without sacrificing fuel economy. The car starts just under $20,000 and offers some of the best fuel economy outside of the Honda Insight itself.

7. Honda CR-Z

What would a good hybrid be without a capable SUV? The Honda CR-V might border on "Honda fatigue" for this particular article, but it's a notable entrant. The SUV is exceedingly affordable for its size and technology, starting in the upper $20,000 range. Its fuel economy is second to none -- even when compared to other hybrid SUV models. That makes it a sure bet for large families everywhere.

A Robust Market for Hybrid Vehicles

As fuel costs continue to rise and budgets continue to tighten, hybrid models will only increase in terms of economy, affordability, and availability. The seven vehicles listed here are some of the best and most affordable options, but they're not the only ones. With careful research and planning, tens of vehicles could be considered for the very same article. Pick carefully -- and make sure to take a test drive -- and higher fuel economy could be just around the next bend in the road.

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