Comparing hybrid cars by the numbers

Comparing hybrid cars by the numbers

As the number of hybrid cars continues expanding, comparing them becomes evermore daunting. Trying to make sense of all the numbers can be akin to sifting through the tiny print in an insurance policy.

To simplify the task, we’ve selected several key cost and efficiency categories to use in making preliminary comparisons if you’re shopping hybrid cars.

We have included only full-hybrid, or HEV, passenger cars — those that can use their electric motors for propulsion — currently in dealer showrooms. Mild hybrids, such as the Chevy Malibu Hybrid, are excluded because their batteries are used primarily to operate the electrical systems when the gas engine is automatically shut down at a red light. Plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs, such as the Chevy Volt, are not yet on the market.

Hybrid technology is expensive, so what’s considered entry-level-priced hybrids, such as the Honda Insight LX, start at about $21,000.

However, the cost of owning and driving a hybrid car encompasses far more than just the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or even the actual purchase price. We’ve made our cost comparison on total cost and cost-per-mile over a five-year ownership period — all assuming the car is driven 15,000 miles per year.

Reducing pollutants is another key reason for considering a hybrid. There are two types of pollutants found in vehicle exhaust: those that contribute to smog and greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Because most hybrid cars put out less than 3 pounds of smog-producing pollutants per year, we are including only greenhouse-gas emissions in this comparison.

As a starting reference point, consider that the four-cylinder gasoline-powered Toyota Camry expels 5.68 tons of greenhouse gases each year, while the Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe spits 9.22 tons into the air.

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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

MSRP: $28,675
Cost to own, 5 years: $36,825*
Cost to own, per mile: 49 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 41/36/39
EPA maximum driving range:City — 697Highway — 612Combined — 663Annual fuel cost: $1,087**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 3.8***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

MSRP: $24,510
Cost to own, 5 years: $29,603*
Cost to own, per mile: 39 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 40/45/42
EPA maximum driving range:City — 492Highway — 554Combined — 517Annual fuel cost: $1,010**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 3.53***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Honda Insight LX

MSRP: $20,510
Cost to own, 5 years: $26,953*
Cost to own, per mile: 36 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 40/43/41
EPA maximum driving range:City — 424Highway — 456Combined — 435Annual fuel cost: $1,036**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 3.62***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Lexus GS 450h

MSRP: $58,325
Cost to own, 5 years: $75,556*
Cost to own, per mile: $1.01*
City/highway/combined mileage: 22/25/23
EPA maximum driving range:City — 378Highway — 430Combined — 396Annual fuel cost: $1,997**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 6.42***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Lexus HS 250h

MSRP: $35,525
Cost to own, 5 years: N/A****
Cost to own, per mile: N/A****
City/highway/combined mileage: 35/34/35
EPA maximum driving range:City — 508Highway — 493Combined — 508Annual fuel cost: $1,214**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 4.23***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

****Because the Lexus HS 250h is so new, five-year cost estimates are still being calculated.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Lexus LS 600h L

MSRP: $109,675
Cost to own, 5 years: $130,259*
Cost to own, per mile: $1.74*
City/highway/combined mileage: 20/22/21
EPA maximum driving range:City — 444Highway — 488Combined — 466Annual fuel cost: $2,225**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 7.03***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid

MSRP: $27,500
Cost to own, 5 years: $40,302*
Cost to own, per mile: 54 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 35/33/34
EPA maximum driving range:City — 700Highway — 660Combined — 680Annual fuel cost: $1,248**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 4.35***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid

MSRP: $26,900
Cost to own, 5 years: $36,978*
Cost to own, per mile: 49 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 33/34/34
EPA maximum driving range:City — 568Highway — 585Combined — 585Annual fuel cost: $1,248**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 4.35***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.
2010 Toyota Prius II

MSRP: $23,550
Cost to own, 5 years: $30,041*
Cost to own, per mile: 40 cents*
City/highway/combined mileage: 51/48/50
EPA maximum driving range:City — 607Highway — 571Combined — 595Annual fuel cost: $849**
Greenhouse gases emitted: 2.97***

*Based on Edmunds.com True Cost to Own tool, including estimated tax, insurance, maintenance, repair and financing costs for the first five years of ownership. It is a comparative tool, not a predictive tool. Costs will vary.

**EPA estimate assuming 15,000 miles per year; per-gallon fuel costs $2.83 for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.06 for premium.

***EPA estimate on tons of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year.

<< Back to the 2010 Spring Auto Guide table of contents.

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