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The Most Green for Your Green: Best and Worst Hybrid Cars

All hybrids aren't created equal

Thinking about getting a hybrid?  With gas prices these days, you're not the only one.  But as automakers rush to grab your hybrid-buying dollars, how do you know which car to chose?

That's where the U.S. News Hybrid Rankings come in.  We've taken expert opinions on hybrid cars under $30,000 and digested them for you.  The result is a comprehensive, unbiased rankings list to help you get the most green for your green.

Toyota Camry Hybrid
MSRP: $25,200
MPG 33 City/ 34 Highway

Toyota Camry Hybrid

It seems a little odd that the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid leads our hybrid car rankings when it doesn't have what many hybrid buyers say they are looking for: the best gas mileage in the class.  What it does have, however, is near luxury interior appointments and enough gadgets to keep green-tea drinking, Mac-using ecophiles happy.  While other hybrids may get better fuel economy, the Camry Hybrid proves that you don't have to give up comfort or performance to drive an environmentally-friendly car. 

 

Honda Civic Hybrid
MSRP: $22,600 - $24,350
MPG: 40 City / 45 Hwy 

The Honda Civic Hybrid cruises into the number two spot on the strength of its fuel economy (which is the second best in the class) and well-crafted passenger cabin.  Reviewers like that the Civic Hybrid looks identical to the conventional Civic, making it the perfect car for people who want to save the planet without making a big statement.  Still, there are complaints about the Civic Hybrid's performance -- it just isn't as fun to drive as the conventional Civic.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius
MSRP: $21,100 - $23,370
MPG: 48 City / 45 Hwy

The best-selling hybrid in America ranks number three on our list.  While no other model can touch the car's incredible gas mileage, almost all surpass its lackadaisical performance.  Its styling also polarizes reviewers, as do interior gadgets that some see as uninspired.  Still, the sale figures tell a different story -- and the Prius' popularity with consumers and stellar gas mileage may overshadow its place on our rankings list. 

Saturn Aura Green Line
MSRP: $23,640 - $23,640
MPG: 24 City / 32 Hwy
 

Though the Saturn Aura Green Line offers mid-sized sedan comfort and hybrid technology at a relatively low price, its unimpressive gas mileage and performance place it near the bottom of the hybrid car class.  Though reviewers like its large trunk and stately exterior, buyers who want the best hybrid for their money should probably look elsewhere.  

Nissan Altima Hybrid
MSRP: $25,480 - $25,480
MPG: 35 City / 33 Hwy 

Nissan Altima Hybrid

If you want hybrid fuel economy with a dose of sporty performance, then the Nissan Altima Hybrid is the way to go.  The catch?  It's only sold in a few states.  If you can find one where you live, keep in mind that reviewers like its performance, but don't like its high price tag.  Plus, that price inflates quickly with options - a drawback that puts the Altima Hybrid at the bottom of the hybrid class.

 

 

Before You Buy, Do the Math

While the hybrid rankings show that consumers have good choices when shopping for a green machine, it pays to do the math.  Check out our feature "Is Going Green Worth It?" to see which hybrids make up for their extra upfront costs with extreme fuel savings. You can also check out our Best and Worst Hybrids slideshow. If you need a little more space in your hybrid, be sure to read Best and Worst Hybrid SUVs.