What Is a Hybrid Car And Which Should I Buy?

The planet is warming. There’s no denying that. To stave off the globe’s impending heat death, automotive manufacturers have put … Continued

The planet is warming. There’s no denying that. To stave off the globe’s impending heat death, automotive manufacturers have put together a stop-gap between fossil-fuel-burning combustion engines and the greenness of electric cars: hybrids.

Hybrids are now commonplace and most manufacturers offer at least one hybrid variant along each of its model lines. To better understand these dual-natured automobiles, Car Bibles’ editors called upon Captain Planet to help you understand what exactly a hybrid car is and which one you should buy.

By your powers combined, we are Captain Car Bibles! Wait, that’s not right…

What is a Hybrid Car?

Simply stated, a hybrid car is one that uses both gasoline and electrical energy to operate. This is accomplished through the use of a gasoline engine/range-extending power generator, and/or a battery pack.

What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid and an EV?

Know the difference.

Hybrid

As stated, a hybrid car is one that runs on both gasoline and electricity.

EV

An EV, or electric vehicle, is one that runs on battery power alone. It does not derive any power from the burning of fossil fuels.

What’s the Most Reliable Hybrid Car?

As we always say, the most reliable car, that’s hybrid, electric, or one that runs on ground dinosaurs, is the one you steadfastly maintain. You can have a car from a company that’s notoriously untrustworthy and find it never fails so long as you stay ahead of its maintenance schedule.

That said, your chances of keeping your hybrid running for years to come can be affected by its manufacturer. To help you on that quest, scroll below to see a small selection of our favorite hybrid cars.

A white Toyota Sienna hybrid poses in front of a rock formation.
Toyota and Chrysler both offer hybrid minivans.

A Look at the Breadth of Available Hybrid Cars

There are multiple types of hybrids available, with variations ranging from humble commuters to all-out racers. Here’s just a small smattering of the hybrids available now.

Toyota Prius

Sorry, enthusiasts, but the Prius is great because it’s frugal with fuel and delivers on every single one of its promises. It’s cheap, cheerful, and you’ll feel wonderful about protecting the environment.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

If you need a bit more space, Honda’s legendary reliability and low cost make the CR-V Hybrid a must-look for anyone shopping for a hybrid.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Need even more space for your growing brood? Check out the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. That’s right, a hybrid van! Who’d have thought that’d be a reality?

Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered

Volvos are known for their safety, but Polestar is known for its performance. Marry the two, add a pinch of hybridization, and you’ve got one helluva package.

Aston Martin Valkyrie

The Aston Martin Valkyrie is the last gasp of the naturally aspirated V12, though it too even has a hybrid drivetrain thanks to some black magic from Rimac. Nothing, not even supercars, and hypercars, will escape our electrified future.

A lifted Ford F-150 carries a surfboard.
Ford’s best-selling F-150 is now available as a hybrid.

Car Bible’s Glossary for Hybrid Cars

Get educated.

MPGe

MPGe stands for “mile per gallon-equivalent” and refers to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle’s energy efficiency over an average distance in the same way an MPG refers to a gasoline engine’s efficiency over an average distance.

Range Extender

A range extender is a small gasoline-powered generator that doesn’t supply power to the wheels, but instead charges the car’s battery. BMW’s i3 is one example of a hybrid that uses a range extender.

kWh

kWH stands for kilo-watt per hour and refers to the max output of an electric vehicle’s battery. In some parts of the world, it can also refer to the power output of a motor, including those powered by gasoline or diesel.

Your Questions, Our Answers on Hybrid Cars

Your burning questions answered.

Q. How Long Can a Hybrid Car Sit?

A. As with any car, it depends on the situation and environment. If you’re in a warm climate, the car will likely be ok and still hold a charge after 3-6 months. If you’re in a climate where winter occurs, that amount gets halved.

Q. Does Cold Weather Affect Hybrid Cars?

A. It does. Just like any other battery, cold weather sucks the juice out of a hybrid.

Q. How Do You Take Care of a Hybrid Car?

A. The same way you take care of a gasoline car: regular service, treat it nicely and make sure you’re not hooning the heck out of it. Follow your car’s service schedule, and you’ll have a car that lasts for a long time.

Video on Hybrid Cars

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how hybrid cars work. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Hybrid Related Products

You can buy tools for hybrid cars at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. We picked a handful of great home EV chargers that also work with plug-in hybrids. They’re cheap, reliable, and did we mention cheap? Check them out.

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Jonathon Klein

Jonathon KleinJonathon has jumped Aston Martins for Automobile Magazine, clocked 200 mph in a McLaren 720S for Playboy, and sampled his best life behind the wheel of a Ferrari Dino Evo for Road & Track. He’s hopelessly addicted to the strongest coffee he can brew. Please send him more. Contact the author here.