BEST CONCEPTS/BEST HYBRIDS

CNNMoney, with help from AOL Autos and Edmunds.com has homed in the most cost-effective hybrids available to buyers today. Meanwhile, BusinessWeek named the best concept cars of 2007.

Edmunds.com chose vehicles with which to compare each hybrid vehicle. That meant the Toyota Prius ran up against a 4-cylinder Camry, but all other competitors were contrasted with their equivalent gasoline-fired model. After calculating the added cost of purchasing the hybrid, CNNMoney figured the fuel savings and the relationship between the two. In other words, how long will it take to recoup the loss? The lower the number, the higher you finish.

So, the Prius came first; followed by Chevy’s Malibu, the Toyota Camry, Ford Escape, Saturn Vue, Mercury Mariner, Honda Civic, Nissan Altima, Saturn Aura, Lexus GS450h, Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander, and Lexus LS600h L. Estimates for the Prius come in at 4.2 years, stretch to 5.8 years for the Vue Green Line, all the way to 3,771 years in the Lexus LS. You read that right. 3-7-7-1.

MotorTrend’s findings in an Altima/Aura/Camry comparo do not mirror that of the CNNMoney study.

BusinessWeek chose the Audi Metroproject Quattro, Chevrolet Beat, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Verve, and Toyota FT-HS among others as the best concept vehicles of 2007.