With the push to electrification happening in full swing, it wouldn’t be a knock against you if you thought the humble hybrid was all but dead as we enter into the latter half of 2020. After all, Tesla’s stock is at an all-time high, new electric cars are coming out that are increasingly affordable and capable, and the price of gas is low (and seemingly staying there).
So what’s the value prop for the hybrid look like in 2020? In my opinion, still quite good. In fact, hybrid powertrains now add as much performance as they do convenience and economy.
From Kia’s to Mercedes, here are the top hybrid 2020 model year cars that I think are worth buying.
First introduced for the 2018 model year, the Honda Accord Hybrid remains the standout midsize hybrid sedan and is the best overall hybrid car on the road today. There are a lot of reasons for this, from its “hey, you’d have no idea this was a hybrid” styling to the muscular feel it has on the road. Honda has had a long time to perfect both the Accord and hybrid powertrain, and the result of that process is obvious in the 2020 model.
Economy is just under 50 mpg, and with total powertrain output at 212 hp at 6,200 rpm and 232 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. The combustion engine is responsible for 143 hp and 129 lb-ft, and the twin electric engines provide the balance.
All trims include LED headlights, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone climate control, and the Honda Sensing suite of safety aids, which including forward collision warning, lane departure, lane-keeping assist, and cruise control.
The 2020 Accord Hybrid starts at $35,440.
2. 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Ringing in with 192 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 290 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, the redesigned-for-2020 Hyundai Sonata is a visual stunner that is easy on the pocketbook at enjoyable to drive. The internal combustion engine delivers 150 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque, with the electric powertrain making up the difference.
If you’re a Hyundai hybrid fanatic, you may note that last year’s Sonata hybrid made 192 hp. However, the new hybrid powertrain is a bit lighter and more efficient overall, so the small 1-hp drop is well worth the tradeoff.
Notable, the 2020 Sonata hybrid has a 10 year/100,000 mile hybrid powertrain and battery warranty. Given how close we are to full-on electrification, it stands to reason that this may well be the last combustion car you buy before going all-in on electric (assuming you shop every 5-7 years).
The 2020 Sonata Hybrid starts at $27,750.
3. 2020 Lexus ES300h
The only car from a luxury marque to make the list, the 2020 Lexus ES300h is an impressive vehicle, albeit one that is decided better to look at from inside the cabin. The exterior is modern, yes, but svelte it is not. However, look past the front grill and there is a very strong car here.
With 215 hp from the combined 176 hp 2.5 L four-cylinder and electric motor, the ES300h is in the same field as the Accord and Sonata from a power perspective. However, while it may have similar power as the list leaders, it is down on economy with an estimated combined rating of “just” 44 mpg. Exceptional range, to be sure, but less than both cars above it on this list.
Where the Lexus stands out is in its luxe interior, which is tech-heavy, luxuriously appointed, and comfortable to be in. It is the most refined of the bunch, though it should be given it is clearly targeting a demographic seeking a more plush and comfortable experience.
The 2020 Lexus ES300h starts at $41,810.
4. 2020 Honda Insight Hybrid
The Honda Insight: the former hybrid segment leader, turned segment laggard, and has once again returned to form as a hybrid leader. It is also one of the more affordable entries into the hybrid car segment, with a starting price in the low-20’s.
It’s also a surprisingly handsome car, with an assertive front-grill, swooping turbine rims, and edgy-but-not-excessive bodywork. The Insight looks like a modern car and blends into the background, but you aren’t buying the Insight for its curb appeal. That the Insight is an overall attractive sedan is a plus.
With a total output of 151 hp and 197 lb-ft pf torque, the Insight is not a performance monster unless the metric you’re measuring is mileage, at which point the Insight becomes a leader with an estimated combined rating of 48 mpg.
The 2020 Honda Insight hybrid starts at $22,930.
5. 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
The third (and final) Honda to make it on to this list, the 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the most “hybrid” of the hybrids on this list: it’s the one that looks like a hybrid and drives like a hybrid. That makes sense, given that the Clarity namesake debuted as a hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle in 2008.
With an all-electric range of just under 47 miles, many people will wind up rarely using gas should they use the Clarity as their daily commuter vehicle. Like the other Honda’s on this list, the Clarity comes equipped with the Honda Safety Sense tech stack.
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid enjoys a combined 212 horsepower from the combined 1.5L four-cylinder and electric engine powertrain.When operating via the electric engine, the Clarity achieves 110 MPGe; otherwise, the Clarity returns a combined 42 mpg.
The 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid starts at $33,400.
6. 2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
The 2020 Toyota Avalon packs some serious power, with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that puts out 176 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque that is paired to a 118 hp / 149 lb-ft electric motor. If you want more on the Avalon, check out Wade’s review of the 2020 Avalon TRD.
Like the Lexus ES300h, the Avalon feels as though it was designed with a more mature driver in mind. It has the same exterior flair as all the recent Toyota’s do, but it’s also a larger full-size sedan and that dimension changes how the aggressive design elements feel on the Avalon. With a combined 44 mpg rating, the Avalon affords you plenty of luxury and creature comforts without sacrificing economy.
If you’re looking at the Lexus, you’d do well to start with a test drive in the Avalon. You might wind up saving yourself north of $7,000.
The 2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid starts at $37,000.
7. 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The 2020 Toyota Camry is a feature-rich, sensible, and practical choice for a modern hybrid car. Like the Avalon, the Camry is sporting Toyota’s updated bodywork, which is more aggressive and dynamic than Camry’s of olde. If it’s been a while since you looked at a Camry, it’ll surprise you.
The hybrid powertrain is a 2.5 L four-cylinder engine that makes 176 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque paired with an electric motor that makes total net power of 208 hp. Of course, a CVT transmission is used to maximize efficiency, and while I can appreciate what a CVT brings in terms of mileage, it’s also a buzzkill in terms of driving experience.
Solid, if uninspired, driving dynamics and excellent economy – north of 52 combined mpg – are reasons to love the Camry Hybrid. However, you may want to check out the Accord or Sonata first.