The Best Hybrid Cars and Electric Vehicles of 2020

By Anthony Sophinos

Most Reliable New and Used Hybrid and Electric Cars 

Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

As hybrid and electric vehicles proliferate, more and more shoppers are seriously considering the fuel-saving technology as a viable alternative to traditional gas-powered cars and trucks. Yet one of the biggest concerns prospective hybrid car buyers might have still remains largely unknown: long-term reliability. Aside from long-running hybrid models like the Toyota Prius, anecdotal evidence and speculation is about all anyone has to go on when it comes to the longevity of today’s hybrid systems and electric powertrain technology. 

We decided it was time to change that and turned to data for answers. After analyzing 15.8 million vehicle transactions from between August 2019 and March 2020, we determined what percentage of hybrid and electric cars sold for any given make and model had over 100,000 and 200,000 miles on the odometer at the time of sale. For this list, we ranked our winners based on the percentage of models sold with 100,000 miles. We have also included 200,000-mile data where applicable.

If you’re familiar with our past studies on the longest-lasting cars, you know we normally use the 200,000-mile threshold as our benchmark. So why did we halve that to 100,000 miles? Credit the simple fact that most used electric cars are still too new to have accumulated high mileage. In fact, the technology is so new that only the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S had any sales of models with a six-figure odometer readout.

Traditional hybrids aren’t much different, despite having been around in one form or another for about 20 years. The lack of high-mileage examples leaves us with nine hybrid or electric vehicles that have proven themselves to at least 100,000 miles:

 

The Most Reliable Hybrid Cars and Electric Vehicles

Longest-Lasting Hybrids and Electric Vehicles
Make/Model Percentage of models with 100,000 miles Percentage of models with 200,000 miles
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 42.90% 4.20%
Toyota Prius 26.70% 2.00%
Toyota Camry Hybrid 23.80% 1.50%
Lexus RX450h 14.60% 0.20%
Kia Optima Hybrid 9.50% -
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid 4.30% -
Ford Fusion Hybrid 4.10% 0.10%
Tesla Model S 2.30% -
Nissan Leaf 0.10% -
Overall Average: 15.60% 1.00%
 

Best Used Hybrid Cars

1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

 

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 42.90%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 4.20%

First on the list of best used hybrid cars is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. This is a common winner on many of our “Best Of” lists. Its repeat podium finishes isn’t us playing favorites - the Highlander Hybrid earns its place by being about as objectively good as it gets. Average combined gas mileage of 28 mpg is excellent for a three-row crossover. Pricing remains affordable, with new models selling on average for $45,120 and 3-year old used models going for $34,390. 

Our data suggest unparalleled longevity: its 42.90 percent stat means that nearly every other used Highlander Hybrid sold has already reached 100,000 miles. The fact that 4.20 percent of models sold have crested 200,000 miles is no less impressive.

 

2. Toyota Prius

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 26.70%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 2.00%

With 26.70 percent of used models sold with at least 100,000 miles, tThe Toyota Prius takes second place in our list. This isn’t much of a surprise; having been first sold here 20 years ago, the Prius has had a head start on everyone in working the bugs out of its hybrid hardware. 

The Prius has yet to rescind its position as the most popular hybrid in America, with its new-car sales in the last six months by far the highest among all the vehicles profiled on this list. Credit the fact that a new one sells for just $27,914, while a 3-year used model sells for $20,477. Average combined gas mileage is highest among the hybrids on our list: 52.4 mpg. A plug-in hybrid version, known as the Toyota Prius Prime, is also available.

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 23.80%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 1.50%

Just behind the Prius at 23.80 percent is the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which gives the entire podium to the vaunted Japanese brand. The Camry doesn’t have the fuel economy of the Prius or nearly as much cargo space as either the Highlander Hybrid, but for those looking for a traditional midsize four-door sedan the Hybrid Camry should satisfy. 

The Camry Hybrid will return 44.8 mpg in the combined city/highway cycle. It can be purchased on average for $31,790 new and $20,269 for 3-years old used.

 

4. Lexus RX450h

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 14.60%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0.20%

The Lexus RX450h that takes fourth place is yet another Toyota product. The company’s hybrid technology lets the popular crossover net 30 mpg in the average combined city/highway cycle. Unsurprisingly, average sales prices are that of a luxury car: $57,664 for new and $41,295 for 3-years used. 

You might be curious about Toyota’s overwhelming presence on this list. A big part of it, of course, is Toyota’s famous reputation for reliability and longevity, a reputation that does not exempt their hybrid products. But it also comes down to the fact that Toyota embraced hybrid technology on a wide scale well before many other automakers. The Lexus RX450h, for instance, has been available since 2009; the Highlander Hybrid, since 2005. The Prius has now been around 20 years and the Camry Hybrid for 13 years. Most other automakers haven’t been building hybrid powertrains until much more recently.

 

5. Kia Optima

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 9.50%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0%

With the top-ranking Toyotas out of the way, the list opens up to the automakers. That includes Kia and their Optima Hybrid, which comes in at number five with 9.50 percent of models sold having at least 100,000 miles. There were no examples sold with 200,000 miles. This isn’t too surprising, as the Optima’s hybrid variant has only been on sale since 2017. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants of the Optima are currently available.

The average transaction price for an Optima Hybrid is $30,873 for a new model and $17,397 for a 3-year old used model. The average combined gas mileage is 41.9 mpg.

The Kia Optima is closely related to the Hyundai Sonata, which also offers a hybrid version.

 

6. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 4.30%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0%

Behind the Optima is the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, with 4.30 percent of models sold with at least 100,000 miles and no models sold with 200,000 miles. This luxury hybrid sedan wears a relatively affordable price tag: new examples sell on average for $42,068 and 3-year old used models ringing up for a cheap $23,316. The MKZ’s average of 40.1 mpg in the combined cycle is the lowest among the sedans and hatchbacks on this list.

 

7. Ford Fusion Hybrid

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 4.10%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0.10%

 

Closely related to the MKZ Hybrid is the Ford Fusion Hybrid. 4.10 percent of models have made it to 100,000 miles, putting it last among our hybrid cars for longevity. However, 0.10 percent have reached 200,000 miles, something that neither the Lincoln nor Kia can boast of. Average combined gas mileage for the Fusion Hybrid is 46.6 mpg - that’s the second-highest among the hybrid cars on this list, with only the Prius proving to be more efficient.

Prices for the Fusion Hybrid are relatively affordable, with new models selling on average for $28,285 with used 3-year old versions of the cars under $15,000 at just $13,951.

 

Cheapest Hybrid Cars

Those who want an affordable hybrid vehicle can consider purchasing a three-year-old version, which will still feel like a modern vehicle at a significantly lower price compared to purchasing new. Of the best hybrid cars for sale, here are the most affordable.
Used Hybrid Cars by Price
Rank  Vehicle Average 3-Year-Old Price
Ford Fusion Hybrid $13,951
2 Kia Optima $17,397
3 Toyota Camry Hybrid $20,269
4 Toyota Prius $20,477
5. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid $23,316

Best Electric Cars

The final two models on our list are all-electric. Electric models have only become more popular in the last couple of years, making long-term reliability difficult to measure. But the two electric vehicles ranked here were early trendsetters, and their extended time on the market has afforded the chance to analyze high-mile examples.

 

8. Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 2.30%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0%

The Tesla Model S ranks first of our two full electrics, with 2.30 percent of models having been sold with 100,000 miles. The Model S has been sold since 2012 by Tesla, the startup automaker based in California. Teslas have been at the vanguard of the electric car revolution, offering performance and efficiency in equal measure. 

The Model S can get 102.5 MPGe in the combined cycle on average. (see our article on good gas mileage to learn more about MPGe.) Electric range for the Model S is a segment-busting 373 miles in its most efficient form. The Model S, like all Teslas, solely rely on electric power.

The dual electric motor versions with all-wheel drive are shockingly fast, running 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds. Only the just-released all-electric Porsche Taycan will be able to directly compete with this Tesla from a performance standpoint.

As Tesla sells direct from the factory, we do not have data on average new Tesla transaction prices. We do know that current retail prices for a base Tesla Model S begin at $79,990 and that  a 3-year old model sells for an average of $63,780.

9. Nissan Leaf

 

Percentage of Models with 100,000 miles: 0.10%

Percentage of Models with 200,000 miles: 0%

Last on our list is the Nissan Leaf. Don’t consider this a last-place finish; it might be better thought of as a second-place finish among electric cars, with 0.10 percent of models having been sold with 100,000 miles or more. Average combined gas mileage is 110.8 MPGe, which trumps the Tesla. A smaller battery pack than the Tesla means it delivers less range, however. 

The Leaf’s aggressive regenerative braking settings can allow for one-pedal driving, which helps increase the amount of energy reclaimed during braking. Unlike the Tesla, the Leaf does not promise any sort of performance. 

Used examples are bargains on par with the Ford Fusion Hybrid: the average selling price for a 3-year old used model is just $14,567. A new model sells on average for $36,765. 

 

If you’re interested in a new or used electric or hybrid vehicle, you can search with iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. Filter by fuel efficiency and other parameters in order to narrow down your hybrid or electric search.