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2016 Hybrids: How to Choose the Best Fuel Efficient Car

2016 Malibu Hybrid

With the 2016 model year, more and more car makers are introducing new and improved hybrid vehicles. Despite low gas prices, the world’s automakers are innovating and pushing for better and better fuel economy with each new vehicle generation.

Their main motivation is being the automaker to create the next Prius; however, the secondary motivation is ensuring that their line-ups are able to meet the future 54.5 mpg average that the EPA has set for 2025.

So given the fact that there are more hybrid options than ever before, how does one go about finding the best hybrid vehicle?

That’s why AutoInfluence is here. In this post, we’ll be taking a few of the newest hybrids through a few tests to see which ones are worth your money and which ones you can safely pass on.

Fuel Efficiency

When shopping for a hybrid, fuel efficiency is obviously one of the most important factors in your decision making process. You’re only searching for a hybrid over a standard model because you want to go longer between fill-ups and reduce your own personal carbon footprint.

For the 2016 model year, there are plenty of cars with higher-than-average mpg, but the one standout is the 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid. Utilizing technology found in the new Volt, Chevrolet was able to take the Malibu Hybrid to new heights, with a combined 47 mpg (48 city/45 highway) efficiency rating. That’s higher than the Volt itself, which only achieves 42 combined mpg through its gasoline-powered engine. (In fully-electric mode, it’s able to achieve over 100 mpg equivilant.)

The Malibu’s closest competition is its direct rival, the 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Fusion is able to achieve 44 city mpg and 41 highway mpg, which is higher than Ford C-MAX’s (the brand’s Prius fighter) 42 city mpg and 37 highway mpg.

Toyota’s 2016 Camry Hybrid comes close to matching the Fusion Hybrid, but falls short in efficiency, with 43 city mpg and 39 highway mpg. At its neck, however, is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata with 40 city mpg and 44 highway mpg.

Given those numbers, you would assume the Sonata actually has the advantage over the Camry. But unless the bulk of your driving is done under highway conditions, you’ll see more efficiency with the Camry Hybrid.

MPG Breakdown

  • 2016 Malibu: 48 city, 45 highway – 47 combined
  • 2016 Volt: 42 mpg combined (gas engine)
  • 2016 Sonata: 40 city, 44 highway
  • 2016 Camry: 43 city, 39 highway
  • 2016 C-MAX: 42 city, 37 highway
  • 2016 Fusion: 44 city, 41 highway

Now that you have a full picture, let’s move on to the next factor: price.

Price

Note: All prices on this list are base MSRP.

Just like any vehicle, you want to get the absolute best price when it comes to a hybrid. Sure you’re saving money on gas every month, but that doesn’t add up to thousands extra. You can make up this value through style and features, but if your goal is to just save money this section should help you decide which hybrid is right for you.

Of all the hybrids featured in this article, the 2016 Ford C-MAX is the clear winner. Starting at just $23,114, it’s more than $1,000 cheaper than the base 2015 Toyota Prius model. And while we’re not directly comparing it to the Prius here, it’s worth noting that the Prius is also cheaper all of the other cars on this list.

The Fusion Hybrid is the next most affordable option, coming in at $25,675. Closing in on it, however, is the 2016 Sonata Hybrid at $26,000 even. The Camry Hybrid comes in after the Sonata at $26,790.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any official pricing information for the 2016 Malibu Hybrid. But given the fact that it’s a brand new, redesigned model and the fact that its efficiency numbers blow away the competition, it’s likely going to be priced somewhere around $28,000.

As for the Volt, there is a reason it’s priced so much higher than other hybrids: it can run in electric-only mode for 53 miles. Essentially, it double as an electric car. With that said, however, its $33,170 price tag may mean it’s out of reach for many budget-conscious hybrid buyers.

Price Breakdown

  • 2016 Malibu: Unknown ($28,000 estimated)
  • 2016 Volt: $33,170
  • 2016 Sonata: $26,000
  • 2016 Camry: $26,790
  • 2016 C-MAX: $23,114
  • 2016 Fusion: $25,675

Style

One of the biggest problems hybrid cars have faced over the years is that they’re just not very stylish. The Prius always looked like it was trying too hard to look unique, but it sold really well. This caused other automakers to follow suit and create their own “unique” vehicles, which typically ended up looking like the Prius. (Yes, I’m taking about you, Honda Insight.)

But with the 2016 model year, more and more hybrid versions of popular vehicles are being released. This means hybrid buyers no longer have to sacrifice looks just to own a fuel-efficient vehicle. One of the best examples of a car leading that charge is the 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid.

Redesigned for 2016, the Malibu Hybrid is a stunning mid-size sedan. With plenty of lines across the body, and a coupe-like angle at the rear, the new Malibu is one of the most modern-looking and affordable sedans on the market today.

While still utilizing an older design, the 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid is nipping on the Malibu’s heels in the style category. It features a stunning front grille and plenty of modern, angular lines that make it an low-priced head turner.

The Volt comes in third for best design. While completely redesigned for 2016, it’s still trying to look too much like a hybrid vehicle. Even if I knew nothing about cars, I look at the 2016 Volt and see a Prius shape. Until Chevrolet stops using that shape and bring something new to the table, it’s hard to get behind the Volt’s styling.

Unfortunately, the remaining three vehicles just can’t compete. The Sonata Hybrid, while not a horrible looking vehicle, simply isn’t able to match the modern look that the Malibu and Fusion bring to their respective categories.

The Camry is in the same boat. Its redesign for 2015 looked great at the time, but once other car makers revealed their new designs, the Camry became just another sedan.

As for the C-MAX, it’s hard to blame it for its style shortcomings. It’s a standard hatchback that’s extremely affordable for what it offers. So if style isn’t at the top of your must-haves, the C-MAX is still a great option.

Style Breakdown: Most to Least Stylish

1. 2016 Malibu

2. 2016 Fusion

3. 2016 Volt:

4. 2016 Sonata

5. 2016 Camry

6. 2016 C-MAX

Available Options

ust like style, available options are probably not the most important factor to take into account when buying a hybrid. They could, however, help you decide which vehicle is the best overall.

Here’s a quick look at our rankings for best hybrid interior options and a brief explanation of what is available:

2016 Fusion: As discussed, one of the biggest problems with hybrid styling is that it’s treated so much differently when compared to regular cars. The same can be said for interior options. Luckily for Fusion buyers, that’s not the case, as Ford offers three amazing trim levels that match their gasoline-powered counterparts.

2016 Camry: Like the Fusion, the Camry has three unique trims with plenty of options to pick and choose. Given its breakdown between trims, however, it makes shopping for a hybrid based on extras much easier compared to other models on this list.

2016 Sonata: The Sonata Hybrid comes in two trims: the base SE and higher-end Limited trim. Buyers can still pick and choose options, but Hyundai has done a great job of adding value to each trim level right out of the box.

2016 C-MAX: Surprisingly, the C-MAX does a great job of offering the same amount of options it does on most of its non-hybrid vehicles. This allows C-MAX buyers to come in at a low entry level price and add extras as they see fit.

2016 Malibu: While we’re sure the Malibu Hybrid will come with plenty of great options, we can’t rank it at this time.

2016 Volt: Just like the Malibu, the Volt’s options packages have not been released.

Overall, it’s up to you as the buyer to use this information and choose the best hybrid to fit your life. Each of these vehicles are amazing, but I’m sure by now you’ve narrowed your search down to just a few.

Now you can start test driving and figuring out where the best deals are in your area. Good luck!

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