Whether you want to admit it or not, alternative fuel options are becoming the norm. Even if climate change isn’t on your list of worldly concerns, saving money at the gas pump most certainly is. The year 2020 is bringing around a lot more vehicles with alternative fuel options, but Toyota remains the leader in sales for the best-selling hybrid, almost entirely due to the Prius. Since the epic manufacturing process of that first hybrid vehicle Toyota designed, the list of hybrid cars they now offer has grown significantly. In fact, this growth may have piqued your interest and led to you typing “Toyota dealer near me” in your search bar.
Toyota’s hybrids are fantastic vehicles. Plus, while you consider the options, keep in mind this year, Toyota increased its warranty on batteries from eight years or 100,000 miles to ten years or 150,000 miles. It’s never been a better time to look into buying a hybrid, especially from Toyota.
What Is the Difference Between a Hybrid and a Gas-Powered Car?
The difference is mostly in the gas tank, and exchange of energy between the electric and gas engines, with a hybrid utilizing the electric battery to power the vehicle at lower speeds, and the gas engine picks up speed or cruises at higher rates for long periods of time. When the gas engine doesn’t need to be engaged, you don’t use fuel.
The electric engine cuts down on emissions and cuts the expenditure of fuel you have to buy. Hybrids are best for mostly city driving at lower speeds to truly save money, so if you spend a lot of time on the highway, you may not save as much on gas. Plug-in hybrids increase the number of miles you can drive on the electric battery but require a charging station, where other hybrids do not require charging.
Least expensive of the options for hybrids, the 2020 Corolla hybrid starts at an MSRP of $23,100. It will get an estimated 53/52 miles to the gallon, is fitted with a nickel-metal hydride battery, comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity, has smart key technology, and is loaded with driver-assisted tech. Notable features are adaptive cruise control and sign-reading technology to keep track of things like speed limits and stop signs.
The Prius, the most well-known hybrid of all time, comes in two models, with a long list of available trim levels and the option of all-wheel drive. The beginning price point is $24,325 for the 2020 Prius. This car comes standard with push-button start, a smart key system, a seven-inch infotainment screen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, WiFi, and four USB ports between the front and back seats. Driver-assisted safety features come in a wide range, and conveniences like hill start assist and an engine immobilizer to prevent theft are considerate additions. A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with VVT is what you’ll find under the hood, and it comes standard with a lithium-ion battery.
The Camry took a recent leap into a more luxurious, sporty vehicle with lots of conveniences. At a starting price of $28,430 and an average of 52 miles per gallon, Toyota’s mid-level sedan has some impressive technology, driver-assisted safety, and comfort in the cabin. Camry’s base model for 2020 comes standard with great features like adaptive cruise control, integrated back-up camera, a smart key system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Alexa integration…the list is very long for tech. Innovative safety features like a collapsible steering column that absorbs energy on impact in an accident or collision sensors that deactivate the battery on impact are fascinating. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is paired with VVT and has four driving modes.
Prius takes a step up with Prime by offering this vehicle as a hybrid plug-in, which has wildly off-balance miles per gallon range. Because the Prime can run for 25 miles on electric alone, the miles per gallon on the upper end is 133. Conversely, the average for running on gas is 54 MPG. This vehicle can drive a total of 640 miles on one tank of gas and a full charge. Starting MSRP is $27,900, and it runs on a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with VVT.
A few stand-out features on the Prius Prime are the carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer rear hatch, heated front seats, LED head- and taillights, and climate control with a pollen filter. Also included is an audio system with six speakers and a full range of add-ons, which include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This audio system is integrated into all the rest of the vehicles listed and is extensive. Star Safety and Toyota Safety Sense are the driver-assisted tech features that cover a long list of offerings.
Toyota’s Avalon is considered the higher end of their line of sedans and starts at an MSRP of $37,000. The Avalon has one hybrid option, which averages 43/44 MPG with its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder ECVT engine. The front end is unique in styling with its aerodynamic front tangential venting. Toyota chooses to offer high solar energy-absorbing glass to keep the cabin cool, and an acoustic windshield to keep it quiet. As with so many other 2020 Toyota vehicles, the Avalon comes loaded with driver-assisted tech and infotainment.
Upgraded SofTex-trimmed heated front seats will look like leather but are easy to clean. An always welcome comfort of an 8-way adjustable driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support comes standard on all trims, as well as 8-way adjustable passenger seats. In Toyota’s typically innovative style, the Avalon has designed the driver and front passenger seats to reduce whiplash. The tilting and telescopic leather steering wheel is loaded with Toyota’s Multi-Information Display, audio, and Bluetooth hands-free phone and voice-command controls.
If you still think hybrids have anemic engines, the RAV4 will surprise you with its ability to tow 1,750 pounds with its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid engine. That isn’t a lot of weight, but it will pull a small camper or trailer. The RAV4 is an all-wheel drive compact SUV and gets 41/38 miles to the gallon. The starting price for the base model is $28,350, and there are three hybrid trims. The base trim comes standard with LED projector-beam headlights with chrome bezels, automatic high beams, fog lights, and color-keyed outside door handles, which have a front-row touch-sensor to lock and unlock the doors.
Other unique features are the aerodynamic underbody panels with vortex generators, front and rear-wheel spats, and integrated rear spoiler to continue with Toyota’s clear goal to up the ante with sportiness. Along those lines, active grille shutters work to improve fuel economy. Toyota’s long list of driver-assisted safety and tech features are part of the package. However, a couple of added exceptions are the audible vehicle proximity notification system, which alerts nearby pedestrians to the car’s presence, a thoughtful feature in consideration of how quiet hybrid engines are. Another thoughtful addition is trailer sway control to make towing easier and safer.
Last on the list is the biggest of the hybrids, with seating for eight and the ability to tow 3,500 pounds. Toyota’s Highlander is a large SUV that has three hybrid trims starting at $38,200, and it gets 36/35 MPG. As with the RAV4, trailer sway control is standard for all trims and adds the option of trail mode when needing extra traction. Handy features like a rear camera washer and windshield wiper de-icer are especially useful in snowy climates. For sunnier places, drivers will appreciate UV reduction glass on all the windows.
Along with a different safety note, Toyota incorporates energy-dissipating interior trim and several other safety features to help absorb the effects of a crash. As with the other hybrids, a long list of tech-related safety features is incorporated into the Highlander, also adding on a rear seat reminder as standard on all hybrid trims. Toyota loads the usual bevy of audio features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Sirius XM and Alexa compatibility. With such a large vehicle, parents will be glad for the conversation mirror upfront, the 84.3 cubic feet of available cargo space, and having a powered liftgate with jam prevention makes loading and unloading easier.
Why a Toyota Hybrid?
Toyota hybrids, in general, have come a long way, and their entire line-up of gas-saving vehicles will offer a sense of luxury, comfort, and safety across the board. This is the car company that created the broad swath of hybrid cars now available with so many other brands, and they remain ahead in innovative tech as each year brings competitive features in their vehicles. Hybrids are affordable for everyone seeking to buy a new car, and the coverage for battery life couldn’t be better. If you’re buying a new car in 2020, this is a great time to test drive a Toyota hybrid to see just how capable and satisfying these vehicles are.