Best Hybrid Cars for 2020: An Extensive Guide

With strong pushes into the field of fully electric vehicles from the entirety of the auto industry continuing into 2020 and on, hybrid cars may seem to be sitting in limbo. Even the best hybrid cars aren’t full EVs (electric vehicles) or standard internal combustion options. As such, they can be a bit of a tough sell as the years go on. This is especially true with EVs take more of a frontrunner status in the alternative fuel vehicle market.

However, in the meantime they sit in this purgatory. Hybrids still have a few good years left in them, fresh off our 2019 overall list. The below best hybrid cars for 2020 list are an example of the heavyweights of the golden years of hybrids.

The only requirements for this best hybrid cars list

  • No crossovers or SUVs
  • Hybrid vehicles only, no fully electric (sorry, Tesla)

Our Luxury Option: 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Toyota has long been considered a true marketplace leader for economy hybrids. This ranges from the flagship Prius to its standard sedan hybrid options. However, their luxury options available with the Lexus brand are very much up to snuff as well. The complete redesign of their seventh-generation Lexus ES 300h is a beautiful showing of that exact sentiment.

Lexus’ new ES model became a production heavyweight starting with its first introduction in the 2019 model year. This means that the 2020 version is going to carry over with minimal changes of significance. New models from Lexus are notorious for being elegant and high-style. This is the expectation. However, Lexus is also providing some impressive levels of utility for the price. Additionally, another big draw is the introduction of integration with Apple CarPlay.

Pricing of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h

The base price of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h hybrid starts at a little bit over $41,000. However, their “Ultra Luxury” trim option begins at around $45,000. Of course, an extensive array of optional upgrades will push these prices up a bit higher. However, when compared to the internal combustion-only alternative, there is one of the smallest price differences, at $2,000 more.

It should be noted that, with the advent and growing popularity of electric vehicles, there are no current tax credits available for conventional hybrid vehicles. This is mainly due to the size of their battery packs not being sufficient compared to fuel-cell options. As such, that $41,000 base price isn’t going to drop with potential tax advantages. Note that there will also be dealer markup and destination fees.

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h

The Lexus ES 300h hybrid luxury sedan comes with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with a center Atkinson cycle. When combined with a powerful electric motor and minuscule NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery pack, it comes at a combined 215 horsepower. This makes it a little more potent than the top-of-the-line Toyota Camry.

The fuel efficiency is about in line with the standard Camry as well, clocking in at a combined 44 miles per gallon. However, fuel economy is typically not something that luxury car owners are putting under intense scrutiny when looking for a new sedan. So the ES 300h coming in close to leaders in the economy car class is impressive.

Our Verdict on the 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Overall, Lexus’ 2020 ES 300h option is competitively-priced, feature-rich, and remarkably powerful yet fuel-efficient. The styling is sharp and modern, and the possibilities are extensive. This is the new gold standard for luxury entry-level hybrid sedans. While it may not be the most box-checking hybrid car on the market, it is worth mentioning.

Note: Looking to really save money at the pumps but a hybrid car may not be in your budget? Check out our extensive GetUpside review. Here, you can see how you can save extensive money when fueling up without changing any of your regular habits!

Our Non-Sedan Favorite: 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

It’s funny, out of all of the hybrid cars coming up in 2020, one of the strongest by far just so happens to be an American-made minivan. That’s right; it’s the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid!

Chrysler has never really been a stranger to the manufacture of solidly-built vehicles. Remember, back in the 1980’s they are the ones who started the whole minivan revolution. However, in this day and age, the duty of minivans have meshed with SUVs and crossovers. So, to provide that little oomph necessary to boost the van world, Fiat Chrysler of America decided to push forth with a hybrid minivan.

Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid needed a bit more of a boost than just the fuel economy provided by hybrid power to get onto our list, however. Their new model of Pacifica comes with an elegant and high-quality interior, advanced technologies, and an extremely comfortable ride. It does this all while maintaining a stellar fuel economy.

Pricing of the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2020 model year Pacifica hybrids don’t come out of the box with any significant changes over prior model year options, except for a significant and noticeable price reduction. However, its price point of between $40,000 and $45,000 for base models don’t provide enough of an advantage to consider it “inexpensive” by any means for a minivan. 

Helping out a bit is a $7,500 federal tax credit for new hybrid owners, though, making it something to consider. But whether or not the increased hybrid cost compared to their conventional alternatives is worth the savings in fuel costs over the long run is currently still up for debate.

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid combines the 3.6-liter Pentastar six-cylinder of their conventional minivan with dual electric motors at 114 and 84 horsepower. This works with a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. These three power sources combined push out over 260 horsepower, impressive for a hybrid minivan. This level of teamwork is solid enough to provide 33 miles of range on completely electric power. Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it returns up to 84 miles per gallon as a result.

Our Verdict on the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

There is one drawback that needs to be mentioned when comparing the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to its conventional alternative. Due to the battery pack, the seating for the hybrid is only seven, one less than the non-hybrid model in 2020. However, there are no cargo space limitations. While the Pacifica has never been known as a leader in storage, over 140 square feet of available storage behind the two front seats is nothing to sneeze at. This is thanks to the standard Stow-n-Go seating found in Chrysler and Dodge minivan options for the past several years.

Overall, it is too early to tell what the future holds for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s 2020 model when compared to its conventional option. However, when compared to other hybrid minivans, this option is well above alternatives.

Our “Old Faithful” Pick: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Hyundai Sonata has gone through a significant redesign for its 2020 model year, which is available now at the time of this posting. As with the past generations of Sonata (and par for the course for Hyundai as an automaker), both conventional and hybrid models were released simultaneously.

The 2020 redesign of the Sonata draws its inspiration from a few older concept cars. However, it is now subdued for mass consumption to ensure they meet Hyundai’s signature “design language.” Nevertheless, with this subdued look still comes a drastic style change that is nothing but positively-met.

This hybrid comes with some impressive new features as well, including an embedded solar panel on its roof, to assist with charging the battery. In fact, according to Hyundai Motor Company, this solar panel can recharge over half of the car’s battery in just six hours of use, adding almost 1,000 environmentally friendly miles annually.

Pricing of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The pricing of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is only a little bit higher than its previous model year counterpart, even with the new and updated styling on the 2020 model year. While the standard Sonata in 2019 started at a few dollars shy of $20,000, and the hybrid started at $23,750, rumors have it that the standard Sonata in 2020 will begin at $23,400, and the hybrid pricing will only be slightly higher than that, at around $25,000.

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

In the previous model, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid was not a fuel efficiency leader. With a combined 42 miles per gallon on its best day, it fell short of the offerings by competitor Toyota by quite a wide margin. Regardless of this, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid pushed past this with their extensive feature sets. Additionally, ample roominess in their sedan made for a class leader in that aspect.

Regarding performance specs, the previous model Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, shared similar aspects to the “twin brother” Kia Optima hybrid. They share a 2.0-liter four-cylinder inline engine, as well as ample battery space. In fact, both the Sonata hybrid and Sonata plug-in hybrid options provide a stellar electric motor that, when coupled with the conventional engine in the hybrid, push out 193 horsepower (10 horsepower more than the traditional alternative).

Our Verdict on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Overall, with its middle-of-the-road capabilities for just about everything, we are expecting the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to check the same boxes as its prior-year counterpart. With a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, this is the epitome of a plain jane guts sedan with a new face. However, with options such as the Toyota Camry tipping the scales at over 50 miles per gallon, the Sonata has a lot of ground to make up. 

We are hopeful that, when the 2020 option is finally released, we will be eating our own words. For now, though, they still make our list.

The “Other Guy”: 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

South Korea has another interpretation of the fun-for-the-whole-family hybrid sedan: The Kia Optima. This car can be purchased in two options, both a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid variant. The fourth-generation Optima has remained unchanged since 2015 and will continue staying unchanged for the 2020 model year, making it one of the older hybrid car offerings on our list. 

Despite this aging, the 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid comes with strong capabilities and can hold its own against the best of them. This is especially true for its plug-in option, which has incredibly impressive fuel ranges and ratings. While the exact miles per gallon (40) is a bit short of some competitors, the plug-in range is stellar, with a fully-charged battery providing almost 30 miles of range on electric alone, pushing the number to 103 MPGe. In comparison, the conventional 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid delivers a combined 41 miles per gallon but has a lot more trunk space for cargo.

Pricing of the 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

The price point of the 2020 Kia Optima has remained relatively unchanged in recent years and is quite middle-of-the-road in comparison to alternatives on our list. The starting price of the standard non-hybrid Optima is a bit over $23,000. However, the Optima Hybrid price point shoots up close to $29,000, and the plug-in hybrid gets close to $36,000, putting it close to the price range of the Lexus ES 300h!

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

Both the plug-in variant and conventional hybrid 2020 Kia Optima draw their power from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor combined unit. This echoes the combination in the Hyundai Sonata above. The main difference between the two levels of Optima is the battery pack capacity. The conventional hybrid has a 1.62 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, where the plug-in hybrid option comes with a far more heavy-duty 9.8 kWh battery pack. Overall, the Optima Hybrid will generate 192 horsepower, and the plug-in model pushes that to 202 horsepower.

Our Verdict on the 2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

Overall, neither the conventional hybrid or plug-in exudes any real excitement or level of sportiness, but that isn’t what the Optima is made for. Much like some other vehicles on our list, the Optima also doesn’t have a “locked-in” electric vehicle mode, either. If you accelerate, the internal combustion immediately kicks in without a second thought. However, when you consider all the advantages and disadvantages, it’s tough to discount the 2020 Kia Optima as one of the best hybrid cars available in 2020.

The American Icon: 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

The decades-old and ever-faithful Chevy Malibu is currently in its ninth generation, last updated in the 2019 model year. What this means is that, for 2020, the Malibu styling will carry over from the previous year. The ninth-generation Malibu started in 2015, though, so we are of the assumption that a significant redesign will likely be on the blocks for either 2021 or 2022 for Chevy’s flagship mid-size sedan offering.

The Malibu hybrid is a relatively new player to the scene. They appeared initially in this current ninth-generation run. However, they have become incredibly competitive in the segment in which they compete. This, honestly, can be surprising in a world of low-priced Asia-manufactured sedans.

Believe it or not, this current generation Chevy Malibu is one of the stronger family-size sedans, powertrain aside. It looks great, the technology is fresh and sophisticated, the price is right, and it has incredibly roomy cargo and back seat passenger space. What’s not to love?

Pricing of the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

For what is being offered, the price point leaves a few things to be desired. Unlike many competing hybrid cars, even several on our list, there is no full-electric vehicle mode for this hybrid. With this, many options provide the ability to switch pure-electric drive on and off. With the Malibu, you can’t. Yet, it still comes at a price point starting at a touch under $30,000. This makes it one of the more expensive entry-level hybrid sedans on the market. However, there is the benefit of advanced technology that some competitors can’t touch. 

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

In addition to some of the advantages outlined above, the Chevy Malibu Hybrid delivers impressively in fuel efficiency. It is rated at around 46 miles per gallon. This puts it solidly in the upper-mid end of the pack as far as fuel efficiency for vehicles of similar size.

This hybrid utilizes a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. This, combined with a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, provides 182 combined horsepower. While Chevrolet’s mid-sized Malibu hybrid may be a bit underpowered when compared to some of the competition, this doesn’t translate to poor performance. The Malibu Hybrid has been tested as hitting 55 miles per hour before the gas power even kicks in.

Our Verdict on the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Overall, if you’re on the hunt for an American-made machine with stellar gas mileage, reliable technology, and impressive storage space, fuel efficiency, and power, the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will tick off all of the boxes for you. However, expect to pay for these levels of convenience. For what you receive, you will pay a bit of a premium compared to some of the alternatives mentioned above and below. Regardless, for American-made cars, this is easily one of the best hybrid cars for 2020.

The Reliable Option: 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

Yes, the Honda Accord may have always been the bridesmaid and never the bride when compared with the Toyota Camry in overall sales in the United States. However, it is a comparable option in almost all other global market segments. Believe it or not, the tenth-generation Honda Accord, starting in the 2018 model year, is an incredibly well-valued option. This model is ideal for families looking for a good-quality sedan at a reasonable price. With this, their hybrid model, released in tandem with their conventional option, has some impressive improvements over the conventional model.

For 2020 model year options, we are anticipating a minor revision to the styling and interior to help bolster sales. This comes after a slow drop from 390,000 sales in 2014 to 320,000 in 2017, and even less in 2018. However, this doesn’t detract from the offerings present in the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid. And remember, Honda has been a player in the hybrid game for as long as any competitor outside Toyota. They know what they are doing, and have a long track record of hybrid vehicle success to prove it.

Pricing of the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

The latest Honda Accord hybrid option provides an incredibly strong fuel economy compared to alternative options in its class. Despite this strong fuel economy, the hybrid offers some impressive power numbers, driving handling dynamics, and extensive roominess in the back seats and cargo area. With these technological advancements and stylish and comfortable interior, this comes at a starting sticker price of $25,000. This price point is peanuts for a starting price compared to some of the above alternatives.

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

The 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid comes with a powertrain that is very similar to comparable Toyotas. The Honda Accord also utilizes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The engine, while having a smaller displacement, manages to provide a bit more combined horsepower than competitors. This is thanks to a slightly more powerful electric motor offering. The total is about 212 horsepower, which is a touch more than their main competitor, the Toyota Camry.

Regardless of a more powerful engine set, the Accord Hybrid still provides an impressive 47 miles per gallon average. This is right on par with the below reviewed Toyota Camry Hybrid but comes at a $5,000 discount. 

Our Verdict on the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

Regardless of your preference, the Honda Accord Hybrid is an attractive hybrid option. It is strongly competitive in all verticals with some of the more “premium” options listed above. The price is in line with the entry-level options by Hyundai and Kia. However, the quality is on par with the Lexus first reviewed above. With incredible features, new technology, ample storage space, a powerful engine, and an impressive fuel economy, it’s hard to go wrong!

Our Best Hybrid Cars Top Choice: 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Regardless of the competition noted above from various automakers present in the hybrid car field, Toyota remains king. The largest vehicle manufacturer in Japan, they typically remain utterly unfazed by trends and sales-related issues. In fact, thanks to the flagship hybrid Toyota Prius, the company, in general, has earned quite an impressive reputation as an automaker specializing in both reliable and affordable hybrid options.

The Toyota Camry is and has been the top-selling mid-size sedan in the United States for quite a while. The eighth generation of the Camry was released in the 2018 model year. This means it is still relatively new in the eyes of many. As such, it remains unchanged for the 2020 model year. The only changes are some minor cosmetic changes to both the interior and exterior.

Pricing of the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The hybrid version of the Camry looks almost the same inside and out as the standard version. The hybrid model continues to be offered at between $4,000 and $5,000 more than internal combustion variations of the same vehicle. They are limited to one powertrain, putting an emphasis less on performance and more on saving fuel. 

Power and Fuel Economy of the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

All Toyota Camry’s, regardless of the style level chosen, come with the same engine: a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder on the Atkinson cycle, producing 176 horsepower. This is assisted by a 118 horsepower equivalent electric motor, with a combined net output opportunity of 208 horsepower. Not bad for a mid-size sedan from Toyota’s standards. However, not the most powerful option in our list by far.

While not particularly fast on the draw, the hybrid’s powertrain will compensate for this. It does so with impressive fuel economy statistics as noted by the Environmental Protection Agency. The LE entry-level hybrid trim line with a lithium-ion battery touts 52 miles per gallon. Meanwhile, the more refined XLE and SE models provide a slightly lower 46 miles per gallon. This is due to the more long-lasting NiMH hybrid battery packs.

Our Verdict on the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

What remains to be seen is whether Toyota plans to switch over to lithium-ion only soon for all hybrid models. However, for the time being, trim levels come with the question of forgoing a bit of increased fuel mileage for more advanced feature sets packed into the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Regardless of this, there should be no question that the Camry Hybrid remains a solid best-of-the-best for the best hybrid cars of 2020.

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