Electric and Hybrid Cars to Watch Out For This 2013
Driving right by the gas station is a thrilling experience for most drivers. But the excitement quickly fizzles down when you see the price on display. And you wonder, is it really worth it to maintain that gas-guzzling SUV of yours? Or maybe, you can dismiss your guilt away by justifying about your car’s enhanced fuel economy rating? You might want to reconsider trading in for a hybrid or an electric vehicle either to minimize the mpg in city driving or just completely take gasoline out of the equation.
Still, electric and plug-in hybrid cars do not have that big of an appeal to consumers. They are still manufactured in limited numbers so it is still early to decide whether they could dethrone the luxury and sports cars in the market. But even if they are still being tested to very specific markets, here is selection of those that might get commuters’ two-thumbs up approval.
Hybrids Under $40,000
- Toyota Prius C. Smaller and less expensive than its big brother, Prius, and yet, slightly sportier-looking than the standard model. Though its acceleration is quite sluggish due to its downsized propulsion system, it still delivers 50 mpg based on EPA rating when combined with fuel economy. The C offers a plethora of safety equipment and budget-friendly pricing to make you ignore the overabundance of hard plastics in its interior.
- 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. It is sportier and has a more upscale look than the 2012 version, which makes it a winner. And even if it has a smaller engine than last year’s, it seamless electric-drive system contributes to more power and much-improved fuel economy of 47 mpg city and highway, an impressive 20 per cent better than its predecessor.
- 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. You have nothing to worry about extra passengers when you use this well-built, fun-to-drive alternative to the small SUV. But though you will complain that its cargo space has just gotten smaller or that it has a fussy MyFord Touch information/entertainment system, look at its brighter sides: a refined gas-electric drive system that's not only the most powerful in its class but also delivers 47 mpg fuel economy, both city and highway. The base SE model is loaded with standard features and has plenty of options as well.
Electric Vehicles Under $40,000
- Chevrolet Volt. The Volt allows you to feel good about reducing your carbon footprint or by simply putting a stop on all your outrageous gasoline bills but with style. You’ll be impressed with its 40 mile range through its electric power before the four-cylinder gas engine fires up. If impressive torque is what you are after for, then the all-electric mode won’t disappoint you. When you take a peek inside, cutting-edge graphics such as video screen and gauge cluster are readily available. But, if you don’t mind its four-seating maximum capacity and small trunk, the outrageous price tag might still be something you cannot swallow instantly. However, the Volt is an impressive return to GM's commitment to electric cars.
- Nissan Leaf. First, you get a range of 106 miles city/92 miles highway, but EPA tests put the real-world range at 73 miles, depending on conditions and driving style. And it would always be a joy ride, because it delivers surprisingly good handling while blocking all the noise inside and outside. Home charging is essential since you can only see a few public charging stations around. Mandatory charging rate must be at 240 volts or faster. Pricing between the electric version and the standard gas model is not too much of a discussion and you would find Leaf’s lease payments to be practical and reasonable. It is a highly refined, ultra responsive and reasonably priced all-electric hatchback that provides a five-passenger capacity.
- Ford C-Max Energi. Featuring an impressive 47 mpg that delivers jaw-dropping driving range of 500 miles between fill-ups, C-Max can have you doing a double take on it. This plug-in electric hybrid wagon, the first from Ford, recharges its lithium-ion battery pack recharges from a standard 120-volt electric outlet. Its high roof design plus lively handling are also impressive features for a vehicle that is priced at $32,950. You can sit five passengers in it and boasts of 43.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Roomy and fuel efficient, you can’t go wrong with the C-Max.
Hybrids/Electric Vehicles Over $40,000
- 2013 Tesla Model S EV. If money is not an issue, then you’re in for a treat with the Tesla. Its sleek all-aluminium body, five-passenger luxury interior and powerful battery-electric drive system has no competition. You can extend the standard range of the base model from 160 to 265 miles by upsizing your battery. But if you opt for the electric version, don’t expect that to have that capacity. Nevertheless, it still stands out among all the other EVs out in the market.
- 2013 Infiniti M35h. It goes 0-60 mph in well over 5 seconds, thanks to its highly tuned 3.5-liter V6 under the hood. Add to it the ever-reliable electric-drive system and you would get a tire-spinning 360 horsepower. Though it doesn’t have that Prius-like fuel efficiency, this luxury sedan won’t embarrass you during a road race. But don’t worry because it has seven-speed automatic transmission plus a hybrid system that keeps the pump running as efficiently as you expect it to be. Though the M35h is similar to the 2012 model, it still delivers 29 mpg combined with very good handling, roomy interiors and plush design.
- Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid. Those who have deep pockets wouldn’t feel any twinge of guilt or regret with this hybrid at the top end of the scale. You won’t have it mistaken for a hybrid car just by looking at its cutting-edge technology features, ample safety options, and second-to-none interior design. But this sleek sedan body is a legitimate hybrid that delivers 21 mpg combined. The base model of the S-Class offers just 19 mpg, making the S400 some 11 per cent better than it. Actually when it comes to fuel economy, the Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec diesel wins with 25 mpg overall. But this gasoline-run vehicle is still preferred by many consumers who want some peace and quiet on the road.