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Hybrid vehicles

Hybrid cars use a battery pack and one or more electric motors to supplement a traditional gasoline engine, increasing fuel efficiency—check out our listings of the top used hybrid models below.

What to know about hybrids

Hybrids explained

All hybrids operate like they have two motors—one runs on electric power, and one on gas—but there are key differences between traditional hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs):

HEVs

PHEVs

Motor

Uses a combo of both gas and electric

Uses a combo of both gas and electric

EV mode

1-2 miles (depending on model) before gas motor kicks in

15-40 miles (depending on model) before gas motor kicks in

Driving

Some models allow ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or both, but some do not

Provides drivers ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or both

Charging

Never plug in; can leverage regenerative braking and/or draw excess power from gasoline engine

Can plug in, leverage regenerative braking and/or draw excess power from gasoline engine

Battery

Smaller battery with less EV power and lower weight

Larger battery with more EV power and higher weight

† As noted, PHEVs provide drivers the ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or both. If you're not into guesswork though, you're in the clear—all PHEVs feature software to optimize which power source you use to provide the most efficient driving.

If you're looking for a deeper comparison of compare hybrid, electric, and gas, explore fuel types & powertrains to learn more about the engine choices for your next vehicle.

Family unloads picnic from hybrid car while vehicle charges
2021 Toyota Prius Prime XLE

1. Toyota Prius

CarMax owner rating

4.7

Price range*$13,000$42,999
Estimated combined MPG52 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Good acceleration
  • Advanced driver aids

Cons

  • Limited rear seat room
  • New dashboard layout difficult to see
  • Noisy gas engine
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

2. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$20,000$45,999
Estimated combined MPG40 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Excellent fuel economy estimates
  • Smooth ride
  • Good cargo capacity

Cons

  • Uncomfortable front seats
  • Mushy brake pedal
  • Unpleasant engine noise
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

3. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$23,000$52,999
Estimated combined MPG35 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Welcome hybrid fuel figures
  • Generously equipped with standard and available driver assistance
  • Pleasant ride experience

Cons

  • Tight third-row dimensions
  • Prominent engine noise at full power
  • Limited cargo space
Person resting on SUV playing guitar at sunrise
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$23,000$52,999
Estimated combined MPG35 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Welcome hybrid fuel figures
  • Generously equipped with standard and available driver assistance
  • Pleasant ride experience

Cons

  • Tight third-row dimensions
  • Prominent engine noise at full power
  • Limited cargo space
2020 Lexus NX 300h

2. Lexus NX 300h

CarMax owner rating

5

Price range*$24,000$39,999
Estimated combined MPG31 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Great hybrid powertrain
  • Spacious cabin
  • Peaceful, even at highway speeds

Cons

  • Infotainment touchpad is far from effortless
  • Limited cargo cubes
2021 Lexus RX 350

3. Lexus RX 450h

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$19,000$51,999
Estimated combined MPG(data not available)
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)
Two happy women in an SUV turning around to back up the vehicle
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

1. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$20,000$45,999
Estimated combined MPG40 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Excellent fuel economy estimates
  • Smooth ride
  • Good cargo capacity

Cons

  • Uncomfortable front seats
  • Mushy brake pedal
  • Unpleasant engine noise
2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

2. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

CarMax owner rating

4.8

Price range*$23,000$52,999
Estimated combined MPG35 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

(data not available)

Pros

  • Welcome hybrid fuel figures
  • Generously equipped with standard and available driver assistance
  • Pleasant ride experience

Cons

  • Tight third-row dimensions
  • Prominent engine noise at full power
  • Limited cargo space
2023 Kia Niro SX Touring

3. Kia Niro

CarMax owner rating

4.6

Price range*$17,000$32,999
Estimated combined MPG43 MPG
RepairPal reliability rating 

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select undefined vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of undefined. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Great seating and cargo space
  • Standard tech including wireless smartphone connectivity
  • Fuel-sipping powertrain

Cons

  • Just one engine, and it's a bit slow
  • Front-wheel drive only
  • Can have a rough ride depending on the surface

Research hybrid models

FAQs about hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles pair a battery pack and at least one electric motor with a gasoline-powered engine. The battery pack is charged by harvesting energy from the gas engine and regenerative braking, which then powers the electric motor to help with acceleration and low-speed driving where electric motors are more energy efficient than gas engines. This leads to greater overall efficiency than comparable gas-only vehicles.

What is a hybrid car?

Hybrid cars have changed a lot over the years. Today, what a hybrid car means is something with a powerful engine, brisk acceleration, and sharp styling too. Check it out as Desola Bagolun busts some common myths that just no longer apply to modern hybrid cars.

Ready to find your hybrid?

Research other alternative fuel options

Plug-in hybrid schematic icon
See the differences between fuel types
Explore fuel types & powertrains
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