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The Best Plug-In Hybrid Cars | Top 18 PHEV's of 2021

The Best Plug-In Hybrid Cars: Top 18 to Buy in 2021

the best plug-in hybrids you can buy today

When it comes to choosing the best plug-in hybrid, it boils down to your driving needs. Will it be just for casual around-town driving? Or, maybe it’s for your commute to work.

Whatever your driving needs may be, I made sure to rank 18 of the BEST plug-in hybrids of 2021. Most of these are from a few years back, but I made sure to include some of the newest models as well.

Lastly, most of these’s are within the price range of the average person (with the exception of Karma, Bentley, and Polestar). The only BIG criteria I had was to include ONLY vehicles that were capable of driving at least 20 miles on pure electric power. Have a look, maybe there’s a vehicle down there for YOU.

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Here's the Top 18 PHEV's:

18. Lincoln Aviator PHEV

Lincoln Aviator PHEV

We have started to see a wide range of luxury SUV’s became more far more fuel efficient. From 15mpg gas hogs, to 25+mpg mid to large-sized SUV’s becoming the norm (thanks to small forced induction engines). If you thought the electric energy is reserved for only Tesla, you are wrong. 

The Lincoln Aviator is one of the best plug-in hybrids to buy TODAY. You gotta admit, its quite impressive to get just over 20 miles of EV range for a vehicle that weighs almost 3 tons. 

While some say it’s just an overpriced Ford Expedition, but I beg to differ. This car has a LOT of luxury features and a reasonable base price of $70,000. Expect the prices to drop significantly in just a few years.

17. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Outlander PHEV

Ranking in the #17th spot is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV,  a hidden gem of the SUV world. Not only is it a good looking vehicle, its fuel efficient as well.

In the name of efficiency, Mitsubishi equipped the Outlander with a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 110hp. Add the electric motors in there and you can get a total of 190hp. It can tow 1,500 pounds, seat up to 5, has all-wheel-drive and can drive 22 miles in EV mode alone.

As far as I’m aware, this is the only plug-in hybrid that takes both J-1772 and a CHAdeMO plugs. The battery can charge to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. For such small range figures, the fast-charging option isn’t necessary but appreciated.

16. Bentley Bentayga PHEV

Bentayga PHEV

While this car is out of the price range for most, if you’re in the market for a TRULY luxurious SUV, look no further than the Bentayga.

This thing weighs in at just over 3 tons, yet it still manages to get 24 miles on a single charge from its impressive 17.3kWh battery pack. Most people however would not care too much about the electric range. For the price, you can get a Model X that gets almost as much EV range as the Bentley can get on gasoline alone.

Personally, I love the looks of the Bentayga. The day they release the fully electric version is when I’ll love it even more!

15.Toyota Prius Prime

Prius Prime

Are you surprised that Toyota managed to bump UP the fuel efficiency of their legendary Prius, again? If you are, don’t be. This time around they redesigned the body and added a bigger battery. 

Just like the original Prius Plug-In, the Prius Prime gets EV mode once again. This time, the car comes with a 8.8kWh battery pack that can get up to 25 miles on a single charge.

While there is a seating sacrifice in the back (due to the bigger battery), you can enjoy cruising around town knowing you are burning absolutely ZERO gas.

14. Kia Niro PHEV

Niro PHEV

The Prius Prime is a great vehicle, but Hyundai and Kia have been killing it with their plug-in hybrid vehicles. In particular, the Kia Niro PHEV is better than the Prius Prime for many reasons.

The Niro PHEV has an all-electric range of 26 miles (vs. 25), despite weighing a few hundred pounds more. Kia did a great job with the interior space, hardly any space was sacrificed for the PHEV variant. You can seat up to 5 people and still get to where you need to go.

While it may be lacking the AWD aspect, its still a fenominal vehicle that can get 51mpg in the city.

13. Kia Optima PHEV/Hyundai Sonata PHEV

Sonata & Optima
In 2018, Hyundai and Kia refreshed the look of their flagship family sedans (Sonata and Optima). These beautiful mid-size family sedans were also available in plug-in hybrid variants.
 
While they both are identical twins, they do have some differences. The Sonata is viewed as the more affordable of the two and Optima the more premium.
 
Their mpg figures are respectable in both city and highway driving. Equipped with 9.8khW battery packs, a full charge can take you 27-29 miles. Often times, you can get more if you are easy on the throttle.
 
One thing that some plug-in hybrids don’t have, is the ability to recharge the battery with the car’s engine. There’s a “Charge Mode” button that which lets you put at least 50% back into the battery after some time. It may not be very efficient in this mode, but its there if you need it.

12. Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Ioniq PHEV

Hyundai has done it again with their Ioniq. While the regular hybrid Ioniq is a solid Prius competitor, their plug-in hybrid variant is even better.

The PHEV comes with a 8.9-kWh battery that can give you 29 miles on a single charge. That is 4 miles more than the Prius Prime and that’s not even the best part.

If you want to get a Ioniq PHEV, it’s cheaper than most of its competitors. Brand new, it starts at just over $26,000. However, you can now get these for less than $20K.

11. Cadillac CT6 PHEV

CT6 PHEV

If you paid attention to Cadillac at all, you probably didn’t see the plug-in hybrid CT6 that was in production for the year 2018. Starting at a base price of just over $66,000, its on-par with the BMW 5 series, Audi A6, and Mercedes E-class.

The great thing about this car is it sacrifices no luxury features to be more economical. It still has the decent 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, but this time there’s a 18.4kWh battery. Being a luxury sedan, the weight takes a toll and gives you only 31 miles on a single charge.

If you do mostly city driving, I think that range figure can be stretched up by another 20-30%.

10. Chrysler Pacifica PHEV

Chrysler Pacifica PHEV

Mad props to Chrysler for being the first to offer a plug-in hybrid minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica PHEV is one of the most luxurious and well-equipped minivans you can find today. It can seat up to 7 people and get an impressive 33 miles of range on a single charge.

Out of all the vehicles I listed, a minivan would be the most likely to drive around town. If you think 33 miles is impressive, you’ll probably get a little more if you keep the speed below 40 mph.

Still today, the Pacifica PHEV is holding its price at above $20K. If you want a hybrid minivan, there’s no other option at the moment… unless Toyota makes the Sienna Prime (maybe).

9. Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Let’s be honest, the Fisker Karma was somewhat polarizing to the mass audience. Most have no idea how the car works and why it’s so special. Don’t get me wrong, the Karma is quick, is made of good quality material, and seats up to 4. 
 
At a glance, the Fisker Karma resembles the Chevy Volt for its interior layout. Upon further inspection, it’s anything BUT.

The car has a 20.1 kWh batter that gives it 33-37 miles of range on a single charge. For a car that cost $100K-brand new (back in 2012), you’d have to be a die-hard fan, or a well-off environmentally concerned individual. Today, you can get one of these for less than $50K.

Seeing one and then actually sitting behind the wheel of one is a totally different story. Feeling like you’re sitting in a spaceship is accurate.

8. Cadillac ELR

cadillac ELR

The Cadillac ELR may not be for everyone, but it DOES serve a purpose. When the ELR was first introduced, it was a unique vehicle that was reminiscent of the old XLR. Two doors, leather seats, sleek styling, and chrome on almost everything.

The ELR shares the same drivetrain as the 1st gen Volt. The small 1.4-liter engine makes just over 100 horsepower. On a full charge, you can get 35-40 miles from the 17.1 kWh pack.

When you get inside, you’ll see what you’d expect from any Cadillac (leather, glossy black finishes, etc). For a split second, you may think you are sitting in a gen 2 Volt when you look at the digital dash.

7. Chevrolet Volt Gen 1

Volt gen 1

At the moment, the 1st generation Volt is the best bang for the buck PHEV you can buy, by far. I drove this car on multiple occasions and let me tell you, you get a lot for the money.

The 1st gen Volt can get 35-38 miles on a single charge. In many instances, you can get more if you do mostly city driving.

What makes this car great is it’s no slouch. As you drive around, the electric motors add enough torque to get you to the speed limit in seconds.

If you want the best model year to buy, go with 2013+. Not only does the car drive 3 additional miles per charge, but you also get Mountain Mode. This lets you hold a charge and save it for later.

6. Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Ford Escape PHEV
Ford has not taken the ever-growing electrification of automobiles too seriously for many years. Yes, they have their Fusion and C-Max Energi PHEV models, but that’s about it. In 2020, they stepped it up by a large margin. 
 
Without mentioning their super cool Ford Mustang Mach-E (which is amazing btw), they introduced a redesigned Ford Escape that is now a plug-in hybrid. The range figures are quite impressive. Being a small crossover, it still manages to get 37 miles of range on a single charge. 
 
If you hypermile it, there’s no doubt in my mind you can reach 40-50 miles.  The Escape PHEV is a direct competitor to the car I’ll be mentioning below. 

5. Toyota RAV4 Prime

Toyota Rav4 Prime

One of the most popular cars of all time made by Toyota is the RAV4. Since EV’s have become popular across the world, the rock-solid reliability of Toyota is a big attribute to why they are positioning themselves to become one of the most popular brands on the market.

While there’s no word on a pure EV coming from Toyota (yet), they DID introduce the all new Toyota RAV4 Prime in 2020. Unlike with the Prius Prime where you can get 25 miles per charge, the RAV4 Prime gets 42. That’s a significant jump!

Word on the street says Toyota is working on solid-state batteries that will be game changing… who knows? I’m placing my bets on Toyota for winning in the future. 

Oh and the icing on the cake is that there’s a tax rebate available from the Federal Government.

4. Honda Clarity PHEV

Clarity PHEV

When I first saw the Clarity, the thought to myself… “it looks like a car Robocop would drive”. Odd looks aside, what most might not be aware is that the Clarity is quite nice, especially on the inside.

You’d think, because it can get up to 47 miles on a single charge, the battery would be in the way and hinder space for backseat passengers. That’s not the case at all.

The Honda Clarity PHEV can be considered as a full-size family car that just happens to be a great plug-in hybrid vehicle. Not only does the car have enough power to zip to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, but it also gets great gas mileage.

3. Chevrolet Volt Gen 2

Volt gen 2

If you thought the 1st gen Volt couldn’t get any better, think again. The 2nd gen Volt is so much MORE. The cheapest variants of the 2nd gen Volt are not that much more expensive than the 1st gen, making it a wise option for potential shoppers.

Looking at it from the outside, the car looks far more elegant. There’re less sharp angles and instead, far smoother lines throughout the car’s body. When you get inside, you’ll feel the modern Chevy design and its use of premium material all around (especially on the premium trim).

The car gets a whopping 53 miles on a single charge. That number is enough to do most things on a daily basis. In fact, if you get the 2019 model, the car will charge to 100% in less than 3 hours.

The Volt from 2017-2019 will continue to be one of the best plug-in hybrid cars on the market when it comes to VALUE.

2. Polestar 1

In my opinion, this car is one of the coolest plug-in hybrids on the market today. The Polestar 1 is the brother of Polestar 2 (which is fully electric). 
 
Most people are familiar with Volvo and their Polestar variants of high performing vehicles. Since not very long ago, Polestar started to make their own vehicles (much like how Acuras are premium Hondas). Unlike with Lexus, Acura or even Infinity, Polestar has aimed at top-notch vehicles that aren’t cheap. The Polestar 1 costs $130K+.
 
The car has impressive performance specs, but the most impressive thing of all is the range. In pure electric driving, the car can go 60 miles on a single charge. If you don’t treat it like a race car, I would imagine it would surpass 70 miles.

1. Karma Revero GT

Karma Revero GT
When Fisker released the Karma, they expected a BIG hit. However, it ended up being a flop and forced them to go out of production for a few years.
 
During that time, the Fisker Karma depreciated  a lot and can be had for less than half of what it was brand new. In 2017, Fisker was rebranded as Karma and did a slight “refresh” for their first ever production car. While looking very identical to the old Fisker Karma, its now called the Karma Revero GT.
 
The Karma Revero started out with 37 miles of range from 2018-2019. In 2020, they installed a much bigger battery and bumped up the PHEV range to a whopping 80 miles
 
If you want a car with one of the most futuristic interiors, look no further!

Top Plug-In Hybrids Picks:

Here’s a list of my picks for which PHEV to get under each category. ***As more PHEV’s become available, this list will continue to be updated.

Large SUV (Lincoln Aviator PHEV)

For an SUV that can seat up to 7 people and get 21 miles of electric range, it deserves a spot in the list. 
 
An honorable mention that was not on the list would be the Land Rover Range Rover HSE PHEV.

Midsized SUV (Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV)

While there’s plenty of plug-in hybrid SUV’s like the Mercedes GLC 350e and the BMW X5 eDrive, they aren’t as good. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the best midsized plug-in hybrid SUV. It has reasonable EV range, takes a CHAdeMO plug, and comes from a reliable brand.

Small SUV (Toyota RAV4 Prime)

The RAV4’s superior reliability, coupled with a big battery makes it a highly desirable little crossover. The fact that you can now drive this car in town in EV mode only for 42 miles is a step in the right direction!

Minivan (Chrysler Pacifica PHEV)

For now, the Chrylser Pacifica Hybrid is the best plug-in hybrid minivan on the market. Aside from actually being a GOOD vehicle, there’s nothing else to compare it to. By default, its the best until it has some solid competition.

Family Sedan (Honda Clarity PHEV)

The Volt would be on this list, but it has a seating problem that the Clarity does not. The BEST plug-in hybrid family sedan is the Honda Clarity PHEV. It seats 5, has a smooth ride and drives 47 miles on a single charge.
 
The Clarity PHEV has one of the smallest fuel tanks in the industry (only 7 gallons).

Sports Coupe (Polestar 1)

The Polestar 1 would be in the “luxury” segment, but its more fitting to call it a premium Sports Coupe. The cars long EV range and overall performance is the reason why I put it in this category. You can’t go wrong with the cars looks either!

Luxury Sedan (Karma Revero GT)

Karma is still in question on whether it will stick as a brand. With their premium sticker price for the Revero GT, its reserved exclusively as the most luxurious sedan on the market.

Luxury SUV (Bentley Bentayga PHEV)

For now, Bentley takes the cake for being the most luxurious plug-in hybrid SUV. The 24 miles on a single charge is a great addition to the great luxurious SUV.  If you’re a company CEO that drives around town, this car might be for you. 

Cheapest Options (Chevy Volt gen 1)

By far, the most economical option right now is the 2011-2015 Chevy Volt. For less than $10K, you get 35 miles of range and solid reliability. 

In Summary

If you are in the market to buy a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle, any of the 18 mentioned above would be perfect options.  

ALSO, remember that AvtoWow is on YouTube as well. Since I upload videos every week, if you like following YouTubers in the EV world, consider checking out AvtoWow on YouTube (below).

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