This Years Top Five Hybrid Cars

by : Mike Bartley

The auto market today is filled with the so-called green cars as car manufacturers continue to develop and produce environment friendly vehicles. The increasing gasoline prices and increasing global warming awareness has led carmakers to provide green cars to consumers.

In the United States, the most popular green cars are gas hybrid vehicles. These vehicles are equipped with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor which provides additional power to the engine. While there are numerous hybrid vehicles in the market, there are few of them are popular due to their fuel efficiency. For this model year, the Toyota Prius is undoubtedly the hybrid car to beat.

While the Prius is being called ugly by many car buyers, Toyota maintained that the vehicle is designed to reduce the drag which will then make the vehicle more aerodynamic thus reducing fuel consumption. The popularity of the Prius is evident in the fact that about half of hybrid vehicles sold in the United States auto market are Priuses. The vehicle has already received numerous awards due to its fuel efficiency and significantly lesser greenhouse gas emissions. It has been rated to have a mileage rating of 55 mpg combined. With Toyota giving the Prius more improvements, it seems that the hybrid vehicle will stay on the top of its class for a long time.

What could be the biggest threat to the Prius is the hybrid version of the Honda Civic. While the Civic hybrid is as fuel efficient as the Prius, its smaller size makes it less appealing than the Prius. For that reason the Prius' sales are higher than the Civic hybrid. Aside from the Prius, the Civic hybrid is also competing with the conventional Civic. For many car buyers, they would rather buy the conventional gas-powered Civic which is known for its fuel efficiency than spending more for a hybrid version of the Civic.

According to hybrid car experts, the third best hybrid cars are the Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. These two hybrid cars are good to own due to the fact that they do not have the weird shape of the Prius or the small interior of the Civic. Both the Altima and the Camry hybrids provide good interior space and exemplary fuel efficiency. The Altima is the first hybrid vehicle to be released by Nissan. While the Japanese car company's CEO Carlos Ghosn is reluctant to produce a hybrid saying that it is not practical yet, the increasing demand for hybrid vehicles have forced them to release a hybrid vehicle although it does not use a Nissan hybrid drivetrain. In fact, the Altima hybrid uses the same drivetrain used in the Prius.

Nissan's own hybrid car is still being developed and is slated to be released by 2010. Meanwhile, the Altima Hybrid is proving to be a good choice for car buyers looking for roomy and conventional-looking hybrid vehicles. The Camry hybrid, on the other hand, also provides a good interior space and at the same time also reduces fuel consumption. These vehicles are known to consume very little fuel compared to conventional gas-only cars, even those equipped with aftermarket parts.

What could be considered as the fifth best hybrid vehicle today is the Ford Escape Hybrid. For those who want to drive SUVs and are concerned about the environment, the hybrid version of the Escape is a good choice. This vehicle uses its electric motor for emergency power needs thus sparing the engine from burning more gasoline.