Hybrid vehicles (vehicles powered by electricity and gas) are becoming increasingly popular over time. This is mostly in response to a growing knowledge on how gas engine emissions hurt the environment, but also because they are becoming more affordable and technologically advanced each year.
Three of the top five-passenger hybrids in 2016, include the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, and the Chevy Volt. What makes them top hybrid choices? We looked at a few categories like performance, efficiency, interior and exterior styling, safety, price and warranty, to see what makes these vehicles top choices.
What makes a hybrid car “hybrid” is the fact that it is powered by a combination of battery power and gas, which allows for a higher fuel economy and lower C02 emissions.
Each of these three hybrids vehicles are equipped with engines and batteries. Of these three vehicles, the Chevy Volt is the only one that is a plug-in hybrid, which is a hybrid vehicle with a larger battery that makes it possible for the car to drive on pure electricity much longer than the other two hybrids.
The 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid is equipped with a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine and a 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. The Kia Optima Hybrid comes with Kia’s 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 47 kWh lithium polymer battery, and the Chevy Volt is powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery.
What does any of that mean? Well that’s the mechanical elements of the hybrids, but what most people are interested in is, how powerful and fuel efficient is each vehicle and are you going to be able to accelerate the hybrid enough to get on to the express lanes? So here’s the the fun stuff and the performance of each vehicle. First, it’s important to note that MPGe is the EPA equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency used for hybrid and electric vehicles - this term is only used for plug-in hybrids, and on this list the Chevy Volt is the only plug-in hybrid.
The 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid has an average fuel economy of 44 MPGe in the city and 41 MPGe on the highway and 42 MPG combined. The Fusion Hybrid’s engine and battery configuration powers out 188 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. The 2016 Ford Fusion S accelerates from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds.
The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid has a slightly lower fuel economy with an average of 36 MPGe in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. The Kia Optima Hybrid produces up to 199 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Despite having a little more horsepower, the Kia Optima Hybrid accelerates from 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds.
Then, there is the Chevy Volt, which offers the best performance of all three of these hybrid models. The Chevy Volt gets an average of 106 MPGe and it can travel 53 miles on electric power from the battery. The Volt’s engine and battery configuration is rated at 149-horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Chevy says the Volt accelerates from 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds, however, Motor Trend reports it at 7.1 seconds.
The Kia Optima Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid are both classified as mid-size sedans, and the Chevy Volt is a slightly smaller compact sedan, but all three vehicles are uniquely-styled four-door five-passenger vehicles.
Originally built as non-hybrid vehicles, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid both have more of an elegant looking exterior. The Chevy Volt was created specifically as a hybrid vehicle, so it's a little more modern looking as it was built with aerodynamics in mind.
The Ford Fusion’s style is smooth and refined from the inside out. The Ford Fusion’s exterior has sculpted lines, laser-cut headlights, LED taillights, and it rides on 17-inch Sparkle silver wheels. To make the vehicle as eco-friendly as possible, the Fusion has Repreve cloth seats, which is a company that recycles plastic bottles into fabrics.
The body of the Kia Optima Hybrid is sleek. Some of the Kia Optima’s standard exterior features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a unique front grille, front LED fog lights, and HID headlights.
To improve the vehicle’s performance, the Optima has a side airflow vent that reduces drag which allows for a smoother, lighter, and quicker ride. The Optima’s interior features soft cloth seats and noise reduction technology.
The modern-looking 2016 Chevy Volt has LED headlights and taillights along with the 17-inch aluminum painted wheels that give the car a sportier style. Then, the inside adds to the sportiness with front bucket seats, cloth seating, a leather wrapped steering wheel and a 60/40 split folding rear seats for extra cargo space.
All of these hybrid vehicles are safe. All of the 2016 models are IIHS Top Safety Picks and they all have a five-star overall safety rating by the NHTSA.
The Ford Fusion has a night vision feature, a roll over protection system, brake assist, and auto-leveling headlights. Different safety features the Optima comes with include features like hill start assist control, front and rear crumple zones, and high line tire-pressure monitoring. Finally, unique safety features of the Volt include teen driver technology, OnStar basic protection plan, lane keep assist, and more. No matter which option you choose, you are guaranteed the highest level of safety and protection.
The Chevy Volt is the only hybrid model of the three that is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. So even though the the 2016 Chevy Volt is priced more than the other hybrids on this list ($33,170), after the tax credit the vehicle’s cost is around $25,670, which is cheaper than the Kia Optima. The 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid starts at $25,185 and the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid is priced at Kia Optima: $25,995.
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