5 Best Plug-in Hybrid Cars Under $40,000

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Overview

5 Best Plug-in Hybrid Cars Under $40,000

With a plug-in hybrid you can drive 20 miles every day and never have to fill up with gas. But unlike an all-electric car, a plug-in hybrid can also hop from gas station to gas station on a cross-country road trip if the need arises. The following five standouts run the gamut from reliable, affordable Best Buy Award winner to Euro-performance wagon, and all of them are available for less than $40,000 even before factoring applicable tax credits.

Take the sportiness, handling and high-tech cabin of the Audi A3, add an efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine plus an electric motor for 204 combined horsepower, and you have the most fun-to-drive entry on this list.

Starting price: $39,850
Electric range: 16 miles (380 miles total)
Hybrid mode fuel economy: 34 mpg city/highway combined
Approximate charge time: 2.3 hours (240V), 8 hours (120V)

Baked into the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is the same value proposition you’d expect with any Sonata: standard features include a hands-free smart trunk, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, seven airbags, heated seats and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability. Not only is the car protected under Hyundai’s class-leading 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, but the battery system is covered by a lifetime warranty.

Starting price: $35,435
Electric range: 27 miles (590 miles total)
Hybrid mode fuel economy: 39 mpg city/highway combined
Approximate charge time: 3 hours (240V), 9 hours (120V)

This Optima plug-in shares its gas-powered sibling’s good looks and elegant interior, but adds 29 miles of all-electric range followed by 40-mpg fuel economy. It also offers a long list of advanced driver-assist technologies and an infotainment package that includes an app from which you can check charge level, set charge times and even unlock your doors.

Starting price: $36,105
Electric range: 29 miles (610 miles total)
Hybrid mode fuel economy: 40 mpg city/highway combined
Approximate charge time: 3 hours (240V), 9 hours (120V)

KBB’s expert review of the Chevrolet Volt nicely sums up this past Kelley Blue Book Best Buy winner: “...beyond efficiency, it's just a better car, period. It's fun to drive, with a nicely sorted suspension, good steering and decent power from its unique drivetrain. The interior is both more conventional and more high-tech than before, thanks to the use of real buttons combined with features like Apple CarPlay. It can even seat five people, at least for short drives, and it looks great. The price is also spot-on with the Toyota Prius, after you deduct for federal and state EV credits.”

Starting price: $34,095
Electric range: 53 miles (420 miles total)
Hybrid mode fuel economy: 42 mpg city/highway combined
Approximate charge time: 4.5 hours (240V), 13 hours (120V)

KBB’s Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy for 2017, the Toyota Prius Prime brings together the time-tested reliability of Toyota technology, a pleasantly rewarding drive, and easy-to-use efficiency. As we explained in our most recent Best Buy Awards, “Simply plug in the supplied charge cable to a traditional 3-prong outlet and voilà! 5.5 hours later you’ve got a fully charged battery. No longer will you need to purchase an expensive 240V system for your home or waste time driving around your office in search of a dedicated EV charging station.”

Starting price: $27,985
Electric range: 25 miles (640 miles total)
Hybrid mode fuel economy: 54 mpg city/highway combined
Approximate charge time: 2.2 hours (240V), 5.5 hours (120V)

 

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