The Worst Hybrids for the Money

Every year, we determine which hybrids are the best for the money, based on body style. This year, we also take a look at the worst hybrids for the money.

What we mean by worst is this: hybrids that end up with a very low score after you divide the car’s combined EPA mileage estimate by its MSRP and multiply that number by 1,000. Our best finisher was the Honda Insight. Who was at the other end?

To be fair, many of the cars on this list are luxury cars, and you’re paying for that as much as you’re paying for the hybrid drivetrain. And some of these perform, percentage-wise, far better than their gas counterparts. (Take the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, for example.) And some shoppers, of course, want and/or need a large SUV but would like to make some kind of statement. Still, my 2003 Honda Pilot scores better (0.58) than all the cars on this list, and it’s not even a hybrid.

Here’s the bottom 10:

*MPG rating represents combined EPA cycle. Cycle includes 45% highway and 55% city driving




comparing your "no fun" to drive 2003 honda pilot with 2011 chevy tahoe? got hangover from last night??well, the owner of 55K vehicle doen't care about mpg as much as owner of 30k vehicle!!!


All this shows is that there are expensive hybrids being sold. A better approach might be a formula that compares the hybrid vehicle to the non-hybrid version and calculates the mpg improvement percentage versus the cost increase. The Escalade might be one of the most cost effective hybrids because it realizes a nearly fifty percent increase in mileage, compared to its non hybrid but still expensive counterpart. Thanks anyway for providing a list of vehicles I'll never buy.


Also don't forget the the LS600h was never intended to be a proper hybrid, but a leaner competitor to the large V8 or V10 S-class or 7-series. Lexus put performance over economy for that particular model. Akin to the Accord Hybrid, except on a different scale and market.

I'm sorry, but the X6 itself is laughable, much less the hybrid version. If you really, really wanted a fuel friendly X6 (almost an oxymoron there), there is always the X6 35i. Even better, have BMW bring over the X6 35d and kill off the hybrid. BMW already has the X5 35d and the 335d here.


$60,000 hybrids are for folks like Hannity who has an Escalade and never fails to mention it when he blathers on about drill baby drill.

What would be interesting would be the see the sales numbers for these "scam" hybrids.

Mark of Excellence

You're right that the Escalade Hybrid can't hold a candle to a Prius, Volt or Insight in mileage. But the fact is that increasing the mileage of our light truck fleet would dwarf the fuel savings of the smaller and higher mpg hybrids. Going from an average of 14 mpg in the regular Escalade to the 21 mpg average of the Escalade hybrid would save 476 gallons of gasoline in a year when you drive 20,000 miles. At current gas prices you save $1,900 per year on the escalde hybrid. Now let's compare a 30 mpg Corolla to a Prius. Both are driven 20,000 miles and the Prius uses only 266 gallons less than the Corolla over the year. It's still a $1,000 per year savings, but you can see that converting our nation's pickup fleet to even the modest mpg of the escalade hybrid would save lots of fuel. So I wouldn't call it a "scam" hybrid. If Ford took its new efficient V6 truck engines and did a hybrid system with them there would be truly impressive mileage gains.


Hybrid technology actually makes much more sense on big and heavy cars. Whereas a Prius can never hope to recover the initial cost premium over a Corolla during the life expectancy of the battery, a hybrid Escalade, LS and S-class can probably deliver enough fuel savings to recover the cost premium. Some of these alleged "worst" hybrids are actually the ones that make economic sense compared to their non-hybrid alternatives, unlike the nonsensical image mobiles like Prius and Insight.

Box One

Hello James

Prius has 2 cu. ft. lesser interior space than Camry and 20 cu. ft. more than Corolla.

Media created this image by comparing Prius with Corolla, but the Prius buyer knows what it is.

Today the gas prices are 3.79 / gallon and Prius is selling like hot cakes.

All the 10 Hybrid model they have shown above dont make a combined sales of 1,000 while Prius alone sold 18,000 units last month and is nearing Corolla in sales.

Box One

The combined YTD sales of these 10 vehicles are (24 + 105 + 19 + 75 + 312 + 467 + 193 + 0 + 181 + 1) = 1,377, whereas that of Prius & Insight are 42,779 & 6,058.

Now with $4 gas, these small hybrids will sell even more while the Gas Guzzling Hybrids will sell even less.

All these $50,000 + vehicles can be afforded by only a few rich.

Ideally the entire Taxi fleet should move to Prius & Insight and that could save billions of gallons of fuel.

Lot of useful points are there. Its really keeps me updated.

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