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Top 20 Unique Hybrids Of The New Millennium

Cameron EittreimSeptember 25, 2019

Hybrid cars have become the norm in today’s automotive industry. But they’ve only recently become a mainstream vehicle. In the earlier parts of the 2000s, hybrid vehicles were expensive. The hybrid was an attempt to extend the mileage of gas-powered cars, and it worked. Some of the hybrid vehicles were feeble, but others were great, such as the Toyota Prius. Although there isn’t as much hoopla surrounding hybrids as there used to be, they’re still around.

Hybrid vehicles have many advantages, the main one being their less damaging impact on the environment. There are also some disadvantages to hybrids as well, such as their expensive battery replacement. There has also been a good deal of controversy surrounding hybrid vehicles such as the GM EV-1, which was destroyed by the automaker to much dismay.

As technology progresses, the hybrid vehicle is only going to get better, even morphing into fully electric-powered cars. We’re going to be taking a look at some of the most iconic hybrid vehicles that have come out in the last two decades with data courtesy of Edmunds. Some of them you might remember, and some you might have never seen before.

20. Honda Insight

This little egg-shaped hybrid was one of the first mass-produced hybrid vehicles in America; in fact, it was number one. The Honda Insight didn’t offer a lot in terms of comfort, as the car was basically a barebones two-seat Honda Civic.

But the car offered a good deal of fuel economy. The Honda Insight came in some funky hues, which made the car stand out from the crowd. You’ll often see these cars still driving around major metropolitan cities, and they have held their resale value quite well.

19. Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid

GM was in a rush to get just about any type of hybrid they could to the market. With gas prices soaring, the dinosaurs that were GM’s large truck and SUV line were on the way out. So they slapped some environmentally friendly green paint on the Silverado and gave it a hybrid synergy drive.

The problem was that the gas mileage improvement didn’t quite justify the premium price tag, and consumers balked. The Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid will go down in history as a failed relic of the early 2000s.

18. Ford Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid is memorable for being the vehicle that President George Bush stood in front of during his 2004 reelection. Ford made great strides to enter the hybrid race, and the Escape was the perfect mixture of both comfort and gas mileage.

The Escape was already a great compact SUV. With the addition of the hybrid, it soared. The Ford Escape managed to carry Ford through the gas price crisis. You’ll still find Ford Escape Hybrids on the used car market for a reasonable price.

17. Lexus RX 400h

During the peak of the 2008 recession, automakers were trying to find any way to get people into their showrooms. Lexus decided to take it a step further and make their luxury SUV into a hybrid model.

The Lexus RX 400h stood out from the crowd with a smooth, V6-powered engine and beautiful exterior. The hybrid synergy drive was taken from the Toyota Prius. It ran like butter in the precision-built Lexus. There were other perks of the Lexus RX 400h, such as special edition alloy rims and notable exterior colors.

16. Lexus GS 450h

After the success of the Lexus RX 400h hybrid, the company decided to take it a step further. The Lexus GS 450h is based on the large luxury sedan of the lineup. In hybrid form, the Lexus GS 450h was not only a comfortable ride but also eco-friendly.

Lexus went to all the stops to create a one-of-a-kind ride, and luxury customers appreciated it. The Lexus GS 450h is still a viable used car to this day, incorporating style and luxury. Lexus continued offering hybrid variations of their vehicles on into the present.

15. Honda Accord Hybrid

You’ve probably never seen one of these because there were very few. But believe it or not, there was a Honda Accord Hybrid. This rare sedan was released for the 2005 model year. At that time gas prices were relatively low.

Sales of the Honda Accord Hybrid were lackluster at best and the company decided to let the interesting sedan go. But the Honda Accord Hybrid was one of the more comfortable models to hit the road. It came equipped with a slew of luxury features, including a navigation system.

14. Saturn Vue Green Line

Towards the end of its run, Saturn was a confusing brand. The Saturn product line had gone from trendsetting and unique to dull and unknown. But the Saturn Vue Green Line was a step in the right direction.

After the success of the Ford Escape Hybrid, GM wanted their own compact hybrid. The Saturn Vue Green Line had a few interesting features and a unique color scheme. The Vue was already a popular model for GM, and the hybrid made it better. The Saturn Vue Green Line went on until the brand’s demise.

13. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Even though Honda didn’t have much success with the Accord Hybrid, Toyota still wanted to give it a shot. The Toyota Camry Hybrid was actually a much more successful car. The contributor to its success was the 2008 economic crisis where gas prices skyrocketed.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid offered a unique mix of luxury features and technology. The car was a pleasure to drive and is built on the success of the wildly popular Prius. You’ll still see the Toyota Camry Hybrid on the roads, and these cars have held their value well.

12. Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Right on the heels of the popular Ford Escape Hybrid, the company decided to offer a luxury version. The Mercury Mariner Hybrid was an upscale market hybrid that came with a trending ad campaign. But sadly, consumers had already forgotten about the Mercury brand the car was not relevant.

The Mariner Hybrid did have a lot of cool features, and the exterior was stylish. The car came equipped with a roof rack and all of the appointments that you’d expect in a luxury SUV. Still, you can find the Mariner Hybrid used for a great price.

11. Mazda Tribute Hybrid

Mazda had to jump into the hybrid fray with their own version of the Escape Hybrid. The Mazda Tribute Hybrid took a more sporty approach, incorporating a revised suspension. There were also subtle enhancements to the engine, which gave the car more pep.

The Tribute Hybrid managed to sell quite well for the brand, as consumers appreciated the handsome exterior. You’d expect to see the Tribute Hybrid in either an urban or suburban setting. The Mazda Tribute Hybrid is still a popular used car to this day.

10. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Toyota has found immense success in the hybrid market. With the Prius and the Camry, the brand found a solid footing with hybrid vehicles. The Highlander Hybrid was another step in the right direction for the brand, and the vehicle offered great value.

The Highlander Hybrid was able to go off-road and still tackle the pavement. Buyers appreciated the three rows of seating, which made the vehicle family-friendly. You could also get the Toyota Highlander Hybrid with a built-in DVD player, as well as towing functionality.

9. Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

Yes, even hip-hop stars and basketball players like to save the environment. The Escalade Hybrid was another unique way for GM to dip into the hybrid market. Although the vehicle was overpriced, it really didn’t add anything of value to the original Escalade.

The Escalade Hybrid didn’t get any vast improvement in-terms of gas mileage. Luxury buyers who spend that much on a vehicle really aren’t interested in gas mileage anyway. Ultimately, the Escalade Hybrid was quietly discontinued after a few years.

8. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

After the Toyota Camry Hybrid found success, GM decided that it was time to add their own sedan to the mix. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a product of the 2008 recession, and the car really wasn’t polished at all.

But the gas mileage of the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was significantly better than the base model. GM did manage to add some nice touches such as leather seating, as well as a standard V6 motor. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is one of the rarer models to come out of the last decade.

7. Dodge Durango Hybrid

Yes, even Chrysler jumped into the hybrid fray with the Dodge Durango Hybrid. At a time when gas prices were at a premium, the Dodge Durango Hybrid was a breath of fresh air.

The Durango took the tried and true Hemi V8 engine and combined it to a hybrid synergy drive. It sold in very low numbers at a time when SUVs were falling out of favor. The Durango Hybrid also shared its body with the Chrysler Aspen SUV. Both large SUV models were discontinued shortly thereafter.

6. Chrysler Aspen Hybrid

In addition to the Dodge Durango Hybrid, Chrysler also wanted a shot in the hybrid race as well. The Aspen Hybrid was a very limited production SUV, and the first SUV to ever have a Chrysler badge. The Aspen Hybrid incorporated features like real wood accents and a powerful Hemi engine.

The overall design of the SUV was great, but it hit the market during the 2008 economic downturn. The Aspen Hybrid is a very limited edition SUV, and finding one is tough. It will go down as one of the more unique hybrids of the decade.

5. Nissan Altima Hybrid

Nissan also had a lesser-known entrant into the hybrid race, the Altima Hybrid. This limited-edition sedan featured all of the bells and whistles of the regular sedan.

The Altima Hybrid was the first foray into a hybrid offering for the company, and the car didn’t offer a lot in the way of individuality. But, the Altima Hybrid is still a standout offering in the hybrid market, as it offered the sportiness of the Altima brand and the fuel economy of a much more expensive vehicle.

4. Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid was perhaps one of the most standout offerings of any hybrid vehicle. We say this because this particular model of the Chevrolet Tahoe was famous for having the words “Hybrid” up the side of the vehicle in a giant decal.

If that wasn’t enough to let you know that this Tahoe was special, there are numerous other Hybrid badges all around the vehicle. The Tahoe Hybrid did offer a substantial boost in fuel economy over the standard truck, but consumers just weren’t enthusiastic over the expensive price tag, which was close to Escalade territory.

3. BMW X6 ActiveHybrid

Hybrid vehicles aren’t exactly what you’d expect with the word luxury, buy nevertheless, the BMW brand wanted to get in on the fun as well. The BMW X6 ActiveHybrid was the first full hybrid model to come from the BMW brand, and it was quite an achievement.

Although there were already hybrid offerings from Cadillac and Lexus on the market, the X6 ActiveHybrid actually combined an element of fun. Taking a cue from the legendary BMW name, the X6 ActiveHybrid was an attractive vehicle that lived up to the BMW namesake.

2. Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford’s first foray into the hybrid sedan market was actually quite late in the game. The Fusion Hybrid burst onto the scene in 2009, offering a sporty exterior and a large interior. The Fusion Hybrid took full advantage of the same hybrid synergy drive that was in the Ford Escape.

There were subtle advantages over the basic model, such as leather seating and the integrated Sync system. Overall, the Ford Fusion Hybrid did not fail to disappoint.

1. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Perhaps one of the most luxurious and stately hybrids to hit the market was the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. The Avalon was known as the top-of-the-line sedan in the Toyota lineup. Offering a powerful V6 engine, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid coasted through traffic with ease.

Optional luxury features such as a panoramic sunroof and real oakwood trim were nice accents. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid also came equipped with the revised CVT transmission, boasting increased acceleration and reliability.

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