Cars and Drivers

The Most Reliable Hybrid Electric Cars

Honda Civic hybrid
Source: Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
The market for used cars is hot right now. How hot? New car sales in the United States last month totaled 15.6 million units, compared with nearly 42 million used car sales.

Not only do used car sales outstrip new car sales by nearly three times, gross margins are better — nearly double on average. That’s money out of the buyers’ pockets, so it pays for used car buyers to pay attention to how well that new, used car can be expected to perform.

The folks at auto sales website have recently published a ranking of the longest-lasting hybrid electric vehicles. The ranking is based on the percentage of cars currently on the road with more than 150,000 miles on the clock.

The ranking includes just seven cars from three automakers: Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) and Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F).

7. Honda Insight: 0.6% with more than 150,000 miles driven
6. Toyota Camry hybrid: 0.7%
5. Lexus RX 400h: 1.4%
4. Toyota Prius: 2.1%
3. Ford Escape hybrid: 2.7%
2. Toyota Highlander hybrid: 2.7%
1. Honda Civic hybrid: 5.4%

More than 3 million hybrid cars have been sold in the United States since Honda sold its first 17 Insights in 1999. The following year, Toyota introduced the Prius to the United States, and Honda sold 2,788 units of it Insight, compared with 5,562 units of the Toyota Prius.

About a third of all hybrids sold in the United States are some version of the Prius, so why doesn’t the Prius lead in longevity? The CEO of thinks it might be due to the fact that Honda buyers drive more than Toyota buyers:

Perhaps consumers who buy Civic Hybrids tend to be more efficiency-minded and are looking to get the most miles out of their cars while people who buy Prius may be looking to make more of an environmental statement. When was the last time you saw a celebrity in a Honda Civic Hybrid?

The study analyzed the number of cars listed on its website with more than 150,000 as a percentage of the total number of vehicles listed for that model. The list includes only those hybrid vehicles that have sold more than 50,000 units since 1999. Plug-in hybrids and all-electric models are not included.

ALSO READ: Toyota Prius Sales in Trouble

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