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Used Cars: The Most Satisfying 5-Year-Old Hybrids

These reliable vehicles, with outstanding fuel economy and advanced safety systems, have satisfied owners for years

2017 Toyota Prius driving Photo: Toyota

Hybrids have long served as a more fuel-efficient alternative to conventional gasoline cars, which means there are probably plenty of them on the market now as used cars. Their most attractive feature is outstanding fuel economy, but there are other facets to like as well, among them trouble-free ownership and the versatility that comes from not having to plug in. 

Consumer Reports recommends getting the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible. As recent gas prices show, there are fluctuations in what you have to pay at the pump. These spikes make hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) attractive. And the smarter investment is buying a used hybrid.

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Hybrids use an electric drive that augments the gas engine. They can glide on electric power at low speeds, and they typically yield strong fuel economy. Unlike plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, hybrids don’t need to be charged, so there’s no need to change your routine. The large hybrid battery gets charged by the gasoline engine as well as regeneration from coasting and braking.

To help guide members in their selection, we focused on models that earn a CR recommendation for their test performance, reliability, and safety, then we took a closer look at the Owner Satisfaction data collected from member surveys.

We combed through our data to find the 2017 models most people said they would buy again, models in the small, midsized, and large sedan categories. We picked those known for strong reliability and fuel economy, vehicles that are the most likely to provide years of relatively trouble-free service.

All of these models carry our Green Choice designation, which highlights the vehicles with the cleanest emissions. And because they aren’t that old, some of them come standard with active safety features like forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB)—features that have since become standard on most new cars.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, the list below is available to you. CR members also have full access to the results of our Annual Auto Surveys; first-drive reviews of the newest cars, SUVs, and trucks; our full road-test results; and exclusive ratings for each vehicle we buy and test.

If you’re not a CR member, click below to become one to access the list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

Head shot of CR Autos Editor, Benjamin Preston

Benjamin Preston

My reporting has taken me everywhere from Baghdad, Iraq, to the Detroit auto show, along the U.S.-Mexico border and everywhere in between. If my travels have taught me anything, it's that stuff—consumer products—is at the center of daily life all over the world. That's why I'm so jazzed to be shining light on what works, what doesn't, and how people can enrich their lives by being smarter consumers. When I'm not reporting, I can usually be found at home with my family, at the beach surfing, or in my driveway, wrenching on my hot rod '74 Olds sedan.