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Thursday Throwdown: 2014 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

In today’s Thursday Throwdown we are looking at hybrid and electric vehicles. Our list includes compact, midsize and SUV options, which were picked based on  price and fuel economy in order to determine overall value and cost-effectiveness. We did not include vehicles that were not nationally available as of the 2014 model year.

Our top picks are chosen for their cost-effectiveness, efficiency and safety. These 2014 models are beginning to appear as used car and dealer demonstration vehicles now, so be sure to check the CARFAX report for one you might purchase and our Used Car Listings to find one for yourself.

2014 Top Hybrid & Electric cars Picks

Lowest Compact Entry Price: Toyota Prius
Lowest Midsize Entry Price: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Lowest SUV Entry Price: Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
Best Compact Value: Honda Civic Hybrid
Best Midsize Value: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Best SUV Value: Lexus RX Hybrid
Best Compact Fuel Economy: Nissan Leaf
Best Midsize Fuel Economy: Honda Accord Hybrid
Best SUV Fuel Economy: Lexus RX Hybrid

Compact: 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid

The trustworthy little Honda Civic is best known for its fuel economy and large interior space. Although the standard Civic is also popular for its sporty nature, that is lost with the Civic Hybrid, which prioritizes fuel economy instead of driving fun. However, the Civic Hybrid makes up for it with 47 mpg on the highway, a low price and an excellent suite of standard features.

2014 Honda Civic Hybrid
Base price new: $24,635
EPA mpg (city/highway): 44/47
Crash test ratings: IIHS – TSP+, NHTSA – 5-Stars

Compact: 2014 Nissan Leaf

As the only electric car to make our list, the Nissan Leaf is obviously a bargain for many. It’s become the best-selling electric car on the planet and most of those sales are here in the U.S. The Leaf is noted for its agile nature, great technology features and hearty fan base. Seating for five and a versatile interior also make the Leaf a good EV option.

[Read: Chevrolet Greenlights Bolt EV]

2014 Nissan Leaf
Base price new: $28,980
EPA mpg-e (city/highway): 126/101
Crash test ratings: IIHS – G/P/G/G/G, NHTSA – 4/4/4/4

Compact: 2014 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid car in the world, and for good reason. As one of the first on the market, the Prius has successfully become synonymous with “hybrid” in our culture. While it now trails behind some competitors in terms of ride quality and driving dynamics, the Prius nevertheless offers outstanding fuel economy.

[CARFAX Finds: Used Toyota and Lexus Hybrids]

2014 Toyota Prius
Base price new: $24,200
EPA mpg (city/highway): 51/48
Crash test ratings: IIHS – TSP+, NHTSA – 4/4/5/4

Midsize: 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Ford Fusion Hybrid offers a quiet ride and a comfortable, spacious interior. The beautiful exterior that marks the Ford Fusion is retained and a plug-in option, called the Fusion Energi, is also available. The combination of fuel economy and price, however, was what drew us to include the Fusion Hybrid on our list here. Add in the excellent list of standard features, the car’s good looks and the engaging driving dynamics it holds and the Fusion Hybrid becomes a compelling choice.

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Base price new: $26,270
EPA mpg (city/highway): 44/41
Crash test ratings: IIHS – TSP+, NHTSA – 5-Stars

Midsize: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

Great performance and a beautiful interior are the high points of the Honda Accord Hybrid. High fuel economy, especially in the city, and impressive off-the-line performance for a midsize hybrid car are further up-sides. High-quality materials and well-made seating mark the interior of the Accord Hybrid and a solid list of standard features seal the deal with this hybrid option.

[Watch: Top Five Ways to Improve Gas Mileage]

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid
Base price new: $29,155
EPA mpg (city/highway): 50/45
Crash test ratings: IIHS – TSP+, NHTSA – 5-Stars

Midsize: 2014 Toyota Prius V

The Toyota Prius V adds a larger, roomier option to the Prius lineup. As a more wagon-styled Prius, the V is slightly longer and a bit larger, but otherwise retains most of the components of the standard Prius. This means it also inherits the Prius’ penchant for focusing on fuel economy to the exclusion of all else. It is, however, cost-effective in most ways.

[Thursday Throwdown: Affordable Hatchbacks]

2014 Toyota Prius V
Base price new: $26,750
EPA mpg (city/highway): 44/40
Crash test ratings: IIHS – G/P/G/G/G, NHTSA – 5-Stars

SUV: 2014 Lexus RX Hybrid

The Lexus RX is a popular crossover option in the midsize luxury market, and the RX 450h is the hybrid version that heads many “best of” lists. With an upscale cabin and an understated presence on the road, the RX Hybrid is a compelling choice that delivers respectable fuel economy for the luxury market.

2014 Lexus RX Hybrid
Base price new: $46,410
EPA mpg (city/highway): 32/28
Crash test ratings: IIHS – N/A, NHTSA – 4/4/5/4

SUV: 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The award-winning Toyota Highlander is one of the most family friendly vehicles on the road. The Highlander Hybrid adds strong fuel economy to the mix. The price tag is heavy given the entry point for the standard gasoline option. However, the Highlander Hybrid includes a luxurious interior with a long list of standard features. Quiet, nimble for its size and fuel-efficient, the Highlander Hybrid is a great option for those requiring a third-row seat.

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Base price new: $47,300
EPA mpg (city/highway): 27/28
Crash test ratings: IIHS – TSP+, NHTSA – 5-Stars

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