2018 PHEV Comparison – Kelley Blue Book

2018 PHEV Comparison – Kelley Blue Book

Do you want an electrified alternative
to gasoline-powered transportation with no risk you’ll run out of juice?
Well then, let’s talk plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. And so we’re
all on the same page, plug-in hybrids are just hybrid cars with extra batteries
that can be charged with a normal household outlet or a 240 volt charger
to allow some degree of pure electric travel. With a growing roster of
moderately priced plug-in hybrids to choose from, we decided a comparison test
was an order. So, let’s get ready to use less gasoline. The least expensive entry
in our test is the Hyundai Ioniq. Its value-rich position is reinforced by a
$4,500 federal tax credit and Hyundai’s 10 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
With a fully charged battery, the EPA predicts 29 miles of electric only
driving, but during a plodding LA commute, we knocked out 38.4 miles before the
ionics 1.6-liter engine had to intervene. With the engine involved, the Ioniq
Plug-In is rated at 52 combined mpg. Consider us dazzled. The power train’s 139 horsepower total output proved ample for normal commuting, though overtaking on
the freeway took some patience. That extra time let us appreciate the Ioniq’s
well calibrated six-speed automatic transmission, a pleasing contrast to the
continuously variable transmissions found in most hybrids. Over a route that spanned much of
California, we wished for a quieter cabin and extra support from the driver’s seat,
otherwise we like the Ioniq’s agreeable demeanor and standard niceties like
heated seats, dual zone automatic climate control, and a seven-inch touchscreen with
modern Smartphone integration. In fact, after this test, one of our editors added
the Hyundai Ioniq plugin to his shopping list. For a car reviewer that is strong
praise. Compared to the Ioniq, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid seems
pricey, but that price premium comes with notable advantages. Foremost are a 42 mpg combined rating and an EPA-estimated electric range of 47 miles that we
handily eclipsed. And in congested traffic with occasional sprint’s to 65 mph we achieved 56.2-electric miles. A higher speed test still yielded 46 miles
before enlisting the 1.5-litre engine’s help. Note, a normal 120-volt outlet
will charge the Clarity in 12 hours, but use a 240-volt charger and that time
drops to a mere 2.5 hours. Delivering 212 total system hp, the Clarity is
the most powerful car in our test. It’s also the heaviest, so acceleration lands
in the adequate range. For tinkerers, there are multiple drive modes that
favour gasoline or electric propulsion along with driver selectable
regenerative braking intensities. Speaking of, the regenerative brakes and
hybrid cars often feel unnatural, not so in the Clarity whose mostly normal brake
feel was the best of the bunch. That sense of normalcy permeates all aspects
of the Clarity, from its refined driving manners, to its comfortable
nicely outfitted 5-passenger cabin. While the priciest entry in our test, the 2018
Clarity’s premium is somewhat offset by a $7,500 federal tax credit. It’s also a
Honda, which bodes well for reliability and resale values over the long haul. In
our estimation, the Clarity isn’t just superbly efficient, it’s the closest
thing in this group to a normal sedan, and we mean that as a big-time compliment. Driving at freeway speeds, we covered
26.2 electric miles in this Toyota Prius Prime. Add maddeningly slow traffic to the
mix, and matching or exceeding the 29-mile EPA estimate should be no problem. Perhaps more interesting is the Prime’s comparison-topping 54 mpg combined fuel economy ratings. We achieved 54.3 mpg in real world conditions
so that EPA rating is no joke. During our test ride quality and handling proved
more than acceptable, but if you plan to Prime there are some downsides. No fifth
seat is one, tepid acceleration is another, the absence of Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto is a third. We’ll add that the optional 11.6-inch touchscreen looks
neat, but it reflects light to the driver’s eyes at certain sun angles.
Some folks on our team also preferred the more conventional dash layouts found
in the Honda and Hyundai. That said, with a supple ride a comparatively low
starting price, a $4,500 federal tax credit, Toyota’s epic resale values and
styling that you will love unless you hate it
the Prius Prime is an easily defendable plug-in purchase, especially if you favor
hybrid efficiency over electric range. Let’s close things out with the plug-in
hybrid that started at all, the Chevrolet Volt, whose EPA certified 53-mile
electric range tops our comparison. Through a soul-sucking stop and go
commute, we managed 53.3 miles before the Volt
flipped on its gasoline engine. With that kind of range gas free commuting is an
achievable reality. Out strip the batteries range, and you’ll still enjoy
an EPA-estimated 42 combined mpg. Volt has range and efficiency on its
side, but it’s also a nice car. Our elite test squad praised its handsome interior,
smartly arranged controls and standard Apple CarPlay, though one of our editors
experienced multiple infotainment crashes. Tisk, tisk. Also, sitting in the
middle seat is a bad idea for most humans, and the Volt skews towards the
expensive side of the spectrum with a base MSRP near the Clarity’s. But like
the Clarity the Volt is eligible for a sweet $7,500 federal
crédit. Just keep in mind that Chevy is creeping towards their 200,000 vehicle
limit for that federal electric vehicle incentive, so if you crave ultimate
electric range with a gasoline safety net, and you love Chevy, get your bolt while
the getting’s good. And that is a light spritz of electrified automotive
knowledge. If you’re ready to take the plug-in hybrid plunge our full
comparison is yours to enjoy when you do. Remember, it’s hard to buy a bad car
these days, but it is easy to buy the wrong car. Whether you’re shopping
plug-in hybrids or almost anything on wheels, Kelley Blue Book is here to help.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I think I would go for the Prius Prime in that nice Aqua Blue Color with the White and Black Interior.

  2. They also failed to mention the size and energy used to charge. Ioniq will be one of the most efficient in range vs energy storage

  3. I wish Hyundai would do something about their awful seats. Personally I’ve got a bad back, and every Hyundai for the last few years has had the toughest most uncomfortable seats in every single model across the board. Only they seem to give me that issue. (My favorite seats come from Toyota).

  4. The most normal looking hybrid is the Volt which is the only one I’d actually consider, and I don’t even like hybrids or electric cars! Of course if I had to have an electric car it would be a Tesla but still the Volts not bad

  5. Hyundai meh, Clairty WTF but Honda sure why not, Chevy Volt is very nice but small and same sad hybrid numbers as Clarity, Prius Prime wins it for me on balance.

  6. I like the volt but as a Prius owner 400k miles is average for Prius owners I don’t see the rest doing that consistently.

  7. 0:45 use less gasonline, dumb fuck – if that's all it was we'd all care as little as you, go make comedy you suck at info – how about "breathe fresh air" knowing dementia reaches 1 in 2 by age 85, let's talk about fresh air. your priority is video likes, not planet saving, try harder.

  8. We just bought the 2018 Prius Prime. It's our first PHEV and we are loving it. We've put 980km on it so far and have only used a half tank of gas (and this includes two significant road trips of 240km, and 490km). It's costs less than $1 to charge and we are averaging 50km/charge. I would take Toyota's 20+ year hybrid vehicle track record and reliability any day over the experiment that is Hyundai or the less-than-stellar repair record of the Volt (source: Consumer Reports). I'm not a huge fan of the Prius Prime styling, but have received many unsolicited positive comments about it. Go figure…

  9. The Volt is the sportiest and best sorted out. The Prius is just too bizarre looking and the Clarity won't win beauty contests. The Ioniq is pleasantly styled, but lacking power and EV range. Volt gives you the best EV bang for the buck.

  10. I drive 55 miles each way to work, so the Honda and Chevy are ones I'm considering because the BMW is stupid expensive and uglier than all of these combined. Heard good things about the Chevy in snow (bad winters here). How's the Honda in snow?

  11. The Prius prime is a great car. I can easily get 50km and its fuel economy is no joke either. You can also run in EV mode once the battery is depleted​. Also fast charging time is a plus.

  12. i own the volt. 3 years now and im coming up on my first oil change….i think i fill the gas tank maybe 5-6 times a year. not going back to a regular car.

  13. So can someone ELI5 here? The Honda Clarity for example, if I am in ECO mode driving, I could drive 47 miles without using any gas correct? And then the gas takes over?

  14. The volt is my favorite. I've got 20,000 miles on a 2017 and can drive 1000 miles between gas fill ups. Reliability has been excellent. Hopefully I can get 200,000 miles out of this vehicle.

  15. I've owned my 2017 Volt for 22 months & 17,000 + miles, have not had any trouble at all. Love driving it every time I get in, with its 294 ft -lbs of instant torque – it's a blast to drive. During the spring/summer I routinely get 60+ miles of electric. I've only bought gas about five or six times.

  16. I love my Volt. I tested the ioniq and it is definitely a great value. One thing to consider is that the Volt and Clarity are the only two of the four with liquid cooled batteries. This means they will last longer and generally have more balanced performance though different weather conditions. Also since the Volt has been on the market for 7 years, the first gen has a proven reliability record and much of the power train engineering has been improved in the gen 2 tested here.

  17. I own a 12 Volt, 135k miles and no issues! Best car ever! My next car will be either another Volt or a Bolt! Chevy Plug-ins FTW!

  18. I'll stick with my non plugin ioniq, I'm averaging 62mpg without much effort with less battery weight. Would still be nice to be able to plug it in though. I'm curious as to why other comments are so biased toward reliability. The Ioniq debuted in 2016 with few complaints so far. It's to early to make an informed decision but I think most Hyundai's are pretty strong in this category.

  19. FACT – there is No Such thing as a PHEV , either its an ICE car or a ZERO Emissions car. PHEV = A Dirty Little ICE car with really crappy All Electric Range.

  20. FACT : You can Never make a ICE car or Hybrid completely ZERO emissions.
    combustion means you are making Emissions as you go.

  21. I've never experienced 53 miles electric on a Chevy volt. It's always been 56-70 miles, all climates, all roadways.

  22. Kinda glossed over the fact that IIRC, the Chevy is the only one that doesn't need to turn on the gas engine for full acceleration. Until you use up the battery charge, the engine stays off.

  23. My sister bought the prius prime and im thinking about buying one myself. The honda is hideous and gm has a long history of unreliable vehicles. The ioniq is worth a look though.

  24. I cant beleive in 2018 some people are still using miles and mpg, ridiculous😂 gotta get on google to convert those numbers

  25. So when will you use the metric system – and America is 'supposed' to be a metric country – instead of the just old-fshioned imperial system? Is it that America/Americans are just oo arrogant to move to the metric system that most of the rest of the world is using? Horsepower? Miles? Foot-pounds? Pounds, Inches. Really, how archaic.

  26. I'll just take the Prius Prime and Clarity, I would that the Ionic but I rather take it's EV Version, the Chevy Volt, let me ask you a question, when did you last time hear a Chevy Volt getting pulled out of the Water for salvage?
    Never because the car was so bad and ugly.

  27. When the car's plug-in battery is depleted, and the vehicle then begins operating like a regular hybrid, does the plug-in battery ever get recharged by the gas engine, like on a long road trip, or does the plug-in battery stay depleted and ONLY get its charge by plugging it in?

  28. 22 miles electric range would be nice, back in 2014. But right now, we are days away from the dawn of 2019.

    Toyota, DO BETTER!

  29. I ve 2016 chevy volt with 30k miles on it. My average mpg is 54. I just tried the clarity for about 2k miles and i'm averaging 74 mpg. It's more comfortable than the volt and handling is better as well. The volt on the other hand has a more practical trunk with seats down. Also, it has a much better phone app. The hondalink app is near useless.

  30. I would take a Fusion Energi Titanium over any of these ugly things. The Energi looks very handsome and has killer range too.

  31. Forgot to add the lifetime Hyundai battery warranty with the 10 year 100k Powertrain 🙂 I have a Volt (Gen 1), it's all electric propelled power drive line (no wait to shift transmission). It drives like a golf cart on roids. In essence its a 100% electric car with on board charging system (generator). I get 150+ mpg driving a 40 mile commute daily and get 40 mpg when on long trips past 40 miles. 13-15 Volts with 40-60k miles can be had for $10-15k, a gen 2 16+ ranges $17-22k. Of all the cars.. the Volt is hands down the better driving car, if you need cargo or have tall people the Hyundai is the best bang for buck! Buy pre-owned when possible as the resale is low due to the calculation of the fed/state incentives. It makes a great buy after lease! – Hope that was helpful!


  33. The Clarity is hindered by it's 7 gallon fuel tank, meaning you have to stop every 250 miles or so when traveling.

  34. Why do they have to be so ugly? This is what has made Tesla so successful. They know electric or PHEV doesn't have to equate to ugly.

  35. One thing that is rarely, if ever covered, is overall reliability. How long will brand A last versus brand B. Personally, I’d take a Toyota hands down. They are bullet proof.

  36. Really liking my Ioniq plug in here in UK. I bought ex dealer demonstrator at 2/3 new price as nobody here seems to know what a plug in hybrid is. Preferred it to Prius because i) Plug-in Prius has even smaller trunk than regular hybrid version (battery is bigger). True for Ioniq as well but trunk volume still larger than Prius with seats down, ii) it has a regular gearbox with double automatic clutch not CVT, iii) cheaper to buy, iv) not as strange to look at, v) seats 5, vi) lower servicing costs, vii) EV-only range 37 (UK) miles, viii) low and wide, suspect it handles better too, viiii) sound system is also good. I drive about 30 miles a day with occasional long journeys at weekends so for me it is perfect so long as I charge it overnight. Regarding seats; on my old diesel Hyundai ix35 they were uncomfortable. On the Ioniq they are great, maybe they have made some changes. Will run at highway speeds with no problem in EV only mode. Yes, if you floor the pedal then the engine will kick in but there is a bar display on left side which shows you exactly how hard you can depress the pedal while staying in EV-only mode (the bars change colour). Mid-range acceleration for overtaking is faster than you might think, if you press the left paddle to make it change down a gear, then floor it, it will use both the ICE and electric motors together. The other big factor over here is that gas is around $6 per gallon.

  37. Buy American products to support our industry and development. Oh. Foriegn products support foreign industry, no matter where they a built. Thank you.

  38. My wife loves her 2018 Toyota Prius Prime. She works about 12 miles away from our house. Along with extra miles for personal errands, and after owning this thing for 1 month, I went to the gas station to see how much gas was used. The car only took $5 of gas after driving it for 30 days. No joke. If you want to translate the price into gallons, it only took 1.6 gallons of gas. I figure we will only have to fill up the tank maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Great car.

  39. Happy Clarity owner here, I got a brand new 2019 Touring for $29,600 and minus the $7,500 federal tax rebate, the $1,500 California rebate and Edison’s $1,000 energy credit it was too good of a deal to pass. It’s a phenomenal car that is a pleasure to drive on electric mode and does great on hybrid mode too

  40. So I’m still in my first week of Chevy Volt ownership and I got to say, so far it’s a wonderful little comfy, speedy, techie good looking car all around!!! Glad I chose the Volt!!!!

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