2012 Hybrid Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup

Update: We have now published the 2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA article.

In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new hybrid car? 2012 is shaping to be an important year in the story of hybrid vehicles, as almost every major manufacturer will be offering, releasing, or announcing a hybrid product.

While the Tohuku earthquake in Japan has affected 2011 plans, the Japanese are muscling ahead with 2012 hybrid launches. The Germans have finally entered the hybrid market in a serious way, with BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche all offering a hybrid product – especially on their SUVs. Of the domestic manufacturers, GM is still evolving their hybrid full-size SUVs, but is readying some car hybrids for 2012 that should give Ford’s dominance in domestic hybrid sales a strong challenge. Chrysler’s recent reorganization with Fiat means hybrid drivetrains won’t be expected from them until 2013 however.

The most exciting thing about the 2012 lineup is that hybrid technology has been embraced by the mainstream as an important way of improving the environmental impact of car usage. One study predicts that all new cars will have some level of hybridization by 2020.

So here is the lineup of 2012’s hybrid cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups. Please note that we define hybrid vehicles as ones that have a drivetrain that can be powered by its gasoline engine. See our 2012 Electric Car Lineup for vehicles with drivetrains powered only by their electric motor.

Audi Hybrids

Audi, as part of the massive VW universe (along with Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Skoda and Seat) has committed resources for hybrid models after witnessing their success here. While European markets are still more interested in diesel engines, Americans have been clamoring – and will now get – hybridized Audis, albeit slowly. Audi continues to maintain, though, that diesels are the superior engine of choice for efficiency.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA
2012 Audi Q5 Hybrid

Q5 Hybrid Quattro car – The first Audi hybrid car to reach our shores for sale, the Q5 mates a compact crossover body with an efficient all-wheel drivetrain. Utilizing a 208hp 4-cylinder engine as its base, Audi mates a 44hp electric motor to give its first hybrid the scoot of the V6 (0-60 in 7 flat) with economy better than the base 4 (an estimated 33 MPG combined). Audi claims the Q5 is able to run for almost 2 miles on electricity alone at speeds under 62 MPH, but few reviewers have been able to achieve that. Expect a 15% price premium, at an estimated MSRP of $48,000 when it goes on sale.


A6 Hybrid car (2012 or 2013) – At the January 2011 Detroit auto show, Audi unveiled an A6 sedan with a hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Q5. Despite the combination being showroom ready, Audi has not released an on-sale date for the hybrid sedan.

BMW Hybrids


BMW has committed to efficiency across its model range under the “active dynamics” banner. To that end, they have developed a family of hybrid products for their top sedans and SUVs. The Bavarian engineers behind the products focused on developing hybrid technology to enhance the famous “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan while reducing their biggest machine’s appetite for fuel. For those of us fortunate enough to have the means, the big BMW hybrids are amongst the most dynamic that any manufacturer has for sale.


ActiveHybrid 750i/750Li – The flagship of the BMW sedan range, the 7 series already offers sumptuous luxury, and fairly outrageous performance. The Active Hybrid models are based off the already potent 4.8 twin turbo V8 and add a 20hp electric assist. Fuel economy improves by 15% over the even more potent 760 V12 version, at an EPA estimated 17/24. Price is a full $20,000 over a base 740i, at $107,075. Bragging rights for owning one of the few $100,000 hybrids, though, is priceless. 

ActiveHybrid X5 – No manufacturer information has been released, but BMW insiders say an X5 Active Hybrid, with the X6’s drivetrain is coming for 2012. For an idea of what it may be all about, check below.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - BMW
2012 BMW ActiveHybrid X6



ActiveHybrid X6 – The X6 is a challenging coupe+SUV crossover. Sales have been strong, so BMW saw fit to offer a hybrid version for 2011 that will continue for 2012. Offering an EPA estimated 17/19 MPG rating (18 combined) it betters the base model by only 1 MPG in all ratings, but offers the performance of the much thirstier V8 model. Unfortunately, the increased weight of the two-mode hybrid system blunts the athletic performance of the conventional versions. The starting price of $88,900 blunts any expected savings at the pump as well. 


Buick Hybrids


General Motors’ mid-level luxury brand is rolling out two hybrid products next year to compete with the successful Lincoln MKZ and Lexus hybrids. Up until a few years ago, Buick was an also-ran with middling products and limited appeal. Interest from the Chinese however turned the brand around and now Buick products are competitive, attractive, well-built, and — by this time next year — frugal as well.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Buick
2012 Buick Lacrosse Hybrid


Lacrosse Hybrid – Based on the 2010 Lacrosse, the 2012 model features the first application of GM’s eAssist for $30,820. While mileage figures aren’t yet available, GM is projecting a 25/37 rating for the electrically-assisted sedan. Interestingly, the eAssist engine becomes the standard engine for the Lacrosse model, with an optional 3.6L V6 being available on higher trim levels. However, the base price of the 2012 Lacrosse is $2800 higher than the 2011 model as a result. 


Regal Hybrid – Less information exists about the Regal with eAssist, but the engine is likely going to be an optional upgrade over the standard Regal 4-cylinder. Buick projects mileage similar to the Lacrosse eAssist, at 26 city and 37 highway. No word yet on pricing, but expect the Regal eAssist in showrooms this fall. 


Cadillac Hybrids


Cadillac soldiers on with the dual-mode Escalade hybrid as its sole alternative-energy drivetrain in 2012. GM insiders say more hybrid products are coming for the Cadillac range, most likely starting with the SRX crossover — but for the 2013 model year. Rumors also persist of a Chevy Volt powertrain ending up underneath a yet-to-be-introduced model, but also unlikely before 2013. Finally, the new flagship XTS sedan is due for a 2012 introduction, but as of this writing it is unknown what the powertrain options will be.

Escalade Hybrid – The mammoth Escalade SUV continues for 2012 with a hybrid drivetrain option shared with other GM trucks that ride on the GMT900 platform. With a 332hp V8 and a pair of 60Kw electric motors, the big truck can tow a maximum of 5800 lbs while returning mileage 5-7 MPG better than non-hybrid models. Expect mileage of 20/23 for a starting price of $74,135.


Chevrolet Hybrids


Fans of the bowtie and alternative fueled vehicles have probably been swept up in Volt fervor, but for 2012 less enthusiastic buyers looking for a more conventional Chevrolet with green credentials will be a bit disappointed. That changes for 2013 when a handsome Malibu replaces the bland current model and offers GM’s eAssist. Chevrolet truck buyers however still can get the hybrid option for the Silverado and Tahoe.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Chevy
2012 Chevy Malibu Eco Hybrid

Malibu Eco (2013) – So far all we know is that the 2013 Malibu looks good, that it will get GM’s eAssist powertrain, and get 38 MPG highway. Pricing has not yet been released, but will likely be similar to the competition around $27,500. 


Silverado Hybrid – For $38,300, you can drive America’s first full-size hybrid pickup home. Towing capacity is a stout 6100 lbs, while mileage is a class-leading 20/23 MPG. However, road tests don’t cite the Silverado as a good value aside from green-oriented businesses who like its lowered emissions, or possibly city contractors who would benefit from its superior city mileage. 


Tahoe Hybrid – Considered the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class, the Tahoe hybrid marries the higher towing capacity of the Silverado hybrid with some of the luxury and SUV bodystyle of the Escalade hybrid for $51,200. Buyers get the same GMT900 platform as the other two, same 6.0L V8 hybrid powertrain, and same 20/23 EPA MPG. 


Chrysler Hybrids


Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed in January that Chrysler engineers were working on a hybrid. No firm dates were set, but most analysts expect a 2013 introduction of a 300 Hybrid. Perhaps more appealing to Chrysler buyers will be the 2013 minivan, which is tipped to come with a hybrid option as well.


Dodge/Ram Hybrids


What goes for Chrysler applies to the Dodge and Ram brands too. A Ram 1500 hybrid pickup truck was slated for unveiling this year, but seems to have missed that target. Dodge doesn’t offer any hybrids at the moment, but the hybrid powertrain that will show up in 2013 on the Chrysler 300 will likely find its way to its Dodge platform mate, the Charger.

Ford Hybrids


Ford is committed to a “One Ford” Global strategy where models are sold virtually unchanged in every market they’re offered. The 2012 Focus currently on sale is the first vehicle from that strategy. However, powertrains are being tailored to markets, so instead of getting diesels from Europe, Ford USA will focus on electrics and hybrids. The successful Fusion and Escape hybrids continue, and will be joined in 2013 by two hybrid versions of the C-Max compact minivan.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Ford
Ford C-Max Hybrid


C-Max – While a gasoline-powered 7-seat C-Max is coming for 2012, the big hybrid news is the 5-seat version that will come standard with hybrid power. Mileage figures have not yet been released though Ford representatives say it will be higher than the Fusion hybrid’s 41 MPG. Prices have not yet been released. 


C-Max Energi PHev – In a bold move to offer buyers a competitive range of alternative-energy options, the C-Max will also be offered as a plug-in hybrid to better compete with the upcoming Prius Plug-In. While final specs have yet to be released, Ford is aiming for a 500-mile total driving range (150 miles greater than the Volt) and a full charge from a night spent with a 120V outlet. Prices have yet to be released, but expect this compact hybrid minivan to be a game changer when it arrives. 


Escape Hybrid – Ford’s darling hybrid compact SUV, the 2012 Ford Escape hybrid, gets a redesign with attractive styling and improved refinement. What will likely carry over is excellent mileage for the class at 34 city / 31 highway for the front-wheel-drive version, and 30/27 for the AWD model. Prices start at $30,570 for the 2011, and will likely receive a modest increase for 2012. 


Fusion Hybrid – Ford’s 2012 Fusion hybrid car is already here, and is essentially the same as the 2011 aside from some styling and refinement upgrades. That means expect the same 41/36 mileage, refined handling and roomy interior as 2011. MSRP starts at $28,600 and comes standard with eco-friendly cloth seats, a rich in-dash color display, and an effective regenerative braking system. For 2013 Ford plans on introducing an all-new Fusion with even better economy. 


GMC Hybrids


No change at GMC, as the only models offered with a hybrid drivetrain are the Yukon and the Sierra 1500. Both of these are similar to the Chevrolet Tahoe, and Silverado 1500, respectively.


Yukon Hybrid – The Yukon and Yukon Denali hybrid trucks will continue for 2012, offering a blend of luxury that is between the Chevy Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade hybrid models. Prices start at $53,370 for the Yukon, and $60,720 for the well-equipped Yukon Denali. Standard fit on the Denali are 22” wheels similar to those on the Cadillac, while the interior fittings match the Escalade at a lower cost. Mileage is identical for both models, in either RWD or AWD versions at 20 city and 23 highway. 

Sierra 1500 Hybrid – Identical in engineering to the Chevy Silverado Hybrid, GM offers the 2012 Sierra hybrid pickupfor buyers looking for a more luxurious truck. Prices start at $39,095 for the base Sierra hybrid. 

Honda Hybrids


Honda kicked off its hybrid lineup back in 1999 with the original 2-door Insight. While loved by owners, its compact 2-seat body and relatively limited storage space put off buyers looking for room. After a long hiatus, the Insight name plate returned in 2009 and joined the Civic hybrid in Honda showrooms. The CR-Z coupe was introduced last year to bring the fun to hybrids, and is the only hybrid model with an optional manual transmission. New for 2012 is a redesign Civic hybrid, and a possible introduction of a hybridized Fit.


CR-Z – The CR-Z was touted as the second coming of Honda’s iconic CRX. While critics cite shortcomings in performance, the CR-Z shines as the only affordable sporting hybrid model for sale to date. Excellent handling, a sporty 2-seater body and an optional manual transmission mark the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid car as the thinking enthusiast’s choice. For 2012, the base CR-Z will be joined by a hot turbo model in two grades, with the top model pumping out 200 hybrid horses with a Type-R badge on the trunk. Prices for the base manual transmission model start at $19,345, expect an increase for the turbo versions. Mileage for the CR-Z is 35 city, 39 highway, but expect those figures to drop slightly in the hot versions.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Honda
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid



Civic Hybrid – The all-new 2012 Honda Civic hybrid car is currently on sale for $24,050 and features new styling, new interior design, a lithium-ion battery which is 30% smaller than its old battery, and improved mileage at 44 city, 44 highway. Improvements over the 2011 include an increase in engine size to 1.5L which means more power for merging onto highways, but also allows the engine to run at lower RPMs which in turn means more use of the EV system. While mechanically less complex than the two-mode setup used in the Prius, the 2012 Civic hybrid manages to be the most fuel economical sedan for sale today. 


Fit Hybrid – Honda has already released the Fit Hybrid car in Japan and Europe, but continues to deny plans to sell it here. According to an Insideline.com test drive however, that is a shame: “Honda has delivered on a cool, effective new hybrid with a lot more utility than either the Insight or CR-Z. As far as we’re concerned, it’s Honda’s most appealing hybrid to date.” What remains to be seen is if Honda can be convinced to offer the Fit for sale here, despite fears it might cannibalize Insight and CR-Z sales. Mileage could exceed the Prius figures while undercutting the Prius’ base price considerably. Here’s hoping.


Insight – The Honda hybrid that was supposed to challenge the Prius disappointed at launch. A comparative lack of interior room, less refined hybrid technology and fidgety handling have conspired to deny the Insight the sales leadership Honda desperately is seeking. Nevertheless it is an inexpensive means into hybrid ownership, at a starting price of $18,200. Mileage is good at 40 city and 43 highway. Rumors persist of an early redesign, but have not been verified by Honda for the 2012 Honda Insight.


Hyundai Hybrids


Hyundai enters the hybrid market with the 2011 Sonata hybrid. Already a critically acclaimed car with a wide range of exciting engine options, the Sonata Hybrid adds efficiency to the portfolio. Expect news of other Hyundai hybrids in the near future.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Hyundai
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid


Sonata Hybrid – The 2012 Hyundai Sonata hybrid car uses a sophisticated parallel hybrid drive, allowing gas, electric or combination driving. Staying ahead of the curve means it arrives with a lithium-ion battery pack to reduce interior space intrusion, and tuning to deliver better economy in highway driving. Styling has been changed from the standard model to stand out in a crowd. Mileage is rated at 37 city, and 40 highway, and the Sonata can reach 62 mph on electric power alone. Prices start at $25,975 for this exciting hybrid sedan. 

Infiniti Hybrids


Infiniti and Nissan have been slow to join the alternative energy party, with the biggest news being the recently launched Nissan Leaf EV and forthcoming Infiniti version. For 2012 Infiniti gains a hybrid version of the M luxury sedan.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA - Infiniti
2012 Infiniti M Hybrid


M Hybrid – Starting with Infiniti’s previous generation 3.5L V6 pumping out a robust 302hp, Infiniti added a 50Kw electric motor between the engine and transmission which adds an additional 67hp and 199lbs ft of torque. What all this means is that Infiniti’s hybrid goes, and fast. Yet fun doesn’t come at the expense of frugality, as the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid car records a respectable 27/32 mileage rating – excellent for a car that can do 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. Prices start at $53,700 – an increase of $6,000 over the base model, but $5,400 less than the performance-equal V8 model. With an effective combination of performance and frugality, the M Hybrid might be the best M model Infiniti sells. 

Kia Hybrids


As the sister brand to Hyundai, it is expected that any alternative energy news from Hyundai results in a Kia product as well. Korean car buyers got a double shot of hybrids this year when the Kia Optima (platform mate to the Hyundai Sonata) hit showrooms at the same time as the Sonata Hybrid.

2012 Hybrid Vehicles USA - Kia
2012 Kia Optima Hybrid

Optima Hybrid – First introduced in 2011, the new 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid car takes the gasoline direct-injection hybrid drivetrain from the Sonata hybrid and packages it under the teutonically styled Optima sedan body. Buyers might note that the $26,500 price tag is $705 more dear than the Sonata Hybrid’s, but that is due to more standard equipment including rear backup camera, rear spoiler, auto-down front windows, a cooling glovebox, compass, and Uvo, Kia’s brand-new infotainment system. Mileage is similar to the Sonata’s, at 35 city and 40 highway. 

Lexus Hybrids


Despite considerable sales success in the United States, Toyota’s luxury division has not made much of an impact overseas due in large part to a lack of frugal powertrains. Lexus has committed to improving the economy of its drivetrains exclusively through hybrid technology. That has put Lexus in a leadership position for a luxury brand using the tech, and they are very close to offering a hybrid option on every model in their range.

2012 Hybrid Vehicles - Lexus
2012 Lexus CT200h Hybrid


CT200h – The funky new CT200h hybrid wagon is Lexus’ first foray into the hotly contested (in Europe at least) premium hatchback market. By marrying a stylish 4-door hatchback body to the Prius drivetrain with a sporty suspension, Lexus has tackled the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series head on. While handling is firm with little roll, performance from the 134hp Prius engine is decidedly sluggish in comparison to the Germans. Nevertheless, for buyers who value frugality over outright speed, and are looking for Lexus quality in a Euro-style format, the $29,120 CT200h will be hard to beat. Mileage figures are 43 city, 40 highway — making the CT200h a handy alternative to the Audi A3 TDI. 


GSh – The Lexus GS hybrid sedan is a fast luxo sedan designed to compete with the BMW 5 series and Infiniti M. Returning for 2012, the GS will feature a fresh ground-up redesign as previewed at the 2011 New York Auto Show in the LF-Gh concept. The current hybrid drivetrain in the 2011 model gets low mileage figures of 22/25, but expect an increase for the 2012. Prices for the 2011 start at $58,950, and have not been revealed for the 2012 model.

HS250h – The Lexus HS hybrid car was the first small hybrid Lexus, but is powered by the larger Camry Hybrid 2.4L engine instead of the Prius one that most expected. Only offered as a sedan, the $35,600 HS gets 35 city and 34 highway mileage figures, with sprightly performance in comparison to its smaller CT200h sibling. Overall dimensions put the HS between a Corolla and Camry in size and internal volume, while expected Lexus qualities such as refinement and a quiet ride are standard. 


LS600h L – The Lexus LS Hybrid sedan is the flagship of the Lexus luxury line, with a stunning pricetag to match of $112,250. It features a complex hybrid drivetrain that utilizes a V8 gas engine and 2 electric motors driving all four wheels, while returning mileages of 19 city and 23 highway. Performance isn’t as strong as the BMW Active Hybrid 7s, but the LSh counters with a cabin matched only by a Gulfstream G650 private jet for luxury and isolation from the road. 


RX450h – The Lexus RX hybrid crossover has been wildly successful, and the 2012 model continues unchanged from the 2010 redesign. The hybrid model continues its winning package of frugality, luxury and livability against mounting competition. For a base price of $44,735, buyers get an expert blend of light ease of use and outstanding economy of 32 city, and 28 highway. Available in front- or all-wheel-drive models, the AWD adds a third electric motor to handle inclement weather conditions. 


Lincoln Hybrids


Lincoln’s fortunes as of late have taken a turn for the better due to the success of the MK-Z hybrid. While nearly identical in many critical areas to the cheaper Ford Fusion and discontinued Mercury Milan Hybrids, the Lincoln offers increased standard luxury and the cachet of the iconic badge on the hood. Ford plans on increasing their hybrid and electric portfolio, so expect more hybrids from Lincoln in the very near future.

2012 Hybrid Vehicles USA - Lincoln
2012 Lincoln MK-Z Hybrid


MK-Z Hybrid – The 2012 Lincoln MK-Z hybrid car marries the best attributes of the Ford Fusion hybrid including its outstanding 41/36 mileage rating to a host of standard high-tech features and options, for a starting price of $34,645. 

Mercedes Benz Hybrids


Mercedes has gone on a hybrid offensive as of late, introducing the technology in the ML crossover SUV and S-Class sedan simultaneously. As they develop the technology, look for proliferation throughout the range. Due to their extensive expertise with diesel, Mercedes is also readying a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid for 2013.


ML Hybrid – The 2011 Mercedes ML hybrid crossover featured a 3.5V6 and two electric motors pumping out a combined 335hp. However, it only scored a 20/24 mileage rating. For 2012, the ML range has been redesigned and will likely get improvements to the hybrid system as well. Prices for the outgoing model was $55,790, but it was only available as a lease. 


S-Class Hybrid – Mercedes touts the 2011 S400 Hybrid as the “the first series production hybrid vehicle in the world with a lithium-ion battery.” Redesigned for 2012, the Mercedes S-Class hybrid sedan will likely build upon the 2011 S400’s mild hybrid technology with a more powerful S500 full hybrid, which might possibly be a plug-in hybrid. Current MSRP for the S400 is $91,000 but expect an increase for the next generation. Mileage figures will likely improve on the current 19/25 rating as well. 


E300 BlueTEC Hybrid (2013) – Mercedes has confirmed the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid car will be onsale in Europe by the end of 2012. What is unclear still is whether it has been given the green light for US sales. Hopefully it will, as it marries the efficiency and power of a compact Clean Diesel engine with the flexibility of a hybrid drivetrain. Mileage and prices are unavailable at this time.


Nissan Hybrids

Nissan has axed the Altima hybrid for 2012, citing poor sales. With the introduction of the Infiniti M hybrid and Leaf electric, don’t count Nissan out for a new hybrid product in the near future.

Porsche Hybrids

As part of the VW/Audi empire, Porsche could have taken a backseat to alternative energy cars — but instead decided to take a very advanced approach to hybrid leadership. While it offers diesel versions of its sedan and SUV offerings overseas, it has developed hybrids for American consumption. Perhaps the most exciting Porsche news is the scheduled production of the 918 Hybrid supercar which will likely be the fastest hybrid on the planet when it arrives in 2013.

Cayenne S Hybrid – As the Cayenne is the VW Touareg platform mate, it was logical to incorporate its hybrid drivetain into the Porsche body. What separates the two is handling, as the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid SUV is tuned to feel like a Porsche should. Mileage is fair, at 20 city and 24 highway, while performance is near what a regular Cayenne S offers. Price is $3,200 more than the VW’s at $63,700. If you must have a Porsche, an SUV and a hybrid then there really is no substitute. 


Panamera S Hybrid – Utilizing the same twin-supercharged V6 hybrid drivetrain from the Cayenne/Touareg Hybrids, the Panamera enters the premium luxury hybrid sedan market as the performance leader. A recalibration of the hybrid system means the big sedan can travel up to 50 mph on electricity alone, and can “sail” at speeds up to 103 mph, creating longer intervals of gas-free highway driving. Mileages are estimated to be about 25 MPG combined. Prices start at $95,000 for the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid sedan. 


918 Hybrid (2013) – While no one has yet driven it, the $845,000 918 goes on sale at the end of 2012 for a lucky few. Tipped to get 78 MPG in gentle use, but do 0-60 in under 3 seconds when pushed hard, the 918 will be a full hybrid, with plug-in abilities as well. While out-of-reach for pretty much everyone on the planet due to price, the lessons learned from this supercar will help point the way forward for green fun cars in the future. 

Toyota Hybrids


Toyota is the hybrid leader, with a proliferation of hybrid models for 2012 that cover a range of needs. With the introduction of the 1st generation Prius in 1997, Toyota has made hybrid technology a priority with great success. The sales success continues despite new model introductions from all of its competitors. For 2012, Toyota has promised six all-new hybrid models throughout its global lineup including the Lexus brand.


Camry Hybrid – An all new 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid car is scheduled to be revealed this fall for sale in 2012. The Camry Hybrid model is expected to return, most likely with an upgraded battery pack and refined styling and engineering. The 2011 model starts at $27,050 and gets 31/35 mpg ratings from the EPA. Expect the 2012 to build on those mileage ratings to stay competitive. 


Highlander Hybrid – The Toyota Highlander Hybrid crossover continues unchanged for 2012, as a redesign isn’t expected until 2014. The hybrid model marries the refined drivetrain of the Lexus RXh with a more traditional boxy body that packs a ton of family-friendly features such as a standard third-row seat. Mileage sits squarely at 28/28, and MSRP starts at $38,140. 


Prius – Toyota’s most significant nameplate of the 21st century continues for 2012 unchanged. Starting price for the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid car is $23,520 and fuel economy remains stellar at 51/48. 


Prius Plug-In – Consumers demanded, and have received an advanced plug-in hybrid version of the Prius for 2012. What makes the 2012 plug-in Prius hybrid so exciting, is its ability to travel up to 13 miles on purely electric power, at speeds up to 62mph. And it will have an estimated total range of 475 miles. Unlike the nickel-metal hydride batteries of the standard Prius, the Prius Plug-In gets more advanced lithium-ion batteries for greater charge and less weight penalty. Early tests show an average fuel economy of 70 MPG in mixed driving. Clearly the Prius Plug-In excels in short trips, where some testers scored over 80 MPG. Prices are estimated to start at $27,000, but availability for 2012 will be limited to 15 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability will open up to all other states in 2013.

2012 Hybrid Vehicles USA - Toyota
2012 Toyota Prius V Hybrid



Prius V – Toyota has shown concepts of expansions of the Prius family, and the Prius V (for Versatile) is the first to arrive as a 2012 model. Designed as a Prius for families, the Toyota Prius V hybrid car has the dimensions of a compact crossover (but is classified as a wagon by the EPA). Mileage is pegged at 44/40 for the bigger Prius, with a base MSRP of $26,000. Nevertheless, putting a bigger body on a standard Prius platform means more weight which makes the V rather slow compared to other options. 


Prius C – To further flesh out the Prius family, the as-of-yet unseen in production form 2012 Toyota Prius C hybrid car (C is for compact) is due. Expect an angular Prius-derived shape with a footprint closer to a Yaris. Prices and mileage figures are as of yet unreleased. 

RAV4 Hybrid – For 2012 it is known that the 2012 Toyota RAV4 hybrid crossover will be completely redesigned. While an electric version is already scheduled, a hybrid version is rumored. However Toyota has not revealed the existence of such a model.

Yaris Hybrid – Another speculative model, rumors persist that the Yaris family will get a dedicated hybrid model with the 2012 redesign, likely to compete with the Honda Fit.

Volkswagen Hybrids


While Volkswagen has announced it will be offering a range of hybrids including plug-in models for 2013, the 2012 news is limited to the continuation of the Touareg Hybrid. VW definitely has some exciting concepts in the pipeline however, including one 260 MPG concept known as the XL-1 which previews a future where diesel, hybrids, and advance materials come together with style that beats the best science fiction. Look for a production announcement of that car in late 2011 or early 2012.


Touareg Hybrid – Utilizing the same Audi-sourced supercharged V6 and hybrid components as the Porsche Hybrids, the Touaeg Hybrid touts “V8 power with better fuel efficiency than a V6.” Prices start at a steep $60,565 with mileage at 20 city 24 highway. However, Volkswagen is positioning this car as the top of the Touareg range, so expect it to come standard with most of the optional features from lesser Touaregs. 


Volvo Hybrids


Volvo has shown a range of alternative-energy products for future release, with the first hybrid model to be the V60 Plug-in Hybrid — a diesel-electric sports wagon with plug-in capabilities. Unfortunately for us in America, there are no given dates for a U.S. introduction. Nevertheless, the prospect of marrying the best of available alternative energy technologies in a safe, stylish vehicle has many auto enthusiasts very excited. While at “production-ready” status for over a year, the V60 is slated for a 2012 European release . Volvo has said the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will emit less than 50 g/km of CO2, with equivalent fuel economy of 124 MPG. It has a range of up to 30 miles on pure electricity. Hopefully Volvo will see fit to offer us the option of this powertrain, as well.

So there you have it, the hybrid car lineup in the USA for 2012.

Did we leave anything out? Did we make any mistakes? Leave a comment and let us know! And if you’ve test driven or own any of these cars, please leave your review to help others who are researching.

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About the author: Jonathan Eziquiel-Shriro is an industrial designer specializing in transportation and product design, and an automotive industry pundit with over a decade of blog and magazine experience.

7 thoughts on “2012 Hybrid Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup”

  1. I will immediately snatch your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me recognise so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  2. The Cr-z is a car that should never have been built as it’s performance or lack thereof is so dismal it should never have been promoted as being sporty. The 2012 Camry hybrid at 7.2 seconds 0-60 is much faster than the Cr-zzzzz and the Camry gets better gas mileage. There really was no good reason for Honda to burden this car with its outdated ima system which contributes little to add to the performance to the car as it delivers little advantage in both mpg and power to a regular gasoline engine (compare it to the veloster which get similar mileage and is thousands of dollars cheaper than the Cr-z). Furthermore, there has been no confirmation whatsoever that a turbo Cr-Z will be released (Honda should just terminate this car and produce a real affordable sport car like the Subaru BRZ).

  3. When is someone going to hold american automakers to accountability. Did Ford give this away to Volvo for screwing with their company for awhile? (see Volvo V60)

    2005 National Auto Show:
    Mercury Motors unveils a DIESEL / HYBRID!
    Mercury Meta One concept vehichle

    So you want an efficient hybrid vehicle but can’t imagine yourself driving a dorky, gas-powered Jetsons bubblemobile like the Toyota Prius that makes only 133 hp (after the electric motor kicks in). Well, the engineers at Mercury obviously felt the same way and designed the Meta One concept SUV–a vehicle with a diesel/electric hybrid powertrain that’s based on a tweaked Lion 2.7L, twin-turbo V-6 that creates a massive 431 lb-ft of torque (without electric assistance). A 35kw (47hp) electric motor replaces the flywheel, starter, and alternator and enables the engine to freewheel when electric power isn’t needed to reduce soot-causing engine loads. To meet California’s superstrict AT-PZEV emissions rules, the system uses dual catalysts in the exhaust manifolds before the turbos, a gigantic oxidation catalyst/ diesel particulate filter that stretches over much of the wheelbase, dual-walled exhaust pipes, and a urea-spraying system to reduce NOx.

    Even with all those extra parts, the batteries, and the electric motor, the Meta One weighs just 4,250 pounds, which is 500 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel we tested (“First Drive,” Nov. ’07), so getting more than 30 mpg should be no problem.

    Engine: 2.7L Lion V-6Displacement: 2.7L (166 ci)Configuration: 60-degree V-6Horsepower (diesel only): 248 at 4,000 rpmHorsepower (diesel/electric): 295hp Torque: 431 lb-ft at 1,900 rpm

    Head material: Cast aluminumBlock material: Compacted graphite iron (CGI)Bore and stroke (IN.): 3.19 x 3.47Valvetrain: DOHC, 24-valvesFuel injection: High-pressure common-rail with piezo injectors

    Turbos: Two variable-geometry turbosmissions control: Preturbo oxidation catalysts, post-turbo oxidation catalysts, cooled EGR, diesel particulate filter, and urea selective catalytic reduction

    Emissions category: Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

    Transmission: Six-speed modular hybridElectric motor: 35 kw (47 hp)Traction battery: 325-volt, 6-Ah air-cooled NiMH

  4. This was very helpful. I’m looking to trade in my Sienna Van for a hybrid. It was good to know there isn’t one yet. But I will try the RAV4 Highlander

  5. Can you confirm that there is not any cheap hybrid BMW or BENZ available now on the market ?

    By cheap I mean C class or 320 for BMW.

    What are they waiting ?

    Thank you.

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