Plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are relatively new to the automotive market. With the efficiency of an electric and the flexibility of a hybrid, plug in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug in have become increasingly popular. To add to the appeal, charging them is quite inexpensive. At 40 miles per charge, the expense of charging a PHEV is equivalent to a standard engine receiving roughly 120 mpg at $3.00 a gallon.
Not familiar with plug in hybrids? Check out Hybrid vs Plug in Hybrid.
Chevrolet Volt Overview
Battery: 16.5 kWh 360 V lithium-ion
Range: 36 mile battery-only
Fuel Economy: 101 City/ 93 Hwy
MSRP: From $34,345
2015 Chevrolet Volt Review
By the end of 2010, the Volt became the first mass-production PHEV. The 2015 Chevrolet Volt is a four-door hatchback that will function as an all-electric car for most commuters. For the first 36 miles you shouldn’t need a drop of gasoline. Should you use the entire battery, the car will effortlessly start using gasoline as needed. Even in gasoline mode, the Volt gets an estimated 37 combined mpg.
The Volt takes 7 to 10 hours to recharge when using a standard 120-volt plug in. Thankfully, you don’t need a dedicated charging station for the Volt. Standard household power with the car’s standard charging chord is all you need.
On the outside, the Volt may not be appealing to all, but we feel the design is futuristic, reflecting the technology under the hood. Inside, there is only seating for four passengers, not five. Front seats are comfortable but rear seats are more cramped. The Volt uses high-quality interior materials and touch-sensitive controls that further enhance the high-tech atmosphere.
The 2015 Chevrolet Volt comes standard with keyless entry and ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen, Blutooth, satellite radio, Chevy MyLink, and an auxiliary jack with an iPod/USB interface. You’ll have to pay extra to receive navigation, Bose audio and music storage. Multiple packages are offered with enhanced seating, park assist and additional safety features.
Toyota Prius Plug in Overview
Battery: 4.4 kWh 110 V lithium-ion
Range: 11 mile battery-only
Fuel Economy: 101 City/ 93 Hwy
MSRP: From $29,990
2015 Toyota Prius Plug in Review
The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most well-known hybrid in the country. Naturally, the Prius hybrid has evolved and now offers a PHEV. The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug in can only go 11 miles on electric, but will achieve 51 mpg city after the battery runs dry. With such great fuel efficiency, the Prius PHEV has slow acceleration and unexciting handling. This Prius can be plugged in to a standard 120 volt household plug.
The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug in is a hatchback that looks very similar to the standard Prius most of us are familiar with. This vehicle has an incredibly spacious cargo area; much greater than you’d expect just looking at the outside. Seating for five is spacious and comfortable in both the front and back seats. Despite great space, materials on the inside are quite basic, with more hard plastics than other cars at this price point.
Standard features in this car are impressive. Push-button start, Toyota Entune, heated front seats, remote climate, split folding rear seats, navigation, USB, auxiliary, satellite radio, a 6.1-in touch screen and rearview camera are all included. Additional upgrades include auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, JBL GreenEdge Speakers, SofTex trimmed seats, premium HDD navigation and the Entune app suite.
Our Pick for Winner:
Base model: Toyota Prius Plug in
Toyota is generous in its relatively inexpensive base model. The myriad of features available at the bottom of the price range will be attractive to shoppers wanting a tech-savvy PHEV at the lowest price possible.
Upgrades: Chevrolet Volt
Completely stacked, the Chevrolet Volt is dominant with a myriad of accident avoidance technology and the latest in connectivity. Many features are based around the infotainment system, and the Volt’s MyLink infotainment system has had more positive consumer feedback than Toyota Entune.
Overall winner: Chevrolet Volt
PHEV’s are designed to have the efficiency of an electric and the independence of a hybrid. The Chevrolet Volt delivers this by providing 36 miles on battery alone. Although the Prius has more storage space, the 2015 Chevrolet Volt will provide you the best all-around PHEV experience.