The Chevrolet Corvette, Lucid Air EV, the Nissan GT-R aka “Godzilla,”… and the Toyota Prius?
But this isn’t the first time the relatively affordable hybrid has snagged MotorTrend’s top prize. It also won it 20 years ago, four years after its launch in the US.
MotorTrend (WBD) wrote back in 2004 about the Prius, “Not only is it the first hybrid that an enthusiast can truly enjoy, it provides a tantalizing preview of a future where extreme fuel-efficiency, ultra-low emissions, and stirring performance will happily coexist in one package.” Apparently those sentiments still exist for the current version, which has sleeker looks, a more upmarket cabin, plus more power and efficiency.
That the 2024 Prius took home the award speaks to what Americans want these days — more hybrids.
“Hybrids are really the topic right now because we got so excited about EVs … that we forgot for a moment about the hybrids that were out there and we were trying to make this leap from internal combustion to fully electric,” MotorTrend Group CEO Alex Wellen said to Yahoo Finance. “And I think hybrids really are a bridge, a high bridge.”
MotorTrend’s site-visit data backs that up. In data given exclusively to Yahoo Finance, over the past year, eight of the top 10 most popular models on the MotorTrend Buyer’s Guide are either EVs or hybrids.
EV interest remains high too: The Tesla Model 3 is still the top-visited page in the buyer’s guide, with the Toyota RAV4 hybrid coming in second.
Overall, however, EVs are still searched more than hybrids, but that trend is slowly changing. While there hasn’t been a drop in EV vehicle searches, hybrid search activity is trending higher.
“Anecdotally, looking at the traffic, I think you’re seeing a surge in hybrids because infrastructure and range anxiety … We’re all worried about whether we can get from here to there and whether there will be somewhere to power up, and of course price is higher,” Wellen said.
Sales data in the US is proving the popularity of hybrids. Despite rising sales of EVs year over year, Edmunds finds that in October hybrid market share increased more significantly (11.4% to 6.5%) than EVs (7.5% to 6.0%) compared to a year ago.
Hybrid sales may get even more of a boost when prospective buyers get behind the wheel of a Prius.
“For a certain segment of the audience, Priuses are perfect,” Wellen said. ”For those who want to get into an EV or electrification, [go] 45 miles on a charge, and it [costs] $27,000. Which is unheard of.”