With winter in its last grasp, and summer right around the corner, electrified car shoppers may want a car as capable of traveling across country as it is of making it across town.
Of course an informed buying decision should also factor day in, day out operation, utility, long-term reliability, and more. However, if you’re in the market and put a priority on zero- or low-emissions, these vehicles could offer greater appeal than a stereotypical large vehicle choice that guzzles gas.
Electrified vehicles, while meant to be frugal, are just as suited to road trips as conventionally-powered vehicles. Hybrids offer ranges equal or greater than internal combustion-powered cars, and range-extended cars plus charging stations make it easier to take even certain plug-in vehicles on unique extended jaunts.
Following in no particular order are seven electrified vehicles – hybrid, EV, or extended-range EV – that could make good choices for your next road trip while of course working fine for daily use as well.
2017 Chevrolet Volt
The Volt gets a nod here because it’s redesigned for 2016, and its combined mpg in charge-susatining hybrid mode went up by 5 mpg to 42 mpg – and it’s rated 42 mpg on the highway – while the need for premium gas was done away with.
Technically, it is now a five passenger vehicle, but the back seat is still tight, so your road trip will need to be with two smaller statured folk in back (like kids), or with just a front-seat passenger or solo.
The upside is the Volt has 53 miles EV-only range and 420 miles of total driving range. It can cover a lot of ground between fill-ups, and discretionary electric miles are also a possibility if charging is available on your route.
The new Volt is also lighter, quicker, crisper handling, and builds on the original Volt’s capabilities which also was a joy to drive. The new Volt is also available with Apple CarPlay, which could help with road-trip entertainment.
2016 Toyota Prius
Toyota’s fully redesigned Prius Liftback is often thought of as an urban/suburban runabout, but thanks to a hatchback body style and a combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 52-56 mpg, the Prius is a better choice for road-tripping than one might think.
Utility and fuel economy make a nice combo when it comes to driving long distances.
2016 Toyota Prius V
The Prius V is a wagon version of the Prius. As such, it gives up some fuel economy when compared to its sibling (combined mpg is 42 mpg as opposed to 52), but in return, there’s more utility, as cargo space is greatly increased.
2016 Lexus ES 300h
For those wanting an upscale experience with exceptional mpg, an upgrade to the Lexus ES 300h from the mechanically similar Toyota Avalon and Camry Hybrid could work.
The extra outlay (especially over a Camry, not so much over Avalon), will get Lexus’ customer service, 40 combined highway mpg, and the type of standard and available features and tech you’d typically see in the entry-luxury class.
Features include navigation, leather seats, and Lexus’ Safety System Plus, which integrates driver-assist programs like lane-departure warning, pre-collision assist, and radar cruise control. While one would hope to never need the pre-collision system, both lane-departure warning and radar cruise control can be helpful on long highway jaunts.
2016 Tesla Model S 70D
While a Model S version with larger 90-kwh battery pack would be best given its greatest range, we’re picking this one just to get the price closer to the other contenders.
And, the base 70D with 70-kwh battery can make the distances between many Supercharger stations in Tesla’s expanding network – though you will want to make sure when planning a route.
With 240 miles of EPA-rated range, the Model S is at least a novel way to go, and hard to beat as a zero-emission road-tripper. The company’s fast charging network – plus potentially other charge points that might work for you en route – can be used to get you up and going again, usually quickly, and make a long trip feasible.
Better yet, however, for those whose budgets will allow would be the 90-kwh Model S which provides 270-288 rated miles between charges, and thus a greater buffer and potential peace of mind.
This said, while the longest-range EV on the market can get you there and back again, there will be limitations where infrastructure is few and far between, so this is more of a qualified choice compared to the others in this list. If you do go for it or the larger battery S models, a Tesla EV in a land of gasoline and diesel could add a dimension of adventure to your adventure, just to make it work on some routes.
2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford’s refreshed Fusion is a stylish and sporty mid-sized sedan, and selecting the hybrid model means you can achieve up to 41 mpg on the highway. You’ll also get available features such as Ford’s Sync multimedia suite, and new for 2016 is an available cold-weather package for the SE, for those who will keep taking road trips even when the winter has returned.
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
It’s big, it’s comfortable, it hauls seven passengers, and the Highlander Hybrid gets 28 mpg on the highway, which is impressive given a curb weight that pushes 5,000 pounds.
For large families, the Highlander Hybrid strikes a nice blend between size and fuel efficiency.