As the best-selling hybrid in the world, it's no surprise that Toyota Prius is the car most people think of when they hear the word "hybrid." With traditional and plug-in models available, the fuel-efficient 5-door hatchbacks pair a thrifty gasoline engine to an electric motor. Thanks to some very clever drivetrain programming, you'll get excellent fuel economy almost regardless of how heavy you are on the gas pedal. It does this with all the practicality of any hatchback, with a decently sized rear seat and plenty of cargo room. These days, the Toyota Prius faces stiff competition from the more refined Ford C-Max and Chevrolet Volt – both of which are more engaging to drive – but remains the hybrid to beat.
Despite its mostly deserved humdrum reputation, the Prius does offer a "Power" button. Press it, and you get a bit more urgency from the throttle when you step on the gas. While the difference is maybe improving from molasses to maple syrup, it's still welcome.