The Hybrid Scorecard is a project from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Scorecard allows you to compare all the different varieties of hybrid cars that are currently available – ranking them in the following categories – Environmental score, Hybrid value, and Forced Features.
Here’s the definitions:
Environmental Score – “Look past the hybrid label to see if hybrid technology is truly being used to maximize reductions in both global warming and smog-forming emissions.” 0-10 scale with 10 being the highest
Hybrid Value – “You can find high Hybrid Value ratings in all vehicle classes. But don’t confuse low hybridization cost with good hybrid value, as they don’t always go hand in hand.” Ranked from Very Low to Very High
Forced Features – “Look out for the added cost of forced features, which come standard on hybrid models even if customers don’t want the extra bells and whistles. Knowing the cost of forced features on a specific hybrid model—the average being about $3,000—could be an effective negotiating point when buying a hybrid, and may encourage automakers to give consumers more options.” Scored in $$$ – more $ symbols means more dollars spent for forced features.
The rankings for a couple of the more popular hybrids?
Prius – Environemental Score – 9.8 (top of the list), Hybrid Value – Very High, Forced Features -$$
Ford Fusion Hybrid – Environmental Score – 7.8, Hybrid Value – High, Forced Features – $$$
Honda Insight – Environmental Score – 6.8, Hybrid Value – Medium, Forced Features – None
The site has lots of other links to reviews, technical info on hybrids, state and federal incentives, etc. Lots of good stuff there if you’re interested in hybrids.