Which hybrid car is the most durable?

The Nissan Leaf tops our list of the most durable hybrid and electric vehicles in the United States, earning an A+ in our ratings.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 18, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Hybrid and electric cars are more durable than they might appear
  • When trying to decide how durable a car is, you should look at safety ratings
  • The safer the car is, the more durable it is

To find auto insurance for your hybrid and electric cars, simply enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool above.

Nissan Leaf: A+

2012 Nissan Leaf

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The Leaf recently went through the ultimate test in quality control when it came to its batteries: getting slammed by the Japanese tsunami.

Although the two dozen Leafs that were submerged weren’t exactly ding- or dent-free, but as Nissan engineers pointed out, the batteries were completely undamaged.

Nissan sheathes Leaf batteries in airtight, solid steel compartments, with two other layers of protection. So their batteries are excellent, but what about crash testing results?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Leaf pulls a “good” which is the highest rating given, on front and side impact, and roof strength.

Due to this very high rating, the Leaf is considered a top safety pick.

The Leaf hasn’t been issued a rating by the federal government yet, but it will likely gain four and five stars left and right.

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Toyota Prius: A

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To give you an idea of how durable the Prius can be in a crash, we only need to point out the recent $4 million crash of exotic supercars.

Amid the destroyed Ferraris and Lamborghinis, you might have noticed that the only car to roll away from that massive mess was a bright red Prius.

The Prius is acclaimed for its fuel efficiency as well as for its safety.

In government tests, it gets a five-star overall rating, and the IIHS gives models with side airbags their top ratings.

However, 2004 to 2006 models had side airbags as an option rather than the standard. Those year models are considered “poor” for side impact by the IIHS. The Prius also was involved in Toyota’s “sticking accelerator” debacle.

So, if you’re looking for a used Prius, check the model carefully and consider buying only 2007 or later.

Honda Insight: B+

2011 Honda Insight

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The Honda Insight is cheap and saves you a lot of money. But how does the Insight measure up in terms of safety?

Well, the Insight is a good car for safety but not great. It’s the first car on our list to get only an “acceptable” for roof strength, although the newest 2012 models do fix this problem.

Meanwhile, the government found that while it’s a four-star winner when it comes to driver safety, it only gets four stars when it comes to passenger safety.

That said, the Insight is by no means a dangerous or unsafe car. In fact, it’s safer than a lot of gas guzzlers currently on the road.

Therefore, if you’re looking to save money without skimping on safety, a new Insight could be a good choice.

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Ford Fusion: B

2010 Ford Fusion
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The Fusion itself is really a story of improvement. 2006 models started out only getting “acceptable” or “Ppor” ratings from the IIHS.

But as of 2011, everything is rated as good, meaning Ford has substantially improved the Fusion’s safety.

The government, however, is not quite so forgiving as the IIHS.

The Ford Fusion pulls a four out of five stars overall, but it dips to three stars in front crash tests.  So while it is still a fairly safe vehicle to drive in, the Fusion is not as safe as the previous hybrids on this list.

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Honda CR-Z: B-

Black Honda CR-Z

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The CR-Z is not unsafe exactly. Just like the Insight, the 2011 model had some roof strength problems, but according to the IIHS, but that’s been fixed in the 2012 model.

According to the government, it gets five stars in rollovers but only three in side crash tests.

The reason it ranks the lowest, though, is a design flaw in the roof.

If you look closely at the roof, you’ll notice it slants down, making it more difficult to see out the back, making the car itself more likely to get in a wreck due to a limited range of view.

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