Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Do you want an electrified alternative to gasoline-powered transportation with no risk you'll run out of juice? Well then, let's talk plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. And so we're all on the same page, plug-in hybrids are just hybrid cars with extra batteries that can be charged with a normal household outlet or a 240 volt charger to allow some degree of pure electric travel. With a growing roster of moderately priced plug-in hybrids to choose from, we decided a comparison test was an order. So, let's get ready to use less gasoline. The least expensive entry in our test is the Hyundai Ioniq. Its value-rich position is reinforced by a $4,500 federal tax credit and Hyundai's 10 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. With a fully charged battery, the EPA predicts 29 miles of electric only driving, but during a plodding LA commute, we knocked out 38.4 miles before the ionics 1.6-liter engine had to intervene. With the engine involved, the Ioniq Plug-In is rated at 52 combined mpg. Consider us dazzled. The power train's 139 horsepower total output proved ample for normal commuting, though overtaking on the freeway took some patience. That extra time let us appreciate the Ioniq's well calibrated six-speed automatic transmission, a pleasing contrast to the continuously variable transmissions found in most hybrids. Over a route that spanned much of California, we wished for a quieter cabin and extra support from the driver's seat, otherwise we like the Ioniq's agreeable demeanor and standard niceties like heated seats, dual zone automatic climate control, and a seven-inch touchscreen with modern Smartphone integration. In fact, after this test, one of our editors added the Hyundai Ioniq plugin to his shopping list. For a car reviewer that is strong praise. Compared to the Ioniq, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid seems pricey, but that price premium comes with notable advantages. Foremost are a 42 mpg combined rating and an EPA-estimated electric range of 47 miles that we handily eclipsed. And in congested traffic with occasional sprint's to 65 mph we achieved 56.2-electric miles. A higher speed test still yielded 46 miles before enlisting the 1.5-litre engine's help. Note, a normal 120-volt outlet will charge the Clarity in 12 hours, but use a 240-volt charger and that time drops to a mere 2.5 hours. Delivering 212 total system hp, the Clarity is the most powerful car in our test. It's also the heaviest, so acceleration lands in the adequate range. For tinkerers, there are multiple drive modes that favour gasoline or electric propulsion along with driver selectable regenerative braking intensities. Speaking of, the regenerative brakes and hybrid cars often feel unnatural, not so in the Clarity whose mostly normal brake feel was the best of the bunch. That sense of normalcy permeates all aspects of the Clarity, from its refined driving manners, to its comfortable nicely outfitted 5-passenger cabin. While the priciest entry in our test, the 2018 Clarity's premium is somewhat offset by a $7,500 federal tax credit. It's also a Honda, which bodes well for reliability and resale values over the long haul. In our estimation, the Clarity isn't just superbly efficient, it's the closest thing in this group to a normal sedan, and we mean that as a big-time compliment. Driving at freeway speeds, we covered 26.2 electric miles in this Toyota Prius Prime. Add maddeningly slow traffic to the mix, and matching or exceeding the 29-mile EPA estimate should be no problem. Perhaps more interesting is the Prime's comparison-topping 54 mpg combined fuel economy ratings. We achieved 54.3 mpg in real world conditions so that EPA rating is no joke. During our test ride quality and handling proved more than acceptable, but if you plan to Prime there are some downsides. No fifth seat is one, tepid acceleration is another, the absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a third. We'll add that the optional 11.6-inch touchscreen looks neat, but it reflects light to the driver's eyes at certain sun angles. Some folks on our team also preferred the more conventional dash layouts found in the Honda and Hyundai. That said, with a supple ride a comparatively low starting price, a $4,500 federal tax credit, Toyota's epic resale values and styling that you will love unless you hate it the Prius Prime is an easily defendable plug-in purchase, especially if you favor hybrid efficiency over electric range. Let's close things out with the plug-in hybrid that started at all, the Chevrolet Volt, whose EPA certified 53-mile electric range tops our comparison. Through a soul-sucking stop and go commute, we managed 53.3 miles before the Volt flipped on its gasoline engine. With that kind of range gas free commuting is an achievable reality. Out strip the batteries range, and you'll still enjoy an EPA-estimated 42 combined mpg. Volt has range and efficiency on its side, but it's also a nice car. Our elite test squad praised its handsome interior, smartly arranged controls and standard Apple CarPlay, though one of our editors experienced multiple infotainment crashes. Tisk, tisk. Also, sitting in the middle seat is a bad idea for most humans, and the Volt skews towards the expensive side of the spectrum with a base MSRP near the Clarity's. But like the Clarity the Volt is eligible for a sweet $7,500 federal crédit. Just keep in mind that Chevy is creeping towards their 200,000 vehicle limit for that federal electric vehicle incentive, so if you crave ultimate electric range with a gasoline safety net, and you love Chevy, get your bolt while the getting's good. And that is a light spritz of electrified automotive knowledge. If you're ready to take the plug-in hybrid plunge our full comparison is yours to enjoy when you do. Remember, it's hard to buy a bad car these days, but it is easy to buy the wrong car. Whether you're shopping plug-in hybrids or almost anything on wheels, Kelley Blue Book is here to help.