I know that terrain and driving style has a lot to do with real life mpg but I've never owned a Hybrid before and am considering one. I just need to know what your experience is in meeting or exceeding the EPA estimated Highway mileage on your Hybrid. I'm looking at the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, the Chevy Malibu Hybrid, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata rated at 35 mpg Hwy that we achieve regularly on road trips. If I can consistently get 47 mpg on the Accord Hybrid, I'd consider that acceptable.
If you are meeting or exceeding the EPA number for your car, under what conditions is that happening? ...speed? ...coasting? other?
Also, I am curious on a Hybrid can I expect similar highway MPG on four 100 mile trips as one 400 mile trip?
I have a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4wd. I can pretty much meet or beat the EPA. The biggest thing is I need to keep my speed to a maximum of 65 MPH. Over 65 it will be questionable if I will meet the EPA Highway rating. Extreme hot or cold temperatures will also effect how well your hybrid performs on the highway. For example, on my FEH the EPA Highway rating is 27 MPG. I have made a few long distance highway trips when the outside temperature was 10F or below. With the cruise set on 65 I would get 24-26 MPG.
ALso, your fuel makes a difference. Use ethanol free fuel whenever possible. Hybrids are sensitive to ethanol in the fuel, and when I use E10 blends my mileage drops by 12% -15%.
Newer hybrids take to the highway a bit better, but the same general rules apply to maximize your economy. Keep your speed down, moderate temperatures are best, and try to keep ethanol out of your tank.
As Jay said, keep your speed in check. The EPA tests may top out at 60mph and 80mph, but the average speed is under 50mph. So this advice will help with any car. In terms of trip distance, what hurts is short ones of only a few miles. Hybrids take a harder hit than traditional cars because of their warm up cycle, but there shouldn't be any difference between going 100 or 400 miles.
I had a 2005 Prius, and was getting 58 to 60 MPG on E10(mostly Top Tier) in the nicer weather before I sold it. Besides taking it easy on the speed, the tire pressure was around 44psi. The instant MPG display would drop to the low 30's when approaching 90mph though.
There should be plenty of data available here on fully for you to compare and get a rough idea of expected fuel economy. If you're going to be doing a lot of highway miles, you may get better mileage in a smaller compact car with a small engine, or alternatively a diesel, which are suited to long consistent high speed journeys. Hybrids are good in urban and semi urban environments, but their revvy cvt gearboxes can often mean the engine is revving high at higher speeds.
The only diesels available here in midsize car are BMWs, and that might be outside the OP's budget. The only affordable car brand with a diesel car is Chevy with the Cruze. That might technically be midsize, but is smaller than the Malibu.
The Sonata hybrid has a step automatic transmission, and is rated better on highway consumption. The Malibu has a slightly modified transaxle from the Volt, which is similar to Toyota's and Ford's system. The Accord is pretty much a series hybrid in which the ICE can clutch into the mechanically simple drive train for highway cruising. The Malibu and Accord have higher city ratings, but their lower highway is comparable to the Sonata's.