Last updated: 22/12/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
When Hybrid cars first rolled onto the scene in the late 1990’s, with the pioneering Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, they were seen as a novelty by most in the motor industry and public alike. But now, some 20 years later, ‘Hybrid’ is as ubiquitous a term as hatchback or 4x4, and for good reason. Hybrid cars not only provide a ‘green’ alternative to petrol or diesel-powered cars, they also boast energy saving fuel consumption whilst still offering the peace of mind for longer journeys. A win win.
A slight drawback is the comparatively higher price of car insurance for hybrids and EVs, due to specialist parts needed for most models, but this pales next to the savings made on running costs. It stands to reason then that there has been a surge of manufacturers looking to put their own stamp on this increasingly popular engine type.
In This Guide:
- Stand out hybrid car: Toyota Prius
- Best self-charging Hybrids
- Best plug-in Hybrids
- Best value Hybrids
- Best Luxury Hybrids
Stand out hybrid car: Toyota Prius
There are few cars as synonymous with an engine type as the Toyota Prius. Once viewed by most as an eco novelty, the Prius has become a versatile machine that serves as a family, service, and business car all in one shell.
Now on it’s fourth iteration, the modern Prius is a testament to efficiency and comfort. The rigid new WLTP test cycle saw the Prius manage up to 67.2mpg, a consumption rate few fossil fuel engines can rival. It also walks the fine balance of comfort and practicality while still supporting modcons such as camera rearview display, LED lights and adaptive cruise control. It may not turn any heads or bulge your eyeballs at top speed, but the Prius offers solid customer satisfaction and reliability that few cars have come close to in recent years.
Best self-charging Hybrids
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Volkswagen took a break from production of its Passat Hybrid range in 2018, due in part to changes in emission standards compliance. The GTE sees the triumphant return of the popular model, offering a choice of estate and saloon body types. It also introduces a higher-capacity battery that sustains a 34 mile range in electric mode even at speeds of up to 80mph, as well as low CO2 emissions that rival most on the market.
BMW 330e hybrid saloon
With new manufacturing regulations and the planned halt on fossil fuel production all together, the 330e could be the new figurehead of BMW’s 3 series. And the German powerhouse hasn't skimped on their hybrid saloon. The lithium-ion battery can manage 41 miles of electric drive when fully charged and a decent 138mpg in real world driving. The electric engine's boost feature also bumps up the hp for a limited time, making the 330e one of the fastest-accelerating 3 series around.
Best plug-in Hybrids
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid
Considered by most to be the direct rival to the Prius, the Ioniq employs a few tricks that give it a leg up against its worthy opponent. The Ioniq has a sleek chassis that is immediately easier on the eye than the Prius’ jagged edges and ample back end. It also has a more reliable dual-clutch automatic gearbox as well as a higher top speed with comparable fuel economy, giving the Ioniq an edge that many drivers would benefit from. Add to this a five year, unlimited-mileage warranty and you have a car that is built for value.
MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid SUV
MINI’s mid-size SUV plug-in holds its own with its diesel and petrol Cooper siblings. With an impressive 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds and MINI’s signature handling, it feels surprisingly nimble and fast in urban areas. Amplifying this is its impressive fuel economy; claiming 156.9mpg and low CO2 emissions of 43g/km. It doesn’t have the best electric range on the market (28.6 miles) but makes up for it with a powerful hybrid engine packed into the MINI’s iconic yet spacious frame.
Best value Hybrids
While perhaps not the most spacious model around (or the prettiest), Toyota Corolla’s low running cost and fuel economy make it one of the best for value. It won’t have you pushed into the back of your seat with speed, but it does offer a comfortable ride and a long warranty; making it the perfect choice for an efficient city car.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Yet another Toyota offering on the list, proving their viability as an all-round provider for the hybrid market. The Yaris is one of the cheapest hybrid models available, but do not let that fool you. It offers modern interfaces, a compact yet spacious chassis (easily fitting a small family, comfortably), and a range of trims; including the exciting and eye catching GR Sport version. It has some of the best low emission rates too, dropping to just 84mg depending on what spec you choose.
Best Luxury Hybrids
Range Rover PHEV
There are few cars on the road today that scream luxury as much as the Range Rover. In the past this had come with the caveat of being a petrol hungry beast, but no more with the PHEV model.
With a fuel economy scale of 85.1mpg, 31 mile electric-only range, and a relatively low CO2 emission rating, the Range Rover PHEV is by no means cutting corners. This wrapped up in the Rover’s contemporary aesthetic and plush interiors make for a heavenly road experience.
The i8 is a true vision of the future, both in vision and design. The exterior looks straight out of Blade Runner and what’s under the hood is equally futuristic. Claiming 134.5mpg and 34 miles of pure electric-only drive, plus a 228/141hp that shoots the i8 to 62mph in 4.4 seconds; it truly is an impression of what hybrid sports cars are capable of. All this design ingenuity does come with a hefty price tag, well worth it though to be driving a piece of the future.