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The top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars

Lots of car makers build plug-in hybrid versions of existing petrol or diesel models. In many cases these can offer the versatility of a conventional car with the refinement and eco-friendliness of a pure electric vehicle.

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 plug-in hybrid vehicles from a range of manufacturers and segments to help you pick the perfect plug-in for you. If you’re looking for the cheapest route into hybrid ownership, see our list of the cheapest hybrids.

If any of these cars take your fancy, put them in our car configurator to let carwow find you a great deal on your next new car.

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The latest Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers the customary SUV high driving position, good all-round visibility and respectable interior space with the bonus of very low CO2 emissions. At just 44g/km of CO2, the Outlander PHEV is free to tax and congestion charge exempt.

A plug-in Outlander will cost you £33,304 for the GX3 model but if you factor in the £5,000 Government grant for plug-in electric vehicles, a basic PHEV variant could cost less than a diesel powered Outlander.

If this plug-in SUV sounds like the car for you, carwow can find you a great deal if you put a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV into our car configurator.

2. BMW i3 with range extender

BMW’s first mass produced electric vehicle, the i3, is available with a range-extending petrol engine. The small, two-cylinder motorcycle-derived unit has been cleverly packaged to ensure interior volume isn’t affected – the 260-litre boot is the same size as the pure electric version.

With fully charged batteries and the range-extender topped up with fuel, you can expect to travel up to 211 miles which translates to an impressive representative 470mpg. More expensive than the pure electric version, the price for the i3 with range extender is £33,830, from which you can deduct the £5,000 Government grant.

View the latest savings on our BMW i3 deals page.

3. Volkswagen Golf GTE

The Volkswagen Golf GTE offers the same high build quality and hatchback practicality as the standard Golf, the interior remains almost completely unchanged, but the new plug-in hybrid model claims to return an impressive 188mpg and emit just 35g/km of CO2.

The Golf GTE can be driven in fully electric mode for 31 miles but this isn’t just a car for those hoping to save on running costs. The electric motor can be used to add an extra burst of power to the 1.4-litre petrol engine to help this VW reach 60mph from a standstill in 7.6 seconds.

If a more sporty plug-in hybrid is what for, put a Volkswagen Golf GTE into our car configurator and let carwow find you a great deal.

4. Toyota Prius Plug-in

The Toyota Prius Plug-in has become a very common sight in many cities as drivers take advantage of the free road tax and congestion charge exemption offered for this plug-in hybrid. The tried-and-tested drivetrain should offer very good reliability and low running costs when you factor in fuel economy is as high as 134mpg.

An interior that seats five and a practical 446-litre boot are likely to make this environmentally friendly Toyota a good option for families but, if a seven-seater plug-in is what you’re after, try the larger Toyota Prius Plus for size.

Put the Toyota Prius Plug-in into our car configurator and let carwow find you a great deal on a new plug-in hybrid car.

5. Mercedes C-Class C350e

This Plug-in hybrid Mercedes C-Class offers the same refined drive and well-built interior as the standard car with the bonus of improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. You can expect the C350e Plug-in to return up to 134.5mpg and emit as little as 48g/km of CO2 meaning road tax won’t cost you a penny.

Although able to power the C-Class for up to 19.2 miles at motorway speeds, the additional weight of the electric motor and batteries has required Mercedes to fit air-suspension as standard to both the saloon and estate models.

If a more luxurious plug-in hybrid is what you’re after, put the Mercedes C-Class C350e in our car configurator and let great deals come to you.

6. Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers few visual clues about its electric underpinnings – the highly rated interior from the standard A3 Sportback has been carried over almost without modification. A five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP is admirable and comes, in part, as a result of Audi fitting collision avoidance and mitigation systems.

Unfortunately, in order to accommodate enough batteries for a 31-mile fully-electric range, Audi has cut 100-litres from the boot-space of the standard Sportback meaning the e-tron comes with a fairly paltry 280-litre boot. Fuel economy of up to 176.6mpg and free road tax will likely be attractive to a lot of buyers.

7. Volkswagen Passat GTE

The Volkswagen Passat GTE has been described as having the characteristics of both a practical zero-emissions electric vehicle and a comfortable long distance motorway cruiser. You would expect the addition of 350kg over the standard Passat to result in poor handling or a less comfortable ride but the GTE keeps its composure even over rough road surfaces.

The Passat claims to return up to 176mpg, which will appeal to drivers looking for reduced running costs over traditional petrol or diesel saloons but, with a price of £37,500, this VW isn’t a cheap car to buy.

8. Mercedes GLE 500e

The Mercedes GLE 500e goes into battle against premium SUVs from Audi, BMW and Land Rover. Armed with a new plug-in hybrid drive-train which, Mercedes claims, can offer fuel economy of as high as 85.6mpg and emit so little CO2 per kilometre that it’s free to tax.

Safety features such as stability control and autonomous braking are standard on all GLE models. An updated interior from the older M-Class now features a new infotainment system with satellite navigation.

If a comfortable and competent plug-in SUV is what you’re after, put a Mercedes GLE 500e into our car configurator to see the best carwow deals.

9. Mercedes S-Class S500 plug-in hybrid

The Mercedes S-Class is considered by some to be the epitome of luxury vehicles. Impressive levels of tech have been a signature feature of the S-Class for many years and the latest model with its plug-in hybrid system is no exception.

Although a very large vehicle, the S-Class S500 hybrid manages to emit as little as 65g/km of CO2 making it free to tax and exempt from London congestion charges. A maximum fuel economy figure of just over 100mpg should make this luxurious and well-equipped car cheaper to run than its rivals from Rolls Royce or Bentley.

Put a Mercedes S-Class into our car configurator and see how much carwow could help you save?

10. Volvo V60 DRIVe

The Volvo V60 is a mid-sized estate aiming to compete with alternatives from BMW, Mercedes and Skoda. A plug-in hybrid drive system boosts the fuel economy of this practical family car to 62.8mpg and road tax will cost you just £30 per year.

Unfortunately, where Volvos of old excelled on boot space, the V60 loses out to its rivals with both the rear seats up (430 litres) and down (1,246 litres). Many safety features have been fitted, however, enabling the V60 to score an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. These include the Volvo ‘City Safety System’ which can automatically apply the brakes at slower speeds to avoid a collision.

If a plug-in hybrid estate is the perfect car for you, put a Volvo V60 DRIVe into our car configurator to see what savings you could get.

Save money on your new plug-in hybrid car

If any of our top 10 plug-in hybrids look like your perfect car, our car configurator will help you to get it for a great price. If you haven’t made up you mind just yet, then our deals pages and car chooser are great places to start looking.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Hybrid power makes this a cheap-to-run 4x4
£36,755 - £46,100
Read review Compare offers

Volkswagen Golf GTE

A quick family car that’s cheap to run if you have somewhere to charge it
£31,100 - £32,600
Read review

Toyota Prius

A frugal hybrid that’s reasonably practical
£24,245 - £28,350
Read review Compare offers
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