Hybrid cars

Hybrid cars may sound complicated but they are super easy to live with. Hybrid car benefits include low CO2 emissions, good fuel economy and you don't have the range anxiety you may feel with an electric car. What's not to like?

There are different types of hybrid car, from full hybrids that you don't have to plug in, to mild hybrids, to plug-in hybrids. You can find out what that means in the Hybrid FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

But if you're looking for the best hybrid cars, you've come to the right place as our experts have pulled together the best hybrids for sale.

Just because you want a hybrid car doesn’t mean you’re willing to accept compromise – all these cars aren’t just great hybrids, they’re great cars in their own right.

1
Toyota

If you’re looking for an efficient hybrid car with low running costs the Toyota Corolla is the car to beat. You actually have a choice between two hybrid petrol engines, the car is enjoyable to drive and comes with a plush interior and a long warranty.

2
Hyundai

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is one of the best value hybrid cars for sale right now. It comes with Hyundai's five-year warranty, so you get great peace of mind as well as low running costs.

3
Volvo

The plug-in hybrid version of the Volvo XC90 - called the T8 - can go on electric power alone for nearly 20 miles, has an official mpg over 100 but amazingly can crack 0-60mph in under six seconds. All wrapped up in a well-equipped, sumptuous, practical and stylish SUV package.

4
Lexus
UX

A classy addition to the ever-increasing small SUV line-up, the Lexus UX boasts striking looks and a cosy, high-quality interior. Its ride height and generous visibility make it a great urban vehicle, complemented further by the economical hybrid system.

5
Toyota

The hybrid icon, the latest version of the Toyota Prius goes from quirky eco car to smart family car – that just also happens to have low emissions and high mpg. It’s also spacious and comes with a decent-sized boot, proving you don’t have to compromise when buying a hybrid car.

Choosing the best plug-in hybrid car for you doesn’t need to be difficult – all these plug-in hybrids are cheap to run and fulfil a variety of needs.

1
Toyota

The Toyota Prius Plug-in can travel 30 miles on electric power alone slashing your costs if you have a short commute. The Prius’ angular exterior is matched by a high-tech interior that has space for four adults and their luggage.

2
Volvo

Choosing a plug-in hybrid doesn’t mean you miss out on style, practicality – or speed. The T8 plug-hybrid of the Volvo XC90 has amazing acceleration for its size, yet oozes cool Swedish style and 100+mpg to boot.

3
Hyundai

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is the cheapest plug-in hybrid you can buy and along with the low list price, you get incredibly low running costs too – with official economy figures over 250mpg. The car is well-equipped, too.

4
BMW

The BMW 530e has a smart cabin, slick infotainment system and, on short trips, the car is powered completely by electric, while over 30 miles you can get over 100mpg according to official figures

5
Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the best plug-in hybrids on sale because it combines cheap running costs with a practical SUV body. It can run for miles on electric power alone, plus it has space for four tall adults and their luggage for two weeks away.

Our resident experts have pulled together the best small hybrids cars on sale so you can have a small car with small running costs.

1
Toyota

With the potential to get up to 62.7mpg, the Toyota Corolla is an economical hybrid that also boasts a comfortable interior and smooth, enjoyable drive. All the materials are high-quality and the boot is big and practical enough for real-world items like shopping bags or small suitcases.

2
Toyota

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is relatively cheap to buy, frugal to run and can run for a few miles in silent electric mode. Its small size makes it easy to drive, but the Yaris can just about carry four adults and a couple of suitcases.

3
Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Golf GTE is one of the best small hybrids if you’re looking for a quick car that’s also cheap to run. It is almost as fun to drive as the Golf GTI hot hatch but your fuel bills won’t be anywhere near as high. Like any Golf, its interior is well built and practical.

4
Audi

The Audi A3 e-tron is one of the best small hybrids if you want a car that feels expensive. Its interior’s very well built, plus has space for four adults and their luggage. It’s quick, but also very cheap to run, particularly if you have a short commute and somewhere to charge it.

5
Kia

The Kia Niro is a compact SUV that no one would guess is a hybrid. It has a spacious interior for its size and is easy to drive, particularly because you get a great view out. It also comes with a long seven-year warranty.

Want great fuel economy and a big boot? Don’t want diesel? We’ve got the best hybrid estate cars on sale today.

The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports shares the same striking looks with the Corolla hatchback, which automatically makes it one of the most stylish estate cars around. There are two hybrid versions to choose from, and unlike plug-in hybrids, you don't need to plug the Corolla in.

2
Volvo
V60

The Volvo V60 looks cool, is very comfortable and has a roomy boot. And with the T8 plug-in hybrid you also get an estate car that can travel short distances on electric power alone, and for longer distances when you use petrol and electric power together you can manage well over 100mpg.

3
Volvo
V90

Spacious, Stylish, super-comfortable and oozing Scandinavian design the Volvo V90 ticks all the feel-good boxes. But with the T8 hybrid version you get electric power for short distances and three-figure economy figures when you use petrol and electric power together.

4
Porsche

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo seems to be the car that can do everything. Sporty to drive? Tick. Fantastic interior? Tick. Carry four adults? Decent boot? Tick. 70mpg. Wait what? Yep. Tick.

If you’re keen to drive a hybrid, but a decent proportion of your driving is hacking up and down motorways, diesel hybrid cars could be ideal for you - here are the cars you should be considering first.

1
Kia

The Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi 48v has what’s called a Mild Hybrid Starter Generator or MHSG that works together with a 48V electrical system and small battery to help out the diesel engine. So when accelerating the MHSG will provide some extra shove to take the strain off the diesel engine, while when braking it’ll switch to store energy back to the battery ready for the next burst.

2

All Audi A7 diesel engines now include mild hybrid technology. It has a clever set-up that helps the A7 shut off its engine between 34 and 99mph to coast and save fuel and then intelligently fire the engine again when needed.

3
Hyundai

Hyundai owns Kia, so it’s no surprise that its Tucson SUV shares many components with the Sportage. As such, the Tucson’s also gets a mild hybrid version with the same 2.0-litre diesel engine aided by a Mild Hybrid Starter Generator, 48v electrical system and small battery.

4
Audi

Audi’s Q7 is available with a range of powerful six-cylinder diesel engines, or you combine the most economical of those with an electric motor and batteries in this e-tron model. It’s a plug-in hybrid, so you can charge it up via a charging point or three-pin socket and it’ll cruise on electricity alone for up to 34 miles.

Love BMW but don't love diesel? Well, there are a range of BMW hybrid cars that offer the premium quality you'd expect from the brand, but with low running costs and emissions. These are the five best BMW hybrids.

1
BMW

The BMW 330e has an all-electric range of 41 miles. And when you combine its electric power with its petrol power, you've got a posh saloon that can go from 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds.

2
BMW

The BMW 530e is a plug-in hybrid that's capable of over 30 miles on electric power alone - and official figures of over 140mpg. It's stacked with high-tech features and feels sporty to drive, too.

3
BMW
X3

Who says you can't get an SUV that's economical to run. The X3 xDrive30e is a comfortable and roomy plug-in hybrid SUV that has an electric-only range of over 30 miles.

4
BMW

Diesel was the default if you wanted a roomy luxurious saloon, but not now - take a look at the BMW 745e. Another BMW plug-in hybrid with, you've guessed it, more than 30-miles electric only range. Perfect for being chauffeured around but in silent luxury.

5
BMW
i8

The i8 is a beautiful performance car whose vital stats include 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and 155mph top speed. But thanks to its plug-in hybrid set-up you get a sports car that's officially capable of more than 120mpg and an electric-only range of more than 30 miles.

FAQs

A hybrid car is a car that has more than one source of power. It combines a conventional combustion engine with an electric motor to power the car.

The benefits of a hybrid include high fuel economy and low emissions compared with standard petrol and diesel engines - if used in the right way. Some hybrid cars can run on electric power alone for short distances, improving economy and emissions even further.

Hybrid cars tend to be cheaper to tax than conventionally powered cars and some are eligible for 100% discounts on London’s Congestion Charge.

Most hybrid cars are petrol-electric hybrids but there are also diesel-electric hybrids, although they are less common.

The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most well-known hybrid car, launching more than 20 years ago, but these days many car companies make hybrid cars.

Exactly how the two power sources work together depends on the individual car manufacturer. While they all have different ways of blending the two, the basic idea remains the same – when conditions allow, electric motor will replace or work with the combustion engine to provide drive the car. The reduced load on the engine means it uses much less fuel.

Hybrid cars have packs of batteries that power the electric motor. These batteries are recharged by the combustion engine as you drive along. You don't need to plug in the car to charge them up. Braking also helps recharge the batteries as you drive.

Traditional hybrid car

A traditional (or sometimes called full hybrid) is a system where to two power sources - the engines and the electric motor - which can work together to drive the vehicle or can each be used in isolation.

Mild hybrid car

This system differs from the traditional hybrid because the electric motor can only be used to help assist the combustion engine, not power the car on its own.

Plug-in hybrid car

Plug-in hybrids - also called PHEVs, which means Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles - have a much larger electric-only range than traditional hybrids. As the name suggests, you do have to plug-in a PHEV to recharge the batteries, much as you would charge an electric car, but with a full tank of fuel, plug-in hybrids can go much further than any electric car.

Range-extenders

These are predominantly electric cars that have a small petrol engine that recharges the batteries. The engine doesn't power the car.

On 11 October 2018, the Government announced changes to the Plug In Car Grant scheme. From 9 November 2018 the grant for Category 2 and 3 cars is being scrapped completely.

Is a hybrid car the right choice for you? If you’d like to cut the costs of running a car a hybrid car might be a good option. They can cover longer distances than electric-only cars, and if you mostly drive around town you'll get impressive fuel economy. If you can drive in electric-only mode (ie at low speeds and without putting your foot down much) they're serene and relaxing to travel in because there's no engine noise.

If you've done any research you will have seen huge mpg figures for some hybrid cars – for example, the Volvo XC90 T8 SUV can achieve a claimed 134.5mpg, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in hatchback manages a massive 283mpg. These figures are obtained under laboratory testing and you won't get anywhere near this fuel economy in real-world driving.

Still, if you stick to town driving and keep the batteries charged then a hybrid will usually be more economical than a regular petrol or diesel car – we got 80mpg from a Toyota Prius in a mix of town and rural driving.

If you mostly do motorway driving, however, a hybrid car might not be as economical as a diesel car because you'll be using the combustion engine most of the time.

Another downside is that many hybrids use CVT automatic gearboxes, which can make a lot of noise when you put your foot down and blunt the feeling of acceleration.