Best hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars give you the best of both worlds: some zero-emission driving, as well as greater range for longer journeys. Here is our pick of the best. Today there’s a hybrid for every purpose – from supermini to supercar – all united by the common theme of having two power sources: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Most will run for a certain distance on purely electric power, giving zero-emission driving and improving your fuel consumption, but with the added reassurance of the ‘normal’ engine for longer journeys.  Hybrids tend to suit buyers who spend a lot of time in town, where it’s easiest to take full advantage of the electric assistance. However, if you’re more regularly doing long journeys, a decent diesel may make more sense. There’s also the decision to make between a regular hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). 

In a regular hybrid, the batteries are recharged automatically as you drive, but in a plug-in, the batteries are larger and you can charge them up from the mains or a dedicated charge point. That means plug-ins have a longer range on electric power and better fuel economy, but they tend to be relatively expensive to buy, and you’ll need to have easy access to charging facilities.  If you reckon a hybrid car is for you, see which models we recommend, and which to look out.

Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate – the practical one

The Passat GTE is a really compelling solution to eco-friendly motoring. Its plug-in hybrid technology gives the car sensational efficiency figures, and when you need more than its 30-mile electric-only range, it still has you covered, and with no range anxiety. Its estate car practicality also makes it really good car for families, and the car’s quality and driving manners are also exceptional. It’s a terrific all-rounder.

Toyota Yaris – the city-slicker one

There aren’t many small hybrids around. The Yaris combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. It’s an expensive model within the Yaris range, but it’s also the most economical, as well as being very well equipped and backed up by a five-year/100,000-mile warranty. And, although it’s not cheap for a Yaris, it’s one of the cheapest hybrid cars you can buy in the world.

Volkswagen Golf GTE – the hot hatch one

The GTE looks like the Golf GTI hot hatch, and it has enough pace to keep up with most hot hatches, too. But, it has something none of them have; average fuel economy of more than 150mpg and CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km, thanks to the combination of its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor. And it’s a Golf, so you get the class and quality buyers love.


Volvo XC90 – the seven-seater one

The XC90 T8 can travel up to 20 miles or so on a single charge, so it’s perfect for people who spend a lot of their life in town. Beyond that, the petrol engine means it can go hundreds of miles without needing to be refuelled, but what really sets this seven-seater apart is the superb quality and classy design inside, as well as its excellent safety features.


BMW i8 – the supercar one

Just look at the styling of this, and then look at the figures. It does 0-62mph in just over four seconds, and has a top speed of 155mph, yet its official average fuel economy is over 130mpg and CO2 emissions are just 49g/km. A supercar with a conscience.


Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid/ Plug-in Hybrid

Hyundai’s first steps into the electrification world saw a trio of cars launched under the Ioniq name – a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric only. As first attempts go it is a pretty solid and stylish one. The hybrid versions earn their spurs by being practical, frugal and appealingly priced, but if it is a compelling drive you are after, look elsewhere as the Ioniq’s is fairly ordinary.

 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi lives up to its Vorsprug durch Technik mantra with the A3 Sportback e-tron. It's a well-put together, stylish looking hatch with a supremely expensive looking interior. Match that to a slick hybrid powertrain and it is one fine car, the only drawback is that the e-tron is extremely expensive to buy.

Ford Mondeo Hybrid

The Mondeo doing what it does best. The fourth generation car gives the big Ford a more striking look and a more impressive interior compared to previous iterations, although curiously the hybrid version is only available in saloon form. Punching out a not insubstantial 184bhp, the hybrid Mondeo remains a competent car dynamically and dips below the 100g/km bar. 

Toyota Auris Hybrid

The British-built Toyota isn’t top of the list when it comes to the family hatchback segment, lagging behind on interior quality and practicality fronts. The hybrid uses a similar powertrain as the Prius, which is competent enough, but don’t think for one moment that the electric powertrain adds any dynamic appeal to the small hatchback. 

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