Cargiant’s 5 best hybrid cars
What is a hybrid?
The most common hybrid vehicles are called parallel hybrids. These combine an electric motor with a normal petrol or diesel engine. The electric motor alone powers the car from a standing start up to a speed of around 15mph. This is when the conventional engine starts and takes over. The electric motor takes energy from the brakes and standard engine to remain charged at all times.
The second type of hybrid is called a range extender. These vehicles feature a small conventional engine which is used to power a generator which in turn charges the vehicle's batteries. The car is only driven solely by electricity.
The final type of hybrid is called a plug-in hybrid. These vehicles have larger batteries which can power the car on electric power alone for a short distance. There are two ways to charge these batteries; one, through the conventional engine or two, through a plug-in power supply.
What are the benefits of a hybrid?
It’s estimated that a hybrid vehicle is 20-25% more fuel efficient than a conventional fuel car. Arguably, the world’s leading hybrid manufacturer, Toyota, they claim their cars are also 80% cleaner on the environment. With the lower emissions, generally comes lower road tax as well.
Our list starts with Toyota and the multi award-winning Prius, the very first mass produced hybrid. Now over 20 years old, the Prius has sold over 6 million units world wide and is a common site in the majority of UK cities.
The current Prius is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motors, combining to generate over 80mpg and only 78g/km Co2. The Prius is generously equipped with the majority coming with sat nav, leather seats, cruise and climate control. Inside the cabin, there is ample room for 5 and plenty of boot space.
A relative new comer to the hybrid field, the Hyundai Ioniq was voted ‘Best Hybrid Car’ by WhatCar? in 2018. The Ioniq has a 1.6-litre petrol engine working alongside an electric motor, altogether producing less than 80g/km co2. The Ioniq comes well equipped, even the basic models have a touch screen display, reversing camera, Bluetooth, DAB radio and climate control as standard.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
The Volkswagen Golf has been around since the early seventies, and shows no sign of going anyway anytime soon; not that that’s a bad thing. The GTE is based on the current GTi, and apart from the powertrain, everything is pretty much the same. The 2.0 petrol engine is swapped for a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit and electric motor capable of a further 101bhp. It’s free to tax, congestion charge exempt and can run around 30 miles on electric power alone.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The first SUV on our list is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid. Just like the Golf GTE, the Outlander is pretty much identical to its standard variant, only the power plant differs. Being a plug-in hybrid, the Outlander is capable of 33 miles in electric mode and only 40g/km Co2, meaning you will not be charged for going into London’s congestion zone. Furthermore, despite being 4-wheel drive, the Outlander can still produce a staggering 159.5mpg!
BMW X5 2.0 xDrive40e M Sport
Once again, you can sit in the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid and think you are in a standard X5. Under the bonnet, there is a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, combining to generate 309bhp. Co2 emissions are half of its diesel counterpart and mpg figures almost double at 83.1. Despite the batteries taking up some of the boot space, there is a healthy 500 litres and plenty of space for the 3 rear passengers.