With pure electric vehicles (EVs) on the way and ever-increasingly stringent taxes on petrol and diesel cars likely forthcoming, hybrid cars are popular choices in the current-day customer climate. Here, we look at some of the best hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on sale now.
Honda CR-V Hybrid – uses two electric motors and a 2.0-litre petrol engine for 184hp/315Nm, as well as 51.4mpg (5.5 litres/100km) and just 126g/km of CO2. Installed in the CR-V’s handsome and practical body, this is a decent HEV alternative to a diesel.
Lexus ES 300h – went front-wheel drive in the switch from GS predecessor to this ES, but it is none the worse for it. In fact, hugely improved 2.5-litre hybrid drivetrain makes the ES a pleasure to drive, while 53.3mpg (5.3 litres/100km) and 120g/km are not to be sniffed at from a 218hp executive car.
Lexus RX 450h – the angular RX looks like no other SUV on Earth, and it’s all the better for it. Refined and throaty V6 drivetrain make it feel special, while there’s a seven-seat extended RX L version for those needing more space. Expect up to 47.9mpg (5.9 litres/100km) and 178g/km from it.
Toyota Corolla – the Corolla nameplate is now attached to a sharp-looking, nicely-built, sweet-driving car. There are actually two hybrids in the line-up, a 1.8 and a 2.0, and as you’ll get up to 74.3mpg (3.8 litres/100km) and 84g/km from even the more powerful one, you can see this is a strong choice.
Toyota RAV4 – Toyota has injected some real pizzazz into the latest RAV4, what with its striking styling and classy cabin, and the improved 2.5-litre drivetrain gives it both performance and parsimony. Look to attain 55.4mpg (5.6 litres/100km) and 103g/km from even the AWD version.
BMW 330e – the best BMW 3 Series is the cheapest one. Our VRT laws make the PHEV 330e, with its 2.0-litre petrol engine plus electric power, the entry point to Three ownership. With 292hp/420Nm, it’s sporty like a true BMW but will go more than 50km on electric power alone and emits just 37g/km.
BMW X5 xDrive45e – the first X5 PHEV was good, but its four-cylinder drivetrain was a little coarse. BMW has stepped it up to a six-cylinder unit for the new one and it’s brilliant family transportation. It’ll go up to 87km on electric power alone, emitting as little as 27g/km in the process. Oh, and it has 394hp/600Nm, too.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – this has long been the best-selling PHEV in Europe and it’s easy to see why. The Outlander has been around since 2013 and it isn’t the most refined thing in the world, but a 2018 technical update improved it and it remains a relatively affordable PHEV. Factor in a 45km EV range and just 46g/km from it, and you’ve got a strong all-rounder.
Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid – spec the 508 as the SW estate, as listed here, and you’ll have one of the best-looking modern cars on sale. A 1.6-litre THP petrol engine with 80kW of electric assistance leads to a 54km electric range, up to 217.3mpg (1.3 litres/100km) and CO2 as low as 29g/km.
Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid – Porsche uses its E-Hybrid tech to power up some of its most potent Turbo S models, but you won’t go far wrong with the 462hp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. Go Sport Turismo for the best looks but expect it to turn in 113mpg (2.5 litres/100km) with 56g/km, all while being able to travel more than 50km on its electric reserves alone.
Skoda Superb iV – what could be much better than a Skoda Superb? How about one that does up to 148mpg (1.9 litres/100km)? The iV couples a 1.4 turbo petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor for 218hp and 400Nm, as well as turning in 35g/km and a 62km EV range.
Volvo XC40 T5 – Volvo’s big, luxurious T8 PHEVs have been smashing it out of the park for a few years now, but here’s a newer, smaller plug-in. The XC40 uses a charismatic three-cylinder petrol plus electric power and it’s a smasher: 117.7mpg (2.4 litres/100km), 55g/km, 46km of EV range and yet 252hp/425Nm to back it all up.