If you want the benefits of an electric car but you occasionally travel long distances at weekends, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle could be the perfect solution. Here are the best you can purchase.
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e – you can choose from a 299hp ‘50’ TFSI e or the 367hp ‘55’ TFSI e and we’d say go for the latter, because it has broadly the same eco-stats (2.4 litres/100km, or 117.7mpg, 54g/km of CO2 and an all-electric driving range of 42km) only with markedly punchier performance. That this is all wrapped up in the handsome and practical Q5 SUV body is only the cherry on the cake.
BMW 545e – for the facelifted 5 Series, BMW continues with the four-cylinder 530e but also adds a more potent, six-cylinder-powered 545e, which is a glory. It’ll do up to 166.1mpg (1.7 litres/100km) and emit as little as 38g/km, but its four-wheel-drive system and 394hp peak output means a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds. Its EV range is quoted at a 54km official maximum.
BMW X5 xDrive45e – markedly improved by the switch from the old ‘40e’ model’s four-cylinder unit to a six-cylinder drivetrain for the new X5, this will do up to 87km in pure zero-emissions running, while it emits only 27g/km of CO2 in the process. You’re also looking at robust outputs of 394hp and 600Nm from the silky-smooth petrol-electric powertrain, although you can’t have this X5 as a seven-seater version due to the electrical packaging.
Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid – this uses broadly the same technology as the Peugeot 508 Hybrid we will come to later on this list, but as we think the C5 Aircross is a funky-looking, comfortable crossover-SUV anyway, a hybrid version is most welcome. Official figures are 201.8mpg (1.4 litres/100km) and 32g/km of CO2, with a 55km zero-emissions range.
Ford Kuga PHEV – it looks nice, has a quality cabin and drives sweetly, like all good Fords should do, and yet it manages its battery power brilliantly to provide more electric-driving range than you’d give it credit for. Officially, it’ll do 201.8mpg (1.4 litres/100km) with 32g/km of CO2 emissions, while going up to 56km on its battery pack.
Kia XCeed PHEV – this uses the hybrid drivetrain seen in plenty of Kia and Hyundai products so far, so while you don’t get a lot of power (just 141hp and 265Nm), you do get affordability, excellent refinement thanks to the use of a dual-clutch gearbox and not a CVT, and also up to 217.3mpg (1.3 litres/100km) with 31g/km of CO2 and a 54km EV range from the XCeed.
Peugeot 508 Hybrid – a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is augmented by an 80kW electric motor and 11.8kWh battery pack, giving the striking 508 225hp of useable performance and also the sort of green figures reserved for only the very greenest of cars – 201.7mpg (1.4 litres/100km) and 31g/km of CO2, with the ability to go up to 54km on its electric reserves alone.
Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid – Porsche has updated its fantastic large executive car ahead of the 2021 model year and the artist formerly known as the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid now gets an extra ‘S’ in its name. It’s an update that you might miss if you read the car’s badge too quickly, but you won’t when driving it: it now has up to 560hp and 750Nm, making it Turbo-esque in its performance, yet you still officially get 128.4mpg (2.2 litres/100km) and 50g/km from it, with a 54km all-electric range.
Skoda Octavia iV – a modest 1.4-litre engine might not sound much, but with 85kW of electrical assistance the Octavia iV summons up 204hp and 350Nm, for robust performance with a 60km all-electric range. Want more from your Czech hybrid? Then Skoda will sell pretty much the same car with more power and sporty styling, in the form of the Octavia RS iV.
Volkswagen Passat GTE – this has been updated for 2020 and it plonks a 218hp/400Nm petrol-electric drivetrain into the German marque’s large saloon to good effect. With a 56km electric range and fuel economy of up to 217.3mpg (1.3 litres/100km), the Passat GTE will also only be putting out around 34g/km of CO2 so you can salve your conscience with its saintliness.
Volvo XC40 T5 – Volvo’s big, luxurious T8 hybrids provide the template for the smaller plug-in from the Swedes. The XC40 uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine plus electric power to serve up 117.7mpg (2.4 litres/100km), 55g/km, 46km of EV range and yet 252hp/425Nm in the chunkily appealing package of the most compact Volvo crossover of the lot.