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Best hybrid cars you don't have to plug in

Like the idea of a hybrid, but don't want to faff around with power cables at the end of every journey? Then these are the top 10 cars for you – and the models that look good on paper but are actually best avoided

Words By Steve Huntingford

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Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota CH-R, Lexus LC and Lexus RX L

If you do mostly short journeys – and have a wall charger at home – then driving a plug-in hybrid can save you a fortune in fuel. But what if you don't have a front drive or would just rather not wrestle with a dirty, ungainly cable at the end of each journey? Well, in that case, traditional hybrids still make plenty of sense.

No they can't go as far on electric-only power, but they still promise diesel-rivalling fuel economy without the environmental concerns. And because their batteries are small enough to be charged by the petrol engine, you never have to plug them in.

The thing is, though, knowing which to consider and which to avoid can make the difference between a fuel-sipping investment and a costly mistake. So, here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the traditional hybrids that are best to steer clear of.

Top 10 hybrids:

10. Lexus GS 300h/450h

Modern luxury saloons tend to use diesel engines, but the GS is different, combining a 2.5-litre or 3.5-litre petrol unit with an electric motor. This approach makes for a car that's whisper-quiet around town and when cruising on the motorway but rather noisy under acceleration. The ride is comfortable and company car tax bills are comparatively low.

Read our full Lexus GS review

See how much we could save you on a Lexus GS


9. Lexus IS 300h

Another Lexus takes ninth place, this time the IS executive saloon. Like its bigger brother, the GS, it costs less to run as a company car than its diesel rivals and is beautifully built. But it's also like the GS in that it's not as practical or enjoyable to drive as the class leaders.

Read our full Lexus IS review

See how much we could save you on a Lexus IS


8. Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid

The Niro SUV is different from most of the cars in this top 10, in that it's available as both a plug-in and a conventional hybrid, but it's the latter that makes the most sense, because it's significantly cheaper to buy and still impressively efficient. Strengths also include low CO2 emissions, a long warranty and reasonable space for your family and their luggage.

Read our full Kia Niro review

See how much we could save you on a Kia Niro

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