Best hybrid cars 2019 (and the ones to avoid)

Everyone from Toyota to Porsche sells hybrid cars these days, but which models should you consider and which should you avoid?...

Best hybrid cars 2018 (and the ones to avoid)

Best hybrid cars

Not so long ago, hybrids were the reserve of environmentally conscious school run mums, people living or working under the London congestion charge and minicab drivers looking to save a bit of money on fuel.

However, with an ever-growing number of hybrids on the market, they are increasingly becoming a mainstream alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models, and for many they're a more appealing move than to fully electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf.

The thing is, 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 hybrids that are best to steer clear of.

10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid front

No brand is more closely associated with hybrids than Toyota, the company behind that icon of green motoring, the Prius. However, a cheaper option is the Yaris Hybrid which combines small car nimbleness with hybrid efficiency.

10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid dashboard

Generous standard equipment and a spacious and practical interior add further to the Yaris Hybrid’s appeal, even if a plasticky dashboard and jittery ride count against it.

Read our full Toyota Yaris review >

See how much you could save on a great Toyota Yaris >

9. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV front

Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV has been a staggering success in the UK, selling even better here than in its home market of Japan. It’s popularity is partly down to the fact it’s an SUV, and demand for those is sky-high; partly because it’s a plug-in hybrid, which means it qualifies for the government’s subsidy to buyers of electric cars; and partly because, unlike most hybrids, it’s no more expensive than the diesel alternative.

9. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV dashboard

The Outlander PHEV does miss out on the sixth and seventh seats of the regular version, but it could save you a fortune in fuel if you do lots of short journeys.

Read our full Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review >

See how much you could save on a Mitsubishi Outlander >

8. BMW i8

BMW i8 front

While most of the models in this list are practical choices, the BMW i8 shows that hybrids can also be fun to drive and hugely desirable. It's a high-performance hybrid sports car that uses a range of cutting-edge technologies to deliver serious pace and low emissions.

8. BMW i8

BMW i8 dashboard

Think of the i8 as an efficient alternative to models such as the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

Read our full BMW i8 review >

See how much you could save on a BMW i8 >

7. Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen Golf GTE front

As the name suggests, Volkswagen is billing the Golf GTE as a hot hatch, and its handling is confidence-inspiring and assured, even though the GTE isn’t as much fun as the conventional, petrol-engined GTI model.

7. Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen Golf GTE dashboard

The GTE is almost as fast as a GTI, though, and it's much cheaper to run thanks to its 39g/km CO2 emissions and ability to travel up to 31 miles without the help of the petrol engine.

Read our full Volkswagen Golf GTE review >

See how much you could save on a Volkswagen Golf >

6. BMW i3

BMW i3 front

Like the i8, the BMW i3 is built from super-light carbonfibre and aluminium to offset the weight of its batteries, which are mounted below the floor to lower the centre of gravity and improve handling.

6. BMW i3

BMW i3 interior

There’s a fully electric version that offers a realistic range of up to 124 miles, or you can pay a bit more to get a range-extender with a two-cylinder petrol engine that can stop the batteries from running flat.

Read our full BMW i3 review >

See how much you could save on a BMW i3 >

5. Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius front

The latest Toyota Prius represents a significant step forward for the world’s best-selling hybrid car, allowing it to compete directly with conventional rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

5. Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius dashboard

It's even more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, the interior is both roomier and better finished, and the Prius is now better to drive than it was.

Read our full Toyota Prius review >

See how much you could save on a Toyota Prius >

4. Audi A3 E-tron

Audi A3 E-tron front

The Audi A3 is such a good car that we named is Lombardyexperience? Car of the Year in 2013, and it remains our favourite family hatchback for more than £23,000. This E-tron plug-in hybrid version is a more expensive private buy than our favourite petrol and diesel A3s, but it makes a very cheap company car.

4. Audi A3 E-tron

Audi A3 E-tron dashboard

Although the A3 E-Tron is closely related to the Volkswagen Golf GTE, it offers a classier interior and a slightly more comfortable ride.

Read our full Audi A3 E-Tron review >

See how much you could save on an Audi A3 E-tron >

3. Volkswagen Passat GTE

Volkswagen Passat GTE front

The Passat GTE really is the sort of hybrid you could use every day without having to make any compromises. It can travel around 500 miles on a single tank of petrol, and with 31 miles of pure electric range on a full charge, the GTE could potentially cover the majority of journeys without without using a single drop of fuel.

3. Volkswagen Passat GTE

Volkswagen Passat GTE dashboard

The GTE's interior quality is every bit as good as on other Passats, there’s enough room for five adults to sit in comfort, and our preferred version, the estate, has a boot that’ll take all but the largest loads.

Read our full Volkswagen Passat GTE review >

See how much you could save on a Volkswagen Passat GTE >

2. Audi Q7 E-tron

Audi Q7 E-tron front

Based on our favourite luxury SUV, the Q7 E-tron is powered by a diesel engine that's mated to an electric motor integrated into the gearbox. The result is a claimed electric-only range of 34 miles, average official fuel economy of 156.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 48g/km.

2. Audi Q7 E-tron

Audi Q7 E-tron dashboard

The real beauty of the Q7 E-tron is its remarkable refinement. It's almost silent around town, and when the diesel engine cuts in it does so with barely any noise or vibration. The only chink in its amoury is that there's no third row of seats as there is in the regular Q7 – they've been removed to fit in the battery pack.

Read our full Audi Q7 review >

See how much you could save on an Audi Q7 >

1. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq front

The Ioniq is an ideal hybrid choice, combining low running costs and a relatively low price with a reassuringly normal driving experience. At a time when diesel pollution is under scrutiny, the Ioniq is the alternative car buyers have been looking for.

1. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq dashboard

The Ioniq is more practical and smarter inside than its main rival, the Toyota Prius, and it's cheaper to buy than the Passat GTE, making it a worthy victor here.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review >

See how much you could save on a Hyundai Ioniq >

Hybrid cars to avoid

Infiniti Q50 front

Infiniti Q50 Hybrid

The hybrid version of Infiniti’s Q50 executive saloon puts performance before maximum efficiency, and with a combined output of 359bhp from its V6 petrol engine and electric motor, it’s certainly fast. Unfortunately, the ride is too firm and the Q50 isn’t anywhere near as much fun to drive as conventional rivals such as the BMW 335i.

Read our full Infiniti Q50 review >

Hybrid cars to avoid

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid front

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

It might look good on paper, but the S E-Hybrid doesn’t ride or handle as well as other Porsche Cayennes, and in real-world conditions it’s unlikely to be the most economical version. True, its stunning official CO2 figures make it a stand-out offering for those lucky company car drivers who are allowed to pick a Porsche, but that does mean the appeal is quite limited.

Read our full Porsche Cayenne review >

Read more – the best (and worst) electric cars

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