Hybrid cars continue to be the most popular electrified models, with more hybrids currently being sold than PHEVs or EVs.
And it’s not difficult to see why – they’re great to use around town, while also largely being efficient and cheap to run. They’re also handy if you can’t charge your car at home, as the engine can top up the batteries on the move with the help of regenerative braking.
While self-charging models are most popular with certain manufacturers – Toyota and Lexus, for example – there are still plenty of options to choose from. Let’s take a look.
Ford Mondeo Hybrid
Despite being the UK’s most popular new car maker, it took Ford some time to venture fully into the electrified market, and the Mondeo Hybrid was its first mainstream UK model. It’s been around for several years with a hybrid powertrain, but in 2019 was given a boost by the introduction of a more spacious Estate variant. One thing to be aware of, though – the battery eats quite heavily into the boot space.
The fourth-generation of Honda’s popular Jazz supermini arrives in showrooms this summer, and key to its appeal is the fact it’s only available with a hybrid powertrain. It remains as spacious as ever, and also impressively efficient thanks to its new electrified setup.
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Interestingly, Honda made the decision to not give the option of a diesel engine on the latest version of its spacious CR-V SUV – instead it’s offered with a petrol engine and hybrid powertrain. This system represents great value for money, and is impressively spacious for a hybrid SUV, although unlike the regular CR-V, it doesn’t come with a seven seat option.
While hybrids are often chosen for their efficiency, they also have a lot to offer in terms of performance. That’s definitely the case with Honda’s futuristic NSX sports car, which pairs a 3.5-litre V6 with an electric motor and battery to produce 573bhp. If you want hybrid performance thrills, this is the car to go for – though it’s certainly not the cheapest.
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid
Hyundai is big into electrification, and the model that really showcases this is the IONIQ, available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or as an EV. The hybrid is a great choice, though, as it’s easy to drive and impressively efficient – returning 62.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 102g/km.
Hyundai Kona Hybrid
Hyundai’s funky Kona crossover, a new model for 2020, uses the same hybrid powertrain as the IONIQ. The Kona comes with plenty of kit and is impressively spacious, though it’s not very exciting to drive, and isn’t especially roomy.
Like the Hyundai IONIQ, the Kia Niro is available as a hybrid, a PHEV or an EV and it shares the same platform as the Hyundai models above. It offers great value for money, and you also get a seven-year warranty with it, too.
The Lexus CT might be starting to show its age, but it remains the only self-charging premium hatchback on offer. It also still looks the part, and has a very well-built interior. You’ll have the CT’s impressive reliability record on your side, too, while Lexus dealers are known for their fantastic service.
If you fancy something a bit more upmarket than the Hyundai and Kia crossovers, you could consider the bold-looking Lexus UX. It’s very efficient and good to drive, though it falls short on the practicality front and doesn’t offer good value for money.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, Lexus is a major player in the hybrid sector, with electrified models accounting for over 90% of its sales. Despite starting to show its age, the IS remains a very stylish compact executive rival, and a left-field alternative to the likes of the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class.
The ES replaced the GS in Lexus’s UK line-up, and this BMW 5 Series rival is a compelling choice thanks to its bold styling and efficiency — the hybrid model returns a claimed 53mpg. It prioritises comfort and refinement over sportiness.
The Lexus NX has proven to be one of the brand’s most popular cars over the years, and with its stand-out looks and lengthy list of standard kit, it’s easy to see why. Just be aware that, while it’s a hybrid, it might not prove to be much more efficient than a regular diesel SUV of the same calibre.
The Lexus RC is a model that could win you over for its looks alone, as it’s superb at giving the impression that it’s far more expensive than it is – something that’s reflected in the interior. Just be aware that the performance and driving experience is a bit underwhelming.
Lexus RX/ RX L
The RX was Lexus’s first hybrid all the way back in 2004, and it remains its flagship SUV. The interior quality on this large SUV is superb, and while not especially fun to drive, it scores well if you’re looking for comfort and refinement. An ‘L’ version is also available if you want seven seats.
We reckon looks alone are all the reason you need to buy the Lexus LC, providing you can afford to – it’s not cheap. But aside from its styling, the LC is a brilliant grand tourer, and, interestingly, it’s also available as a hybrid. A regular V8 petrol option is available as well.
Hybrids are fantastic for refinement and comfort, which is why they work so well in luxury cars. Lexus’s flagship LS saloon is a great example of this. With the range-topping version costing more than £100,000, though, it’s certainly not cheap.
Just like its sister brand Lexus, Toyota majors on hybrids, which account for the vast majority of its sales. The Yaris is one of the most affordable hybrid models on sale, and a superb choice if you’re looking for a hybrid city car.
The only British-built self-charging hybrid is the Corolla – a model produced at Toyota’s plant in Derbyshire. Toyota has adjusted the range recently, which now means you’ll only be able to get it as a hybrid (a choice of two are available). It’s available as a hatchback, a saloon and an estate.
The C-HR debuted in 2016 as a bold-looking crossover that’s also good to drive. Toyota has recently revised the model with new technology and light styling tweaks, and importantly, it’s now only available as a hybrid. Just like the Corolla, two options are available.
The Camry might not be the most exciting hybrid model in the world, but it scores well on efficiency, refinement and comfort. If those things are what’s most important to you, this large saloon car would make a great choice.
Toyota’s family-friendly RAV4 is now only available with hybrid powertrains. It’s also one of the best self-charging models on the market today, really standing out with its styling, while also being affordable to run. A functional and durable interior adds to the appeal.
We’ll never know whether this list would be quite so extensive had Toyota not launched the Prius back in 1997. The Prius was the first of its kind, and four generations later, this model continues to stand out with its affordable running costs, futuristic styling and affordable pricing.
If you like the Prius, but find it’s just not practical enough for your needs, Toyota has an answer for you – the Prius+. It’s a model that has huge appeal to taxi and minicab drivers, and the fact that it can seat seven is another big asset. Just be aware that it’s based on the last-generation Prius, so is really starting to show its age.