Hybrid cars are not a silver-bullet to green driving, but it’s a decent step in the right direction. There are a variety of different "hybrids" on the marked, with the main categories being conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
Conventional hybrids rely on an engine to run all the time, with the electric motor powered by a small battery that is either charged by the engine or when braking.
Plug-in hybrids are capable of travelling a number of miles on electric power alone, without any need for an engine. They are effectively electric cars that have an engine for those rarer longer trips, by being able to be charged via a plug, as well as from the engine/braking.
We look at the best hybrid models on the market.
Lexus NX - Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid
From: £42,760; PHEV from £53,300
Lexus - and parent company Toyota - feature prominently on this list, having committed to hybrid powertrains more than a decade ago with the Prius. Now, Lexus has an extensive electrified line-up, and with the NX offers its first Plug-in Hybrid model alongside a conventional hybrid.
The new NX is available in 350h specification as standard hybrid, and with front- or all-wheel drive, while the 450h+ is the PLEV variant, and only comes as AWD.
Electric range on the 450h+ is as good as 40 miles on a charge, but for those that want to opt for the conventional hybrid model, it will still return diesel rivalling figures of 49.5mpg, but with lower CO2.
Toyota RAV4 - Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid
From: £35,350: PHEV from £44,140
I could almost write a carbon copy of the Lexus NX above for this Toyota RAV4. In fact, its’. A little cheaper, a little more spacious, and still features an excellent interior, if not one quite so plus as the Lexus.
But it is also available in both convention and plug-in hybrid specification, though the title of first Toyota PHEV was taken a while ago by the Prius, so it can’t match the NX in that boast.
Still, the practical RAV4 is one of the best-selling family SUVs on the market, and with a choice of two electrified models - the PHEV will cover 46 miles on a charge, the hybrid will return up to 50.4mpg - it’s a frugal choice depending on how electric you want to go.
Lexus LC 500h - Hybrid
Yup, Lexus again. But the LC is a car that effectively has no rivals. A grand tourer conventional hybrid, the LC 500h makes great sense as a long-distance machine. Plus, just look at it.
The design is stylish, and more than eye-catching. Passers-by will stop in the street to look at the car as it drives past. And potential buyers can pick between coupe or convertible.
A fuel economy figure of 34.8mpg might not sound phenomenal, but in this class, it’s pretty phenomenal.
Toyota Yaris - Hybrid
Alright, alright; this is the last time we feature a Toyota or Lexus product on this list. But there are plenty of good options from the Japanese brands, so it’s hardly surprising four out of the ten models listed here represent the manufacturers.
In this case, the Yaris is the smallest and cheapest model to appear on this list, with the supermini packing in Toyota’s hybrid powertrain.
Fuel economy is as good as 68.8mpg, which is impressive for a small car, especially a non-diesel.
Kia Niro - Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid
From £28,245; PHEV from £34,025
Now in its second generation, the Kia Niro is available as an electrified-only line-up - Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Pure-EV. The Niro Hybrid will return 64.2mpg, though if you think that’s good for a family crossover, the Niro PHEV achieves 353.1mpg.
Compact but spacious enough to be a family workhorse, the Niro is well equipped.
Mercedes-Benz C300 e - Plug-in Hybrid
The Mercedes-Benz C300 e is everything you would expect from a Mercedes executive saloon. It’s refined, fully stocked, and comfortable. And the PHEV version is extremely efficient.
This is helped by an electric-only range of up to 68 miles on charge - one of the longest available in any PHEV on the market.
Thanks to this electric range, official fuel consumption is rated at 565mpg… no, not a typo.
Renault Clio - Hybrid
It’s not very well known, but Renault offers a conventional hybrid version of its Clio supermini. The electrical system uses developments from the Renault Formula 1 team, and works smoothly in daily driving.
Thanks to experience with the pure-electric Zoe, the Clio Hybrid’s systems allow a fuel score of 62.8mpg, but the interior space is uncompromised, and the 145hp available makes for a nippy little car.
Volvo V60 Recharge - Plug-in Hybrid
One of the few hybrid estates available, the Volvo V60 is at its best in T8 Recharge trim. The plug-in hybrid is powerful but also frugal.
With up to 455hp on tap, it’s certainly quick, but an electric-only range of 55 miles is available. That means that the fuel economy is 353mpg.
Plus its Volvo estate. So it’s a practical load-lugger; capable of dealing with daily life, and mostly on electric power alone.
Hyundai Tucson - Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid
From £33,370; PHEV from £39,680
As supremely competent family SUVs go, the Tucson often goes under the radar, but unfairly so. Especially considering the range of model on offer - petrol, mild hybrid, conventional hybrid, and plug-in hybrid.
Sticking to the latter two, the Tucson Hybrid makes 49.6mpg, while the 38 miles of electric range for the Tucson PHEV helps it achieve 201.8mpg.
Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid - Plug-in Hybrid
A true sports model, the Panamera is available as either a four-seater saloon or estate. But both will give the driver a genuine Porsche experience.
With a selection of powertrains available, the fuel economy is as good as 141.2mpg, but even this most efficient model will achieve 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds. The Turbo S E-Hybrid model will run that time in just 3.2 seconds, but still gets more than 100mpg.