Best hybrid cars 2020

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


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What Car? team

Not so long ago, hybrid cars were the reserve of people living or working in London's congestion charge zone and minicab drivers looking to save a bit of money on fuel.

However, with an ever-growing number of models on the market, they're increasingly becoming a mainstream alternative to conventional petrols and diesels, with many people preferring them to fully electric cars because there's no range anxiety.

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 hybrid that's best steer clear of.

And remember, if you decide any of the cars in the top 10 are right for your needs, you could potentially save thousands without the hassle of haggling by using our New Car Buying service.

10

BMW 530e

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£35,014

RRP from £38,600 to £70,350

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We're big fans of the 5 Series: it's our reigning Luxury Car of the Year, and was even our overall Car of the Year in 2017. This plug-in hybrid 530e version can cover about 20 miles on electricity alone in real-world conditions before switching to petrol power, so it's a fine option for those with short commutes, plus it qualifies for a low rate of benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Just bear in mind that it's a lot more expensive to buy than 520d diesel, despite being less efficient on longer journeys.

Read our review

Pros

  • Agile and comfortable – with adaptive suspension fitted
  • Beautifully made interior
  • Superb infotainment system

Cons

  • Unsettled ride on 19in alloys and standard M Sport suspension
  • A Volvo S90 has bigger rear seats
  • A Mercedes E-Class has a bigger boot
9

Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Hybrid

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£21,793

RRP from £23,850 to £35,950

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The Ioniq is a great first step into hybrid ownership, because it combines low running costs and a relatively low price with a reassuringly normal driving experience. What's more, it's more practical and smarter inside than its main rival, the Toyota Prius. Hyundai offers conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, but it's the former that we rate highest.

Read our review

Pros

  • Good-quality interior
  • Low running costs
  • Hybrid is good to drive

Cons

  • Limited rear-seat head room
  • Unsettled ride around town
  • EV model expensive
8

Audi Q5 55 TFSIe

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£41,803

RRP from £42,950 to £60,980

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Like every Q5, this plug-in version feels like a luxurious choice, because its very quiet and has a beautifully built interior. And despite being incredible frugal in official tests, it's nearly as quick as the SQ5 performance model, covering the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.3sec. Like the BMW 530e, though, it's an expensive private buy, making more sense as a company car.

Read our review

Pros

  • Smooth and punchy engines
  • High-quality interior
  • Excellent infotainment system

Cons

  • Steering could be more involving
  • No seven-seat option
  • You need pricey air suspension for the best ride
7

Honda CR-V 2.0 I-MMD Hybrid

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£24,773

RRP from £27,270 to £39,060

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Honda's latest CR-V SUV offers excellent space for both passengers and luggage, and the hybrid version – which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor – provides plenty of poke. It's also the most efficient and refined CR-V you can buy, so makes a great family car.

Read our review

Pros

  • Vast rear-seat space (on five-seat models)
  • Good-sized boot (on five-seat models)
  • Comfortable driving position

Cons

  • Rough-sounding engine under load
  • Poor infotainment system
  • Seven-seat versions hard to justify over rivals
6

Volvo XC90 Recharge T8

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£49,700

RRP from £54,410 to £73,980

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The XC90 Recharge T8 hides an ace up its sleeve: it's the only plug-in hybrid SUV on sale today with seven seats. As if that weren't enough, it's also the quickest XC90 by some margin, and yet it doesn't compromise what made the biggest Volvo appealing to begin with: its classy and family-friendly interior.

Read our review

Pros

  • Classy interior
  • Practical seven-seat interior
  • Brilliant plug-in hybrid option

Cons

  • Unsettled ride
  • Road and suspension noise
  • Fiddly infotainment system
5

Toyota Corolla 1.8 VVT-i Hybrid

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£22,799

RRP from £24,195 to £31,440

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The Corolla's rear seats are cramped for six-footers, but this hybrid family hatchback offers super-low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions that make it an excellent choice for both private and company drivers. In addition, the Corolla's ride is cosseting and its standard spec generous, while even the cheaper, 1.8-litre version offers all the performance you need.

Read our review

Pros

  • Seriously low CO2 emissions
  • Comfortable ride
  • Loads of standard kit

Cons

  • Cramped in the back
  • Below-par infotainment system
  • Lots of road noise
4

Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

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£23,420

RRP from £29,340 to £41,460

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Volkswagen recently treated the plug-in Passat to a host of updates, including a longer all-electric range. Plus, it's quiet at all speeds, has lots of passenger space and is available in an estate bodystyle that gives it a very practical boot. The batteries do take up the spare wheel well, though.

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Pros

  • Very refined
  • Low running costs for low mileage drivers
  • Spacious interior

Cons

  • Purchase cost is high for private buyers
  • Rivals have better range
  • Batteries take up the spare tyre space
3

BMW X5 xDrive45e

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£54,129

RRP from £59,145 to £78,010

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BMW's plug-in hybrid X5 is every bit as comfortable and luxurious as the petrol and diesel versions, and you barely notice the extra weight of its batteries, even in corners. You can't have seven seats, but that's the only significant downside. Indeed, it has a much longer electric range than the rival XC90 Recharge T8, a far more user-friendly infotainment system and attracts significantly lower company car tax bills so, unless you need those extra seats, it's the better car.

Read our review

Pros

  • Fantastic plug-in hybrid version
  • Great to drive
  • Classy, well-designed interior

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Third row of seats costs extra
  • Relatively small boot
2

Skoda Superb iV

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£22,697

RRP from £24,855 to £40,590

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In iV form, the Superb combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a battery big enough for an electric-only range of 34 miles. It's essentially the same guts that you get in the Volkswagen Passat GTE , yet the Superb is just as comfortable and even more spacious, particularly in the back.

Read our review

Pros

  • Vast interior and boot space
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Classy, high-quality interior

Cons

  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • Diesel engines sound a little gruff
  • Automatic gearbox can be a tad jerky in traffic
1

BMW 330e

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£27,785

RRP from £31,110 to £49,845

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The thing that makes the 330e so special is that, aside from a shallower boot, it's much like any other 3 Series, meaning great fun to drive. There's simply nothing in the way it handles to suggest you're carrying around enough batteries for 36 miles of zero-emission motoring. What's more, every material feels suitably expensive, the infotainment system is a cinch to use and there’s a good amount of space in the back. The 330e is a truly great car.

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Read our review

Pros

  • Brilliant fun to drive
  • Class-leading infotainment system
  • Great range of engines

Cons

  • Ride is rather firm – particularly in M Sport versions
  • Not as well finished inside as an Audi A4
  • Adjustable lumbar support costs extra

And the hybrid car to avoid...

Infiniti Q50
Infiniti Q50

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... Read our review

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