Best hybrid cars 2024 – plug-in and regular hybrids rated

Everyone from Toyota to Porsche sells hybrids these days, but which models are best and which should you avoid? Here's our list of the top 10 hybrid cars...

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by
Darren Moss
Published04 November 2023

Previously the reserve of budget-conscious minicab drivers and city dwellers, hybrid cars are now a mainstream alternative to conventional petrols and diesels thanks to the promise of lower fuel bills.

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, after extensive testing of every hybrid car on sale by our experienced team of road testers, we reveal the top 10 hybrid cars you can buy – and name the ones to avoid.

Best hybrid cars 2022

It's important to note that we're combining both plug-in hybrids and hybrid cars that you don't have to plug in on this list, so whether you have access to a charging point or not, you'll find something that meets your needs. However, if you're simply looking for the best hybrid car money can buy, then that would be the Honda Civic; it offers quick performance, impressive fuel economy and a very practical interior.

If you take a liking to the Civic or any other cars on this list, you can click on the relevant links to find out more or see further discounts with our free New Car Deals service. Please note that the prices you see here will in some cases reflect the non-hybrid version of the car – we've noted the prices for hybrid versions as of the time of writing alongside each car, but you can also find them by following the links through to the relevant model.

Our pick: 2.0 eHEV Sport 5dr CVT

0-62mph: 7.9 sec
MPG/range: 56.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 415 litres
Insurance group: 28E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Big boot
  • Lots of luxury and safety kit

Weaknesses

  • Quite pricey
  • Rear head room isn't great
  • Road noise intrudes

Our reigning Family Car of the Year is also the best hybrid car on the market. The Honda Civic is a highly efficient hatchback, easily capable of returning 49mpg in ordinary driving. Sure, the Toyota Corolla is even more frugal, but the Honda more than compensates in other areas.

Performance is impressive by class standards; the Civic can dash from 0-60mph in 6.8sec, meaning it’s faster than not just the Corolla, but also rivals such as the Ford Focus Ecoboost Hybrid 155 and Volkswagen Golf TSI 130, too. Good grip and precise steering help make the Civic fun to drive, although it can’t quite match the Focus for sheer driver enjoyment.

Read our in-depth Honda Civic review >>

Our pick: GLC 220d 4Matic AMG Line 5dr 9G-Tronic

0-62mph: 8 sec
MPG/range: 52.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 141g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 620 litres
Insurance group: 40E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Well equipped
  • Plug-in hybrid has impressive electric range
  • Spacious interior

Weaknesses

  • Slightly firmer ride than rivals
  • Stylish interior doesn't feel the most sturdy
  • Petrol engines need working hard

If you’re a company car driver, on the hunt for a large SUV with a premium badge, the Mercedes GLC 300e will surely appeal. Its official electric-only range of 80 miles means monthly payments are lower than for the Lexus NX 450h+ (which can officially only travel 45 miles on electric power alone).

Plug-in versions of the GLC come with rear air suspension as standard, which helps hide the weight of the batteries, resulting in a composed ride. All versions of the GLC get a spacious and stylish interior, but the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 feel more solidly built.

At the time of writing, prices for the GLC 300e start from £63,210.

Read our in-depth Mercedes GLC review >>

Our pick: 450h+ 2.5 5dr E-CVT [Premium Pack]

0-62mph: 6.3 sec
MPG/range: 313.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 21g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 520 litres
Insurance group: 38E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Strong performance
  • Promise of stellar reliability
  • PHEV has an impressive electric range

Weaknesses

  • Petrol engine isn’t the smoothest
  • Choppy high-speed ride on F Sport versions
  • Takumi versions are pricey

The latest Lexus NX is one of the most compelling reasons to go green that we've seen. The 45-mile electric-only range of the plug-in hybrid variant puts it in a lower company car tax bracket than an equivalent Audi Q5 or BMW X3.

It’s good to drive, too; the hybrid system in the PHEV produces 305bhp, allowing the NX 450h+ to outsprint the Mercedes GLC 300e from 0-62mph by half a second. And, while the NX is far from being a sports SUV, it corners with precision. 

Inside, the NX is hard to fault. The interior strikes a great balance between build quality and plushness, and feels well able to withstand the rigours of daily family use.

At the time of writing, prices for the NX 450h+ start from £52,652.

Read our in-depth Lexus NX review >>

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Spacious interior with flexible rear seats
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Slow depreciation

Weaknesses

  • Very pricey by small car standards
  • Not the quietest cruiser
  • Some rivals are more fun

The Honda Jazz is the small car to beat for passenger and luggage space, while its unique and incredibly flexible rear seating only adds to its practicality. Visibility is excellent, too: the tall windscreen, narrow front pillars and deep side and rear windows help make the Jazz easy to manoeuvre and park.

It is rather expensive, but it makes up for this with generous standard equipment and strong resale values, as well as low running costs thanks to its fuel-sipping hybrid system. It’s neither as fun to drive nor as comfy as some other small cars, but it still comes out on top overall.

Read our in-depth Honda Jazz review >>

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Plug-in hybrid has an impressive ride
  • Fuel economy and emissions compare well with rivals
  • C300e has a very low company car tax rate

Weaknesses

  • Disappointing interior quality
  • Not as much fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series
  • Some road noise

The plug-in hybrid system fitted to the Mercedes C-Class C300e is the best you’ll find in an executive car. The C300e can officially travel 30 miles further on electric power alone than the equivalent BMW 3 Series (the 330e), and the punchy electric motor means the C-Class can get up to motorway speeds comfortably without the engine needing to cut in.

As in the GLC 300e, standard-fit rear air suspension disguises the added bulk of the PHEV’s batteries, although the C300e still isn't quite as capable around corners as the BMW 330e.

Unfortunately, interior quality in the C-Class is poor. The dashboard is littered with cheap plastics which wouldn’t feel out of place in a small car, a far cry from the top-notch materials found in an Audi A4.

At the time of writing, prices for the C300e start from £52,025.

Read our in-depth Mercedes C-Class review >>

Our pick: 40 TFSI e Sport 5dr S Tronic

0-62mph: 7.6 sec
MPG/range: 256.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 26g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 280 litres
Insurance group: 24E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Sharp handling
  • Excellent driving position
  • Strong and frugal engines

Weaknesses

  • Audi's unimpressive reliability record
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Plug-in hybrid is currently off-sale

If you’re in the market for a relatively compact plug-in hybrid with a premium badge on its nose, we’d recommend taking a look at the Audi A3 40 TFSIe. Its strong performance and engaging handling make the plug-in A3 one of the best PHEVs to drive, while its official electric-only range of 40 miles keeps company car tax bills low.

Yes, a Mercedes A-Class A250e has a slightly cheaper purchase price and a marginally better electric-only range, but it’s not as refined, it doesn’t handle as well and at times its ride is more fractious.

At the time of writing, prices for the 40 TFSIe start from £33,974.

Read our in-depth Audi A3 review >>

Our pick: 3.0 D300 Dynamic SE 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 6.1 sec
MPG/range: 38.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 191g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 647 litres
Insurance group: 48E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Offers lots of Range Rover qualities for a lower price
  • Incredible ability off-road
  • Fantastic range on the PHEV model

Weaknesses

  • Cheaper than a Range Rover, but still very expensive
  • Rivals are sharper to drive
  • Land Rover’s reliability record is a concern

If you’re looking for a combination of plug-in hybrid efficiency and supreme luxury, you’ll be pleased to know that, as well as being one of our favourite hybrids, the Range Rover Sport P460e is our reigning Luxury Car of the Year.

Its interior is covered in the same sorts of premium materials you’d find in the bigger (and much more expensive) Range Rover, and the Sport cossets its occupants with standard air suspension which isolates them from bumps in the road.

The plug-in hybrid system makes the Range Rover Sport a sensible company car option, too: the P460e’s 31.8kWh battery (which is bigger than the batteries in some small electric cars) provides an official electric-only range of 75 miles.

At the time of writing, prices for the P460e start from £89,081.

Read our in-depth Range Rover Sport review >>

Our pick: 1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT

0-62mph: 9.1 sec
MPG/range: 64.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 100g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 361 litres
Insurance group: 17E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Low CO2 emissions and great fuel economy
  • Comfortable ride
  • Loads of standard kit

Weaknesses

  • Cramped in the back
  • So-so infotainment system
  • 12.3in digital instrument cluster could be easier to use

While the Toyota Corolla isn’t quite as brilliant as the Honda Civic, it’s still a remarkable hybrid family car. Its 1.8-litre hybrid system returns excellent fuel economy (it managed 50.5mpg in our real-world test), and has more than enough performance for everyday driving.

The Corolla is also well equipped, and feels solidly built, however its interior looks a little conventional next to some rivals’ more outgoing designs. Space for rear passengers is disappointing, so anyone who regularly carries six-footers in the back might be better off looking elsewhere.

Read our in-depth Toyota Corolla review >>

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Great driving position
  • Well-equipped
  • Slow depreciation

Weaknesses

  • Limited boot space
  • So-so fuel economy and emissions
  • Land Rover’s reliability record

The Range Rover Evoque is a stylish and well-equipped SUV, and the P300e plug-in hybrid is our pick of the range. It offers the best performance – it’ll do 0-60mph in 6.1sec – and is very smooth and fairly hushed. It has an official electric-only range of 38 miles, meaning most typical journeys can be made on electric power alone (as long as you charge it regularly).

The interior has a premium look and feel to it, and the driving position is excellent, too. There’s plenty of space for six-footers in front and rear, although you can fit less in its boot than in a BMW X1 or Volvo XC40.

At the time of writing, prices for the P300e start from £47,654.

Read our in-depth Range Rover Evoque review >>

Our pick: 1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 3 5dr

0-62mph: 9.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 562 litres
Insurance group: 20E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Lower-spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear leg room and boot space

Weaknesses

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear head room compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions

In conventional petrol-powered form the Kia Sportage is the best family SUV you can buy. This hybrid variant brings both extra performance and improved fuel economy, making it an excellent electrified alternative to the standard car.

The Sportage is very spacious, meaning it’s prepared for the various demands of family life, and the interior feels well-screwed together. It’s not quite as comfortable as a Volvo XC40, and is pricier than the Hyundai Tucson, but the Kia still makes the best all-round package.

A plug-in hybrid Sportage is also available, but the increase in performance is minimal, and the added cost means it’s only worth considering as a company car.

At the time of writing, prices for the hybrid versions of the Sportage start from £33,750.

Read our in-depth Kia Sportage review >>


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And the hybrid car to avoid...

DS 7 E-Tense

There are some versions of the DS 7 SUV that are worth considering, but the E-Tense is let down by sloppy handling and a crashy ride, while the integration of its motors and engine is anything but seamless. Read our review

How we choose the best hybrid cars

Our list of the best hybrid cars has been derived from exhaustive testing of every model on the market. Our expert reviewers have been testing hybrid cars for years, checking everything from how far they’ll go on electric power alone, to how much they can save you in running costs.

And while our tests take into account everything which a hybrid car buyer might want to know, we’re also informed by our readers, who tell us the areas which matter most to them as part of our annual reader survey. For hybrid cars, these are:

Reliability – an important factor for 71% of hybrid car buyers

A good hybrid car won’t let you down, and that’s why every year more than 20,000 real car owners tell us how dependable, or otherwise, their car has been as part of our annual Reliability Survey. We use these responses to inform our reviews of new and used cars, and cross-section that data so we can tell you which are the most reliable models in each class.

Comfortable driving position – an important factor for 69% of hybrid car buyers

Here, we assess how easy it is to move the seat and steering wheel so that drivers of all shapes and sizes can sit comfortably – and mark down cars where doing so is hard.



We also assess visibility from the windscreen, rear screen, and on both sides, because this impacts how easy it’ll be to see out of your car at junctions and roundabouts. And we use laser technology to measure the height of the driver’s seat in SUVs, informing whether it delivers the position you want.

Interior quality – an important factor for 64% of hybrid car buyers

Our interior quality tests examine perceived quality – how luxurious the interior looks to the naked eye. And we look for good build quality – how robust it feels. This allows us to tell you whether your car’s interior merely looks good, or whether it will really stand up to the rigours of family life. We look for hard-wearing materials which won’t scratch the first time they’re touched, and that all of the buttons, knobs and switches feel like they’ve been built to last.

Of course, these are only a few factors which go into a What Car? road test rating. You can see the full list of tests we carry out on new cars in our dedicated how we test cars feature, which outlines the depth of our tests – and consequently, why you can trust our verdicts.

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