Best hybrid cars 2020 (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?.....

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

Hybrid cars compilation image

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

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 hybrids that are best steered clear of.

10: Toyota C-HR Hybrid

Toyota C-HR Hybrid

Toyota's smallest SUV is particularly fuel efficient in hybrid form, where a 1.8-litre petrol engine powers the car for most of the time but is supplemented by a small electric motor around town.

10: Toyota C-HR Hybrid - interior

Toyota C-HR Hybrid - interior

With its low C02 emissions, the C-HR Hybrid makes good sense for company car drivers. It also gets plenty of kit as standard.

9: Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

If you're looking for a hybrid that's cheaper than the C-HR yet still has a Toyota badge on its bonnet, the Yaris Hybrid is a good choice, combining small car nimbleness with hybrid efficiency.

9: Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Generous standard equipment and a spacious and practical interior add further to its appeal, even if a plasticky dashboard and a jittery ride count against it.

8: BMW i8

BMW i8

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 plug-in hybrid sports car that uses a range of cutting-edge technologies to deliver serious pace and low emissions.

8: BMW i8 - interior

BMW i8 - interior

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

7: Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

The Prius is one of the founding fathers of low-emissions motoring, and in its latest form, it can compete directly with conventional family car rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

7: Toyota Prius - interior

Toyota Prius - interior

It's even more fuel efficient than its predecessor, its interior is both roomier and better finished and it's now better to drive than ever before.

6: Mercedes-Benz S-Class S560e

Mercedes-Benz S-Class S560e

Why not combine low emissions with luxury car comfort? The S560e keeps everything we love about the regular S-Class, such as its long-distance cruising capability and interior luxury, and adds a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine under the bonnet working in conjunction with an electric motor.

6: Mercedes-Benz S-Class S560e - interior

Mercedes-Benz S-Class S560e - interior

That means you can travel for around 30 miles on electric power alone – or use the electric motor to boost acceleration. This S-Class is a plug-in hybrid, which means you'll have to use a cable to recharge its battery.

5: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Honda CR-V Hybrid

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.

5: Honda CR-V Hybrid - interior

Honda CR-V Hybrid - interior

It's also the most efficient CR-V you can buy, although the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will cost you even less. You also get a decent amount of kit and a comfortable driving position.

4: BMW 5 Series 530e

BMW 5 Series 530e

We're big fans of the BMW 5 Series: it's our favourite luxury car and was even our overall Car of the Year in 2017, having beaten rivals such as the Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.

4: BMW 5 Series 530e - interior

BMW 5 Series 530e - interior

The 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 great option for those living in the city. It's also officially the most frugal 5 Series model, as well as the cheapest to tax.

3: Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo XC90 T8

The plug-in hybrid version of the Volvo XC90 hides an ace up its sleeve: it's the only plug-in hybrid seven-seat SUV on sale today.

3: Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

As if that wasn'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: a classy interior and a spacious boot.

2: Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq

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 a prime example of the alternative that car buyers have been looking for.

2: Hyundai Ioniq - interior

Hyundai Ioniq - interior

It's more practical and smarter inside than its main rival, the Toyota Prius, and is also available in plug-in hybrid and electric forms.

1: Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Toyota Corolla is the best hybrid car you can buy right now. Indeed, Toyota reckons that around 90% of Corolla buyers will choose one of the two hybrid set-ups on offer, and it's easy to see why.

Even the lesser 1.8-litre set-up has adequate acceleration for most situations, while the more powerful 2.0-litre model is pleasantly punchy.

1: Toyota Corolla Hybrid - interior

Toyota Corolla Hybrid - interior

Add in super-frugal fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions that make it an excellent choice for company car drivers and the Corolla Hybrid really stands out in this class. It's the most tempting proposition to try hybrid motoring we've yet found.

Infiniti Q50 Hybrid

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.

Infiniti Q50 Hybrid - interior

Infiniti Q50 Hybrid - interior

Unfortunately, the ride is too firm and the Q50 isn’t anywhere near as much fun to drive as its rivals.

Lexus CT 200h

Lexus CT 200h

Compared with the best hybrid cars, Lexus's family hatchback looks outdated, unrefined and uncomfortable.

Lexus CT 200h - interior

Lexus CT 200h - interior

It offers low company car tax rates, but you're generally better off choosing another car on this list.

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