Most efficient hybrid cars you can buy

What Car?'s independent fuel economy tests show what MPG you can really expect from a car. Here, we reveal the best performing hybrids we've ever tested...

The official government MPG figures published in sales brochures can tempt you into buying a particular car, but those results are often misleading.

True MPG best and worst hybrid cars

So, What Car? has its own  True MPG figures which reveal what fuel economy you can expect in the real world.

To ensure accuracy and repeatability, we use strictly controlled conditions, with the tests simulating a mix of town, rural and motorway driving.

As a result, they reflect what's achievable if you’re driving gently and sticking to speed limits but aren’t resorting to any unrealistically slow acceleration or special 'hypermiling' techniques.

Here we count down all of the hybrids we've tested that you don't have to plug in, from the least to the most efficient

9. Lexus RX L 450h

Lexus RX L front - 69 plate

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Test MPG 33.3mpg

This luxury SUV comes very well equipped, and while the fuel economy we got out of it isn't particularly impressive by the standards of hybrids, it is comparable with the figures of diesel rivals. Instead, it's the extremely cramped third row seats and mediocre driving experience that most let the RX L down.

Read our full Lexus RX L review >>

Lexus RX L (cont.)

New Lexus RX L & Volkswagen Touareg vs Audi Q7

Pros
Good build quality
Impressive reliability
Well equipped

Cons
Fiddly infotainment system
Rivals are better to drive
Engine coarse when revved

8. Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD review

True MPG 37.1mpg

The previous-generation RAV4 makes quite a bit of sense as a used buy, because it's practical, well priced and has an excellent reliability record. Just bear in mind that it handles more like an old-school 4x4 than a Mazda CX-5 of the same vintage.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 used review >>

Toyota RAV4 (cont.)

Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid - interior

Pros
Spacious and comfortable
Easy to drive
Long warranty

Cons
Latest RAV4 much nicer to drive
Engine sounds coarse when you accelerate 

7. Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid 2WD

Toyota RAV4 front three quarters

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Test MPG 42.3mpg

To drive, the latest RAV4 is nothing remarkable, while its infotainment system is as slow as it is fiddly. However, when you factor in its low company car tax bills and impressive kit tally, plus Toyota’s stellar reliability record, there's still plenty to recommend it.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 review >>

Toyota RAV4 (cont.)

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Design 2.5 AWD Automatic - interior

Pros
Seriously low CO2 emissions
Slow predicted depreciation
Strong reliability record

Cons
Terrible infotainment system
Rivals are better to drive
No seven-seat option

6. Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid

Honda CR-V

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Test MPG 43.3mpg

The main reason for not choosing the RAV4 is that Honda's CR-V Hybrid offers similar strengths, along with better comfort, refinement, passenger space and real-world economy.

Read our full Honda CR-V review >>

Honda CR-V (cont.)

Honda CR-V Hybrid - interior

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
You can't have seven seats with the hybrid model

5. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Hyundai Ioniq

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True MPG 46.9mpg

Hyundai's Ioniq is a former What Car? Hybrid Car of the Year, because it's spacious, well priced and feels reassuringly normal to drive. What's more, it's been refreshed since our test.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review >>

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid (cont.)

Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Hybrid Premium - interior

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

Cons
Limited rear-seat head room
Unsettled ride around town on bigger wheels
Plug-in hybrid model is expensive

4. Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

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True MPG 49.2mpg

The Yaris Hybrid's average True MPG is good rather than great for a small car, but it has the best urban figure of any model we've ever tested: 80.0mpg. Throw in light controls, a tight turning circle and a supple yet well controlled ride, and it makes a fine city car.

Read our full Toyota Yaris review >>

Toyota Yaris (cont.)

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Pros
Spacious
Hybrid is unique in the small car class
Very reliable

Cons
Not an exciting drive
Dull interior

3. Kia Niro Hybrid

Kia Niro front three quarters

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True MPG 50.1mpg

We're huge fans of the Niro's fully electric sister car, the e-Niro, naming it our overall Car of the Year in 2019. But the hybrid version doesn't make as much sense because it costs more than conventional rivals and isn't as practical or good to drive.

Read our full Kia Niro review >>

Kia Niro (cont.)

2019 Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid 2 DCT Auto - interior

Pros
Ultra-low company car tax for the Niro PHEV
Well equipped
Seven-year warranty

Cons
Other family SUVs are cheaper
Not much fun to drive
Small boot

2. Toyota Prius 1.8 VVT-i

Toyota Prius 2020 RHD front cornering

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True MPG 50.5mpg

The Prius is the most famous hybrid of them all, and offers slightly better real-world economy than its main rival, the Ioniq. However, overall we rate the Hyundai slightly higher, because it's quicker, better equipped and more fun to drive.

Read our full Toyota Prius review >>

Toyota Prius (cont.)

Toyota Prius 2020 RHD dashboard

Pros
Excellent fuel economy
Urban refinement
Low company car tax

Cons
Sluggish on the open road
Grabby brakes
Poor rear head room

1. Toyota Corolla 1.8 VVT-i Hybrid

Toyota Corolla GR 2020 RHD right wide front tracking

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Test MPG  60.6mpg

If you're in the market for a new family car, the Corolla should definitely be on your shortlist, regardless of whether or not you're specifically looking for a hybrid. It's more efficient in the real-world than many diesel rivals, comes loaded with safety kit and offers a very comfortable ride. 

Read our full Toyota Corolla review >>

Toyota Corolla (cont.)

Toyota Corolla GR 2020 RHD dashboard

Pros
Seriously low CO2 emissions
Comfortable ride
Loads of standard kit

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

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