The 10 best hybrid cars for 2020

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

8 Jan 2020 18:02

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 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.

Editor's note: Images are purely illustrative and may not reflect mentioned trim levels

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10: Audi Q5 TFSIe

Audi Q5 driving

The Q5 has long been one of our favourite large SUVs, thanks to its hushed cruising manners, comfortable ride and classy interior.

10: Audi Q5 TFSIe - interior

Audi Q5 interior

And while, this plug-in hybrid version is considerably more expensive than a diesel Q5 to buy, it compensates with far more performance and significantly cheaper BIK tax bills.

9: 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 hatchbacks rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

9: 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.

8: Mercedes S560e

Mercedes 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 stunning interior, and adds a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine under the bonnet working in conjunction with an electric motor.

8: Mercedes S560e - interior

Mercedes S560e - interior

You can travel for around 30 miles on electric power alone – or use the electric motor to boost acceleration.

7: BMW 530e

BMW 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.

7: BMW 530e - interior

BMW 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.

6: Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid front three quarters

The Ioniq has long been one of our favourite hybrids, because it combines low running costs and a relatively low price with a reassuringly normal driving experience, plus it's more practical and smarter inside than its main rival, the Toyota Prius.

6: Hyundai Ioniq - interior

Hyundai Ioniq - interior

Hyundai offers conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, although it's the former that we rate highest.

5: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Honda CR-V Hybrid front three quarters

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 and refined CR-V you can buy, so makes a great family car.

4: Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo XC90 front three quarters

The T8 version of the XC90 hides an ace up its sleeve: it's the only plug-in hybrid seven-seat SUV on sale today.

4: Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

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 flexible interior.

3: Skoda Superb iV

2019 skoda superb iv white driving front

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.

3: Skoda Superb iV - interior

Skoda Superb - interior

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.

2: Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Hybrid Design 1.8 VVT-i

Even the lesser 1.8-litre Corolla offers adequate acceleration for most situations, while the 2.0-litre is properly punchy.

2: Toyota Corolla Hybrid - interior

Toyota Corolla Hybrid Design 1.8 VVT-i - interior

Add in a cosseting ride, generous standard spec and super-low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions that make it an excellent choice for both private and company drivers, and Toyota's latest family car really stands out.

1: BMW 330e

BMW 330e

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.

1: BMW 330e - interior

BMW 330e - interior

What's more, every material feels suitably expensive, the infotainment system is a cinch to use and there’s a decent amount of space in the back. The 330e is a truly great car.

So what about the hybrid to avoid?

Infiniti Q50

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 - 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.