The best hybrid cars in 2020 (and the one to avoid)

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

11 Oct 2019 15:20

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, with many 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.

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10: Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Like all Yaris models, the hybrid has light controls and a tight turning circle, so parking or negotiating narrow city streets is a doddle.

However, thanks to bespoke suspension it's more comfortable than conventional petrol variants, soaking up bumps and controlling body movements well.

10: Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

To top it all off, the Yaris Hybrid has the best town True MPG figure of any car we’ve tested. This makes the scratchy plastics and dated infotainment system easier to forgive.

9: 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.

9: BMW i8 - interior

BMW i8 - interior

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

8: Audi Q5 TFSIe

Audi Q5 TFSIe

Its ride and handling may be ordinary, but the RAV4 is a large and practical SUV that comes very well equipped and benefits from Toyota's stellar reliability record.

8: Audi Q5 TFSIe - interior

Audi Q5 TFSIe - interior

What's more, it makes plenty of financial sense if you're a company car driver, thanks to its low CO2 emissions.

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 hatchbacks 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 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.

6: 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.

5: 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.

5: 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.

4: Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq

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.

4: 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.

3: 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.

3: 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.

2: Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo XC90 T8

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.

2: 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.

1: Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Toyota Corolla is the best hybrid car you can buy right now. Even the lesser 1.8-litre model offers adequate acceleration for most situations, while the 2.0-litre is properly punchy.

1: Toyota Corolla Hybrid - interior

Toyota Corolla Hybrid - 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 it really stands out in this class.

So what about the hybrid to avoid...?

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.