Top 5 non-electric cars

Don’t want a car that needs plugging in? Well, worry not: there are lots of really talented models to choose from. And here we count down the 50 best...

Honda Civic and Volkswagen T-Roc noses

We're now into the top five cars that don't require plugging in, and on the next page you'll find our number one choice. But truth be told, every car from here on in deserves consideration if your budget allows.

5. Volkswagen T-Roc

With its few earlier shortcomings ironed out, the T-Roc is now the definition of a well-rounded yet eminently affordable small SUV

Volkswagen T-Roc rear drive past

Our pick 1.0 TSI 110 Life List price £27,045 Target Price £25,743 Target PCP £256 Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbo, petrol Gearbox 6-spd manual 0-62mph 10.8sec Top speed 115mph MPG 47.1 CO2 136g/km

When it comes to whisky, cheese and wine, all of these things tend to get better over time. In the world of small SUVs, the Volkswagen T-Roc has aged in a similarly positive way, thanks to a very effective mid-life update that addressed the car’s few initial shortcomings.

Drivers looking for fun might still be tempted by the more agile Ford Puma, but for everyone else, the T-Roc strikes an ideal balance between handling and comfort, being grippy and composed in corners yet having a well-cushioned ride. Combine the latter with low noise levels and the T-Roc is a better motorway companion than its rivals, too.

Volkswagen T-Roc dashboard

Meanwhile, its slightly larger exterior dimensions give rear seat occupants a little extra space for travelling in comfort. The T-Roc’s interior looks and feels much smarter than it did previously, too, thanks to the generous use of soft-touch materials, while the driving position is lofty and our preferred entry-level Life trim comes well equipped with alloy wheels, air conditioning and full LED headlights.

While those with a keen eye on running costs will do well to consider the hybrid Toyota Yaris Cross, the T-Roc’s 1.0-litre petrol engine balances plucky performance with respectable fuel economy. True, the engine needs to be revved hard to get going at a decent pace, but it doesn’t feel out of its depth in everyday driving.

So, several of its rivals stand out in one or two areas, but it’s the T-Roc’s comprehensive mix of abilities that makes it the most recommendable small SUV on sale.

Read our full Volkswagen T-Roc review or see the latest Volkswagen T-Roc deals

4. Honda Civic

In its 11th iteration, this family hatchback has found class-leading form with the introduction of hybrid power

Honda Civic front drive past

Our pick 2.0 e:HEV Sport List price £36,495 Target Price £34,902 Target PCP £407 Engine 4cyl, 1993cc, petrol, plus two electric motors Gearbox 1-spd automatic 0-62mph 7.9sec Top speed 111mph MPG 56.5 CO2 113g/km

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? The Honda Civic is proof that you can.

Despite the fact that the Civic name has been around for more than 50 years, this 11th-generation car is very much on trend. That’s because hybrid technology is standard, allowing this family hatchback to travel for short distances on electricity alone and be thrifty in its petrol consumption.

This tech really makes a difference, with the Civic achieving real-world economy of 50mpg-plus and giving the rival Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid a close run for its money.

Honda Civic dashboard

There’s more of a difference between them when the roads turn twisty and the driver wants to have some fun. The Civic isn’t just entertaining ‘for a hybrid’; it’s great to drive, full stop. With two electric motors bolstered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, performance is punchy, while high levels of grip and weighty, precise steering make the Civic an easy car to guide down a winding road. Body lean through corners is kept well in check, too.

Inside, the Civic’s interior hits the spot in terms of being both modern and usable. A sharp 9.0in infotainment touchscreen is accompanied by proper physical knobs and switches around it. Whether you need to tweak the volume of the stereo or the temperature of the air-con, the controls are close to hand and don’t require digging through a touchscreen menu.

Throw in generous equipment levels, space for four 6ft-tall occupants and a good-sized boot and there’s very little that counts against the Civic.

Read our full Honda Civic review or see the latest Honda Civic deals

3. Porsche 718 Cayman

In 4.0 GTS guise, the sweet-handling Cayman is proof that you don’t have to spend a six-figure sum to get the world’s best sports car

Porsche 718 Cayman front cornering

Our pick GTS List price £75,575 Target Price £75,575 Target PCP NA Engine 6cyl, 3995cc, turbo, petrol Gearbox 6-spd manual 0-62mph 4.5sec Top speed 182mph MPG 25.9 CO2 247g/km

You’ll have seen that a few other sports cars have made it into our top 50 countdown, but there’s no doubt that the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS is the best of its ilk.

Although it isn’t the range-topping version of the Cayman, the GTS is more readily available than its hardcore GT4 siblings and much cheaper. Yet, like those rarefied models, it packs a glorious 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine with a rich, soulful soundtrack, making it far more desirable than the entry-level four-cylinder variants.

The 394bhp flat six offers explosive performance when you want to have some fun, yet it’s docile and pulls easily from low revs when you’re just pootling along. In true sports car fashion, it comes with a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox to keep the engine stirred up in its sweet spot, although you can also pair this engine with a quick-acting dual-clutch automatic.

Porsche 718 Cayman dashboard

The Cayman’s handling is on a different level from that of most rival sports cars, too. True, the lighter Alpine A110 can feel more playful at regular road speeds, but the Cayman has far higher handling limits. Its steering is wonderfully precise and ideally weighted to give you plenty of confidence, and when you turn in to a bend, there’s virtually no body lean and an enormous amount of grip.

The Cayman is more practical than the A110, its two boots holding far more gear, plus you get an exemplary interior with an ideal driving position. Given all of the Cayman’s qualities, it’s hard to believe that you can have it all for far less money than an entry-level Porsche 911.

Read our full Porsche Cayman review or see the latest Porsche Cayman deals

2. BMW 4 Series Coupé

If you’re looking for something fun that seats four, this is the car we’d choose for its blend of dynamic prowess, quality and usability

BMW 4 Series front drive past

Our pick 420i M Sport (Pro Pack) List price £46,235 Target Price £43,554 Target PCP £469 Engine 4cyl, 1998cc, turbo, petrol Gearbox 8-spd automatic 0-62mph 7.5sec Top speed 149mph MPG 42.8 CO2 151g/km

While it’s true that the coupé market has changed significantly in recent years, evolving to include swoopy four-door saloons and SUVs with cut-down roofs, the traditional two-door BMW 4 Series has not only stood the test of time but still outshines the rest with its blend of sophistication, driver enjoyment and practicality.

There’s a wide range of strong engine options, from an economical 2.0-litre diesel to the potent 3.0-litre petrol M440i. Most buyers will be content with the entry-level 181bhp 420i, though, because it offers plenty of performance yet costs significantly less to buy and run than the more powerful petrol models.

BMW 4 Series Coupe dashboard

The 4 Series’ ground-covering ability is aided by exceptionally good body control, huge reserves of grip and agile handling. It’s at its very best if you go for M Sport trim with the optional M Sport Pro Pack added. This includes adaptive suspension, which makes the 4 Series as plush riding as an Audi A5 when set in Comfort mode, yet also tightens everything up to just the right degree in the Sport setting when the road is suitable for having some fun.

All the while, the 4 Series’ distinctive (some would say divisive) exterior styling conceals an impeccable interior that’s filled with rich materials and some of the best tech in the business, including an exceptionally user-friendly infotainment system. And if you can live without four doors, there’s enough space in the rear seats for average-sized adults to sit without feeling cramped, and a big enough boot to make the 4 Series perfectly practical for daily use.

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