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Used Car of the Year Awards contenders: hybrid cars
You’ll have to wait until 30 September for the winner of the 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year to be announced, but you can get a preview of the top contenders here...
Less than £15,000
It seems only right that one of the originators of this class should be here. The Prius is a hybrid with fuel economy almost unmatched among its competitors, as well as a compliant ride at low speeds and a strong electric motor and battery combination that keeps it in electric-only driving mode for longer than most.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The Ioniq was perhaps the first to really challenge the Prius in the hybrid sector and is, in fact, nicer to drive, due in no small part to having a more conventional automatic gearbox rather than the CVT one in the Prius. The Ioniq can be found for slightly less money than the equivalent Prius, too, making it even better value.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Neither of the aforementioned hybrids can go a long way on battery power alone, and that's where the bigger battery of the plug-in Outlander wins out, because you can do around 20 miles on mains power alone. If you only drive short distances and have easy access to a charger the Outlander can be even cheaper to run than the Prius and Ioniq, and it's a much bigger and more practical car.
Less than £25,000
If you can regularly charge your car, a plug-in hybrid like the 530e makes a lot of sense. Running one can be eerily quiet, especially around town when you're exploiting its 29 mile range on electric power alone. Boot space does suffer slightly, but the rest is pure 5 Series, so expect a smooth ride and a well-equipped interior.
The smaller battery pack of the 330e shortens the range compared with the 530e to 23miles, but it does mean quicker recharge times, which could be important when zipping between meetings. If you want electric motoring wrapped up in a premium image the 330e's a tempting package.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
When the battery is fully charged, the Golf GTE can give the hot hatch GTI a run for its money – particularly in running costs. You can also travel 31 miles between charges in your GTE. The rest is very much like a regular Golf, and that's a good thing. It rides well, is roomy and practical and great value, too.
Less than £40,000
Volvo XC90 T8
The big battery in the XC90 means you can travel around 28 miles on battery power alone, and there's no compromising on seating because the T8 seats seven, just like the regular XC90. It's great value, too.
BMW X5 xDrive40e
If a regular diesel X5 doesn't work for you then this plug-in hybrid 40e could be just the answer because it has an electric-only range of nearly 20 miles, and drives almost as well as the regular version. It's quick, too, and opuent inside.
The E300de is unusual in this class in that it is a diesel plug-in hybrid which is intended for those who have to travel long distances but still be able to get into low emissions zones in a city centre with its healthy 30 mile electric range. So unlike the bigger petrol SUV rivals it faces, you can run the E300de on its engine alone and save the battery and not be hit with horrendous fuel bills.
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