Hybrid cars are powered partly by electric and partly by traditional combustion engines. Their low emissions and fuel economy make them popular with all kinds of drivers.
There are two types of hybrid car: parallel and series. Parallel hybrids are the most common and can be powered by the combustion engine or the electric drive-train separately, or use both at once.
Series hybrids only use the combustion engine to power an electric motor. The motor then drives the car and charges the battery. All hybrids store excess energy in the battery, using it to power the car at low speeds.
Hybrid cars have low fuel consumption and road tax, as well as reduced emissions. And those with very low CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less are exempt from the London congestion charge.
Even better, the BMW i3, Toyota Prius and Audi a3 e-tron plug-in hybrids qualify for a government grant to knock up to 35% off the purchase price, making hybrid cars cheaper than you think.
Here are 7 of the best hybrid cars available in the UK.
The Prius is the original hybrid car and Toyota’s new fourth generation design is seriously impressive. The fuel efficiency is amped up to 94mpg with CO2 emissions cut to only 70g/km. The Prius + also has a sharp new design with LED lights, electric seats and a host of new safety features including autonomous emergency braking.
This plug-in electric car is made into a series hybrid with a petrol engine. The BMW i3 is perfect if you don’t want the limitations of an electric car. The new model has an improved battery to increase the mileage and its full range is now 206 miles, which is incredible on just a 9 litre fuel tank. It manages 470.8mpg combining petrol and electric, with just 13g/km CO2. Plus it’s a quiet, comfortable car with a really original design.
The Yaris supermini hybrid is a small hybrid car that is cheaper and more compact than the Prius. It’s also very affordable to run, achieving up to 85.6mpg. And its low CO2 emissions of 75g/km make it free from road tax. The Yaris hybrid car also has a spacious interior and plenty of safety features.
The Audi e-tron is a plug-in electric hybrid car with a tremendous combined fuel efficiency of 176.6mpg and tiny 37g/km CO2 emissions. It switches intelligently between electric and petrol and can even operate in fully electric mode on short journeys. Plus the e-tron mobile app tracks battery charge on the go and can even start up the climate control remotely.
The Lexus IS 300h is a comfortable hybrid saloon car with a stylish interior and cushioned suspension. It has less fuel efficiency than smaller hybrid cars, coming in at 65.7mpg, and higher CO2 emissions at 99g/km. But the IS 300h combines the low running costs of a hybrid with the luxurious feel and slick handling of an executive car.
The hybrid Mercedes-Benz C Class is a compact executive saloon car with impressive exterior and interior trim. It manages a strong 78.4mpg and has just 94g/km CO2 emissions. The C300 BlueTec has a 2.1 litre twin turbo diesel but can run on just electric power for short distances and low speeds.
Porsche are leading the field in luxury hybrids with their powerful Panamera. It manages a huge 91mpg thanks to the V6 engine and strong electric motor, while creating just 71g/km CO2 emissions. It’s a large and full-powered sports car with very low fuel requirements and even has a boot – very unusual for Porsche.