Honda InsightWith fuel prices on the up, our guide to used hybrid cars is on hand for those looking for a hi-tech approach to cutting fuel and tax bills. And with Toyota recently announcing the sale of its three millionth hybrid-powered car, they’re more widely available than ever before.

By combining a traditional, petrol-powered engine with an electric motor, hybrids capture the energy usually lost whilst braking and store it in batteries. It’s then used to help power the engine when accelerating. More advanced cars with full hybrid systems can travel on electric power alone, meaning zero-emissions at low speeds.

While other manufacturers have recently introduced hybrids and many more are due soon, only Honda, Toyota and its luxury subsidiary, Lexus, have been selling them for long enough to make them affordable whatever your budget.

From a Honda Civic IMA for £3,000 to the super-quick Lexus GS for just £15,000, here’s our guide to used hybrids for every budget:

Honda Civic IMA

Honda Civic IMACO2 emissions: 116 g/km MPG: 57
The first-generation Honda Civic saloon-based hybrid features IMA (Integrated Motor Assist), which still forms the basis of Honda’s range of hybrids.

It’s not the most advanced system, with the electric motor unable to power the car by itself. Fuel economy advantages may not be as great, but on the plus side there’s less to go wrong.

Owner review rating: 4.4

Honda Insight (Mk 1)

Honda Insight Mk1CO2 emissions: 80 g/km MPG: 83
It may have been the first hybrid to go on sale in the UK but the Insight is still the most advanced in many ways.

Extensive use of exotic materials such as magnesium makes it extremely light. Advanced aerodynamics including covered rear wheels plus a tiny 1-litre engine make this coupe super efficient.

It’s capable of up to 83mpg and a record low of 80 g/km CO2. Cars registered after March 2001 are exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge.

Owner review rating: N/A

Toyota Prius (Mk2)

Toyota Prisu Mk2CO2 emissions: 104 g/km MPG: 65
The car that made the words ‘hybrid’ and ‘Prius’ synonymous. Its distinctive, futuristic looks inside and out mean it wears its efficient heart on its bonnet.

It’s not particularly fast but it’s more than capable of keeping up with the traffic flow of its natural urban habitat. It’s also the first full hybrid in our list, meaning it can be driven for short periods on electric power alone at low speeds.

It was also the first hybrid ever tested by EuroNCAP, which gave it a five-star safety rating.

Owner review rating: 4.6

Honda Insight (Mk2)

Honda Insight Mk2CO2 emissions: 101 g/km MPG: 64
Similar in looks to the Prius, the second-generation Insight was designed to be the most affordable hybrid on the market.

Again, this Honda lacks the mechanical sophistication of the Toyotas, but its colour-changing dashboard and eco driving game make the act of driving efficiently engaging.

Comfort isn’t its strong suit, with firm suspension and the 1.3-litre engine struggles at speed.

Owner review rating: 4.3

Lexus GS 450h

Lexus GS450hCO2 emissions: 186 g/km MPG: 35
While most executive saloon cars are now powered by diesel to remain feasible to run, the Lexus GS mates a 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine to a full hybrid system.

While obviously not as economical as the smaller cars in the list, the GS450h’s emphasis is as much on performance as it is on economy. With a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, it certainly lives up to its ambition.

Owner review rating: 4.5

Toyota Prius (Mk3)

Toyota Prius Mk3CO2 emission: 92 g/km MPG: 70
The latest, third-generation Prius is a big step forward over its predecessor.

It’s better to look at, better to drive and even more economical. Its interior is no less futuristic-looking, yet is made of much higher grade materials.

The new 1.8-litre petrol engine vastly improves performance, while it can travel further on electric drive alone.

Owner review rating: 4.5

Lexus RX 400h

Lexus RXCO2 emissions: 192 g/km MPG: 34
The Lexus RX remains the family hybrid of choice, particularly in areas subject to congestion charging.

More a crossover than a true 4×4, its interior is spacious, beautifully built and well equipped.

It’s not as good as a BMW X5 to drive, with a poor ride and sloppy handling but its low emissions and decent fuel economy count in its favour.

Owner review rating: 4.6

Lexus LS 600h

Lexus LSCO2 emissions: 218 g/km MPG: 30
Like the smaller GS, the even bigger and more luxurious Lexus LS 600h is more about improved performance than fuel economy – anything with a 5-litre V8 engine is bound to be rather thirsty.

There are few more comfortable cars to drive or be driven in and the big LS has every toy you’d ever need, particularly on the range-topping SE-L version.

Those ‘Hybrid’ badges also appeal to those wanting to appear more socially acceptable.

Owner review rating: 4.6