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Published: 7th December 2015

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Top 5

Top 5 Best hybrids

The best hybrids give you the best of both worlds: some zero-emission motoring, as well as greater range for longer journeys

Published: 7th December 2015
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When they first arrived on the motoring scene, hybrids were something of an oddball – a car that you would choose only to be seen to be green. Now, though, it couldn’t be more different; and, with a wider choice of models from more manufacturers, there’s now a hybrid for every reason – from supermini to supercar – all united by the common theme of having two power sources, an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. All will run for a certain distance on purely electric power, giving zero-emission motoring and improving your fuel consumption, but with the added reassurance of the engine for longer journeys.

True, the big question is whether a hybrid is the right car for you. They tend to suit buyers who spend a lot of time in town, where it’s easiest to take full advantage of all-electric running. However, if you’re more regularly flying up and down motorways, a decent turbodiesel may make more sense.

Even when you know a hybrid is right for you, your choices don’t end there, as you’ll need to choose the right type of hybrid. Essentially, that means a choice between a regular hybrid and one of the new breed of plug-in hybrids.

In a regular hybrid, the batteries are recharged automatically as you drive, but in a plug-in, the batteries are larger and you can charge them up from the mains or a dedicated charge point. That means plug-ins have a longer range on electric power and better fuel economy, but they tend to be relatively expensive to buy, and you’ll need to have easy access to charging facilities.

If you reckon a hybrid is the car for you, then scan our list below to see which models our experts recommend. Whether you want a city car or a family car – even a hot hatch or a supercar – there’s a hybrid to suit…
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – the four-wheel drive one
It’s not hard to see why this is the UK’s best-selling hybrid car. After all, there are no real sacrifices to be made: the Outlander PHEV (which stands for Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, by the way) is a spacious and practical five-seat family car with a five-star safety rating and even four-wheel drive – and yet its CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km bring all sorts of benefits, particularly for company car users. Easy to drive and with a range of up to 30 miles on electric power alone, it’ll suit private buyers, too, because if they only do short journeys and can run the car almost solely on electric power, their motoring can cost just pennies.

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Toyota Yaris hybrid
Toyota Yaris hybrid
Toyota Yaris – the city-slicker one
A small car with an automatic gearbox is probably the perfect recipe for a city car – and that is exactly what the Yaris hybrid gives you. Combining a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, it juggles its two power sources smoothly and effectively, and is great around town. Admittedly, this is an expensive model within the Yaris range, but it’s also the most economical, as well as very well equipped and backed up by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Last, but not least, if you want a hybrid, this is one of the cheapest such cars in the UK, thousands cheaper than any of Toyota’s other hybrids.

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Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE – the hot hatch one
Who says you can’t enjoy driving when you have a hybrid? Not Volkswagen, that’s for sure. It’s no accident that the GTE has been made to look like the GTI, because this plug-in hybrid certainly has enough pace to keep up with genuine hot hatches; but it has something that none of them have: average fuel economy of more than 150mpg and CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km. Thanks to the combination of its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, it manages very smooth, quiet and refined progress. And, above all, you get all the class and quality that make any Golf such a desirable thing.

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Toyota Prius+
Toyota Prius+
Toyota Prius+ - the seven-seater one
Toyota was one of the pioneers of hybrid technology with the original Prius, and the company is at it again with the Prius+, an MPV powered by a hybrid powertrain. To this day, it remains a unique proposition: the UK’s only seven-seat MPV with CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km. Admittedly, the third row of seats will only suit children and the quality of materials in the cabin isn’t great, but the hybrid drivetrain really suits the kind of relaxed driving style that a family will prefer, and there’s plenty of standard equipment to justify the car’s relatively high price.

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BMW i8
BMW i8
BMW i8 – the supercar one
No, you’re not dreaming: there really is such a thing as a hybrid supercar. And, if you don’t believe us, look no further than the vital statistics of this amazing car: 0-62mph in just over four seconds and a top speed of 155mph, and yet its official average fuel economy is over 130mpg and its CO2 emissions of just 49 mean it’s exempt from the London congestion charge. Away from paper and on the road, it’s just as impressive. You might find it hard to believe that a car that’s powered by a mixture of a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine and some electric motors can give its driver the full supercar experience, but the i8 really does. A supercar with a conscience – who’d have thought it?

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Tags that apply: #Top 5 #hybrid #BMW #i8 #Mitusbishi #Outlander PHEV #Toyota #Yaris #Prius+ #Volkswagen #Golf GTE