A heads up, this list is going to focus on plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and self-charging hybrid models. If you’re looking solely for PHEVs then check out our 10 Best Plug-in Hybrids on Sale Today.
With its distinctive looks, the Hyundai Tucson is a stylish SUV that is available as a plug-in hybrid, a self-charging hybrid, and as a mild hybrid as well. In terms of this top 10 best hybrids list, we recommend the self-charging model and the PHEV. The former uses a 227bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 1.49kWh battery to provide a return of around 50mpg, which is excellent for an SUV, particularly one as spacious and comfortable as the Tucson. Plug-in hybrid models, on the other hand, have a 13.8 kWh battery paired to a 1.6-litre GDi engine, providing a 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 118mph. It also offers up to 38 miles in range on electric power alone, which is perfect for city driving.
Pros: 558-litre boot, extending to 1,737 litres with the rear seats down, and a spacious and comfortable cabin.
Cons: Bland interior and not particularly quick.
The BMW 330e is the plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series, and as fans of that car, we’re pleased to say that the 330e is every bit as impressive. It’s great fun to drive, it’s well built, and it has a stylish exterior and a high-quality cabin. The practical saloon further boasts lots of top tech and excellent performance, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor powered by a 12kWh battery. It has an all-electric range up to around 36 miles and it can reach 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds, with a top speed of 143mph. It’s a fantastic all-rounder of a car.
Pros: handles really well, has a class-leading infotainment system, and a good amount of interior space (seating 4 adults comfortably).
Cons: smaller boot (at 375-litres for the saloon) compared to petrol models, and a firm ride.
The Toyota Corolla is now offered with self-charging petrol-electric hybrid technology, with the choice of an efficient 1.8-litre engine, or a more performance-based 2.0-litre engine, which has 177bhp and a 0-62mph of just 7.9 seconds. Overall, it has a suitably plush and comfortable cabin, it offers good levels of practicality, and it’s fun to drive too (especially with the extra punch from the 2.0-litre engine). Most importantly though, it offers fantastic economy and a flexible range of body styles to choose from, including hatchback, saloon, and Touring Sports estate models. The estate and hatchback models are also built in Britain for those wanting to support the British automotive industry.
Pros: Plenty of front interior space and a comfortable ride experience.
Cons: PHEV models have a smaller 313-litre boot, compared to the usual 361 litres, and rear space is cramped (although it will seat 4 adults).
The latest Honda Jazz is now only available as a self-charging hybrid, pairing a 1.5-litre petrol engine with two electric motors and a single-speed gearbox. It continues the appeal of previous models, offering a spacious and practical cabin that’s amongst the best in class for a small car. It’s also known for being reliable and good value for money, proving well-suited to city driving. The hybrid model naturally brings much better fuel efficiency (with an official return of 62.8mpg) and lower CO2 emissions. There’s also the Honda Jazz Crosstar to consider, which is a hybrid SUV model of the Jazz hatchback.
Pros: strong build quality and reliability, as well as a 304-litre boot putting it above some rivals.
Cons: firm ride and bland in the looks and interior quality departments.
In many ways, the Toyota Prius is the car that helped kickstart the shift from combustion engines to hybrid powertrains, and it did so all the way back in 1997 when it was first on sale. Ahead of the curve, it’s recognised as the first volume-produced hybrid car. It’s now in its fourth generation and it continues to impress. The Prius is available as a self-charging hybrid and as a PHEV that can reach up to 34 miles on electric power. Whichever model you choose, you’ll find the Prius is comfortable and practical. It’s good to drive, with precise handling, and it has a solid reputation for reliability. It also comes with lots of standard equipment too, including adaptive cruise control, auto high-beam, and a rear-view camera.
Pros: comfortable cabin and very reliable.
Cons: Only 191 litres of boot space in the PHEV, and there are rivals that are more engaging to drive.
The Skoda Octavia iV pairs a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 13kWh battery to offer all-electric range up to 43 miles. It’ll accelerate 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 136mph, which are respectable figures. However, the real strength of the Skoda Octavia is in its superb practicality. It has a large boot, lots of interior space, and a well-finished cabin with high levels of comfort. The Skoda Octavia iV is available in estate and saloon body styles, and there’s also a self-charging hybrid as well. Personally, we prefer the PHEV model for the improved economy and lower CO2, but the self-charging hybrid still offers a good return with a claimed figure of 51.9mpg.
Pros: Comfortable and practical interior, with a 450-litre boot.
Cons: Dull styling, and prioritises comfort over the driving experience.
The plug-in hybrid model of the distinguished Mercedes E-Class executive saloon is available with a petrol or diesel engine, coupled with an electric motor. If you’re driving is more focused on smaller, city trips, then we’d recommend the petrol hybrid model. Whereas for longer journeys, the E300 de diesel hybrid is a more sensible option as it provides better mpg. This model will do up to 34 miles on electric power alone, and is also available as an estate. As you’d want from the E-Class, it’s very comfortable for long-distance journeys, and it has an impressive amount of space and a high-end cabin finished with top-quality materials. It has excellent performance too, reaching 0-62mph in only 5.9 seconds.
Pros: spacious and comfortable, with a luxurious interior.
Cons: a 400-litre boot, reduced by 150 litres compared to the E-Class, and not quite as engaging as rivals.
Only available in the top trims of the S Edition and R.S. Line models, the Renault Captur E-Tech plug-in hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, with 158bhp, and a 9.8kWh battery and automatic gearbox. It can reach up to 30 miles on electric power alone and can be recharged from a dedicated home wallbox in just 3 hours. Plus, it comes with lots of standard equipment, including a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a DAB radio. Alternatively, the Renault Captur is also available as a self-charging hybrid. Both the PHEV and self-charging hybrids come with an 8-year/100,000 miles warranty for the battery as well. And whether you buy a new or used Captur hybrid, you’ll find it’s a stylish looking crossover, with lots of interior space and excellent practicality.
Pros: a spacious and practical family car that is easy to drive.
Cons: Only a 265-litre boot, although it extends to a 1,275 litres with the rear seats folded, and the gearbox is disappointing and imprecise.
The BMW X5 xDrive 45e is a premium PHEV family SUV that has a larger 24kWh battery compared to most rivals, which allows it to reach up to 60 miles just on electric power alone. Add to that a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine, offering 389bhp and 600Nm of torque, and you have an SUV that has great performance power. It’ll do 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 146mph. Unfortunately, plug-in hybrid models are not available with 7 seats, but that’s the only downside. The X5 45e is every bit as spacious and luxurious as its combustible counterparts, and it has that improved economy thanks to that fantastic all-electric range.
Pros: 500-litre boot (although that’s 145 litres less than the combustion engine BMW X5), and excellent interior quality and space for 5 adults.
Cons: Expensive optional extras and high-starting price.
Available as a self-charging hybrid and as a PHEV, the Kia Sorento is an upmarket SUV that can comfortably carry up to 7 people. Focusing on the plug-in hybrid Sorento, this model pairs a 13.8kWh battery with a 261bhp, 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine. It can reach up to 35 miles on battery power alone, and hit 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds, which is great performance for an SUV of this size. It also has a top speed of 119mph and only takes around 3 hours from a 3kW home wallbox to recharge the car. It offers a refined driving experience, excellent practicality, and good equipment as standard, including an 8-inch infotainment system and heated seats. Plus, it has all-wheel drive, a neat Head Up Display (HUD), and lots of safety tech and driver assists.
Pros: comfortable and big on space (available with 7 seats), and has a practical 604-litre boot.
Cons: no 2-wheel drive option and high-starting price for its sector.
And consider going full electric with one of our Top 10 Electric Cars with the Longest Range. Find the right car for you with us.