At a glance

  • Hybrids offer a great mid-ground for those wanting the best of both worlds
  • Small doesn’t have to come at the expense of practicality. You’ll find plenty of practical options on our list of the best small hybrids
  • Find out which of our picks comes out on top when it comes to fuel economy and electric range
  • Learn how you can save even more by buying a used small hybrid – we promise your wallet will thank you


Join us as we explore the best small hybrids on the market right now.

Our top tips for buying a small hybrid car

If you’re new to the world of hybrid and electric vehicles, then buying your first one can be a little daunting. If that’s the case then don’t worry, our top tips have got you covered: 

  • First, have a think about what exactly you’ll be using the car for. Hybrid vehicles tend to be better suited for city driving. As such, you’ll reap more benefits from a hybrid when using it for shorter journeys with light traffic. If you tend to drive longer distances at higher speeds, you may not see much of a saving in terms of fuel consumption.
  • Hybrid vehicles typically come with a higher price tag than their combustion-engine counterparts. However, buying a used hybrid can save you hundreds, if not thousands. So buying used is certainly an option worth considering.
  • When it comes to buying a hybrid, used or otherwise, it’s always a wise idea to check its warranty. If you’re buying a used vehicle you should find out if it still has any of its new car warranty intact. If not, it’s always worth asking the dealer if they provide any. 

For more top tips on buying a used car, our master guide contains everything you need to know – and then some! Be sure to check it out when you come to make your purchase. 

The different types of hybrid cars 

Hybrid cars work by pairing a conventional combustion engine i.e. an engine that uses petrol or diesel, with an electric motor and battery. There are four types of hybrid vehicles: 

  • Self-charging hybrids (also known as full hybrids) – as the name suggests, the batteries on self-charging hybrids charge themselves using regenerative charging
  • Plug-in hybrids –  (also known as PHEVs) – have a larger battery than self-charging hybrids so they can offer more range when it comes to electric power – though they will need to be plugged in to charge
  • Mild hybrids – this type of hybrid vehicle functions more like an advanced stop/start engine system. Using a very small battery and electric motor, mild hybrids can’t get very far on their electric battery alone
  • Range extender hybrid – these work in the same way all hybrid cars do but instead of the engine being connected to the wheels of the car, it’s connected to an onboard generator that recharges the electrical component whilst on the go 

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of hybrid cars our helpful guide covers everything you need to know.  

Before we move on, a quick heads up; our list of the best small hybrid cars primarily focuses on plug-in and self-charging hybrids. If you’re solely looking for PHEVs then you should check out our list of the 10 best plug-in hybrids.

Are small hybrid cars cheap to run? 

If we compare the running costs of a small hybrid car with a conventional, combustion-engine car, then yes, we can say that hybrid vehicles are relatively cheap to run. 

Hybrid cars are known to improve fuel economy to provide a better return compared with pure petrol or diesel models. Small hybrid cars especially, are better suited to city driving with lots of stops/starts. So if you’re driving your car this way you can expect to save money on fuel. 

Plus, hybrid cars tend to pay less tax in comparison with petrol and diesel cars. If you’re looking for more information on road tax for electric and hybrid cars our handy guide contains everything you need to know.

What are the best small hybrid cars?

So without further delay, let’s take a look at the best small hybrid cars in the UK right now.

1. Best small hybrid cars: Honda Jazz

Despite topping our list of the best small hybrids cars the Honda Jazz has a surprisingly spacious interior, more so than a lot of its rivals.

The Jazz packs a lot into a small package, with great versatility making this a good option for drivers who need plenty of space but in a compact car.

Thanks to its ‘magic seats’ feature that allows the rear chairs to be folded upwards to create a larger boot space – the Honda Jazz has the potential to hold all those essential family items. Think prams, sports equipment and overnight bags. It boasts 304 litres of boot space, or 1,205 litres when you manually fold the rear seats down flat. For context, a carry-on flight bag is around 40 litres.

This plug-in hybrid electric is known for its reliability, value for money and compact size – making it the ideal choice for families and couples living that city life.

Best Features


  • Compact size means it’s easy to park – great for city driving
  • Light steering – great for nipping around town
  • Its hybrid system is efficient and can help lower fuel bills
  • The Honda Jazz has a great reputation for reliability
  • Magic Seats means that the Jazz is super spacious
  • Regular hybrid
  • Up to 61.4mpg
  • 1.5-litre petrol engine
  • Only the most recent model is a hybrid
  • Five seats

2. Best small hybrid cars: Toyota Yaris

Toyota’s Yaris is a superbly efficient option, making it a must-have for drivers who want to cut their fuel bills

Next on our list of the best small hybrid cars is the fresh-faced Toyota Yaris. Bringing fuel efficiency and low running costs to the forefront – this is definitely a car worth considering if you’re on a budget. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned its impressively low average price range.  

Whilst admittedly the Yaris doesn’t boast as much boot space as its competitors, that’s not to say it doesn’t make use of its interior. In fact, considering its size, you’ll find ample leg and headroom in the rear. 

Best Features

  • The Yaris is focused on efficiency and low running costs
  • Excellent reputation for reliability
  • Plenty of used options available on
  • Regular hybrid
  • The latest model uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine with hybrid assistance 
  • Up to 68.9mpg
  • The previous generation of Yaris also used a hybrid engine
  • Five seats
  • 286 litres of boot space, seats can be folded down to increase this.

3. Best small hybrid cars: Renault Clio E-Tech

The Renault Clio may have been on sale for a long time, but cleverly, the hybrid E-Tech has brought it firmly up to date

The Renault Clio E-Tech combines a 1.6-litre combustion engine with not one but two electric motors making it the most powerful Clio in its current range – and cheaper to run, too. Plus, its light and nimble handling combined with its compact size makes it the ideal hybrid for city zipping. 

It doesn’t stop there, though, the Clio E-tech has a great electric range for a hybrid and is capable of returning up to 64.2 MPG. Meaning it offers decent fuel economy with low C02 emissions.

Best Features

  • Two electric motors boosting performance
  • Light and nimble handling ideal for city driving
  • Regular hybrid
  • Combines 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors
  • Up to 64.2mpg
  • Only Clios with ‘E-Tech’ badging are hybrid
  • Most powerful Clio in the current range
  • All cars get a large iPad-like 9.3-inch touchscreen
  • Five seats
  • 301 litres of seats-up boot space

4. Best small hybrid cars: Audi A3 TFSI-e

Efficiency blends with upmarket features in the A3 TFSI e – this is one premium-feeling hatchback

No list of the best smallest hybrids would be complete without the Audi A3 TFSI-e. Oozing with style and sophistication, this plug-in hybrid comes with digital dials, an impressive 10.1 central touchscreen and LED lights on both the interior and exterior. 

But image and technology aren’t the only areas the Audi A3 TFSI-e excels in. Its turbocharged petrol engine combined with its powerful electric battery, (capable of managing up to 253 MPG when fully charged), means this PHEV certainly doesn’t disappoint on the mileage front. 

Best Features

  • A3 TFSi-e promises lower running costs and reduced fuel bills
  • Can be charged via a home wall box or three-pin plug
  • Features Audi’s latest Virtual Cockpit digital dials and large central touchscreen
  • Plug-in hybrid
  • 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine
  • Latest model can travel for up to 37 miles on electric power alone
  • Up to 253mpg when fully charged
  • Earlier models were badged ‘e-tron’ while latest models use ‘TFSI-e’
  • Five seats
  • 280 litres of boot space, 1,100 litres with rear seats down

5. Best small hybrid cars: Volkswagen Golf GTE

The Volkswagen GTE takes the character of the sporty GTI and gives it a healthy dose of efficiency thanks to a plug-in hybrid setup

The next small hybrid on our list brings a sporty edge. The Volkswagen Golf GTE is practical but not at the expense of style – so it’s no wonder this timeless classic consistently comes out on top. The turbocharged engine means you can expect a speedier drive, making this a great option for those on the hunt for a sportier run. 

Volkswagen Golfs are known for holding their value well, too. So even if you buy a used Golf GTE and decide to sell it later down the line, you can expect to get a decent price for it. You can learn more about car depreciation in our helpful guide. 

Best Features

  • The GTE gets a sportier setup than the regular Golf, with firmer suspension
  • It’s a great option if you’re looking for a hybrid with a sporty edge
  • A large central screen and digital dials included as standard on the latest models
  • Plug-in hybrid
  • 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine linked to electric motor
  • Hybrid version of the popular GTI
  • Can return up to 246mpg when fully charged
  • Can travel for up to 40 miles on electric-only power
  • Five seats
  • Spacious 273 litre boot

6. Best small hybrid cars: Kia Niro

Kia’s Niro is a great option for those new to hybrid cars as its clear controls and intelligently hybrid system make driving easy

When it comes to selling points, the Kia Niro brings them by the bucket load. The Niro hybrid feels a lot more intuitive to drive than some of its rivals, making it an excellent choice for first-time hybrid buyers. And given its three powertrain options – regular hybrid, PHEV and full EV, you’ll be sure to find it in a version that suits your needs. The plug-in hybrid is the most efficient of the petrol-engined versions, bringing up to 217mpg when fully charged

But it doesn’t stop there. The Kia Niro comes with a seven-year warranty, so even if you’re buying a used model there’s a strong possibility that it will be sold with some of its warranty still intact. What’s not to love here? 

Best Features

  • Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, front electric windows and ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
  • Kia models get a seven-year warranty
  • Plenty of used examples here at Motors
  • The Niro has three powertrain options – regular hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV
  • The PHEV uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with electric assistance 
  • Five seats
  • 451 litres of boot space

7. Best small hybrid cars: Mini Countryman PHEV

The Mini Countryman is a compact SUV which packs a lot of character into one well-designed and smartly finished plug-in hybrid 

Minis are known for their compact size so it will come as no surprise to see the Mini Countryman on our list of the best small hybrids. The first in Mini’s range to get a hybrid installation, the Countryman’s inner set-up provides a smooth drive with improved traction. This, combined with its raised driving position, giving you a clear sight of the road ahead, makes it worth its weight in gold during the winter. 

But that’s not all the Mini Countryman brings to the table. There’s no denying this is one of the most stylish hybrids on our list, with its trademark mini look, sleek interior and automatic boot – this is certainly one for style enthusiasts.

Best Features

  • Countryman was the first Mini model to get a hybrid setup
  • All cars get a good level of standard equipment with a large central touchscreen
  • Raised driving position gives a good view of the road ahead
  • Plug-in hybrid
  • 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine linked to electric motor
  • Capable of returning up to 166mpg when fully charged
  • Latest versions can travel for up to 38 miles on electric power alone
  • Five seats
  • Boot space measures 450 litres as standard
  • 1,390 litre boot space with seats down

8. Best small hybrid cars: Toyota Corolla

If long-distance comfort is what you’re after then the Corolla’s pairing of refinement and great ride quality make this the hybrid for you

When it comes to the best small hybrid cars the Toyota Corolla is definitely up there! This model focuses on comfort making it a wise choice for those who tend to travel longer distances. On top of this, you can expect top-of-the-range interior technology and equipment including a high-definition touchscreen and extra safety assistance equipment. 

But comfort isn’t all the Toyota Corolla brings to the table. Fitted with either a 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric assistance – this scores well in the fuel economy department and is a relatively cheap PHEV to run too.

Best Features

  • Focus on comfort makes it great for long-distance drives
  • A recent update brings more interior equipment and technology
  • A Commercial version is available for those looking for a van-like option
  • Recent models get an eight-inch touchscreen with phone connectivity and satellite navigation
  • Regular hybrid
  • Latest models use either a 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre petrol engine with electric assistance 
  • Can achieve up to 65.9mpg
  • Five seats
  • 361 litres of boot space

9. Best small hybrid cars: Suzuki Swift Hybrid

The Suzuki Swift Hybrid takes the regular Swift and makes it even better thanks to a really efficient engine setup

The Suzuki Swift is a fun, reliable and affordable drive, making it an ideal small hybrid for those on a budget. Its boxier body not only gives it a funkier shape than some of its rivals but also means it has a surprisingly spacious interior. And, you can lower the rear seats for expanded boot space, giving you even more room for those essential family items. 

In terms of running costs, the Suzuki Swift is known for offering quite the economical drive. So not only can you save money on buying a used model, but will find its cheap running costs are kind on your wallet too.

Best Features

  • Features mild-hybrid technology for lower emissions and improved efficiency
  • The latest Sport model also gets a hybrid engine with more power
  • Excellent reputation for reliability
  • Mild hybrid
  • Uses a 1.2-litre petrol engine linked to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system
  • Can return up to 52.3mpg
  • An all-wheel-drive version – called AllGrip – offers a good deal more traction in slippery conditions
  • Five seater
  • Boot space measures 265 litres, can expand by lowering down rear seats 

10. Best small hybrid cars: Volvo XC40

Volvo’s XC40 brings a really solid cabin feel and that all-important efficiency alongside loads of cutting-edge technology 

Last but certainly not least on our list of the best small hybrid cars is the Volvo XC40. The build quality on the XC40 is nothing short of superb. This, combined with its sleek and sophisticated interior and exterior makes it a top pick for those looking for a stylish drive. 

The Volvo XC40 comes in three powertrain choices too, including PHEV, mild and regular hybrid, so you’ll certainly be able to find a version that suits your needs.

Best Features

  • XC40 is Volvo’s smallest SUV but is surprisingly spacious
  • Excellent build quality
  • Large central display is clear and easy to use
  • The XC40 scored highly when it came to safety
  • Features plenty of assistance systems and airbags as standard
  • Relatively compact size makes it easier to park
  • Plug-in hybrid (mild and regular hybrids are also available)
  • Combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor
  • Capable of returning up to 134.5mpg
  • Should manage up to 28 miles on electric only power
  • Five-seater
  • 419-litre boot, increased to 1,295 by folding down rear seats 

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