At a glance

  • Hybrid cars are a great option for young drivers, with many affordable makes and models now available - check out our top 10 list for our very best recommendations
  • Plug-in, self-charging, mild and range-extender hybrids are the four main hybrid types available
  • The Toyota Yaris is a great option, with its compact size making it easy to park and drive
  • The Lexus NX offers loads of interior space, making it a good choice for young families


As you may know, hybrid cars tend to be more expensive upfront than their petrol and diesel counterparts. But, if you do a lot of driving – particularly in the city – then they can be a great option thanks to their excellent fuel economy, which will potentially save you money in the long term. 

Better yet, there are some surprisingly affordable hybrid models now available, which make fantastic first cars if you’re a young driver or have not long passed your test. So, if you’re interested in electric cars but don’t have the cash for one yet, nor the ability to charge at home, investing in an affordable hybrid makes for a decent stopgap.

Join us as we take a look at some of the different types of hybrid car available, as well as our top 10 cheapest hybrid cars for young drivers.

The types of hybrid cars available

In the world of hybrids, there are four main types to consider. It helps to know a little bit about each to know which variety is best for you. For more information on them, check out our complete guide to how hybrids work.

The main hybrid power sources (known as powertrains) are:

  • Plug-in hybrids
  • Self-charging hybrids
  • Mild hybrids
  • Range-extender hybrids

Naturally, each type has different pros and cons, so it’s worth taking a moment to consider which suits your needs and lifestyle. Typically:

  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have a combustion engine and an electric motor, switching between the two whenever needed. They tend to have a large battery that can be recharged at a charge point and usually offer distances of 20+ miles on the electric motor alone. This is a good choice if you have a charging facility at work or at home.
  • Self-charging hybrids work the same as plug-ins, but their batteries are charged directly from the combustion engine and from regenerative braking – typically they are driven shorter distances on electric power alone instead of needing to switch between the combustion engine and electric motor multiple times during a journey. A great option if you make lots of shorter, slower journeys or regularly drive in the city.
  • Mild hybrids use petrol/diesel engines paired with an electric motor to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency, but they don’t have the ability to drive on electric power alone.
  • Range-extender hybrids, conversely, have an electric drivetrain paired with a fuel-based auxiliary power unit (APU) designed to increase the battery’s range. It’s worth noting though, currently, there are no range-extender hybrids on sale in the UK.

The two most common hybrids are plug-ins and self-charging hybrids.

Tips for buying an affordable hybrid car as a young driver

As a young driver, you’ll likely want to ensure your new hybrid car is affordable and works well for your lifestyle. This will mean checking a variety of factors including:

  • If it’s cheap to run
  • The type of fuel it needs
  • Starting price
  • The cost to insure and tax
  • What equipment it comes with

So it’s wise to do your research beforehand. Then, there will be other factors to consider, such as whether it’s best for long-distance driving or shorter trips, whether it has the boot space you need, and whether it’s easy to manoeuvre. All of these kinds of things will influence your decision when it comes to buying a used hybrid car.

The top 10 cheapest hybrid cars for young drivers

In this list, we’ve rounded up the best affordable hybrid cars for you newer drivers who want to make the change but don’t have the most significant of budgets. 

We’ve focused mainly on ‘proper’ hybrids – cars that can run as pure EVs for a limited amount of time.

1. 1. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Hyundai Kona Hybrid SE Connect GDI

First on our list is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid, a great choice of cheap hybrid car for all you new or young drivers. This model has a really funky exterior design, but it’s also got loads of standard equipment and boasts a super efficient engine, which helps when it comes to fuel savings. Meanwhile, its low insurance group means your premiums won’t be too high. All this and more make it a great affordable hybrid car.

Best Features

Hyundai Kona Hybrid Key Features

  • Low insurance group means premiums won’t be too high
  • Light steering means it’s easy to park
  • Plenty of equipment fitted as standard makes it good value
  • Really efficient engine promises you fuel savings

2. 2. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Kia Niro

Next up is the Kia Niro, a great all-rounder thanks to its practical and spacious interior featuring hard-wearing materials that will still look good after many miles. This means you shouldn’t have to go running out to replace anything in a hurry, too. What makes this one of the best cheap hybrid cars though, is its low insurance group, meaning better premiums for you. On top of that, you get great equipment thrown in such as satellite navigation and air conditioning.

Best Features

Kia Niro Key Features

  • Low insurance group for better premiums
  • Has a large boot which makes it great for young families
  • Hard-wearing materials inside will stand up to daily use
  • All cars get plenty of good-value equipment such as satellite navigation and air conditioning

3. 3. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Toyota Yaris

We rate the Toyota Yaris for being a reliable car that’s both efficient and affordable, making it a fantastic choice for young drivers. The Yaris is a small hybrid – great for city driving – that also manages to bring a surprising amount of space should you need it. Meanwhile, its hybrid engine is superbly efficient, which will save you money in the long run; plus, its low insurance group means reduced premiums. All in all, its size, efficiency and spacious interior make this a good hybrid for young drivers.

Best Features

Toyota Yaris Key Features

  • Compact size means it’s easy to park and move about
  • Low insurance group means reduced premiums
  • ‘Regular’ hybrid needs no charging up with a plug
  • Its well-made interior has plenty of storage to help keep it tidy

4. 4. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Renault Captur

If you’re after a slightly bigger, but still affordable hybrid, the Captur, with its SUV-style appearance, might be the hybrid for you. Its good-sized boot and interior make it a great option if you’ve got little ones, while its raised position can give a confidence boost for new drivers. The Captur’s clever hybrid engine is also what makes it one of our best cheap hybrid car picks, as it’s much cheaper to run than a usual four-wheel drive.

Best Features

Renault Captur Key Features

  • More upright body style gives a confidence-inspiring view of the road ahead
  • Well-sized boot makes it a good choice for families
  • Loads of glass helps to make the interior brighter and reduce car sickness
  • In-car technology is easy to use – connecting your phone is simple

5. 5. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Toyota Prius

You might’ve heard of the Toyota Prius, as it’s one of the most famous hybrids around – offering great reliability for new or young drivers. Available as a plug-in or as a self-charging hybrid, the Toyota Prius is in fact the car that kick-started the revolution towards the fuel-efficient powertrain, as the first volume-produced hybrid vehicle – first on sale way back in 2000 in the UK. Not only that, its easy enough to get hold of in the used market too. Its low running costs and fuel costs are what make it a real steal though, making it a sure-fire hit for those looking to reduce their outgoings.

Best Features

Toyota Prius Key Features

  • Prius has a great reputation for reliability so should prove to be a trustworthy hybrid buy
  • Prius brings really low running costs and low fuel bills
  • Its surprisingly spacious interior has plenty of legroom for those sitting in the back
  • Loads of used cars available here on Motors mean there’s a lot of choice

6. 6. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Honda Jazz

Next on our list is the Honda Jazz, a great little car which comes jam-packed with features like cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and ‘magic seats’ which fold down giving you more space. Top spec Jazz’s also get Honda’s Connect infotainment system, plus front and rear parking sensors. Despite being relatively small, it has a surprising amount of space inside making it more practical than you might expect. And it’s affordable too, with the average price for a used one on Motors being around £2100-2900.

Best Features

Honda Jazz Key Features

  • Clever folding seats mean the Jazz’s cabin is more practical than you might expect
  • Its compact size makes the Jazz really easy to park
  • Solid plastics make it a robust choice for families
  • Well-sized boot is square and can accommodate a large shop with ease

7. 7. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Audi A3 Sportback TFSIe

Looking for something a little more sporty and stylish? The Audi A3 Sportback might just be the car for you. When it comes to affordability, yes the brand is slightly more expensive, but, the A3 Sportback TFSIe does bring an impressive 37-mile electric range which means you’ll be able to do lots of trips without needing the petrol engine at all, therefore making fuel savings. In addition to that, you’ll get loads of brilliant additional features such as a screen for satellite navigation and media functions and a large boot space great for road trips.

Best Features

Audi A3 Sportback TFSie Key Features

  • Hatchback style means the A3 has a large boot that’s big enough for several hand luggage-size bags
  • Its large battery means it can do 37 miles on electric-only power
  • All cars get a clever main screen that incorporates satellite navigation and media functions
  • Refined driving style makes it a great choice for long-distance drivers

8. 8. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Lexus NX

A great entry car into the world of hybrids, Lexus has packed some of its latest hybrid technology into the NX, along with some cutting-edge interior features, making it a good choice for those after a modern, tech-forward yet comfortable car. It’s also stylish and boasts plenty of interior space – making it great for young families, and holds its value really well in the second-hand market.

Best Features

Lexus NX Key Features

  • Funky design helps the Lexus NX to stand out from the crowd
  • The interior is packed with the latest technology so it’s great for button-pressers
  • Its raised seating position gives a confidence-inspiring view of the road ahead
  • Loads of interior space makes it a good choice for families

9. 9. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Mini Countryman PHEV

If you’re a young driver who has their eyes set on an SUV, then it’s worth considering the Mini Countryman, which is a great all-rounder of a car. That being said, it’s certainly not the cheapest hybrid car on this list, sitting at the higher end of £27k+ for a used one. Nonetheless, we’d still highly recommend this car as it provides an efficient return of 140 miles per gallon (MPG) to 166mpg, depending on how you drive it.  Overall, the plug-in hybrid Countryman combines low fuel costs and a practical cabin, as well as loads of equipment making for a car that really gets heads turning.

Best Features

Mini Countryman PHEV Key Features

  • The Countryman packs loads of equipment so it’s good value
  • The stylish interior is also very practical with plenty of headroom – ideal for taller passengers or growing kids
  • The 405-litre boot is large enough for a big trip to the supermarket
  • All-wheel-drive means it’s got a bit more traction when the roads of slippery

10. 10. The Top 10 Cheapest Hybrid Cars for Young Drivers: Volkswagen Golf GTE

Finally, we have the reliable Volkswagen Golf GTE, another recommended option for an affordable hybrid car ideal for young drivers. The GTE takes the sporty character of the Golf GTI and transplants it into a car with significantly lower running costs. Despite used models coming in at around £12,000, it’s efficient on fuel, boasts loads of interior space, and has a solid build quality and strong safety record – all making it highly appealing to new or young drivers. Meanwhile, there are plenty of them out there on the used market, leaving you spoilt for choice.

Best Features

Volkswagen Golf Key Features

  • Its hatchback body style is really practical with loads of interior space
  • The long production life of the Golf means there are loads of used examples to choose from
  • Solid build quality makes it a good option for busy families
  • Great safety record will ensure that buyers feel secure behind the wheel

So, there you have it, our top 10 cheapest hybrid cars list for young drivers is complete, giving you plenty of food for thought when it comes to choosing the right car for you. Check out the articles below for all things hybrid here at Motors.


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