Typically, hybrid cars are 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 good option reaping their return with excellent fuel economy, potentially saving you money in the long term. In addition, there are some surprisingly affordable hybrid models now available, which make fantastic first cars for young drivers.


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. The main hybrid powertrains are:

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

Naturally, each type has different pros and cons too. It is worth taking a moment to consider which suits your needs and lifestyle. Typically:

  • Plug-in hybrids have a combustion engine and an electric motor, able to switch 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
  • 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 needing to switch between the combustion engine and electric motor multiple times during a journey
  • Mild hybrids use petrol/diesel engines paired with an electric motor to reduce C02 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 (note, currently there are no range-extender hybrids on sale in the UK)


The hybrids on this list provide newer drivers with some genuinely affordable options to convert to a more eco-friendly, fuel efficient powertrain. There are also some models which are more expensive to buy new, but offer great used deals. Please, read on to discover our top 10 cheapest hybrid cars for young drivers.