Best hybrid cars in 2018 UK: From i8 to Golf GTE, these are the best hybrids on sale
Let’s face it, electric cars are the future, but right now, in 2018, they’re not quite ready.
EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE are great, but they lack the range and infrastructure to easily replace conventional cars. So if you’re looking to get something eco-friendly and cheap to run, but with a acceptable range, what do you buy? The answer is a hybrid.
Hybrids give you fairly clean energy while offering good value on your tank of petrol. But that’s not even the most important bit; they also provide you with the power and range you’d expect from a conventional car, too.
Registrations for EVs and hybrids increased by more than 27% in 2017, compared to the year before, up from 36,535 to 46,522 and this rise has been attributed to the confusion of diesel cars being banned. It’s also thanks to greater awareness about EVs, a rise in electric and hybrid cars from key manufacturers, and a boost in infrastructure.
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So, as hybrid technology becomes cheaper and easier to manufacturer, and demand continues to grow, car makers are now producing more hybrid cars than ever. But which one should you buy? Here, we’ve put together a list of our favourite hybrid cars on the market right now.
This list is in no particular order. Each of these cars cater for very different people and needs, but they all have a hybrid powertrain in common. For example, you wouldn’t consider a Volvo XC90 at the same time as a BMW i8.
What is a hybrid car?
Best hybrid cars in 2017
Best hybrid supercar: BMW i8 (from £104,540)
The BMW i8 is one of the most striking cars on the road today, but it’s also one of the most sophisticated. Launched in 2014, the BMW i8 uses 220hp 1.5 litre turbocharged internal combustion engine for the rear-wheels, and pairs it to a 129hp electric motor that powers the front ones.
Combine a largely carbon fibre construction and breathtaking – but also aerodynamically efficient design, and the i8 can go from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, and yet still travel around 20 miles emission free. Of course, it also looks amazing too, and features curves and lines that make it look like a real life concept car.
Best hubrid executive saloon: Mercedes E Class E350e hybrid (starts at £34,440)
The Mercedes C Class hybrid used to be our favourite hybrid executive saloon, but it’s since been usurped by the new Mercedes E Class. Although it costs anything from £34,440 to £59,590, the new E350e plug-in hybrid is by far one of the most refined dual power cars you can get right now. It’s a new E Class, so it’s got cutting-edge tech such as remote parking and connected car functionality, but it’s aso a hybrid, too.
According to Mercedes, the new E Class will return around 134mpg, while CO2 emissions range from 49 to 57g/km depending on whether you go for 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels. What’s more, the E350e has an all-electric range of up to 20 miles, so you can complete most journeys without even turning the engine on.
Best hybrid SUV: Volvo XC90 T8 (starts at £60,455)
We drove the Volvo XC90 last year and found it was one of the most advanced SUVs we’d ever stepped foot in. It’s no surprise then, that Volvo has also upped the technology under the bonnet too, adding a monstrous T8 twin engine powerplant.
In addition to a 320bhp turbocharged and supercharged engine, the Volvo’s T8 powertrain adds an 87hp electric motor. The result? In the aptly named Power Mode, the XC90 T8 can rocket to 60mph in 5.3 seconds – but it can also save you money in Eco Mode. Make sure you charge it from the mains, however, as doing it on-the-go sharply reduces your fuel economy.
Best hybrid budget saloon: Toyota Prius (starts at £23,395)
First launched in 1997 to relatively little acclaim, the Toyota Prius is the car that started it all, and it’s now rightly the most popular hybrid car on the road: if you’ve got a minicab or an Uber in the last few days, there’s a very good chance you were in a Prius.
This year, Toyota updated its hybrid pioneer with sharper styling and even better fuel performance at 85.6mpg. If you’d prefer a plug-in version of the Prius, you’re in luck; Toyota announced a plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) of the Prius at this year’s New York Motor Show.
Best hybrid premium hatchback: Audi A3 e-tron (starts at £35,690)
The Audi A3 Sportback is one of the best premium hatchbacks on the market, and the Audi A3 e-tron takes all of that and combines a 1.4-litre TFSI with an electric motor. The result? The Audi A3 e-tron is one of the best hybrids around, and only puts out of 37g/km of CO2, and around 177mpg.
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Throw in the premium fit and finish you’d expect from an Audi A3, and the result is a eco-friendly and stylish package that makes a lot financial sense.
Best hybrid hatchback: Volkswagen Golf GTE (starts at £33,755)
The Golf is one of the most iconic, enduring models in VW’s history, so it’s pretty significant that Volkswagen has released a hybrid version of the hatchback. From the outside, the Golf GTE looks like any other Golf, but VW has managed to add a 101bhp electric motor to a more traditional 148bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine.
Although it lacks the finesse of thoroughbred Golf GTI, the GTE offers good performance on B roads – and even better performance on the motorway. Volkswagen says the Golf can return around 41.7mpg when using a combination of its petrol and electric engines.
Best hybrid for city driving: BMW i3 Range Extender (starts at £34,130)
We included the super-refined i3 in our “Best electric cars roundup“, but it also comes in a hybrid version. The i3 “Range Extender” model adds a small 650cc two-cylinder motor, and it only comes to life when the battery drops to 3.5% – or around three miles of range. Interestingly, the motor doesn’t actively power the wheels but instead acts as a generator for the i3’s existing batteries.
The result? The Range Extender i3’s range is almost doubled to around 190 miles – but it does cost an extra £3,150. However, if you’re interested in an i3 we’d say DON’T buy one just yet. Reports suggest BMW will be new model of the i3 as early as June this year.
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