In Brief

Best hybrid cars on sale in 2019: BMW i8 Roadster, Toyota Corolla and more

From off-roaders to sports cars, here are the best models that could save you money on fuel bills

Hybrid cars are on course for another major year in 2019, as concern over the effect of diesel vehicles and rising CO2 levels pushes buyers towards cleaner alternatives. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that registrations for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), which includes hybrid and fully electric cars, increased by 20.9% during 2018. 

That figure equates to 141,270 hybrid and electric vehicles, an increase of 24,377 over 2017’s results. 

If you’re looking to move over to a hybrid car in 2019, here are some of the best electrified vehicles on sale today:

BMW i8 Roadster

The BMW i8 hybrid showed that cutting your carbon footprint doesn’t have to come at the expense of driving thrills when it launched in 2014. Four years on and the company releases the i8 Roadster [top] - a drop-top version of the electrified sports car.

The i8 Roadster is powered by a 288bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that’s connected to a front-mounted 141bhp electric motor, says Autocar. When the two motors work together, they produce a combined output of 374bhp that’s sent to all-four wheels.

“The combination of electric and petrol power in Hybrid Drive Sport mode provides the car with both brutish four-wheel drive accelerative qualities off the line and great long distance touring traits on the open road”, the magazine says. “There is excellent flexibility across a broad range and, once you’ve wound on sufficient revs, there’s a stirring engine note, too.”

The i8 Roadster is in showrooms now, with prices starting at £126,200.

Toyota Corolla
Toyota Corolla

Simply put, the new Toyota Corolla is “the best hybrid car you can buy right now”, claims WhatCar?

What makes the Corolla such an appealing prospect for car buyers is that there’s plenty of performance on offer in every model, the reviews site says. Entry-level 1.8-litre cars have “adequate acceleration for most situations”, while range-topping 2.0-litre models are “pleasantly punchy.”

Average fuel enconomy comes in at around 50 to 66mph, with emissions between 76 to 89g/km of CO2, says electric motoring site DrivingElectric. This is “broadly competitive” with rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro.

There’s also plenty of head and legroom for passengers in the backseats, while boot space comes in at 361 litres on the entry-level cars and 313 litres on more powerful models, the site says. Buyers can opt for the Corolla Hybrid Estate if they’re after a bigger boot. 

It’s by one of the cheapest examples on this list, too, with Corolla hybrid prices starting at £23,750.

Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid 
Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai

Hybrid models may be high-tech, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be expensive. Hyundai’s Ioniq plug-in hybrid hatchback is a great example of this, offering an all-electric range of 39 miles for around £27,000, notes Auto Express.

The coupe-like hatchback is powered by a 45kW electric motor with a conventional 1.6-litre petrol engine, the magazine adds. With the two working in tandem, drivers can expect an impressive combined fuel economy of roughly 82mpg. 

With CO2 emissions at 79g/km, the Ioniq plug-in hybrid is “far better than many similarly sized diesel hatchbacks”, says WhatCar?.

Drivers also get plenty of kit as standard, the reviews site says. This includes rear parking sensors, climate control and automatic emergency braking - ideal for those driving through cities on their commute.

BMW 530e iPerformance 

Executive saloons are hugely popular with drivers who cover tens of thousands of miles every year. But the uncertainty over the future of diesel cars is pushing some buyers towards vehicles with electric powertrains. 

The BMW 530e iPerformance will no doubt prove to be a popular choice. The four-door saloon uses the carmaker’s iPerformance technology to deliver low emissions without compromising BMW’s signature “sharp handling”, says Auto Express

The 530e’s battery can be used to power the car for roughly 29 miles, the magazine says. It can also be used to provide more power to the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine for drivers who need to get up to motorway speeds quickly.

Entry-level cars start at £46,700, while performance-focused 530e M Sport models start at £50,000, says CarBuyer

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi Outlander

The Outlander PHEV was a “pioneering” SUV when it first arrived in 2013, says CarBuyer. Although sales of the car are now in their sixth year, the SUV’s hi-tech charging system and low, affordable price tag still make it an alluring prospect.  

Mitsubishi’s electrified SUV was one of the first crossovers to offer plug-in charging technology. The system allows drivers to top up the car’s battery from home with a full 28 miles of range. This gives drivers a distinct advantage as it means they don’t have to rely on the vehicle’s combustion engine to top up the car’s batteries after they leave the house.

While the Outlander PHEV is starting to show its age, it remains a good option for drivers of company cars. The SUV’s company car tax rates are “extremely low”, says WhatCar?. This makes it “rather more attractive as a company car than as a private buy.” 

Mitsubishi also has a good reputation for reliability, says Autocar. But if things go pear shaped the hybrid SUV comes with a five-year warranty.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Porsche Panamera e-hybrid

Porsche may be best known for its four-seater 911 sports car but the company has been investing in electric cars in recent years. 

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is the German carmaker’s attempt to make a five-seater vehicle that blends the practicality of an estate with the economy of a hybrid and the performance of a 911.

The result is a 671bhp sports estate that can not only sprint from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, but can also achieve an average fuel economy of 94mpg. Autocar says this is “unheard of” in a car with this much power. 

The sports estate is a little pricey at £140,868, but it should consume far less fuel than its cheaper sibling – the £117,247 Panamera Turbo.

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid 
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

Porsche

Porsche fans looking for a hybrid with a higher driving position than the Panamera are in luck, as the German carmaker now offers its Cayenne SUV in electrified form.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid has all the gadgets and gizmos from the standard model, including a 12.3in infotainment system in the centre console and a pair of 7in panels in front of the driver. 

Meanwhile, under the bonnet, the car’s turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine is connected to a 100kW electric motor, helping deliver a total power output of 455bhp and 516lb ft of torque, says Evo. This makes the hybrid “considerably more potent than the similarly priced twin-turbo V6 S model”.

While the performance is “pretty spectacular”, the car is also comfortable to drive and “near-silent” thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the magazine says.  

Overall, the Cayenne E-Hybrid “feels more like the Swiss army knife it’s marketed as”, according Autocar. It’s a “convincing hybrid with (almost) no day-to-day compromises in the pursuit of efficient performance”. 

Prices for the Cayenne E-Hybrid start at £67,128, making it just over £11,000 more expensive than the standard car.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

simonclay.com

Drivers tempted by Volkswagen’s versatile Golf hatchback but keen on the cheaper running costs of a hybrid are in luck as the Golf GTE has just been given the thumbs up by the critics. 

Just like a standard Golf, the GTE is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine that’s coupled to a battery and electric motor system, says WhatCar?. Buyers can expect a range of around 20 miles on battery power alone. This can either be topped up on the road or at home via a conventional three-pin socket. 

WhatCar says the GTE almost matches its sporty sibling, the Golf GTI, on performance. A 0-62mph sprint takes 7.6 seconds in the GTE “thanks to the hit of the electric motor.” Handling is also impressive and feels “much like a petrol or a diesel Golf to drive”, even though it’s a bit heavier.

The Golf GTE has a price tag of £31,045.

Toyota Prius
2016-toyota-prius-exterior-dynamic-3.jpg

When it arrived on the scene back in 1997, the Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid cars made for the mass market so it’s no wonder that the latest version is one of the best cars of its kind. 

There are two Prius models that buyers need to look out for: the standard hybrid car and the range-topping plug-in hybrid version. Standard cars have an average fuel economy ranging from 78.5mpg to 94.1mpg, while plug-in models can reach a consumption figure of up to 200mpg, says Auto Express

Plug-in hybrid models offer an electric-only range of up to 30 miles and can be equipped with a solar panel roof so buyers can charge their car without plugging it in, the magazine says. 

Prices for the standard Prius start at £24,245. The figure rises to £31,695 for plug-in cars. 

Range Rover Sport P400e

The idea of a fuel-efficient 4x4 may seem strange at first but the Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid proves that bigger cars can also be eco-friendly. 

Land Rover has equipped its mid-size off-roader with a “chunky” battery system that offers 31 miles of range on electric energy alone, says CarBuyer. The battery pack helps the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine eek out as much fuel as possible – it has an impressive average economy of 88mpg. 

Fuel consumption can sink if the P400e’s battery runs flat, according to CarBuyer, so it’s best to charge the off-roader overnight by plugging it into a standard mains power outlet. 

At £85,715, the P400e costs roughly £23,000 more than entry-level HSE models.

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