Best Budget Friendly Hybrid Cars – Top 10 Best Hybrid Cars to Buy in 2023 As more cars get the hybrid treatment, here are the 10 best hybrid cars you can buy now…
Electrified cars are more common on our roads due to political and environmental pressures. Hybrids in mild, standard and plug-in form are considered by many drivers to be the “best of both worlds” approach to green motoring. As this technology is introduced to more and more models, the choice of the best hybrid cars, from superminis to family SUVs, is wider than ever.
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The appeal is not hard to see. Conventional hybrid technology improves the fuel economy of various cars, which means real financial savings. Hybrids also make a lot of sense for low-mileage private buyers or urban private customers, as well as fleet users looking to reduce company car taxes. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) need to be plugged in regularly to perform at their best, but can offer a real electric-only range of 30 miles or more.
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Mild-hybrid vehicles appeal to people who don’t want to worry about charging because they have a small electric motor that only supports the engine and doesn’t operate independently of it. A mild-hybrid is usually the cheapest route to hybrid ownership, but not fully electric.
As manufacturers strike a better balance between performance and efficiency, hybrids of all kinds are playing a key role in bridging the gap between combustion and pure electric vehicles.
The latest Toyota Yaris is one of the smartest superminis on the market and its combination of talent is hard to fault. The only engine available in the standard car is a 114bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine with Toyota’s proven ‘self-charging’ hybrid technology. This setup is more at home in the city, but also on the highway. It’s a smart all-rounder – just like a car.
Apart from the Yaris’ stylish exterior, the base model also gets features like 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, air conditioning, a reversing camera and multi-function leather. – Standard trimmed steering wheel.
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The latest Honda Civic is discreet and understated compared to its predecessor, but hides a compelling, well-engineered feel under the skin. For the 11th generation of its Volkswagen Golf rival, Honda has limited the Civic to a single engine choice, and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid setup is somewhat unusual.
The gasoline engine is used as a generator to power the battery, which drives the electric motor, which in turn drives the wheels at high speed. The result is a quiet, relaxed performance that rarely strains the combustion engine while delivering good performance and a claimed 60.1mpg. With its spacious, high-quality cabin and fresh dynamics, the Civic has never been more powerful.
The Kia Niro is available in hybrid, PHEV and all-electric versions, and impressive technology, cabin space and advanced dynamics are present in whichever version you choose. The hybrid is based on a 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder borrowed from the original Niro, but the second-generation model feels fresh in every other way.
Kia’s compact SUV rides on the company’s K3 platform, and while the hybrid isn’t exactly demanding, it offers stronger capabilities and makes the Niro more comfortable to drive. It’s comfortable on the roughest surfaces, and its boxy shape gives passengers plenty of room to rest. The Niro’s nimble and feature-rich infotainment setup – carried over from the EV6 – is also the best.
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Its bold styling won’t suit every taste, but there’s no denying the Hyundai Tucson’s deep merits as a family SUV. It’s so good, in fact, that we named it our Midsize SUV of the Year for 2022. The hybrid model uses a 230bhp 1.6-litre electric-assisted drivetrain, and its power figures are respectable for a large, tech-packed machine. .
Like the Kia Sportage, which shares the distinction with the Hyundai, the Tucson drives deftly without leaning towards sportiness, and its comfortable ride makes it a pleasant long-distance companion. Inside, a generous use of fingerprint-prone gloss black trim creates a well-built, attractive cabin with generous levels of standard kit.
The models in fourth and fifth place on this list are almost interchangeable, so the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson are very close. The Hyundai is more affordable and has a little more cushion than the bumpers, but for some the Kia’s radical design and better interior are worth the extra cost.
The Sportage isn’t particularly attractive thanks to its compliant suspension setup and light steering, but rear-seat passengers will appreciate its impressive cabin space, while those up front will welcome the impressive 12.3-inch infotainment display. They offer access to Kia’s leading technology suite, including satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
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On the outside, the latest Renault Clio is an evolution of its predecessor, but major changes have brought it to the sharp end of the supermini market. Unlike rivals such as the Skoda Fabia and Hyundai i20, the Clio offers a full hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to produce 143bhp.
The hybrid sprints to 60mpg and 0-62mph in less than ten seconds, and the rest of the package is a fantastic improvement over the old car. The Clio is quite engaging on twisty roads and the well-thought-out suspension provides a good combination of refinement and comfort. Cabin quality is very strong and the five-door body only offers plenty of rear legroom for adults and a 391-litre boot.
The once rugged and robust 4×4 has been transformed into a sophisticated, economical SUV in its latest generation. With the recent boom in SUVs, it’s no surprise that the Toyota RAV4 is a sought-after hybrid model that tops its predecessor. In fact, it’s exclusively available in electrified form, with a ‘self-charging’ hybrid variant using a 2.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor.
The RAV4 is surprisingly sharp for a long, relatively heavy drive, but while the hybrid setup can return more than 50mpg, it delivers its performance in noisiness thanks to the CVT transmission. Still, the RAV4 is a practical machine despite its integrated electric gubbins, and fit and finish are solid. It’s slowed down a bit by the old infotainment system.
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Overtaking BMW in the premium SUV segment is no mean feat, but Lexus has done just that with the latest NX. The company has always attracted customers with exceptional comfort, build quality and an excellent dealer network, and the NX adds these features to the top-of-the-range X3 package.
The NX 350h combines the Toyota RAV4’s latest powertrain technology into a more elegant, refined SUV, and while it’s objectively the better car, the more affordable Toyota fares better. Still, buyers will appreciate the NX’s quiet on-road demeanor and refined interior, which includes the best tech kit we’ve seen in a Lexus. With the optional 14-inch touchscreen, you certainly won’t want more pixels.
Like its Yaris and RAV4 cousins appearing on this list, the Corolla is now the next model powered by Toyota’s proven ‘self-charging’ hybrid technology.
The British-built hatchback is offered in 1.8- and 2.0-litre models, both of which automatically switch between the two power sources, using the car’s petrol engine to recharge the battery. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) replaces the traditional automatic transmission and helps make the most of the drivetrain’s power.
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Those wanting a bit more punch can opt for the range-topping 2.0-litre hybrid model. With 177bhp on tap, 0-62mph takes just 7.9 seconds; Fuel consumption and emissions suffer slightly, but this model still offers good performance and low running costs.
As the only seven-seater of our ten favorite hybrids, the Kia Sorento is easily the most versatile. It’s also the most expensive, but the Sorento’s high asking price is supported by available equipment levels and rounded dynamics. The hybrid version is built around a 1.6-litre petrol engine which is reasonably refined if not overpowering and does a good job of moving the Sorento’s mass around. It’s no sports car, of course, but the Kia seven-seater feels composed when cornering and isolates its occupants from most potholes and potholes.
Higher specification cars get a 10.25in touchscreen inside, while heated seats, a heated steering wheel and smart cruise control are standard across the range. Despite some low-rent plastics around the cabin, the Sorento’s interior is quite pleasant, with plenty of storage space and room for five adults and two children in the third row.
Choosing any type of hybrid car over a conventionally powered alternative is not the big step that many fear.
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As with any new vehicle purchase, it’s a good idea to estimate and consider annual mileage