Best Hybrid Luxury Cars 2023 – The best hybrid cars can be a good choice for drivers who want to save on fuel costs but don’t want to dive into the deep end with a full battery electric car.
Demand for hybrids is growing rapidly, with car manufacturers offering hybrid engines alongside petrol and diesel.
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There are plenty of options – useful if you want to avoid the distinctive styling of the flagship Toyota Prius (or an Uber driver extension). From the compact Honda Jazz to the beefy and sporty plug-in hybrid commuters like the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, there’s now an electric model to suit every taste.
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However, not all hybrids are created equal. We’ve tested models that offer poor reliability, very high emissions and don’t deliver the fuel economy they promise when you’re actually on the road.
Get the final verdict on every car we’ve tested with our independent car review on All Fuels.
Hybrid cars combine a conventional engine (usually gasoline, but there are also diesel hybrids) with an electric motor. Depending on the type of hybrid, the electric motor works together or simply with the gasoline engine to save fuel and reduce emissions.
Below are the best hybrid cars we’ve tested, including the best sedan, the cheapest hybrid, and the best plug-in hybrid (PHEV). These are all great cars. Not only does it pass the same tests as its regular petrol and diesel rivals, it can also save on fuel costs.
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There are three main types of hybrid vehicles. The best depends on how you use it and, more importantly, whether you can easily set up a charging point at home to charge the battery that powers the hybrid electric motor.
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A full hybrid, also known as a “self-charging” hybrid, is a gasoline (and to a lesser extent diesel) vehicle that has a battery pack from a standard 12-volt car battery. These batteries are charged with energy captured by braking or coasting and are then used to power a small electric motor.
An electric motor can drive the wheels of a car in conjunction with a petrol/diesel engine, or even by itself (usually only for short distances and moderate speeds).
An electric motor is most useful when the car has minimal impact on gasoline or diesel, such as when starting, and when it can reduce fuel consumption during city driving. Some hybrids will charge the batteries directly from the petrol/diesel engine under certain conditions.
Some new full hybrid models use the gasoline engine only to charge the battery pack, which is then used to drive the wheels because some manufacturers believe it is more efficient. In some cases – such as the Honda Civic e:HEV – the petrol engine can drive the drive wheels, for example when more acceleration is needed.
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In the UK, plug-in hybrids (full PHEVs) with models such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – have a larger battery and longer electric range than a full hybrid – usually around 20-40 miles. However, most models require the battery to be fully charged to get close to the advertised fuel economy.
Most PHEV models can also use the engine to charge the battery, but this is less efficient. When the battery is depleted, the PHEV operates as a full hybrid.
Our research shows that compared to fully electric vehicles, PHEVs consume more electricity due to their weight and smaller electric motors. If you can regularly park your car at home, you may want to consider switching directly to an electric car.
How long it takes to charge a plug-in hybrid car battery depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the electric charger. If you charge at home, it may take several hours. Fast charging stations can take less than an hour.
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The main difference between a full hybrid and a plug-in is that a mild hybrid cannot run on electricity alone. The battery is only there to help fuel the engine, not to take it. This limits their potential for low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
Some provide additional power during acceleration; Others will allow you to turn off the engine when braking or to save fuel. Hybrid batteries can also work with standard 12-volt car batteries to power non-engine systems such as a car’s air conditioning.
You won’t notice much difference between driving a hybrid and a regular petrol or diesel car. Exceptions are that modern cars cut off the engine when stationary to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and some mild hybrids cut off the engine when landing or descending.
So if you slow down for a set of traffic lights, for example at low speed, the engine will shut off and you shouldn’t accelerate until you release the brakes. At first it may seem strange to stop without the engine, but you will quickly get used to it.
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Hybrid cars use both gas and electricity, so you need to reduce the amount of gasoline you use while driving. This means that the car emits less CO2.
However, it depends on how you use your hybrid vehicle. If you use the car primarily for short trips where you can run on battery power, your hybrid may be better for the environment than a regular car. But we must remember that when the battery is not in use, it still produces the same emissions as a normal car. Our road and lab tests show actual fuel consumption figures for each car we test in a variety of driving scenarios.
There is no clear answer to this as it depends on your individual circumstances. There is no doubt that electric cars are better for the environment in terms of emissions because they produce nothing. But they’re not right for everyone—or at least not yet.
Whether you’re charging an electric car or a plug-in hybrid, the public charging system can be confusing due to the different systems, connection types, and different rates of available power. Check out our guide on how to charge an electric car, including charging at home.
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Our independent car tests reveal the true range of electric cars, so you can see exactly how far you can go on a single charge – see our best electric cars.
Because they use gasoline or diesel (at least sometimes), hybrid vehicles cannot be considered as emission-free as fully electric vehicles. This can be affected when driving in clean air zones or other restricted areas in congested cities.
Hybrid vehicles, including PHEVs, are not exempt from London’s congestion charge, but you don’t have to worry about ULEZs (Ultra Low Emission Zones) in the capital these days.
Only fully electric cars are now exempt from London’s congestion charge. It’s important to remember that exemptions are also not automatic – you must first register your vehicle with Transport for London. If you do not register your vehicle, you will be responsible for payment.
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The other clean air zones currently in place in Bath and Birmingham only apply to petrol cars built before 2005, so most cars are not affected. But this may change over time.
This is part of green initiatives to achieve the UK’s statutory target of net zero emissions (by 2045 in Scotland, 2050 in the UK).
From 2030, the sale of several new hybrids will be banned, along with full petrol and diesel vehicles. This will ban the sale of all new mild hybrids and possibly some hybrid models.
From 2035, sales of all new hybrids and plug-ins will be banned. From this date on, the only new car you can buy is a zero emission car. These include fully electric vehicles and zero-emission alternatives such as hydrogen vehicles.
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A lot has happened with the government’s directive to ban