Best Hybrid Non Plug In Cars – Need the best small hybrid on sale now with good fuel economy, but want a big PHEV? Here is our list of the best mini hybrids for sale in the UK
Small hybrids are uncommon. We’ve listed the best hybrids and the best plug-in hybrids currently on sale in the UK, and across these segments, it’s been a common theme. Most hybrids and plug-in hybrids sold today are based on large SUVs and sedans and are high-end in size and price.
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From an engineering point of view, this makes sense. The extra space in the floor and around the rear axle of a large SUV is ideal for housing the extra battery pack and electric motor that a hybrid system requires. But what if you live in the city and do not have an extra land clearance or practical requirements? What if your budget doesn’t stretch to one of the biggest hybrids in the family?
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To help you find the right car, we’ve compiled a list of the best small hybrids on sale right now, all with the latest fuel economy and city-friendliness standards. Most of the cars here won’t break the bank – unlike our list of the best hybrids, which includes the £90,000 Range Rover P400e, £70,000 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid and £50,000 Audi Q5 50 TFSI e, here The cost of the car is less than £25,000.
Our run includes hybrids and plug-in hybrids, both of which have their pros and cons. Conventional hybrids get the best fuel economy without recharging, but they have limited range.
PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors, however, once the battery pack is depleted, this extra weight leads to poor economy. As a result, the PHEV’s impressive official fuel economy figures are difficult to achieve in real-world driving unless you take short trips and recharge the battery frequently.
The Toyota Yaris is an interesting case because it is the only supercar on the market that can match a supercharged powertrain. It uses a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a proprietary permanent synchronous electric motor (rather than a starter-driven generator) for a maximum output of 98bhp.
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Admittedly, the Yaris isn’t the most fun supercar to drive, as its steering is sluggish and its CVT transmission keeps the engine revving under hard acceleration. You can’t argue with these figures, though – with a starting price of £20,000, Toyota says it returns 56.4mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and emits just 114g/km of CO2.
MINI’s Countryman plug-in hybrid makes few compromises among similarly priced gasoline crossovers. Unlike rivals such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the sedan has a range of 25 kilometers. However, it couldn’t match the Outlander’s economy figure of 166mpg, collecting just 88.3mpg.
Even if it is superficially generous. Powering the Countryman PHEV is the standard car’s 134bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to an 87bhp electric motor for a maximum of 221bhp. Don’t be fooled by the badge, though – it can’t match the petrol-powered Cooper S for driving pleasure.
The Lexus UX shares its underpinnings with the Toyota C-HR, which means it has tighter handling and a tighter ride. Unlike most Lexus offerings, the UX is also a fun car to drive – there’s plenty of power, understeer and heavy steering, which Lexus decided to mount directly under the steering wheel.
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For a Lexus, build quality is excellent, on par with the BMW X2 and Audi Q3. Lexus has worked hard to make the UX feel like a bigger car – the sound is well dampened, and the steering wheel and instrument cluster are lifted from the LS sedan. The optional 13-speaker Mark Levinson stereo is also one of the best in the segment.
It is powered by a “self-charging” powertrain – a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, a pair of electric motors and a compact battery. Combined, the system produces 176bhp, a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 110mph. Lexus also says the UX 250h returns 53.2mpg on the WLTP combined cycle.
Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 Despite the cheap and cheerful theme of this list, the entry-level R Design model costs around £41,000. However, it’s a fair price to pay for an SUV with the highest level of options, strong build quality, good infotainment, great refinement and a comfortable ride. The XC40 topped our 2020 Drivetrain Customer Satisfaction Survey, ranking first in the reliability section.
It uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor and a 10.7 kWh battery. The system puts out 258 hp and 425 Nm of torque for a 0-62 mph time of 7.3 seconds. With the battery fully charged, the XC40 T5 has fuel economy of 119 mpg and a range of 28 miles.
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The previous generation VW Golf GTE was a direct plug-in hybrid with a fuel economy rating of 141.2mpg and a usable range of around 20 kilometres. The powertrain consists of a 1.4-liter four-cylinder 148 hp gasoline engine, a 100 hp electric motor and an 8.8 kWh battery for a maximum output of 201 hp.
Don’t be fooled by the power output though, the GTE is no hotspot. Electric assist gives it better straight-line performance than a diesel-powered GTD, but the extra weight of the battery means it’s less nimble in corners.
The seventh-generation Golf GTE will be replaced by the Mk8, which means Volkswagen is eager to sell off its remaining stock. Prices start from £32,000.
When the Corolla relaunched in 2018, it ushered in Toyota’s foray into the family car market. It’s a huge improvement over the Aurora, with a spectacular ride, great build quality, great refinement and refined handling.
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Buyers can choose between a 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, both mated to a CVT transmission and a matching permanent magnet synchronous electric motor.
Both units are rated at 120bhp and 181bhp respectively, and both can be driven at low speeds in EV-only mode. Toyota also says the former powertrain returns 62.7mpg on the WLTP combined cycle, while the latter delivers 57.6mpg.
The Mercedes A 250 e is one of two premium plug-in hybrids on sale today, the other being the Volkswagen Golf GTE. It’s also arguably the A-Series option, boasting impressive performance, reasonably strong handling and a direct drive.
It also has the same stylish and comfortable cabin as the standard A-Class hatchback, which includes Mercedes’ excellent dual-screen MBUX infotainment system. The only downside we can find is that it can be a little stiff at low speeds due to the added weight of the electric motor and battery.
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Its powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, a 100 bhp electric motor and a 15.6 kWh battery for a combined 215 bhp and 450 Nm. Mercedes also claims that the A 250 e has an impressive electric range of up to 42 kilometers and returns more than 200 mpg on the WLTP combined cycle.
The Ioniq is Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Prius, and while it’s not as refined as its Japanese rivals, it excels in many areas. It is available as a mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or purely electric – all three versions offer practicality, good economy and a decent level of standard equipment at a low price.
The entry-level Ioniq PHEV starts at £30,250, around £2,000 more than the Prius. As standard, buyers get 16-inch alloys, heated seats, dual-zone air conditioning, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen.
Powering the Ioniq PHEV consists of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, a 60 hp electric motor and an 8.9 kWh battery pack for a combined 139 hp and 265 Nm. Hyundai also says the system returns more than 200 mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and offers a maximum range of 32 miles.
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The Prius defined the compact hybrid segment when it was first introduced in 1997 and was popular with taxi drivers. The latest fourth-generation model is more flexible than ever, with spacious rooms with storage. The standard model also comes with a boot of 502 liters – with the rear seats folded down, that figure rises to 1,633 litres.
Buyers can opt for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid system – although both use the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. The standard Prius uses a 1.31kWh battery