Top 8 Best Hybrid Cars in 2019

Thinking of buying a hybrid car? If the answer is yes, then this guide to the best hybrid cars on the market will be a big help.

No longer just favoured by eco-warriors and high-mileage Uber drivers – with a hybrid, you get power, efficiency and green credentials all wrapped up in one bundle. Not only that, but unlike electric cars, you don’t need to keep charging them when the battery is low on power. It’s little wonder that sales are booming.

When people think of hybrid cars, the ubiquitous Toyota Prius often comes to mind, and rightly so, it’s the most popular hybrid car of all time. But in 2019, there will be a raft of other hybrid options on the market – in all shapes and sizes and to suit every type of driver. 

After years of evolution, hybrid cars are beginning to steal market share away from their fossil fuel-only counterparts.

One thing is clear – hybrids have come a long way in the last 20 years…

electric car engine
Cars with hybrid engines are seeing booming sales globally. The option to use fuel as well as eco power has given people an excellent option beyond going purely electric

Generally speaking, it’s likely you will be looking to purchase a hybrid for three reasons:

1) they emit less emissions than fossil fuel cars (although you aren’t willing to make the full leap to electric)

2) they are cheaper to run (in terms of typical mpg) and there are road tax concessions

3) you can avoid congestion charges in many cities and urban areas (hence the massive success of the Toyota Prius and Uber in London).

That being said, the best hybrid cars are often an enigma to the average driver. Models vary so much from brand to brand and no one really knows if they are generally reliable, affordable, offer good value for money or even drive well. Not to mention the confusion as to whether they are better or worse than electric cars.

We won’t help you come to a conclusion on whether ‘going hybrid’ is right for you in this guide as such, but we’ve taken the time to review the very best hybrid cars to buy in 2019 to help you make up your own mind.

We advise you to compare options here with those in our best electric cars guide to get a full overview of your eco-vehicle options.

Read on for hybrid car purchasing enlightenment…

The best hybrid cars are reviewed below:

1. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is most likely a hybrid car you will know about. As the Uber driver’s car of choice, there are literally thousands of these driving the streets of every major city in the world. An Uber spokesman told The Tab in 2015 that: “around 40% of cars on the platform are a Prius”, things have changed little since then.

Why do Uber drivers love them so much? Well they look cool, they’re spacious and most importantly, they are efficient!  Car Wow’s test showed the latest model giving 86 miles per gallon in real world conditions. Compare that to the UK average of 52.2 miles-per-gallon (mpg) and you can see why you’ll get real bang for your fuel buck with a Prius.

2018 Toyota Prius c (NHP10R) hatchback (2018-10-29) 03
The Toyota Prius is the Uber driver’s hybrid of choice – it simply can’t be beaten for fuel economy.

But what if like most people, you’re not an Uber driver? Well the car is still pretty practical and good value for anyone doing lots of city driving.

The boot is big, it’s full of tech, it’s well designed on the inside and drives incredibly smoothly in town (and it’s not too bad on the motorway or country roads either).

Amazingly, the brakes will also charge the battery to drive the electric motor.  Cool tech bonus.

Dare we say it, it’s STILL the best hybrid car on the market. But it’s a close run thing, so read on!

Price: starts from £24,245 RRP

Plug-in: No

Advantages:

  • Unrivalled miles per gallon 
  • Spacious
  • Amazing for city driving

Disadvantages:

  • Has been called ugly
  • Oddly placed gear stick
  • UK version uses old Nickel batteries instead of new Lithium ion batteries
  • It’s hardly unique – thanks to Uber, they are everywhere!

2. Hyundai Ionic

The 2019 Hyundai Ionic comes in three options, traditional hybrid (electric and petrol motor combined), a plug-in hybrid (longer electric driving range) and there’s even a 100% electric version too. This means it’s trying to do a lot in one model, but is it as good as the competition?

We’ll focus on the regular hybrid version for the sake of this guide. This particular model is Hyundai’s challenge to the Toyota Prius. The standard model comes with pretty much every feature you could want including touch screen, reversing camera, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and even wireless charging for your phone. It does a lot.

20160317 Hyundai Ioniq 2
The Hyundai Ioniq is a good value option but won’t do as many miles per gallon as the Prius

How does this thing drive though? Well, the engines combine to make for a great city drive, but it’s not quite as comfy as a Toyota Prius. It is however, faster (when using the manual mode) and designed more like a regular family hatchback, it certainly looks better than the Prius.

It will only get 68 miles per gallon though, which is an awkward stat when you compare it to the Prius’s 86mpg.

Price range: From £21,640 RRP

Plug-in version available: Yes

Advantages:

  • Faster than a Toyota Prius
  • Good looking, regular styled family hatchback
  • Aerodynamic design maximises economy 

Disadvantages:

  • Lower miles per gallon (mpg) than the Toyota Prius 
  • No rear windscreen wiper! 

3. Kia Niro

The Kia Niro is a petrol / electric hybrid hatchback to rival the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Ionic. To start off, on first impression, it’s much more conventional in its looks when compared with its other hybrid counterparts. It looks and feels like an SUV (unlike most other hybrid cars), so it’s worth exploring for that reason alone…

Unlike the Prius, it’s being marketed as a hi-tech family car and it has the features to back up that claim. You’ll get plenty of device charging points and wireless charging gizmos included inside. It comes with all-round parking sensors and has great adjustment settings for every seat. It’s also very spacious.

The back seats are roomy and will easily fit tall people with ease (unlike some smaller hybrid models like the Prius which can feel cramped for lengthier humans). In terms of storage, the boot is comparatively big too, with additional storage in the bottom section. It’s basically perfect for a small family.

2017 Kia Niro 2 S-A Eco Hybrid 1.6 Front
Need a bit more space? The Kia Niro is a great option for your next family car.

The equipment as standard is very generous as well:  you’ll get reversing sensors, cruise control, sat nav built in and Apple Car Play, plus Android Auto. It’s crammed full of modern tech.

In terms of the drive – it’s smooth and handles well, although the back window is very small and you’ll sometimes struggle seeing out of the back. The brakes will re-charge the battery as they will with most hybrid cars. Overall, the handling is slightly better than the Prius (although nothing spectacular).

But the big question needs to be asked… What is the fuel economy like? Well, real world miles per gallon, it does around 56mpg, which is nothing compared to the Prius’s 86mpg, but it’s still pretty good.

Basically get this car if you want roominess and are willing to compromise on efficiency. It’s a sturdy SUV option and the best hybrid car for families by miles.

Price range: From £22,745 RRP

Plug-in version available: Yes

Advantages:

  • Drives like a regular small SUV, you can’t notice it’s a hybrid
  • Good design, regular-styled family mini SUV
  • Very spacious interior with lots of features   
  • Comes with an industry leading 7 year warranty

Disadvantages:

  • Lower miles per gallon (mpg) than the Toyota Prius 
  • Small rear window 

4. Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

The T8 version of Volvo’s XC90 doesn’t differ too much from the original XC90. The regular version has received outstanding reviews and won the car of the year from various awards bodies.

But what about this Hybrid, T8 version? Well its won awards too, read on…

Make no mistake, this car is simply stunning to look at both on the outside and on the inside. It’s beautifully crafted throughout and the understated finish of the interior is outstanding, and projects an effortless sense of space and calm.

It’s also a technological marvel. The large touch screen style infotainment system is where you’ll control most of the car’s features and this ensures that the dashboard is kept as minimal as possible. It’s a clean look.

As well as all of this, the practicality and safety features of this car are fantastic – there’s plenty of space for the whole family (with 7 seats) and it’s also built from boron steel (the strongest used in the industry). Think of it as a demure and graceful tank.

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
The original Volvo XC90 won car of the year in numerous end of year polls and the T8 hybrid version is also a superstar

So how does it drive? Out on the roads, the twin engines offer superior performance and it will do 0 – 62mph in 5.6 seconds. It’s as sporty as it is comfortable and it’s effortless to drive as well.

The ‘electric only mode’ offers a claimed 25 miles, but you can always switch modes to ensure massive efficiency – with the combined engines, you’ll average around 40-50mpg in one trip without a re-fuel. Not bad at all.

The only problem is price. At over £60,000, it’s really really expensive…

Price range: From £66,825 RRP

Plug-in: Yes

Advantages:

  • Extremely safe
  • Great design with quality materials used throughout 
  • Beastly acceleration 
  • 7 seats – it’s huge!

Disadvantages:

  • Low real world miles per gallon (mpg) compared with other hybrids 
  • Hard to drive in the city due to its size 
  • More expensive than most hybrids

5. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The 2018 version of the Yaris has a fresh design that looks super fresh and modern – a cool looking thing indeed. The interior is quality for a cheaper mini car like this.

There’s a minimal feel inside with a touch screen and multimedia dashboard and plenty of features like reversing camera and infotainment system, there’s also different driving modes to optimise for efficiency.

It’s reasonably spacious for a car this size. Two adults or three children can sit in the back and it’s roomy. In terms of driving and handling, it’s impressive too.

The car is quiet when on the road and reacts well to acceleration. It’s small and nifty – perfect for city driving. The car, like most hybrids has low CO2 emissions (84mg) and has no road tax to pay at all.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - przód (MSP15)
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is the cheapest hybrid car available on the market today.

Starting at just £17,099, the Yaris is also the cheapest hybrid car on the market, so if you’re looking to go hybrid on a budget, the Yaris should definitely be on your shortlist.

Price range: From £17,009 RRP

Plug-in: No

Advantages:

  • Great value for money
  • Good economy with 60 miles per gallon (mpg)
  • The only hybrid supermini on sale 

Disadvantages:

  • Unresponsive, slow infotainment system
  • Hard to drive in the city due to its size 
  • Plastic interior

6. Toyota C-HR Hybrid

The Toyota C-HR has a bold new design for 2019, that’s a complete departure from the less-angular designs of the past. We think it really works.

The diamond design theme is used throughout (both interior and exterior) and it’s really quirky – meaning it’s a bit like Marmite – it’s a love or hate thing.

The C-HR is spacious inside but not as big as certain rivals (e.g. Volvo XC90 or SEAT Ateca). The windows are small in the back and the feel is overall a bit of a squeeze, not great for kids as they may not be able to see out. The boot is also small for a car this size.

The tech inside is as good as you’d expect from a Toyota: you’ll get an 8 inch touchscreen, reversing camera and cruise control. It also features Toyota’s auto park facility which is handy for squeezing into tight spaces. It’s really well equipped for the price.

2017 Toyota C-HR (NGX10R) 1.8 Hybrid hatchback (2017-11-28) 02
Excellent fuel economy and great looks make the Toyota C-HR Hybrid one to keep an eye on.

The car has a sporty feel for a small SUV, it handles well and feels really light overall. The Hybrid engine uses the same powertrain as the Prius and it can return up to 74mpg, which is one of the highest available on the market.

The batteries are charged by the 1.8 litre petrol engine or by the regenerative braking system. Toyota say that you can use the electric motor for at least 50% of an average trip, so it’s economical – especially if you drive in town a lot.

Price range: From £24,500

Plug-in: No

Advantages:

  • Great handling with a sporty feel
  • Amazing, unique diamond-themed design
  • Top fuel efficiency

Disadvantages:

  • No free access to congestion charge
  • Not a proper SUV – it’s front wheel drive only
  • Pokey back seats and boot
  • £750 extra for an in-built satnav and the info-tainment system is a bit slow

7. Mini Cooper SE Countryman Plug-In Hybrid 

The Countryman is actually the largest MINI you can buy, but it’s still a compact SUV. The Hybrid model will do 12 miles on electricity only and it’s a plugin so you can charge on the go.

But is it as fun as a normal MINI? Well, simply – yes it is! It comes with all the compact style and sassy class you’d expect, and it looks great.

This Hybrid version is actually very powerful at 221 horsepower, only 7 less than the top of line MINI available, plus it has more torque.

Where this car falls down is with its internal computer. The display provides very little information about the car’s hybrid engine. Useful information like EV range remaining or power being used is only accessible via a menu which can be a bit fiddly to operate on the move.

2018 Mini Cooper Countryman S Front
Is the Mini Cooper SE Countryman Plug-In the coolest hybrid yet?

The SE drives well, like most MINIs, it’s got a real sporty feel and it’s a lot of fun to drive. The interior is charming, with better, sturdier materials than many of its rivals.

It’s superbly designed and it’s functional yet attractive. That said, real world economy comes to around 56.6mpg, which isn’t great considering its rivals.

Overall, you’ll enjoy spending time with your MINI, it’s also surprisingly spacious in the back – so the kids will be fine. The boot is deep and roomy too. Bonus.

Price range: From £33,400

Plug-in: Yes

Advantages:

  • Great handling with a sporty feel
  • Classic, high quality MINI design and feel

Disadvantages:

  • Low miles per gallon compared to rivals
  • Expensive for the size
  • Low EV-only range 

8. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV 2019

This new version of the Outlander Hybrid by Mitsubishi has been upgraded for 2019 and is much improved from the previous version. It has a new 2.4 litre petrol engine, a bigger electric motor at the rear and a bigger battery for further distances on electric power alone.  

As an SUV, the car is obviously spacious but not quite as large as the competition, with the Volvo XC90 beating it with ease. However, it’s still very reasonable and you’ll get lots of leg and headroom in the back seats. The rear view windows are also large so kids will be happy with the view over long journeys.

Overall though, the quality of the interior is a little bland – it all feels a tad dated for a 2019 Hybrid. The infotainment system isn’t perfect either – it’s a bit complicated and all slightly confusing. However, other specs are good – with alloy wheels, climate and cruise control across all models.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been updated for 2019 and offers great value for money as well as great economy.

The car has electric motors in both the front and back of the vehicle, meaning you can go about 28 miles on electric power alone, which is great for a hybrid. And Mitsubishi claim this car will do 140 miles per gallon when you take advantage of electricity too.

What you will get in the real world can differ massively however. For example if you’re only driving around town then you may get more than 140mpg using electric power alone, but on motorway trips, your miles per gallon will be low as it relies on fuel at top speeds. The handling isn’t great either – it feels heavy and struggles on bendy roads.

Despite mpg and handling concerns, it charges really fast. It’s a plug-in vehicle, so you can charge the car’s electric batteries to 80% full in just 25 minutes using a rapid charger and can get 100% charge using a 3-pin standard plug in just 5 hours.

Price: starts from £36,775

Plug-in: Yes

Advantages:

  • Great electric only range
  • High miles per gallon compared with competition (mpg)

Disadvantages:

  • Drab interior
  • Bad handling
  • Average looks

Want to learn more about the best hybrid and electric cars?

As mentioned earlier, we cover electric cars in depth in our ultimate guide to electric cars, it’s well worth a look! It also explains a little more about how hybrid cars work.

We also cover our top 11 best electric cars in the UK market – it’s worth a read if you’re thinking of making the leap to 100% electric.

Hybrid not for you? Not bothered by fuel type?

Try these other useful buying guides and ‘top lists’ for different types of car to buy on the UK market: