Top 10 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.
It can depend whether or not you choose a plug-in hybrid or PHEV option, but unlike electric cars, you don’t need to keep charging them when the battery is low on power.
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 are many other hybrid options on the market – especially with new plug-in hybrid options hitting forecourts in greater numbers.
Whether PHEV or not, hybrids come in all shapes and sizes and there’s one to suit every type of driver. And after years of evolution, hybrid cars are really beginning to steal market share away from their fossil fuel-only counterparts. It’s little wonder that sales are booming.
One thing is clear – hybrids have come a long way in the last 20 years…
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 benefits to be had
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 few people really know if they are generally reliable, affordable, offer good value for money or even drive well.
Added hybrid confusion also exists around plug-in, PHEV and standard options and 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.
It’s also worth comparing 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 to buy are reviewed below:
- Toyota Prius
- Hyundai Ionic
- Kia Niro
- Volvo XC90
- Toyota Yaris Hybrid
- Toyota C-HR Hybrid
- MINI Cooper Countryman Plug In Hybrid
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2019
- BMW 330e
- Mercedes A250e
1. Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is most likely a hybrid car you will know about. As the private taxi 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 taxi 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 MPG and you can see why you’ll get real bang for your fuel buck with a Prius.
But what if like most people, you’re not a taxi driver? Well the Pruis is still practical and good value for money 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).
As with most hybrid vehicles the brakes will also charge the battery to drive the electric motor. Meaning you gain a little extra juice whenever you’re slowing down.
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
Plug-in version available: Yes
- Unrivalled miles per gallon
- Amazing for city driving
- Has been called ugly
- Oddly placed gear stick
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, 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 a reversing camera, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and even wireless charging for your phone.
How does the Hyundai 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, that will appeal to some over the angular looking 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 £22,795
Plug-in version available: Yes
- Faster than a Toyota Prius
- Good looking, regular styled family hatchback
- Aerodynamic design maximises economy
- Lower 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. On first impression it’s much more conventional in its looks when compared with its other hybrid counterparts.
It looks and feels like a small 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 USB charging ports and there’s also a wireless matt to charge your smartphone on in the dash.
As standard it gets a 4 star EuroNCAP safety rating but the additional ‘driver assistance pack’ adds autonomous braking and adaptive cruise control for just £350.
The back seats are roomy and will easily fit tall people (unlike some smaller hybrid models suchas the Prius which can feel cramped for lengthier humans).
In terms of storage, the boot is comparatively big too, with additional storage in the lower section. It’s basically perfect for a small family.
Standard equipment 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 rear window is very small and you’ll sometimes struggle seeing out of the back, so opting for a reversing camera might be a good shout.
The brakes will also re-charge the battery as they will with most hybrid cars. Overall, the handling is said to be a little unsettled for the type of car it is, a comfy non-fidgety ride is the preferred choice when lugging your family around.
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 for a fairly large petrol hybrid.
Basically buy this car if you want roominess and are willing to compromise a little on efficiency. It’s a sturdy SUV option and the best hybrid car for families by miles.
Price range: From £24,590
Plug-in version available: Yes
- Drives like a regular small SUV, you can’t notice it’s a hybrid
- Good design, regular-styling
- Spacious interior with lots of features
- Comes with an industry leading 7 year warranty
- Lower miles per gallon (mpg) than the Toyota Prius
- Small rear window
4. Volvo XC90
This T8 version of Volvo’s XC90 adds a hybrid setup to the model lineup, continuing to build on the outstanding reviews since its launch. Did you know that the XC90 has won car of the year from various awards?
But what about this Hybrid, T8 version? Well its won awards too, read on…
Make no mistake, the XC90 is stunning to look at both inside and out. It’s beautifully crafted and the interior finish is second to none, it projects an effortless sense of space and calm.
It’s also a technological marvel. The large infotainment system is where you’ll control most of the Volvo’s features and this ensures that the dashboard is kept as minimal as possible.
As well as all of this, the practicality and safety features of this Volvo are fantastic – there’s plenty of space for the whole family (with 7 seats) and sections of its chassis are built from boron steel (the strongest used in the industry). Think of it as a demure and graceful tank.
So how does it drive? Out on the road the twin engines offer superior performance and it will make the 0 – 62 sprint 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 gain the most efficiency – with the combined engines, you’ll average around 40-50 MPG. Not bad at all.
The only problem is price. At over £52,000, it’s rather expensive…
Price range: From £52,235
- Extremely safe
- Great design with quality materials used throughout
- Rapid acceleration
- 7 seats
- Low real world MPG compared with other hybrids
- Hard to drive in the city due to its size
- More expensive than most hybrids
5. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
For 2019 the Yaris has had a minor design refresh, the addition of a new ‘GR Sport’ trim makes what can be a quite bland looking hybrid hatch rather exciting.
There’s a minimal feel inside with a touch screen infotainment system and plenty of features like a reversing camera and parking sensors, 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 with just enough room to spare. In terms of driving the CVT automatic gearbox makes light work of around town traffic.
Even though the Yaris is quiet on the road its acceleration is a little lacklustre. But what the Toyota loses in terms of performance it makes up for in it’s tight dimensions, making it perfect for city driving.
Like most hybrids the Yaris has low emissions, dipping down to just 84mg depending on the spec you choose.
Starting at just £15,995, 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 £15,995
- Great value for money
- Good economy with 58 miles per gallon (mpg)
- The only hybrid supermini on sale
- Unresponsive, slow infotainment system
- Plasticy interior
6. Toyota C-HR Hybrid
Toyota’s C-HR is one of the most futuristic looking SUV’s on the market today, it’s a complete departure from the more staid, traditional designs that Toyota have built in the past, we think it looks fantastic.
An angular 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 fairly spacious inside but not as big as some of the other hybrids listed here (e.g. Volvo XC90 or SEAT Ateca).
The high windows in the rear give a sense of safety but may not great for kids if they want to see out. The boot is also small for a car this size, measuring in at just 377 litres.
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.
The C-HR has a sporty feel for a small SUV, it handles well and feels light overall. The Hybrid engine uses the same power train as the Prius and it can return up to 74mpg, which is one of the highest available on the market.
Its 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 £25,625
- Great handling with a sporty feel
- Amazing, unique diamond-themed design
- Top fuel efficiency
- No free access to congestion charge
- Not a proper SUV – it’s front wheel drive only
- Pokey back seats and boot
7. Mini Cooper Plug-In Hybrid
Countryman is actually the largest MINI you can buy, but it’s still compact for an SUV. The hybrid model will do 26 miles on electricity alone 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 retro chic you’d expect, and it looks great.
This hybrid version is actually very powerful with 221 horsepower, that’s only 7 less than the most powerful MINI available, plus it has more torque. That means it can shoot to 62 in just 6.8 seconds.
Where this car falls down is with the way it displays information, unlike most hybrids the MINI shows very little about what the car’s hybrid engine is doing.
Useful stuff 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.
The Countryman drives well, like most MINIs, it’s got a real sporty feel and it’s a lot of fun to drive thanks to all that power. The interior is charming, with better, sturdier materials than many of its rivals.
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 £31,895
- Great handling with a sporty feel
- Classic, high quality MINI design and feel
- Low miles per gallon compared to rivals
- Expensive for the size
- Low EV-only range
8. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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 larger battery allowing you to drive up to 28 miles 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.
The rear view windows are also large so kids will be happy with the view on long journeys.
Overall though, the quality of the interior is a little bland – it all feels a tad dated for a 2019 Hybrid, but then this is par for the course when it comes to Mitsubishi.
The infotainment system isn’t perfect either – it’s a bit fiddly until you get used to where everything is within the menus. However, other specs are good – with alloy wheels, climate and cruise control across all models.
There are electric motors in both the front and back of the PHEV, which is great for a hybrid as it gives you that all-wheel drive off-road ability which many lack.
Mitsubishi also claim this car will do 140 miles per gallon when you take advantage of electricity, that stretches the PHEV’s range to around 400 miles on a single tank.
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 MPG will be low as it relies on fuel at top speeds. The handling isn’t great either – it feels heavy and struggles with a little body roll on country roads.
Despite MPG and handling concerns, it charges really fast due to its small battery. 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 £35,455
- Decent electric only range
- High miles per gallon compared with competition
- Drab interior
- Average looks
- Dated model with a replacement not far away
9. BMW 330e
If you want a superb handling saloon car with enough poke to keep things exciting then BMW’s 330e is the car to go for.
Built on the already superb handling BMW 3 Series, the 330e adds an 87 BHP electric motor in the cars gearbox. This is coupled with the 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine which makes 182 BHP on its own.
That means this hybrid will make the 0-62 sprint in just 6.1 seconds. The best bit about it? It’s still rear wheel drive only.
Even though there’s an extra 160 KG of weight thanks to the battery and motor, BMW have kept the weight distribution at 49% front 51% rear continuing those renowned driving aesthetics that are loved across the world.
You can also travel on EV power alone for up to 25 miles, which is enough to get most people to and from work with ease.
It will charge in 3.5 hours from a three pin plug too, or just under an hour from a fast charger.
Price: From £37,885
- Incredible performance
- Superb handling
- Limited EV range
- Expensive when compared to rivals
10. Mercedes A250e
Now for a car that’s so damn new it’s not even on the Mercedes website yet.
The ultra fresh A250e is Mercs first attempt at a small plug-in hatchback, after seeing Audi and VW have great success they’re a little late to the game.
Under the bonnet there’s a 1.3 litre four cylinder turbo petrol engine, this makes 156 BHP. Coupled with that is a 15.6 kWh battery and a 99 HP electric motor.
This gives the baby Merc a pretty hot 0-62 time of just 6.6 seconds. Not bad for a hybrid.
Mercedes have fitted the battery under the rear seats where the fuel tank used to be, then they’ve put the fuel tank between the rear axles. In total the extra weight tips the scales at an additional 150 kg, which compromises the bereft of weight feeling the A-class normally achieves
It does however mean that you can drive up to 87 MPH on electric only power. EV range is a pretty spectacular 45 miles, which is great for such a small PHEV.
Price: TBA – It’s still too new
- Hot hatch levels of power
- Great EV range
- Extra weight comprises dynamics a little
- It will be pricey when it hits showrooms
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 13 best electric cars in the UK market – check it out if you’re thinking of making the leap to 100% electric.
Looking for an alternative option?
Try these other useful buying guides and ‘top lists’ for different types of car to buy on the UK market: