Best Hybrids To Buy in 2024

Ginny Buckley

31 May 2024

Despite the vast range of electric cars around these days, there are still people out there for whom committing to the plug-life is a little bit too much of a stretch - especially if they don’t have the facility to charge up at home.

That’s where a ‘self-charging’ hybrid comes in. These cars are usually 20% more efficient than a conventionally powered alternative but don’t need plugging into the mains like a plug-in hybrid or full EV would to charge up its batteries.

A self-charging hybrid typically has a tiny battery compared with a plug-in hybrid or EV, so you can’t go far on electric power alone. However, that does mean the battery pack takes up less space, so you tend not to have any compromises in terms of practicality.

Our list includes all sorts of hybrids, from small cars at home in the city to practical seven-seaters and desirable SUVs. All have improved efficiency compared with peers, but which is the best? Here are the top hybrids you can buy this year.

10. Toyota Yaris

Our pick: 1.5 Hybrid Icon 

Price:  £22,640

Fuel economy: 68.9mpg

Congratulations if you already knew that the Toyota Yaris has a nearly identical sibling in the Mazda 2 Hybrid, the latter being ostensibly the same car but with a Mazda badge.

We’re picking the Toyota out of the two because it has the benefit of up to 10 years of warranty coverage (provided you get it serviced annually at a Toyota dealer during that period) for additional peace of mind.

The Yaris is a small, lightweight car with excellent fuel economy; we found it easy to achieve 60mpg or more. We also found it to have a compliant ride - ideal for our rough urban roads. Plus, the compact exterior and light steering made parking a breeze. 

Those needing to put taller teens in the back might be disappointed by the amount of space in the rear, plus the boot is on the small side, too. If you can live with that, then the Yaris still makes for a great hybrid car to own thanks to Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability, plus the outstanding amount of standard safety equipment on even our recommended entry-level Icon trim choice.

Yaris beats the almost identical Mazda 2 as it has a better warranty

9. Dacia Jogger Hybrid

Our pick: Expression TCe 140 Hybrid

Price: £22,995

​Fuel economy: 64.2mpg

There are no such space issues in the Dacia Jogger Hybrid, however. You get a much bigger car with seven seats for just a little more than the Yaris mentioned above, making it a bargain in our book.

Our Expression choice has all the bases covered, from an 8.0in infotainment system with full smartphone integration, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and even blindspot monitoring to warn you of cars alongside you on the motorway.

This hybrid is the most potent Jogger you can buy, and it makes light work of dealing with the weight of a carload of people. We wouldn’t describe the HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Jogger as being particularly smooth in how it delivers its power, but then the regular petrol Jogger isn’t the most refined car in our experience, and that version won’t be nearly as economical.

And at the end of the day, you’re left with a car that’s big enough to carry up to seven adults, or if the third row isn’t needed, can be removed altogether to turn the Jogger into a mini removals van.

The Jogger is a front runner

8. Kia Niro

Our pick: 1.6 T-GDi HEV ‘3’

Price: £32,335

Fuel economy: 61.4mpg

Talk about covering all bases; the latest Kia Niro is available in full electric, plug-in hybrid, and ‘self-charging’ hybrid forms.

In every one of its forms, you’ll find the Niro provides a comfortable ride with safe handling. The hybrid we’re focusing on here can’t drive in a quiet electric mode for an extended period, so you’ll hear its slightly buzzy 1.6-litre petrol engine a fair bit. However, that’s one of the only complaints we have about it.

We find the performance decent rather than sparkling, but then a 10.8sec 0-62mph time is expected when there’s only 137bhp to play with. However, you buy a car like this for the economy, and over 60mpg from something big enough to cope with family life isn’t to be derided. Plus, the hybrid Niro has the biggest boot in its range, a bonus come the summer holiday.

The Niro comes in three flavours - all are tasty

7. Toyota Yaris Cross

Our pick: 1.5 Hybrid Design 

Price: £27,130

Fuel economy: 62.8mpg

The hybrid Toyota Yaris Cross is a rarity in the small SUV class, where most of its peers use traditional petrol power.

Being experts in hybrids, Toyota has made the Yaris Cross efficient; we saw almost 60mpg from it during a long trip from London to Edinburgh. Plus, you can trundle along in slow-moving, stop n’ go traffic under battery power alone, helping to save even more fuel.

We found that you’ll want to drive with the engine off as much as possible because it can be a little raucous if you demand maximum acceleration. Doing so further boosts efficiency, and taking a steadier approach suits the Yaris Cross because it isn’t as fun to drive as the sportier Ford Puma. The Yaris Cross still provides safe handling and a comfortable ride, plus it has the nice bonus of nicely weighted steering and strong brakes with a firm pedal feel. 

Inside, it's a bit dour looking, but the controls are easy to understand and use. Space up front is decent, but we were disappointed that the rear is cramped for an SUV. People with young children should know that the small rear doors make it awkward to put a child seat in the back, so if that latter applies to you, take a look at our next choice.

The Cross won't make you angry

6. Nissan X-Trail

Our pick: E-Power 204 N-Connecta Xtronic

Price: £40,250

Fuel economy: 62.8mpg

Nissan makes it very easy to fit a child seat in the back of the X-Trail because its rear doors open to nearly 90deg, but that’s not the only thing to recommend it for. 

Its e-Power hybrid system is unusual because the drive to the wheels comes from an electric motor. Unlike an EV, the electric motor is fed by energy generated from a turbocharged, three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine rather than a battery pack you need to plug in. 

We find e-Power to be very smooth because there aren’t any gear changes interrupting the flow of power, like an electric vehicle. However, the background buzz of a petrol engine generating electricity does give the game away that this isn’t an EV. Still, it is far quieter than other hybrids out there, plus a swift 0-62mph time of 8.0sec for a big SUV impressed us. We were also pleased by the X-Trail’s comfort levels because it soaks up the worst from bumps in the road, while the tidy handling and decent grip levels make you feel confident when tackling a B road. 

We recommend the two-wheel drive, five-seater version here because while you can get the X-Trail with seven seats, opting for two-wheel drive saves you money both on the price and at the pumps, thanks to its greater efficiency. 

The X-Trail does things differently to other hybrids

5. Kia Sportage

Our pick: 1.6 T-GDi 3

Price: £36,485

Fuel economy: 49.6mpg

If the X-Trail is too big for you, but you still want a hybrid SUV, look at the Kia Sportage HEV.

You can get the Sportage in company car-friendly plug-in hybrid and regular petrol forms, but were focusing on the more affordable hybrid variant, which strikes a good balance between the two. It’s the fastest because the 223bhp, turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and electric motor combo doesn’t have to lug around the weighty battery pack of the PHEV version. We find it has tidier handling than that version, too, feeling a little less cumbersome. There’s plenty of grip, and the accurate steering makes it a doddle to place on the road.

The Sportage is easier to park than the X-Trail, although it is still a sizable family SUV with tonnes of space inside for five and their luggage. We’re impressed by the number of charging sockets throughout the car, which means there’s always a way to charge your phone. And you’re bank manager will be impressed too, because our chosen ‘3’ trim comes loaded with equipment despite the very reasonable price, making the Sportage a great value proposition.

The Sportage is great value and cheap to run

4. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Our pick: 1.8 Design

Price: £33,475

Fuel economy: 62.8mpg

As a brand, Toyota was among the first to popularise hybrid cars, so it’s no surprise that the Corolla hybrid features high in this list. 

We’ve gone a little off-piste, though, and we’re recommending the estate (Touring Sports in Toyota-speak) because the regular hatchback is too cramped in the back for adult passengers. In contrast, the Touring Sports is a little longer and, as a result, has much better rear leg room. And no, we weren’t riding in an Uber when we discovered this.

Recent updates to the Corolla range not only include more standard safety tech and equipment, but the engine range gets more power, so while we would have recommended going for the 2.0-litre in the past, the extra performance of the 138bhp 1.8 we feel is more than enough to keep up with the flow, even with a car load onboard. And besides, the Corolla is set up to provide a relaxing driving experience with a comfortable ride, so it doesn’t matter that it isn’t the quickest thing around. Instead, take things steady, and revel in the 60-plus fuel economy.

Millions of taxi drivers can't be wrong - the Corolla is a good car

3. Hyundai Santa Fe HEV

Our pick: 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid Premium 4WD 

Price: £44,945

Fuel economy: 40.4mpg

Hybrids aren’t just the reserve of small cars; they also help improve the efficiency of big seven-seat SUVs, like the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Yes, the Hyundai Santa Fe is indeed a close relative to the Kia Sorento, and it uses the same 1.6-litre petrol and electric motor combination. However, while the Kia is only available in everything but the kitchen sink Edition trim and costs over £50,000, the Santa Fe gives you the same practicality and performance but costs much less in our preferred Premium trim.

We don’t think the Santa Fe is lacking in equipment in Premium trim because you still get an upgraded Krell sound system, leather seats with electric front seat adjustment, a 10.1in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. And you still get the same versatile seating and respectable 40mpg fuel economy as the Sorento, just for a more palatable price. Add an excellent reliability record and a long five-year warranty, and you have the best seven-seater hybrid.

The Santa Fe is way cheaper than the Kia

2.  Honda Jazz

Our pick: 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid Elegance

Price: £26,885

Fuel economy: 62.8mpg

Sure, the Honda Jazz is smaller than our last entry, but it provides remarkable interior space despite its limited footprint. 

We were immediately impressed by how much space there is for four adults (five at a pinch for shorter trips), and if you need to load a bike in it, the base of the rear seats flips up to give you a wide load area. Or, if you’re taking a cheeky IKEA trip, the back seats can fold flat into the floor, making this the most versatile small car we’ve ever driven. The rest of the interior is nicely finished, and all the controls are logically placed. There’s also a responsive infotainment system that looks sharp in a relatively affordable small car.

The Jazz is easy to drive, rides comfortably, and is nicely refined. There’s always enough power to nip into gaps in the traffic, plus enough pep outside the city limits to keep up with traffic.

Jazz up your life with a little living Honda edge

1. Honda Civic

Our pick: 2.0 e:HEV Sport

Price: £36,505

Fuel economy: 56.5mpg

We don’t know of any other hybrid that manages to cover as many bases as well as the latest Honda Civic.

High 50s fuel economy is just what you want from an efficient family car, but it does this while also providing some meaningful punch from the combined 181bhp it puts out from its 2.0-litre petrol and electric motor combo. We think the 7.9sec quoted 0-62mph time is a little conservative given the ease with which the Civic gets up to motorway speed.

It even handles well, and not just for a hybrid. The Civic has minimal body lean in the bends thanks to taut suspension, there is tonnes of grip, and the steering is pleasingly weighted and highly accurate.

However, the Civic differs from its hybrid peers in that you can adjust the level of regenerative braking, just like an electric car such as the Kia EV6. We found that to bring a whole new level of driver engagement to the driving experience, something we think you’ll really enjoy. 

Fortunately, the Civic is big enough inside for a family, with a decent-sized boot to, erm, boot. We recommend entry-level Sport because it covers all needs, with front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, a reversing camera, heated front seats, and adaptive cruise control.

We would like a little less road noise because we found ourselves having to crank the stereo up on a long motorway trip, and it's also a shame the Civic has gone through yet another price rise. However, there’s still enough to like about the Civic that it gets our recommendation here.

The Civic seems to cover all the bases

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