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Hybrid cars: Your purchase guide for 2021

hybrid car

Hybrid cars are an alternative for drivers wishing to contribute to sustainable transport but who do not yet entirely trust 100% electric cars. Do you want to invest in a hybrid car, but aren’t sure of which one to choose? Check our selection of the best hybrid cars for 2021 and find the model that best suits you.


Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Savings on fuel;
  • Lower maintenance costs;
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Higher purchase costs.

Which hybrid cars and plug-in cars are the best or cheapest in 2021?

Although the brands Toyota and Hyundai are clear references in the hybrid car market, the following comparisons may show the hybrid car model which best adapts to your needs.

Best hybrid cars for quality and price in 2021
Model Price Economy CO2 Emissions
Mercedes C300 e From £44,995 404mpg 14g/km
Toyota Yaris From £20,010 57.6-68.8mpg 92-98g/km
Toyota Corolla From £24,855 50.5-62.8mpg 76-89g/km
Skoda Octavia iV From £33,175 282mpg 22-33g/km

Source: Autoexpress.co.uk.

Cheapest hybrid cars in the UK 2021
Model Price Economy CO2 Emissions
Toyota Yaris S-Edition From £19,910 57.6mpg 92g/km
Renault Clio e-tech From £20,995 64.2mpg 99g/km
Hyundai Kona From £23,160 47.1mpg 135g/km
Hyundai Iconiq From £30,250 60mpg 102g/km

Source: Autoexpress.co.uk.

The best quality-price plug-in hybrid cars 2021
Model Price Economy CO2 Emissions
Hyundai Iconiq From £30,250 60mpg 102g/km
Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid From £30,265 217.3 mpg 29g/km
Renault Captur From £30,495 56.6mpg 33g/km

Source: Autoexpress.co.uk.

How many hybrid cars are there in the UK?

With petrol and diesel cars set to be banned in the UK from 2030, there has been a surge in sales of both fully electric and hybrid vehicles. According to statistics published by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), in 2021, there are around 320,000 plug-in hybrid cars on the roads in the UK along with 700,000 conventional hybrid vehicles. That compares with 55,000 and 233,000 respectively just five years ago.

In addition to that, the motoring group estimates there are a further 330,000 fully electric vehicles in the UK, more than 10 times the amount there were in 2016.

What is the fastest hybrid car?According to high-end car dealership, Stratstone, the fastest hybrid car on the UK market is the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. It has a top speed of 196mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 3.2 seconds. It will set you back around £140,130 to buy as new.

Hybrid cars: Plug-in hybrid or self-charging hybrid?

What is a hybrid car?A hybrid car is a car which combines two engines: an internal combustion engine (also known as a thermal engine) and another electric engine, which feeds into batteries that recharge when braking and decelerating.

Cars use the most fuel when the driver has their foot on the pedal to accelerate. Using an electric motor to help the combustion engine therefore makes sense to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and will go a long way in ensuring the transport industry moves towards a more sustainable model.

There are in fact two types of hybrid cars - the plug-in hybrid and self-charging or conventional hybrid.

plug-in hybrid car

What is a plug-in hybrid car?

As the name suggests, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are hybrid cars you can ‘plug in’. This means the battery can be charged at an electric charge point found in many towns and cities across the UK or from a normal three-pin plug at home. These types of hybrid cars can travel more on battery power than the traditional self-charging hybrid, although not as far as fully battery-operated cars.

Most plug-in hybrid cars have a range of around 30 miles when using battery power. There are some that go slightly further, such as the Toyota Prius or Hyundai Iconiq. The good news for people who have to commute that distance is that they can reduce their fuel bills substantially if they ensure their car is charged before they set off.

For longer journeys, the petrol engine is also available and can be filled up just like any other traditional petrol-powered car.

What is a self-charging hybrid car?

Self-charging hybrid cars also use a combination of petrol and battery power. The difference is that these vehicles, such as the Kia Niro, do not need to be plugged into an electric socket. Instead, their batteries are charged while driving - accelerating and braking.

Self-charging hybrid cars can travel short distances on just battery power. However, the idea behind them is that they reduce fuel consumption over longer distances and therefore only need to be charged every 200-300 miles.

Should I buy a hybrid car?

Buying a hybrid car is a significant investment, making it important to choose a model that best adapts to your profile and expectations. If you do most of your driving around town and urban areas, a hybrid car may suit you because you can benefit most from running on electric only power. When deciding what type of car to buy, it is important to think about your annual mileage and the type of driving you usually do - short trips or long journeys on the motorway, for example.

Hybrid car for sale: what do they cost?

The price of a hybrid vehicle varies depending on various factors: the type of hybridisation, the battery, the energy of the engine. Prices start at around £15,000 and can go up to over £100,000 for the high-end models.

Hybrid car taxFrom April this year, the standard tax rate for a hybrid car in the UK is £145. If you bought you car new and it cost more than £40,000, you are also subject to pay an additional £335 for five years.

What government help is there when purchasing a hybrid car?

People who bought hybrid cars used to get tax advantages up until 2017 when the Government scaled back benefits. Up until then, any car with emissions of less than 100g/km CO2 was exempt from road tax. That exemption is only available now for new zero-emission, pure electric cars.

However, used hybrids and PHEVs that were registered before 2017 are subject to the old tax rules - so if you buy a second-hand hybrid car you could take advantage of the road tax break if its emissions are still below the figure mentioned.

For new hybrid and PHEVs that cost under £40,000, there is a fixed road tax of £135. While not much of a difference, it is £10 less than for petrol or diesel cars.

Second-hand hybrid cars

The elevated prices of new hybrid cars is still one of the main obstacles to purchasing one. For this reason, investing in a second-hand hybrid vehicle is a good way to reduce the purchase price. In the car market, there are many second-hand hybrid cars.

Can I lease a hybrid car?Leasing a hybrid car works in the same way as petrol or diesel one. There are a number of companies in the UK that you can lease a hybrid car from. Depending on who you lease from you can reach agreements on things such as annual mileage, contract length and rental amount before you start paying your monthly bills.

The environmental impact of a hybrid car

carbon footprint of a car

Although the use of hybrid cars is less polluting than a car with a thermal engine, thanks to its double motor (thermal and electric), its manufacturing, and in particular the extraction and transformation of mineral resources necessary for the manufacturing of its battery, is still an important source of pollution.

In order to fight climate change and atmospheric pollution, it is essential to change our everyday habits. For example, substituting cars for a mechanical bike or an electric bike for medium length trips would considerably reduce CO2 emissions.

In this way, in order to calculate the carbon footprint of a hybrid vehicle, it is necessary to consider the following factors:

  1. Emissions relating to the prior production of car fuel;
  2. Emissions relating to the burning of fuel when necessary;
  3. Emissions relating to materials used in the manufacture of the vehicle.

Download our comparison guides to help reduce your carbon footprint and save energy.

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