Though there’s a real push toward full electric vehicles in the motoring world at the moment, for many people a hybrid vehicle is a great fit. Combining an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery means that you’ve got a traditional engine to fall back on, but there’s still the opportunity to benefit from the lower running costs that electrification brings.
Fortunately, hybrids have been – in one form or another – on sale for a little while now, so there is a good number available in the used market. Let’s take a look at what’s about.
The CR-Z was a bit of an oddity when it first arrived back in 2010. It aimed to become a sporty hybrid and, as a result, featured an eye-catching exterior design and a relatively compact body. It combined a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery and, strangely for a hybrid, had a six-speed manual gearbox too.
But today, with prices hovering around £5,000, the CR-Z makes for a left-field hybrid choice that won’t cost the earth. It’ll still return over 52mpg and will cost just £20 to tax, too.
If there’s a company that knows about hybrid systems, it’s Lexus. It has been using electrical assistance in its cars for quite some time now and has got the technology down to a fine art. The CT, which is a slightly elongated hatchback with the typically sharp design you’d expect from Lexus, is a ‘regular’ hybrid with a 1.8-litre engine and an electric motor and battery.
It’s exempt from London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone charge, too. Early, high-mileage examples can be had for around £5,500, but reasonable mileage versions with plenty of equipment sit more around the £10,000 mark.
There are few better-known names in the hybrid world than Prius. It could be seen as the car that kicked the whole hybrid segment off and it’s now a very tried-and-tested option. Because it’s been on sale for a little while there are plenty of used examples, too, with prices starting from around £2,000 – though these will be earlier models with seriously high mileage.
Later models use a 1.8-litre engine – compared with the older 1.5-litre version – but you’ll still get a very respectable 70.6mpg combined, so it’s ideal for reducing fuel bills
Much like the Prius, the Outlander was one of the ground-breaking hybrid models to hit the scene. The plug-in hybrid is the go-to choice here as it offers super-efficient motoring and the chance of seeing up to 156mpg providing you keep it topped up with electricity.
Prices are competitive, too, with second-generation cars built around 2015 standing at around £17,000. It’s a big, practical car for the money.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Fancy something a little sportier? The Golf GTE aimed to bring some of the driver involvement that you’d expect from its GTI hot hatch, but with the efficient running of a hybrid. With a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor with a battery, this plug-in hybrid can slot into everyday life easily.
First-generation cars – built around 2015 – can be had for as low as £12,000, though expect to pay slightly more for lower-mileage, higher-spec versions.
Fancy a little more refinement from your hybrid? The BMW 530e could be a great option. It’s just as comfortable and spacious as the regular 5, but has that efficient petrol-electric hybrid setup to help reduce fuel bills.
Early 2018 models of the spacious 530e can be had for under £20,000, so it’s definitely at the top end of our price list here. . Push that budget higher and you’ll find lower-mileage versions, of course.