A buyer’s guide to hybrid cars

Hybrid cars Hybrid cars were said to be on the way out a couple of years ago, largely thanks to the emergence of pure electric vehicles - which seemed to have just as much punch and twice as many tax exemptions.

In spite of those reservations, though, hybrid sales are beginning to pick up again. In fact, almost all of the major automobile manufacturers have brand spanking new models on the market - and many of them are affordable too.

Advantages

• They're cheaper to buy In general, hybrids are still a touch cheaper than pure electric vehicles, making them ideal for conscientious drivers who are keen on modernising but don't quite have the money for a big one-off investment.

• They perform better than electric vehicles Admittedly this isn't as true as it once was - electric cars are beginning to catch up. In the meantime though the half-and-half engine is the perfect way to retain some of that old-fashioned power without doing (too much) damage to the environment.

• They recharge as they drive One of the big drawbacks of electric cars is the absence of charging points in the UK (and the lack of a long-term government plan to put them in place). That's why the hybrid option is such a great one: they charge by themselves - as you drive.

Disadvantages

• You miss out on government incentives It's no secret that the major plus point of driving an elecric car is that the government actively incentivises ditching fossil fuel use with things like tax exemptions. Unfortunately, these often don't apply when it comes to hybrid models.

• They aren't totally environmentally-friendly Sure, by investing in a hybrid you're helping the planet a great deal more than that neighbour of yours who's still driving around in his four-by-four. But it's not as clean as an electric vehicle, and that could become a big problem as the country begins to go green.

• More maintenance As if it needs to be said to anyone who has visited a mechanic lately: hybrid cars still have an old-fashioned engine (albeit a smaller one) - so you can't quite cross occasional maintenance costs off your list of expenses just yet.

2020's best models

Toyota Prius

The Prius has taken a bashing from the Top Gear gang over the years but it's still going strong in 2020. The fourth generation is not only comfortable and roomy on the inside, it's also got super low running costs and manages, despite its size, to avoid major CO2 emissions.

Price: ~£23,000

Honda CR-V Hybrid

With the possible exception of Toyota, Honda are arguably the world leaders in hybrid cars, and they've outdone themselves with the CR-V. This is a massive car, comparable in size to a Land Rover, but it's 2.0 petrol engine is supplemented by a powerful electric one, giving it both function and power.

Price: ~£30,000

Volvo XC90 T8

In keeping with their proud tradition of bulky family estates, Volvo have just released the only seven-seat electric vehicle on the market. It's perfect for large families, and with relatively low emissions it's not bad for the environment either. The only downside is its eye-watering price-tag.

Price: ~£50,000
Skoda Superb iV
Skoda's cars are never going to win any beauty contests, but they are increasingly amongst the most reliable vehicles on the market. Here's a case in point: the aptly-named Superb iV has a remarkable 1.4 litre petrol engine, but still fits four adults with plenty of room to spare.
Price: ~£25,000

Toyota Corolla

If boxy cars aren't your thing, then it's well worth looking at the Prius' little cousin. This Toyota model is a much smoother drive, and although it lacks space in the rear it's much more affordable for cash-strapped young families.

Price: ~£22,000

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