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Top 10: Best used hybrid cars

Hybrid cars are no longer the preserve of new car buyers; there are plenty out there to buy used, too. Here are our top picks.....

21 Oct 2019 16:59

With the Government proposing to allow only the sale of electrified cars from 2040 onwards, the spotlight has been thrown onto electric and hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars compilation image

Not surprisingly, interest in both has risen dramatically since that announcement, and the proliferation of hybrid cars on the new car market has now resulted in their filtering down onto the used market.

As a result, buying a used hybrid, whether as a plug-in or the self-charging type, shouldn’t be too hard to do. You can find hybrids in all classes of car, too. Indeed with so many different makes and models now available, picking your way through the maze isn’t as easy as it once was. So here we bring you our guide to the best used hybrid cars. Read on to find out if there's one for you.

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10: BMW i8

BMW i8

With its wild looks and radical powertrain, consisting of a three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and an electric motor, the BMW i8 caused quite a stir when it was launched, and it’s no less dramatic a sight today.

10: BMW i8 - interior

BMW i8 - interior

It’s a plug-in hybrid, and you can do 22 miles on electric-only power if you want. What’s more, you get two tiny rear seats, meaning it can almost rival a Porsche 911 for practicality. Put simply, there’s nothing quite like it on the used hybrid market. We love it.

We found: 2015 i8, 54,000 miles, £41,900

9: Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

It’s rather bland to drive and a little plasticky inside, but there are good reasons why the Toyota Prius is so plentiful: it’s reliable, efficient and spacious enough to serve as everyday family transport.

9: Toyota Prius - interior

Toyota Prius - interior

Not to mention, it’s the hybrid that popularised the term. Its ubiquity makes it an easy option to buy used, too, because you’re more likely to find a tidy example locally. You can choose between traditional hybrid and plug-in variants, and whichever model you go for, equipment is plentiful.

We found: 2018 Prius Plug-in, 33,000 miles, £18,600

8: Kia Niro

Kia Niro

You can choose your Niro from new in three different guises: pure electric, plug-in hybrid or regular hybrid. We've gone for the plug-in version here because it can run for up to 38 miles on electric-only power, cutting your overall fuel consumption on shorter journeys.

8: Kia Niro - interior

Kia Niro - interior

The PHEV is near-silent when running only on batteries and still quiet in petrol-electric mode, with engine noise only becoming strident when you really press on. Inside, you’ll find there’s loads of space in both the front and rear seats.

We found: 2017 Niro PHEV, 28,000 miles, £19,995

7: Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR

Not only does the C-HR look good enough to eat, it drives pretty well, too. Toyota, despite not usually being known for making interesting driving cars, has had a bit of a hit with the C-HR, because it's got a finely judged and comfortable ride and neat and tidy handling, too.

7: Toyota C-HR - interior

Toyota C-HR - interior

The mild hybrid technology means good official fuel consumption figures, and used ones are plentiful and relatively well priced.

We found: 2017 C-HR 1.8 Hybrid Icon, 30,000 miles, £14,000

6: Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

You'll have gathered by now that Toyota does a mean line in hybrid cars, with the Prius and C-HR already in our top 10 and now this little Yaris, too.

It's its neatness, compactness and low running costs that sell it to us, as well as its reasonable purchase price.

6: Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

On top of that, it's good to drive, and economical, thanks to its hybrid tech. The Yaris is one of the roomier cars in its class, too, with plenty of interior space for those in the back, helped by a completely flat floor.

We found: 2015 Yaris Hybrid Icon, 26,000 miles, £7000

5: Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Intended to be a sporty hot hatch in the vein of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but with the added bonus of hybrid power, the Golf GTE is a great option for the hybrid buyer.

It’s a plug-in, so you can run it purely on electric power if you choose; what’s more, it’s good to drive, is endowed with a great interior and offers all the other good points of the regular Golf.

5: Volkswagen Golf GTE - interior

Volkswagen Golf GTE - interior

The only downside is that it isn’t all that cheap to buy – but if you can stretch to it, the GTE is worth the premium it demands.

We found: 2015 GTE, 50,000 miles, £14,000

4: Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 e-tron

The Audi A3 is one of our favourite family hatchbacks, and in this plug-in hybrid e-tron form it works very well indeed.

It shares much of its underpinnings with the VW Golf GTE, but the e-tron is slightly more softly sprung, making it even more comfortable.

4: Audi A3 e-tron - interior

Audi A3 e-tron - interior

What’s more, it’s actually a little cheaper than the Golf – and when you take into account the A3’s smarter interior and standard satellite navigation, that makes it a better deal. The only struggle you might encounter is finding one, because they’re relatively rare.

We found: 2015 A3 e-tron, 52,000 miles, £12,500

3: BMW 330e

BMW 330e

The 330e takes all that's good about this generation of 3 Series saloon - and that's quite a lot - and adds a plug-in hybrid capability that gives it up to 25 miles of electric-only motoring. It goes without saying that it handles beautifully, rides well and is comfortable inside.

3: BMW 330e - interior

BMW 330e - interior

It's also endowed with a great interior and a class-leading iDrive infotainment system. On top of that, it's not bad value - £13k buys you a really good 2016 example. You could do a lot worse.

We found: 2016 330e, 49,000 miles, £13,000

2: Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq

It might not look like much of a trailblazer, but the Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to be offered on sale with three forms of electrification. You can have it as a hybrid model that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor, a plug-in hybrid version with a bigger battery that you can charge externally or an electric vehicle (EV).

2: Hyundai Ioniq - interior

Hyundai Ioniq - interior

It's the plug-in version we've picked out here, and we've chosen it because it gives a good potential electric-only range - up to 30 miles - which really helps the overall fuel consumption, especially if your journeys are mostly short. It's good to drive, well equipped and roomy inside, too.

We found: 2017 Ioniq PHEV, 25,000 miles, £17,000

1: Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo XC90 T8

First things first, the T8 offers all the quality and practicality of the regular XC90. It's good to drive and well equipped, too, with a wonderfully stylish and comfortable interior.

It's the sheer value of the T8 that takes the win here, though, because you can now get this luxurious seven-seat SUV for almost half its list price when new - that means you'll spend around £30,000 for a three-year-old car.

1: Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

Volvo XC90 T8 - interior

What’s more, unlike some hybrid and plug-in hybrid SUVs, the T8 doesn’t lose its third row of seats, meaning it's still a full seven-seater.

It can drive on its electric motor alone, and do so for around 25 miles - useful if you travel in town. If you’re in the market for a greener vehicle, and you also want something plush and with huge amounts of space, it’s the best used hybrid you can buy right now.

We found: 2016 XC90 T8 Momentum, 43,000 miles, £30,000

So what about the used hybrids you should avoid?

Citroën DS5 Hybrid4

Citroën DS5 Hybrid4

The Citroën DS5 isn’t a bad hybrid, but the underlying car (later rechristened in 2015 simply as DS5 and now no longer on sale new) rides horribly firmly, handles sloppily and feels cramped in the back.

Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 - interior

Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 - interior

It’s best avoided.

Infiniti Q70h

Infiniti Q70h

The Infiniti Q70h is big and unwieldy, and even in hybrid form it isn't all that efficient, making it expensive to run.

Infiniti Q70h - interior

Infiniti Q70h - interior

It’s also nigh on impossible to find one.