If the government is to be believed, we’ll all be driving electric cars by 2040.
So why not start now, or at least start with a hybrid.
They’re coming on to the used market in increasing numbers, and some have taken a big hit in depreciation so there are some enticing used buys out there. Here we count down our favourite top ten.
The Mitsubishi Outlander has been the best-selling plug-in hybrid since it launched. That means there are plenty on the second-hand market
10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – PHEV – can be plugged in to the wall, as the name suggests, and the 2.0-litre petrol engine also helps charge the battery packs.
You should get just over 30 miles just on electric drive, which isn’t bad for such a big SUV.
Running just on the engine, with a flat battery, makes this an expensive mode of transport, but you can charge it fully in five hours.
We found a 2014 PHEV GX3h model with 33,000 miles on the clock for £15,498. Find similar examples here.
They’re the taxi driver’s favourite, but you should look for a Prius with less miles on the clock than an ex cab will have
9. Toyota Prius
The current model is quite good to drive but previous models are less exciting.
However, it’s been a very popular hybrid so you should find one to suit you, and one which hopefully hasn’t been used by the Uber drivers who love them.
There’s good room inside, plenty of equipment and lots more to explain the high sales.
We found a 2014 T Spirit example that had covered just 11,000 miles for £16,000. Find similar models here.
The IS300h is one of the classier cars in our list, and they’ve more than halved in value in a couple of years
8. Lexus IS300h
Unlike say the Toyota Prius, this Lexus tries not to look like a hybrid, but more like a traditional executive saloon.
It looks great, is tremendously well built and should offer strong performance.
All versions, including the Executive Edition trim, add lots of kit to what is a prestige vehicle.
We found an Executive Edition model from 2014 with 28,000 miles covered for £15,445. Find similar models here.
Watch out for ex mini-cab examples on the market – the E300 hybrid is a popular choice for executive taxi fleets, so there should be a few around
7. Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid
Minicab drivers like these so take care when buying.
But there are lots of examples around of this luxury electric saloon.
The only intrusion to the silent and well-appointed cabin is the diesel rattle of the engine when you gun it, but otherwise this is a serene experience.
We found a 2014 car in SE spec with 33,000 miles on the clock priced at £18,998. Find similar examples here.
The i8 puts hybrid power into a usable supercar. New, one will cost over £100,000. You can get a steal if you buy second hand
6. BMW i8
Not many new cars look as contemporary as this three-year-old i8.
With a three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a potent electric motor, the i8 has the performance to back up the eye-catching looks.
It’s so good that depreciation has been slow – but if that carries on you’ll get more of your money back when you sell on.
They cost more than £100,000 new but we found a 2014 i8 with just 30,000 miles under its belt for £62,995. Find similar examples here.
Honda’s CR-Z is rare and and actually quite good to drive. It’s the only hybrid with a manual gearbox and could be a future classic
5. Honda CR-Z
This fun-filled little sporty coupe with its manual gearbox is not the natural partner for a hybrid drive, but somehow it all comes together well.
Despite the lines and size, there is room in the rear for two children and even the boot is less than diddy.
They’re a rarity on the road today, so could be prime to go up in value in the not too distant future.
We found a 2013 GT spec with 35,000 miles covered for just £7,500. Find similar models for sale here.
Toyota has been in the hybrid game longer than most, so its electric and petrol powered Yaris feels fairly accomplished for such a small car
4. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
If you’re looking for a hybrid as city transport, then the Yaris Hybrid is definitely one of the best.
It’s cheap to run, comfy and is even fun to drive around town with its small size, light steering and well-equipped cabin.
Toyota has been in the hybrid game as long as anyone, so you would hope there’s longevity in the powertrain in this one.
We found a 2014 Yaris Hybris in Trend spec with 17,500 miles on the clock advertised for £10,350. Find similar used examples for sale here.
Like a Golf GTI but with green credentials – the Golf GTE is a highly recommended option
3. VW Golf GTE
Only the BMW i8 supercar is more expensive on this list, but the Golf GTE is a great car if you can afford it.
It’s not quite as fabulous to drive as the regular GTI, but it’s not far off, yet you can run it just on electric power if you so choose for city driving.
What it lacks in GTI potency it makes up in efficient running costs.
We found a 2015 GTE that had covered merely 21,000 miles up for grabs for £21,250. Find similar cars for sale here.
BMW offers a full electric i3 or this range extender, which adds a 650cc petrol engine that can be topped up so you can make it home to plug into the mains
2. BMW i3 Range Extender
You can have the i3 as a purely electric car, or you can have this version where the two-cylinder petrol engine serves as a generator for more electricity.
That naturally extends the range – BMW hints at this in the title.
The car is light, made with trick materials like aluminium and carbonfibre, and is a good car to drive, as well as still looking totally on message some years after it was introduced.
We found a 2014 Extended Range i3 that had just 19,000 miles under its belt and costs £18,995. You can find other i3s for sale here.
Our first choice is the Audi A3 e-tron, which is pretty much a VW Golf GTE in a fancy frock. There aren’t many on the market, so the hunt might be difficult than it is for others listed here
1. Audi A3 e-tron
Some of the platform is the same as the Golf GTE, and that’s not a bad thing.
The e-tron rides a little softer, making it the more comfortable of the two, not to mention a touch cheaper.
This family hatchback has the superb cabin you’d expect from Audi, good performance and a whole lot more.
The only issue is that it’s not been a big seller so you may have to work to find the right one for you.
They’re not cheap second hand – we found a 2014 example with 11,500 miles on the clock for £19,900. Find similar used A3 e-trons for sale here.
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