Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (2023)

A hybrid is a car that combines a conventional internal combustion engine (usually petrol) with an electric motor.

The engine charges the car's batteries and the electric motor kicks in when extra power is needed, such as when accelerating. This helps make the car more efficient.

They're a great "entry-level" vehicle for riders who want to ride eco-friendly but still want the security of a traditional motorcycle.

With so many models already on the market and more being added all the time, here is a rundown of some of the best hybrid models available today.

Best hybrid small cars

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (1)

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota is a major player in the hybrid market and first sold hybrid cars in the late 1990s/early 2000s when the company released the original Prius.

The Yaris uses fourth-generation hybrid technology and is the entry-level model in the Toyota range.

The latest version is only available with hybrid drive. In addition to the three-cylinder 1.5-liter petrol engine, there is a 59 kW electric motor and a 0.8 kWh lithium-ion battery.

The hybrid Yaris thus delivers 116 hp and emissions are between 92 and 112 g/km, depending on the model selected. Official fuel economy ranges from 57.6 to 68.8 mpg.

Read oursReview of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (2)

Honda Jazz

Like the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, the latest Honda Jazz has transitioned to a pure hybrid lineup.

As the Jazz uses the same full hybrid i-MMD system as the larger Honda CR-V, the 'EV Drive' mode means it can only drive on electricity for very short distances.

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Its 1.5 liter petrol engine is paired with an 80 kW electric motor. The power is 109 hp and the official consumption is 62.8 mpg with CO2 emissions of 102 g/km.

An SUV-style Jazz Crosstar is also available, with slightly higher emissions of 110g/km and a consumption of 58.9mpg.

Read oursHonda Jazz review.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (3)

Renault Clio E-Tech-Hybrid

Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine, two electric motors and a 1.2 kWh battery, Renault's Clio E-Tech Hybrid automatically adapts to road conditions and driving style.

As with other self-charging hybrid vehicles, this means switching between electric, hybrid and petrol modes. A "B-mode" for the transmission increases the amount of regenerative braking to put more charge into the battery.

All this helps to save fuel and reduce emissions. The Clio E-Tech Hybrid produces just 98g/km of CO2 and delivers up to 64.2mpg fuel economy in official tests.

Alongside the Clio, Renault offers a hybrid version of its small SUV, the Captur, based on the same technology.

Read oursReview of the Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid.

Best hybrid family cars

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (4)

Hyundai Ioniq-Hybrid

The Ioniq was not only the first model under Hyundai's green car initiative, but also the first to be launched in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric versions.

The Ioniq's fastback design is similar in style to a Toyota Prius and much slimmer than an SUV. So it's refreshingly different, if perhaps not as practical.

However, the dynamic body of the five-door is very aerodynamic and efficient. CO2 emissions start at 102g/km with fuel economy of 62.8mpg.

The Ioniq's 141hp self-charging hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.6-litre petrol engine, a 30kW electric motor and a 1.56kWh lithium-ion battery.

Read oursReview of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (5)

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Kia Niro-Hybrid

You can consider the Kia Niro as the Ioniq's sister car. It uses the same engine - Hyundai is Kia's parent company - and boasts very similar fuel economy, emissions and performance scores.

However, the self-loading Niro is more of a crossover SUV stylistically, and looks both good looking and practical, with a spacious interior and large trunk.

The 1.56 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is housed under the rear seats, but is impractical, making the Niro well-suited for family life.

In addition to the self-charging hybrid model, Kia also sells the Niro as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and purely battery electric (BEV) version.

Read oursTest report on the Kia Niro Hybrid.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (6)

Subaru XV e-Boxer

A crossover break of sorts, the Subaru XV e-Boxer combines rugged SUV styling cues and a higher ride height with a traditional body style.

Powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, the XV e-Boxer can drive at speeds of up to 40 km/h in electric-only mode.

The hybrid Subaru's big draw is its permanent four-wheel drive, which comes standard and builds on the company's all-conquering rally heritage.

An "X-Mode" handles the most extreme weather and road conditions.

Read oursReview of the Subaru XV.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (7)

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Like the smaller Yaris, the latest Corolla has a full hybrid engine range. However, there are two engines available here.

The 122 hp 1.8-litre petrol engine comes from the same family as that of the Prius and is mated to a 53 kW electric motor and a 0.8 kWh lithium-ion battery in the Corolla.

The more powerful 2.0-litre 184hp engine features a larger 80kW electric motor and 1.4kWh battery for sportier performance.

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Emissions start at 102g/km and fuel economy ranges from 53.3 to 62.7mpg. The Corolla is also unique in that it is available in three body styles: 5-door hatchback, 5-door Sports Touring station wagon and 4-door sedan.

Read oursReview of the Toyota Corolla hatchback.

Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (8)

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the hybrid dad. First launched in Britain around the turn of the millennium, the small hybrid sedan offered the diesel-like economy of a petrol engine.

Four generations have now emerged from this first model, and the latest version builds on the sleek looks of its predecessors.

Powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine similar to that found in the Corolla hybrid, the Prius also shares a 53kW electric motor with its brother, but has a 1.31kWh battery.

As with other Toyota hybrids, the Prius' powertrain is - like most other hybrids - controlled by an e-CVT automatic transmission, making for a smooth and very relaxing drive.

There is even a four-wheel drive version for riders who dare to venture out on smoother surfaces.

Read oursReview of the Toyota Prius.

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Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive (9)

Lexus ES 300h

The Japanese company Lexus has delivered more than two million hybrid cars since 2004 and has a total of eight hybrid models in its range.

The ES was one of the first models following the company's UK launch in 1989, and the latest version combines saloon luxury with smooth hybrid technology.

The fourth-generation hybrid powertrain consists of a 178 hp 2.5-liter petrol engine, an 88 kW electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery.

These figures reflect the ES 300h's officially tested fuel economy of 50.4 to 53.2mpg and CO2 emissions of between 119 and 128g/km.

Read oursReview of the Lexus ES 300h.

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Best Hybrid Sports Cars

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Lexus LC 500h

The LC 500h is a coupe sports car that uses hybrid technology to offer a sporty and slightly greener driving experience.

The powertrain of the LC 500h features a 299 hp 3.5 liter V6 engine and Lexus' multi-stage hybrid system. The total output is 359 hp and for more driving pleasure the engine output of the LC 500h and the electric motor are increased in four stages.

With acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds, the driving performance is very sports car-like. The control program for the lithium-ion battery ensures powerful acceleration of the 132 kW electric motor.

At 34.8 mph, the economy isn't quite as impressive as the other hybrids here, but the added electronics make it impressive for a high-performance car.

Read oursReview of the Lexus LC 500h.

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The RAC is at the forefront of helping drivers make the switch to electric vehicles.

More and more of our patrol cars have built-in mobile emergency charging systems that can supply an empty electric car with enough energy for the short journey home or to a working charging station.

Our All Wheels Up recovery system also allows our patrols to safely recover electric cars without the need for a truck bed.

Read more about theThe RAC cover for electric car breakdown.

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Best Hybrid Cars 2022 | RAC drive? ›

During the colder months it will average around 41 miles per gallon, while in the warmer months it will get around 45 miles per gallon. That takes some of the sting out of paying more than $4 for gas. I would definitely recommend purchasing a hybrid for your next vehicle.

Is it worth buying a hybrid car in 2022? ›

During the colder months it will average around 41 miles per gallon, while in the warmer months it will get around 45 miles per gallon. That takes some of the sting out of paying more than $4 for gas. I would definitely recommend purchasing a hybrid for your next vehicle.

What is the best hybrid car for a new driver? ›

You might've heard of the Toyota Prius, as it's one of the most famous hybrids around – offering great reliability for new or young drivers.

Are hybrid cars good for long distance driving? ›

The main advantage of taking a hybrid car on your next long distance road trip is the excellent fuel economy it offers. While traditional vehicles may require frequent stops for refuelling, hybrids are designed to conserve fuel over much longer distances.

What hybrids are fun to drive? ›

10 Hybrid Vehicles That Are Stylish And Fun to Drive
  • 1 Honda Accord Hybrid.
  • 2 BMW 330e PHEV.
  • 3 Dodge Hornet.
  • 4 Kia Niro Hybrid.
  • 5 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.
  • 6 Toyota Prius Prime.
  • 7 Volvo V60 Recharge.
  • 8 Audi A6 TFSI e.
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