Best Hybrid Cars: The Ultimate 2021 Guide
Some of you reading this might not like the idea of an all electric car; it’s what makes learning about the best hybrid cars of 2021 so essential.
Electric or hybrid cars? That’s the question a lot of people are asking online, and with good reason.
Both serve as an ideal alternative to a standard ICE vehicle (combustion engine types). However, with a hybrid, you’re getting the best of both, given it has electric components and requires regular fuel as standard.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist of hybrid cars. They’re the perfect go-between if you’re looking to plant one foot in the future of transport while keeping the other firm in terms of what you’re familiar with.
In this ultimate guide to the best hybrid cars of 2021, we’ll be covering everything from small hybrid cars to the self charging electric car.
All to give you a full idea of what’s out right now.
Furthermore, we’ll be helping you answer the famed question: which is better, electric or hybrid cars?
Kia has a fantastic selection of hybrid cars to choose from
The Best Hybrid Cars Of 2021
The year is 2021, and it’s never been a better time to invest in a hybrid.
We’ll tell you that for free.
Demand for self charging hybrids/mild hybrids/plug-in hybrids has never been stronger.
The sales of hybrid cars tend to follow full-electric types in that the stats are constantly on the rise. In 2020 alone, pure electric car sales jumped by 185%, with registrations for plug in hybrids following behind with a 91% increase.
The EV market tends to move in unison.
That being said, range extended electric vehicles, and mild hybrids aren’t nearly as big as your self charging hybrids, plug ins, or all electric types, unfortunately.
You can get pretty lost when searching for the best hybrid cars as there is just so much to pick and choose from.
Below we’ve picked out what we believe to be the best hybrid cars this year.
Disclaimer: Expect this list to shift around a little in the coming months, what with car brands like Toyota, Kia and Nissan coming out with new hybrids.
Hyundai Ioniq: Plug In Hybrid
- Cost: From £30,250
- Electric Range: 39 Miles
- CO2: 26g/km
Let’s kick this list off in style with the Hyundai Ioniq plug in hybrid.
The South Korean automaker’s Ioniq line is easily one of its most popular. The fact buyers can choose between a plug in hybrid, or all electric version of the Ioniq means everybody wins.
Its aerodynamic design applies to all versions. Hyundai actually refers to it as its “fastback aerodynamic design.” Meaning this PHEV is optimised for enhanced airflow.
Here’s another great feature: the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV can link with a dedicated app for scheduled charging (as long as your car is plugged in at the time).
Under the hood, you’ll find a powerful 8.9kWh battery. It will take around two hours to charge from a fast charger, which shouldn’t prove too difficult for most of you reading this.
We should also mention that this EV comes complete with regenerative braking that will funnel energy to the battery, too, whenever you decelerate.
Electric range alone will take you up to 39 miles before switching to the 1.6L engine. It’s a seamless transition that won’t pull you too much out of the driving experience.
Inside you’ll find an extensive touch screen entertainment system (it is a modern vehicle from Hyundai, after all).
At its core, the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV is a people-pleaser, the perfect family car fit for every occasion you can think of. The 443-litre boot gives drivers a lot of room to play with, too, especially if you’re planning on taking a road trip with the little ones.
Ford Mondeo: Self Charging Hybrid
- Cost: From £28,820
- Power: 184 bhp
- CO2: 127g/km
The Ford Mondeo has been a mainstay for as long as we can remember, and its hybrid version isn’t too shabby; dare we say it’s one of the best self charging hybrids?
That’s right. This EV is a self charging electric car, meaning you only need to fill it with petrol to get it moving. It will come with all the benefits of owning an electric car, just without the need to plug it in for some juice.
Around 90% of the 1.4kWh battery is charged through its friction brakes. Harvesting kinetic energy and giving it back to the battery allows it to travel pretty far.
Not as far as other hybrid cars, but still.
Ford has included a ‘SmartGuage’ in the self charging Mondeo, complete with EcoGuide to ensure that you stay on top of the energy/fuel used in the vehicle.
It’s a nifty feature that will tell you when you’re driving most efficiently in order to save you the most money when out and about.
Other notable features of this HEV includes: adaptive cruise control, hill start assist and active park assist.
All of the above work in tandem to provide a relaxing/enjoyable driving experience every time you’re behind the wheel.
Sure, other hybrid cars are better from a performance standpoint, but you’d have to be blind to deny the appeal of the Ford Mondeo HEV.
The Mondeo comes in multiple configurations. Its HEV version stands out to us most, given how different it feels to drive compared to its ICE siblings. It’s the Mondeo you know, just different.
Toyota Prius: Plug In Hybrid
- Cost: From £21,969
- Electric Range: 34 Miles
- CO2: 29g/km
An uncrowned king in the hybrid cars lane.
The Toyota Prius has made a big impression since bursting onto the scene, leaving many of its contemporaries in the dust.
Many Uber/taxi drivers have already invested heavily in this electrified Prius.
Maybe you’ve taken a ride in one already?
Unlike other models, the Prius here identifies as a self charging electric car and a plug in hybrid type. And the two configurations certainly change a lot depending on which you choose from a visual point of view.
Many have flocked to the plug in hybrid version over its HEV counterpart.
It sports a powerful 8.8kWh battery — one that will take two and half hours to charge from a fast charger, or four hours plus if you’re using a slow charger.
Power-wise, this PHEV delivers 120bhp, meaning it can accelerate pretty fast from a starting position. Its 1.8-litre engine also ensures that range is covered.
Having 34 miles of electric range is pretty handy to have if you’re conscious of emitting carbon emissions in populated areas.
But wait, there’s more.
Buyers have the option of a four-wheel-drive version for maximum power; just expect to pay more.
It’s an ideal company car and a fantastic opportunity to see what all the fuss is about with hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius is similar to the Ford Mondeo in that its name carries weight. Only difference is this EV is a little better from a performance/emissions standpoint.
Kia Niro: Plug In Hybrid
- Cost: From £30,265
- Electric Range: 30 Miles
- CO2: 29g/km
This electric SUV (the Kia Niro) is the plug in hybrid that leads the pack for the most part.
It’s more than likely the hybrid you were thinking of when you came across this post. Like the Hyundai Ioniq, this EV is available in all electric and plug in hybrid versions. Today we’re highlighting the hybrid version, in particular.
Seeing that this hybrid can only travel 30 miles on electric power can seem disappointing compared to other vehicles mentioned, but the Kia Nero makes up for that in other departments.
For example, it has a lot of space inside for passengers and cargo alike.
Boot space (427-litre) allows you to transport goods at will, making it an ideal option for businesses looking to lease vehicles for fleet use.
It goes without saying, but the room inside is also ideal for families.
The 1.6L engine works in harmony with an optimised electric motor to produce a decent 139bhp. Again, it’s nothing to write home about, yet there’s just something about this EV that we just can’t shake.
Perhaps, the plush nature of the vehicle has us tricked. Or maybe it’s just that good; living up to the hype.
The Kia Niro is great at fuel economy too.
Maybe that’s the reason it has us hooked?
Kia are masters at crafting family-orientated vehicles, and this electric SUV is no exception to the rule. Seriously, watch any video, or gaze at any image of this EV, and you’ll know where we’re coming from. It’s one of the best hybrid cars of 2021, trust us.
Lexus UX: Self Charging Hybrid
- Cost: From £29,955
- Acceleration: 30 Miles
- CO2: 137g/km
Lexus is a brand that emotes quality, in our opinion. This also happens to be the word we’d use to describe the Lexus UX: quality.
It’s a compact electric SUV that could easily be considered one of the best small hybrid cars (depending on what you consider small, that is).
This does limit the boot space (320L), but you wouldn’t buy this EV for spaciness anyway; this is a HEV you buy to flex with (as is the case with most Lexus vehicles).
Sprint-wise, the Lexus UX can go from 0 to 62mph in around 8.5 seconds, which is pretty nimble when you think about it.
The 2L four-cylinder petrol engine, in part with the electric motor, can deliver 180bhp and 190Nm. What else is there to say, really? It’s a performance-heavy compact SUV with a top speed of 110mph (better than most).
The only real downside to this EV is the fact that it can get a little costly (up to £40,000). Then again, this all depends on whether or not you can afford it.
Those of you who can will find they made the right decision compared to other EVs that fit that ‘best hybrid cars’ mould.
Day-to-day driving has never looked/felt better.
Pricy? Yes. One of the best self charging hybrids in the market right now? Also yes. The Lexus UX has proven itself time and time again; ask any owner of this Ev — or check out the reviews for this one online. You’ll see.
Debate: which is better? Electric or hybrid?
Electric Or Hybrid Cars? Which Is Better?
Pure electric vehicles often go up against hybrid cars to determine which is better for buyers. After all, they are very similar in some ways, yet so different in others.
Is one better than the other? That’s for you to decide, but we’ll make enough points for both so that you can give an educated answer.
Price-wise, both are very similar depending on the type of car you want and the number of features it includes.
This is but one example, and we can debate price all day, but there isn’t a significant difference between the two; it tends to vary from brand to brand anyway.
Paying more will open the door to better hybrids/all electric types, regardless.
How much were you willing to spend anyway?
Hybrid Cars Still Release Carbon Emissions
If the main reason you’re going with an electric car is to save emissions, well, you might want to consider your options fully.
You see, hybrid vehicles still release carbon emissions when active — especially self charging hybrids since they rely on the petrol engine to generate all of the force required to keep the battery topped up.
Again, hybrid cars utilise a small battery (normally lithium-ion) and a standard combustion engine to run. All electric vehicles, on the other hand, have no tailpipe at all since all run on electric power exclusively.
Still, hybrids (especially plug in hybrids) release fewer emissions than conventional transport vehicles.
You’re still damaging the planet, just not as much as you are now (if you currently own an ICE type).
An argument could be made that mining the materials needed for all electric types release emissions. This requires some mental gymnastics. Still, we consider EVs, as a whole, beneficial in the long run.
Care About The Environment: Go with a pure electric vehicle.
Hybrids Are A Lot More Convenient
Convenience is certainly key in terms of electric vehicles.
The fact that you have to keep your vehicle charged can be seen as a hindrance to some buyers. We’ve touched on it many times in the past, but the best way to keep your car going is to install a charger at home.
Some don’t have the luxury of pulling this off, be it through financing issues or where they live not having the proper facilities.
All electric cars require an electric outlet to keep going 100% of the time, whereas one of these self charging hybrids can just move around as it usually would, relying on petrol power only.
Remember, the energy needed to charge a self charging hybrid is completed within courtesy of regenerative systems — like with the Ford Mondeo.
Not charging the vehicle could be seen as beneficial to certain buyers. It’s partly the reason why mild hybrid vehicles are a thing, although these hybrids don’t have much of an overall impact.
In our opinion, charging an EV is simple and easy to remember once you get into a routine. Just leave your vehicle on charge overnight like you would a phone, and you’ll never have to worry about a thing.
Care About Convenience: Still, we’re going to have to give this one to the hybrid cars. Owning a self charging hybrid when you don’t have a home charger will save you from taking trips to the public networks.
The Winner: Electric Or Hybrid Cars?
As mentioned in our guide on whether or not you should buy an electric car now or wait, hybrids trump all electric types at the moment.
However, this will depend on your own mindset.
We believe that all electric types will get better — and cheaper — in time. Advancements in battery tech are looming as new EVs enter the market.
Not to mention the fact that more public charging stations are currently being built.
Soon, every major motorway/highway will have a charging point for you to access. Some with ultra-rapid stations capable of charging an EV in under an hour.
Range anxiety shouldn’t exist when you have a charge point around every corner.
If you want to drive around in an all electric type now, then we’d recommend leasing the vehicle. Leasing comes with various advantages, as you can imagine.
It’s not as expensive as you think either.
At the end of the day, we’re all going to end up with electric cars sooner rather than later.
The UK government is banning the sale of new hybrid cars in 2035 (and standard combustion types as early as 2030).
For now, though, if you’re slightly sceptical about the power of all electric types, then go with a hybrid.
Our list of the best hybrid cars above should give you a good idea of what’s out there currently.
Winner Of The EV Debate: Hybrid cars (at least until battery electric types get better).
The word ‘hybrid’ has so many meanings
Types Of Hybrid Cars Explained
The word hybrid is multi-faceted in a way, in that it can mean multiple variations of the same thing.
Saying the word hybrid is a blanket term for a wide variety of EVs, put in place by the automakers behind these rides, for the most part.
In reality, there are multiple hybrids of note, each different in some way or other. Here’s a quick rundown of these vehicles:
- Self Charging Hybrids
- Plug-In Hybrids
- Mild Hybrids
- Range-Extended Vehicles (Technically)
All feature electric components that either affect the performance of the vehicle or its auxiliary systems.
For example, mild hybrid vehicles benefit the turning on/off of the engine, allowing the engine to be turned off when coasting. This is said to reduce emissions over time.
This is night and day compared to a plug in hybrid that allows drivers to run on electric power only for a limited number of miles.
No Plug In Required: The Self Charging Electric Car
Self charging hybrids do what it says on the tin; pretty self-explanatory when you think about it.
These hybrids are the polar opposite to plug in hybrids, despite having a lot of similarities.
The benefits of owning a vehicle that you don’t need to charge are paramount, should you consider convenience key.
Are these EVs better than plug in hybrid cars?
Not really if you’re looking at emissions alone.
Sure, owning a car you just fill with petrol is cost-effective compared to making a trip to a public charging station — or charging from home. But the fact remains that self charging hybrids rely on a self-sustaining system that lives on petrol.
Many have complained about the term ‘self charging’ given the limited environmental benefits.
Toyota even had to come out and issue the following statement, it got that heavy:
“We use the phrase self-charging hybrid to help consumers understand how this technology works when faced with a choice of different powertrains in today’s automotive market. We also sell a plug-in hybrid model so clear distinction between these models is important for the customer.”
In short, self charging hybrids are convenient as hell, just not as viable as a PHEV.
The Best Small Hybrid Cars?
You probably noticed, but our list of the best hybrid cars consisted of mostly electric SUVs. That was purposeful.
That’s not to say you can’t get electric SUVs that fill the ‘best small hybrid cars’ space either; just look at the Lexus UX.
We thought we’d give buyers the hybrids of 2021, and sorry. Still, smaller cars pale in comparison to electric SUVs almost every time.
SUVs simply cover a lot more ground and are universal in a way, whereas a small hybrid like the MINI Countryman Plug In Hybrid is entirely situational.
Again, this will come down to your own personal preferences. Some of you might be looking for a hybrid commuter, and small hybrid cars are perfect for that.
But if you’re the family type — or have a job that requires a lot of boot/interior space — then you’d be crazy not to go with a bigger electric SUV.
Here are the best small hybrid cars of 2021, in our opinion:
- MINI Countryman Plug In Hybrid
- Renault Clio E-Tech
- Toyota Yaris Hybrid
- Volkswagen Golf GT
Hybrid electric cars won’t be around forever
Best Hybrid Cars: The Ultimate 2021 Guide
There’s no stopping hybrid cars.
Visit any reputable car maker site (other than Tesla), and you’ll see the word hybrid plastered everywhere.
These manufacturers understand there’s a demand for these EVs as we edge closer to a new tomorrow; roads that are dominated by sustainable vehicles.
We’ll say this (again), in terms of our take on the winner of electric or hybrid cars. Buying one of the best hybrid cars mentioned above is a fantastic option for the short term, but they do have a shelf life.
Pure electric vehicles will rule the roost eventually. Still, who said you couldn’t enjoy the convenient benefits of hybrids now while you can?
So, what do you think?
Will you be going hybrid anytime soon?