Best value hybrid cars

Getting a hybrid car needn't break the bank. Choose one of these top value hatchbacks, saloons or SUVs for low costs and high fuel economy

James Wilson
Jun 8, 2022

Hybrid cars can come with rock-bottom running costs compared with standard petrol and diesel models, but what if you want to consider the whole package - including a low purchase price? Thinking about more than just fuel economy is important if you want low overall costs - especially if you don't cover too many miles. So, which are the best value hybrid cars?

There are three main types of hybrids but we focus on traditional hybrids here, which are sometimes called ‘conventional’ hybrids. Typically, a traditional hybrid comes with an automatic gearbox, a small high-voltage battery pack and an electric motor that assists the petrol or diesel engine for improved fuel economy.

Conventional hybrids can often briefly drive under battery power alone,  with no fuel burnt during that time. They are normally only able to do so at lower speeds, such as when travelling through towns and for relatively short distances - usually a couple of miles at most. There is no need to plug a traditional hybrid in to charge, as charge is gained through regenerative braking or the engine working as a generator.

With that in mind, there are a number of different types of conventional hybrids available. They range from smaller, more affordable hatchbacks like the Renault Clio and go all the way up to luxurious SUVs.

The models below are not necessarily the absolute cheapest compared to equivalent alternatives, but they do represent the best value. This might be through exceptionally long warranty cover and strong standard specification levels or lots of practical features that make a smaller car as useful as more expensive, larger options.

Best value hybrid cars

1. Toyota Yaris

Best value hybrid car for learner drivers

Our pick Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-h Design
Used deals from £8,299
Monthly finance from £0*

Toyota has been making a small hybrid car for longer than most of its competition - the only exception being Honda with its hybrid Jazz. Choosing between the two is fairly straightforward; if you want maximum practicality go for the Honda, if you want a small, relatively affordable and cheap to run car, then the Yaris will serve you very well. For maximum affordability, we’d suggest looking for a previous-generation Yaris, which was made until 2020.

One of the features which makes the Yaris great value is its manufacturer warranty cover, which until recently lasted for five years or 100,000 miles, whichever came first. Toyota has changed its warranty (rebranding it as ‘Toyota Relax’) and in doing so boosted the potential cover to 10 years or 100,000 miles - the longest new car warranty cover you can get.

There is, however, a catch and that is that servicing the car must be done through an official Toyota garage for it to remain valid for the whole period, but for 10 years of peace-of-mind motoring, there is a strong argument that doing this is worth it.

TOYOTA YARIS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Renault Clio

Best value hybrid car for low running costs

Renault Clio front view

Our pick Renault Clio 1.6 E-Tech S Edition
Used deals Limited stock

Renault launched a hybrid version of the Clio in 2020, so all models are relatively new. Generally speaking, the entire Clio range is fantastic as the Clio is affordable, stylish and feels well-built. From the outside, hybrid models look the same as non-hybrids but thanks to the high-tech electronics, the hybrid promises especially tiny fuel bills and low carbon dioxide emissions. Hybrid models are named slightly differently, with ‘E-Tech’ included in the name.

Away from hybridness, the Clio has an interior which is right up there with the best cars of this type, going toe to toe with similar cars like the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza. Additionally, hybrid models come with bucket loads of equipment - probably all the kit you’d ever need.

For example, there is cruise control for motorway trips, a seven-inch touchscreen media system for keeping the driver and passengers entertained and provided with plenty of audio options and a number of safety systems for helping minimise the chance of crashes.

RENAULT CLIO BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Honda Jazz

Best value hybrid car for older drivers

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD SE
Used deals from £17,450
Monthly finance from £0*

As previously mentioned, the Honda Jazz is a hybrid that majors in practicality. There are two generations of hybrid Jazz to choose from; the first was made from 2011 to 2015 and the second arrived in 2020. Which one is best will depend on how old a car you would like and also whether the huge improvements in styling, interior and technology found in the newer version are worth the financial premium to you.

If there is one standout feature that shows how practical the Jazz is, it is the rear seats. Honda calls them ‘Magic seats’ and while they won’t pull a rabbit out of a hat, they are very useful. They can fold flat - and level with the boot floor - which puts the Honda ahead of some rivals, but they can also be lifted up like a cinema chair, meaning it is possible to transport large awkwardly shaped objects with ease - such as bulky plant pots, bicycles and other tall items that wouldn't fit in the boot.

With the seats in the normal position, the amount of head and leg space on offer is some of the best available in a car of this size. All this means that the Jazz is a great option for those who normally transport adults or other big loads in the back. It's also easy to get in and out, with light controls - making it a good option for older drivers who want a car that requires the minimum amount of effort to drive.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HONDA JAZZ

4. Hyundai Ioniq

Best value hybrid car for taxi drivers

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Hybrid Premium
Used deals from £16,350
Monthly finance from £0*

Hyundai offers the Ioniq in three flavours; hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric. All are great cars but it is only the first we are focusing on here. One of the best features of the Ioniq is how easy it is to live with. The steering and pedals are nicely weighted, making the Korean car rather effortless to drive and there is plenty of equipment as standard.

Plus, the boot is relatively large - bigger than those found in the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Those over six feet tall might find their heads brushing on the headlining if they sit in the back seats, but apart from that, there is plenty of space for driver and passengers.

It won’t take long to choose an engine as there is a choice of one. It is a 1.6-litre petrol which is then paired with the high-voltage electronics. As for choosing a trim, we’d recommend looking for an SE Connect or Premium, as these offer are a great mix of equipment and value.

HYUNDAI IONIQ BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Lexus IS

Best value hybrid car for young professionals

Our pick Lexus IS 300h Advance
Used deals from £18,479
Monthly finance from £0*

If you like a good value hybrid car that comes with striking looks, then the Lexus IS could be the car for you. The IS is similar in size to cars like the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE so it comes with plenty of space in the front, a bit less in the back but a reasonably large boot at the rear. As the IS is a saloon, the boot isn’t as easy to access as those in hatchbacks or estate cars, as it has a smaller boot opening.

Lexus is a premium brand and this is reflected well in the build quality, with the IS feeling like a high-quality machine. This is proven by the fact Lexus regularly scores very highly in surveys where owners provide feedback on how reliable they find their cars to be.

All models are well equipped, too. One year to have in mind is 2017 as that is when Lexus gave the IS a refresh, most notably bringing the styling up to date. If your budget allows we’d recommend shopping for a newer model but the older cars still offer a solid hybrid package.

LEXUS IS BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota C-HR

Best value hybrid car for a striking crossover

Our pick Toyota C-HR 1.8 VVT-h Excel
Used deals from £16,300
Monthly finance from £0*

If you are in two minds as to whether a sleeker hatchback would be better for you than a higher-riding SUV, there is always the option of a crossover, which is something of a middle ground. One of the best value hybrid crossovers is the Toyota C-HR, which is similar in size to cars like the Nissan Qashqai. This means it can happily function as a relatively compact family car, although only if you can manage with five seats as there is no seven-seat model - and a number of rivals do feel a bit more spacious.

Toyota has done a great job in ensuring the C-HR has head-turning looks, especially in vibrant colour schemes like Scarlet Flare (red) with a contrasting black roof. The inside is smart, too, with logically laid out controls. If you expect to be using the touchscreen media system frequently, we’d recommend looking for a 2019 or newer model with the ‘Touch 2’ media system, as this has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

TOYOTA C-HR BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Kia Niro

Best value hybrid car for small families

Our pick Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid '3'
Used deals from £15,300
Monthly finance from £0*

Despite what the vastly different looks would have you believe, the Kia Niro hybrid and Hyundai Ioniq hybrid are actually built on the same platform. This means they share a lot of components such as batteries and engines. The Kia does come with a longer warranty (seven years/100,000 miles vs five years/unlimited mileage for the Hyundai) but this is as much to do with what Kia and Hyundai offer as standard rather than any differences between the two cars.

Another differentiator between the Ioniq and Niro is ride height. The Niro is taller so getting in and out may be easier for less mobile people and if you have child seats to load there should be less bending over needed. When it comes to trims, entry-level ‘2’ models are the most affordable, but stepping up to ‘3’ specification brings a number of useful additions – not least a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen media system.

KIA NIRO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Toyota RAV4

Best value hybrid car for company car drivers

Our pick Toyota RAV4 2.5 VVT-h Excel
Used deals from £18,000
Monthly finance from £402*

The latest Toyota RAV4 is something of a beast. Its bold, angular styling means it stands out from impressive rivals such as the Skoda Kodiaq but its spacious interior means that everyone from families to company car drivers should have plenty of room for kids or work gear. What’s more, the RAV4 has comfortable seats and relatively soft suspension, so long journeys shouldn't be a hardship.

While the interior is generally top-notch, the media system lets the side down a little. This is because it can be a bit fiddly to use and not as intuitive as systems in other brands like Ford and VW. There is a saving grace, though, as most models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so you can bypass the worst parts of the system and use smartphone mirroring instead.

There is a range of other useful features available on certain trims, such as a powered tailgate and a premium JBL sound system, which is great for audiophiles, and the hybrid petrol-electric format means that with gentle driving there should be very little engine noise to get in the way of your music.

TOYOTA RAV4 BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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