Best hybrid estate cars

Form and frugality combine with hybrid estate cars

Murray Scullion
Apr 11, 2018

Hybrid and estate. There’s usually a stark contrast between the two words.

The word hybrid conjures up images of modern and sleek cars, driving silently at slow speeds around town. And the word estate brings to mind old Volvos, or if you’re old enough, Austin Montegos.

And it is true that those seeking big cars are switching from estates to SUVs and crossovers. The former being a Sports Utility Vehicle, a tall and large car, usually capable of going off-road. The latter has the height and space of an SUV, but lacks the complex mechanical gubbins to help it go off road.

Crossovers are selling so well that they regularly pop up in the best selling lists in the UK. So much in fact, that the Nissan Qashqai was the fourth best selling car here in 2017.

However, the estate should still be considered if you need a huge boot, but don’t need seven seats, a lofty driving position, or the image associated with SUVs. Generally, estates are cheaper to run and are better to drive too. Both of these facts can be attributed to the inherent weight gain of larger and taller vehicles like SUVs.

Hybrid cars combine a battery and engine for fuel efficiency and long range. So add that to the mix, and estates provide an economical, simpler, and superior to drive alternative to SUVs, 4x4s, and crossovers that are taking over the roads of Britain.

          

Here are five of the best hybrid estate cars currently on sale:

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

Best hybrid estate for all round capability

List price £42,030 2017 cars typically £32,000 Acceleration (0-62mph) 7.6.sec, Fuel economy 166mpg, CO2 40g/km

The hybrid Passat offers most things that most people would want from a hybrid estate. Low running costs and high fuel economy wrapped up in a pleasingly solid car.

It covers the middle ground in terms of manufacturers as it’s nicer to drive and own than the Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia, but better value for money than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3-series.

Although if you’re after more value for money, the Skoda Superb is mechanically very similar, but has a bigger boot (660 litres compared to the VW’s 650 litres) and is cheaper too. Although, not available with clever hybrid technology.

             

Mercedes-Benz C350e

Best hybrid estate for premium feel

List price £39,965 2017 cars typically £30,500 
Acceleration
 (0-62mph) 5.9.sec, Fuel economy 134.5mpg, CO2 49g/km

The C350e boasts the premium-feel of a Mercedes with the low running costs, and emissions, of a hybrid. It’s proving popular with business users because of this, plus it’s clean enough to be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

It has an electric range of around 19 miles, which isn’t class leading, but useful enough for menial day-to-day tasks. Although drivers won’t be left disappointed when it comes to more sporting tasks -  as this estate can shift - dispatching 0-62mph in 5.9seconds.

However, the green credentials do have their downsides. The boot in this hybrid version is 30 per cent smaller than in the standard C-Class because the batteries used to power the hybrid system are stored there.

             

Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

Best hybrid estate for peace of mind

List price £35,145 2017 cars typically £24,000 
Acceleration
 (0-62mph) 9.4sec, Fuel economy 201.8mpg, CO2 33g/km

For those of you that haven’t heard of the Optima, it’s the biggest car Kia sells in the UK that’s not an SUV (so smaller than a Sorento). The Optima Sportswagon utilises a Plug In Hybrid system. This means that is has big batteries that can supply enough energy to power it on electric power alone for short journeys. And they can be plugged in and charged - as the name suggests.

This ensures that the running costs of the Optima are very low - especially if you do a lot of short journeys. Plus you’ll get Kia’s seven-year/100,000 mile warranty for peace of mind.

However, Optimas are pricey. Top spec cars cost more than £35,000 - much more than rivals like for the Ford Mondeo.

       

Toyota Auris Touring Sports hybrid

Best hybrid estate for value

List price £23,590 2017 cars typically £17,995 
Acceleration
 (0-62mph) 11.2sec, Fuel economy 80.7mpg, CO2 81g/km

Don’t let the Touring Sports name fool you, this Auris is not sporty, in the slightest. However, it has loads of space, and is good value for money.

The Auris’ boot can hold 507 litres, which isn’t as much as the VW Golf Estate (605) or the Skoda Octavia Estate (610). However, with the rear seats down, the Auris’ luggage holding capacity swells to 1,635 litres, more than the VW and Skoda can handle. It’s only just behind the class-leading Peugeot 308 SW (1,775 litres), however, the Peugeot can’t be specified with a hybrid system.

The Auris starts at from £23,590 too, making it easily the cheapest on this list. Nearly new cars with less than 7,000 miles generally start at £17,995.

     

Volvo V90 T8

Best hybrid estate for performance

List price £59,305 2017 cars typically £48,000
Acceleration (0-62mph) 4.8.sec, Fuel economy 141.2mpg, CO2 46g/km

A 0-62mph time short of five seconds is impressive. But to get that from a big and environmentally friendly estate is staggering. To put that into context, an Aston Martin Rapide from less than a decade ago could only manage it in 5.1 seconds.

Nevertheless, the Volvo is not a one trick pony. It’s roomy and comfortable inside, and finished in a light and airy way that’s not regularly seen in this sector. The interiors look best in light colours and are a welcome distraction from some of the other premium brands’ dreary grey and black leather interiors.

It may be rapid, but it's not the last word in driving fun though. It's powerful, but you can’t help but notice that it weighs more than two tonnes in the way that it shifts weight while changing direction.

 

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