Best hybrid estate cars to buy in 2019

Form and frugality combine with hybrid estate cars, which offer excellent mpg figures and large luggage capacity

Murray Scullion
Mar 6, 2019

Even eco-minded motorists want to go on holiday, buy flat pack furniture and then take it to the tip a few years later (to be recycled, of course).

That's why the hybrid estate exists, promising frugal fuel economy and low carbon dioxide emissions, which bring reduced company car tax - along with a vast quantity of storage space.

Hybrid use a battery and motor, in addition to a conventional engine, to recover energy that's usually lost during braking. It's then used to assist the engine, reducing the amount of fuel that it uses. For extra efficiency, plug-in hybrids have larger batteries that can be charged up, storing enough power to drive the car for 20 to 30 miles with barely any assistance from the engine.

In both cases, fuel economy will depend on how you drive: mpg figures tend to be impressive on shorter, slower journeys, but closer to a standard car on longer trips at steady speeds. The official figures will also change slightly depending on the wheels and equipment that you choose.

If you can charge up at home, then it's worth considering an electric car too, but many buyers still want the reassurance of a petrol and diesel engine for long distance driving without a lengthy stop to recharge.

Click to search for all hybrid estates that are currently available on BuyaCar or scroll down for our pick of the best.

 
Best hybrid estate cars

 

1. Volvo V60 T8

Best hybrid estate for good looks

Fuel economy 135mpg, CO2 48g/km

Volvo's V60 isn't just economical; it's quick too. When the electric motor combines with the petrol engine, the family estate car will accelerate from 0-62mph in just under five seconds. It's a car that's best driven smoothly, though: the unfussy, high-quality interior is calming and the car is much steadier when you're not trying to fling it round corners.

The plug-in hybrid car will run silently for around 25 miles in its electric mode before the battery runs low and engine takes over, but you're better off in the car's hybrid mode for longer trips: this switches seamlessly between motor and engine (or a combination of the both) for maximum efficiency over long distances. Even so, fuel economy drops close to 40mpg if you're covering many motorway miles.

The car will arrive in Britain later this year, so there aren't any used examples at the moment. This means that early buyers are likely to pay around £45,000 for a new model, which admittedly brings a stylish design and a sizeable 529-litre boot, which is the same size as the standard V60.
Volvo V60 buying guide 

 

2. Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

Best hybrid estate for all round capability

Latest Volkswagen Passat GTE deals from £20,000
Finance from £253 per month
Fuel economy tbc, CO2 tbc

The plug-in hybrid Passat offers low running costs and high fuel economy wrapped up in a pleasingly solid and spacious car: a textbook list for a car aimed at families.

The latest model is due to go on sale this year, with a longer range of more than 30 miles using battery power, as well as a new optional partially autonomous system that enables the car to accelerate, brake and steer itself on motorways, whether it's in a traffic jam or at high speed. It's not foolproof, though, so drivers will still have to be in control, ready to intervene instantly.

The new model is an updated version of the Passat GTE, which went on sale in 2015. Since then, fuel economy tests have been toughened up, so it's not known whether the 2019 car will improve on the official 156.9mpg or 40g/km figures of its predecessor. No matter what the numbers say, real-world fuel economy will be better, thanks to the longer range.

The earlier Passat GTE is still available to buy used, but most of the car available are saloon versions, rather than estate cars with a larger 482-litre boot (down from 650 litres for the non-hybrid car).
Volkswagen Passat buying guide

 

3. Mercedes E 300 de EQ Power

Best hybrid estate for boot space

Fuel economy 176.6mpg, CO2 44g/km

Mercedes' big plug-in hybrid estate is the only one in this list to use a diesel - as opposed to petrol - engine. Before you scroll down in fear, it's worth knowing that this is a new, modern engine that's passed current emissions tests, which make it exempt from forthcoming inner-city emissions charges.

The diesel engine also brings extra efficiency on long journeys, well after the battery's electric-only range of around 30 miles has been exhausted.

The catch is the high cost from new: prices start at around £50,000 and the car's too new for large stocks to be appearing on the used market yet. Bear in mind that this price does include a huge 660-litre boot and a standard equipment list that runs to a dual 12.3in widescreen dashboard display, leather seats, motorised bootlid and reversing camera.
Mercedes E-Class buying guide

 

4. Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

Best hybrid estate for peace of mind

Fuel economy 188.3mpg CO2 33g/km

Kia's Optima Sportswagon is plug-in hybrid car with a 440-litre boot and an electric range of around 30 miles when the batteries are fully charged. It's a similar formula to the many other hybrid cars, but the Kia does stand out for its seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, which provides extra peace of mind.

New car prices start at £35,000, so it's cheaper than the Volvo V60 T8, and you can spend even less with a used model. However, there's not yet a great deal of choice on the second-hand market, where most Optima plug-in hybrids are saloon cars with a smaller boot and batteries, which makes fuel economy less impressive and increases CO2 emissions.
Kia Optima Sportswagon buying guide

 

5. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports hybrid

Best hybrid estate for value

Fuel economy 62.7mpg, CO2 76g/km

A starting price of £25,000 from new, makes the recently-launched Toyota Corolla one of the cheapest hybrid cars on the market. One of the reasons is that it's not a plug-in hybrid, so it doesn't need a large and expensive battery pack.

It's still an efficient car, though, thanks to the tried and tested hybrid system that the car uses from the Toyota Prius. This is most efficient at slower urban speeds, but smooth driving should return a respectable 50mpg on the motorway.

Smooth is the key word with the Corolla. It's almost as comfortable over bumps as a Volkswagen Golf or Peugeot 308, and gear changes are seamless when accelerating gently. There's a choice of two Corolla hybrid engines: the most efficient 1.8-litre version and a more powerful 2-litre engine that's not quite as efficient, but significantly faster to accelerate.

The Corolla has only just gone on sale, so there are few used models around. There are plenty of examples of the car's predecessor, though: The Toyota Auris Touring Sports has a plain design, but a 507-litre boot and a CO2 emissions figure of 81g/km. Used models cost from £11,695 at BuyaCar.Toyota Corolla buying guide

 

Volvo V90 T8

Best hybrid estate for space

Latest Volvo V90 T8 deals from £39,380
Finance from £491 per month
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 plug-in hybrid 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.
Volvo V90 buying guide

  

Ford Mondeo Hybrid Estate

Best hybrid estate for keeping a low profile

Fuel economy 52.3mpg CO2 111g/km

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the Ford Mondeo no longer exists, as it can seem like a rare sight on the roads. That's not the case, though, and Ford recently expanded the range with a hybrid version of the estate car, with a 403-litre boot and improved fuel economy figures for a small (around £2,000) premium over an equivalent petrol model.

This means that prices will start at around £29,500 when the first cars arrive later in 2019. The cheapest versions come in Titanium specification, which includes leather seats, mood lighting, and keyless start.

Official fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures aren't stellar, but it remains to be seen how the hybrid system performs in real-world driving.

 

 

Porsche Panamera 4 E-hybrid

Best hybrid estate for performance

Latest Porsche Panamera deals from £66,490
Finance from £882 per month
Fuel economy 80.7mpg, CO2 64g/km

Porsche uses hybrid power to boost performance as much as fuel economy, and the result is a plug-in hybrid estate version of its Panamera Turbo that will accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and still appear on frugal company car tax lists with CO2 emissions of 74g/km.

Sacrifice a little performance by opting for the non-Turbo Panamera Sport Turismo and CO2 emissions will drop to 64g/km, while the 0-62mph time falls to 4.6 seconds.

It's neither cheap (new prices start at over £85,000) more efficient when the electric-only range of around 25 miles is exhausted. But it is practical, with a 520-litre boot.

 

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