Best small hybrid cars

Green, cheap to run, and compact enough for city life. Here are the best small hybrids

Murray Scullion
Apr 9, 2018

Low CO2 emissions, the choice of being powered by pure electricity, and various Government grants - hybrids are rapidly becoming a sensible choice for the general public.

Hybrids combine a traditional petrol engine with a small electric motor, a battery, and some energy recovery technology to recharge the battery - plus a management system to keep everything under control.

Despite seeming complex, as the driver, you’re mostly unaware that any of this is going on. It’s no different to driving a normal car, and they predominantly look the same too. Which is why this type of propulsion lends itself so well to small cars.

Small cars are easy to slot through packed cities, and simple to park when you get to your destination too. Team that with the fact that a hybrid will deliver more MPG than a traditional petrol engine and they become a very desirable proposition.

Take a read through our run down of the best small hybrids.


Best small hybrid for all-round capability

Toyota Auris Hybrid

List price from £22,490 2017 cars typically from £17,995

The Toyota Auris is a sturdy and sensible choice for those in the market for a small hybrid. It also makes a lot of sense for those seeking their first hybrid car - as the Auris looks, and feels, much like a regular petrol powered car.

It has a well proven track-record, a five year warranty, and can even be specified in estate form (in case you outgrow your small car). It’s not the most exciting to drive - and the automatic gearbox is a touch noisy, but it makes up for it with its build quality and its clever use of space. It’s brimming with cubbyholes, and can fit three adults in the back comfortably.

Read the Toyota Auris buyers’ guide here 


Best small hybrid for the city

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

List price from £15,995 2017 cars typically from £14,995

The smart looking Yaris offers buyers big car build quality, with small car simpleness and ease of use. And the hybrid is a peach too. It can run for short distances at slow speed on purely electric, and the rest of the time, it achieves high MPG by teaming with the petrol engine.

Real world testing in mixed conditions show that it’ll acheive around 52.9mpg, which is pretty fair for a non-diesel. However, the interior quality is below-par and it doesn’t feel as peppy as some hybrids.

Read the Toyota Yaris buyers’ guide here


Best small hybrid for range

BMW i3 with Range Extender

List price from £37,220 2017 cars typically from £28,500

Yes, the i3 is an electric car. But the i3 Range Extender utilises a little two-cylinder petrol engine to charge the batteries if you’re running low. This, in theory, will keep you going for as long as you keep filling the tank, but this only adds about 70-80 miles of range. The battery range is around 130 miles - so combined- this has a range of around 200 miles - which is superb for something that is mostly battery powered.

Although the car was first released in 2014, it still seems at the brink of cutting-edge today. It looks sci-fi-esque and almost like a spaceship, and its interior is uncluttered and still very modern. It’s surprisingly quick too thanks to the powerful batteries.


Best small hybrid for value

Suzuki Swift Hybrid

List price from £15,855 2017 cars typically from £13,995

As if being great value wasn’t good enough, the Swift is also a good laugh. It’s a car that’s well known for its driving capabilities, and it’s very enjoyable to chuck round a tight set of bends, without it ever feeling scary.

It’s only a ‘mild’ hybrid system, which means that it’s nowhere as big, or as complex, as the hybrid systems in the other cars on this list. Basically, it can’t drive the car on pure electricity, but intervenes when you’re in stop/start traffic or accelerating hard. Real world economy figures of 50mpg prove that it can be fun, frugal, and good value.

Read our buyers’ guide here 


Best small hybrid for premium feel

Lexus CT

List price from £31,245 2017 cars typically from £24,500

Lexus is renowned for its build quality and reliability, and regularly tops the Auto Express Driver Power results.

With that in mind, the Lexus CT is a little pricier than the Toyota Prius, even though it shares some mechanical parts. But it’s easy to see what the extra money gets you. Inside there’s a plush interior with soft plastics and buttons that feel well put together. On the outside, big alloy wheels can be had to make it look more fashionable.

It only has one engine available (1.8-litre petrol linked to a hybrid) and an automatic gearbox, which is quite loud. It’s also not the last words in tranquility, as inside the road noise can be quite harsh.

Read our buyers’ guide here

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