Best plug-in hybrids 2018

BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne - charging
9 Jan, 2018 12:00pm Dean Gibson

The plug-in hybrid market has grown exponentially in recent years. Here are our top 10 favourites.

If you're after a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2017, you're spoiled for choice. As more car makers join the ranks - firms such as BMW, Volvo, Porsche and Mercedes have now lined up alongside hybrid pioneers such as Toyota and Mitsubishi - the sheer variety of vehicles that now offer plug-in hybrid ability is growing all the time.

They're proving popular for a number of reasons. As more makers join the fray, the price you pay for a plug-in vehicle is gradually coming down, and some credit for that can be given to the Government's Plug-In Car Grant. Then there are the tax implications, with many plug-ins offering far lower benefit-in-kind rates for company car users. Even better is the fact that this hybrid kit doesn't require you to compromise with everyday driving - all you need to do is remember to plug the car into a charging point wherever possible to maximise the amount of electric running you do. If you think of your car like a smartphone, for example, and get into the habit of plugging it in overnight to charge, then you'll soon see the benefits that the lower cost of electric drive will bring.

Best hybrid cars to buy now

The big downside of a plug-in hybrid is that if you don't charge it regularly, then you won't be seeing any benefit in lower running costs. Most plug-ins use a small petrol-engine combined with the electric motor and battery pack, so when the battery is flat, it's doing all the work. And with the added weight of the battery, and usually a smaller fuel tank designed to make space for the hybrid system, your range will take a significant hit.

The first commercially available plug-in hybrid was the Toyota Prius Plug-in. It was very much an extension of the electric drive offered by the standard 'closed hybrid' Prius, and offered a range of around 12 miles on battery power alone. That was significantly more than the standard Prius, but not an outstanding figure. It was a few thousand pounds more expensive than the standard car, too.

What is a hybrid?

Since then, we've had plug-in hybrids as diverse as the futuristic BMW i3 REx city car, to conventional family models like the Volvo V60 Plug-in, sporty hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf GTE and even supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder. Today, there are a number of SUVs and family cars with plug-in ability, and some even keep their 7 seat interior layouts. Cars like the Volvo XC90 Twin Engine and Audi Q7 etron make a lot of sense in plug-in hybrid guise, as they offer impressive performance and retain their 4x4 ability while delivering low running costs - as long as you charge them up, of course.

So which plug-in hybrids do we recommend? With so many now on offer, we can bring you a top 10 of the best, just follow the links to see our favourites.

Top 10 best plug-in hybrids to buy now

  1. 1. BMW i3 REx
  2. 2. MINI Countryman S E
  3. 3. Volkswagen Golf GTE
  4. 4. Toyota Prius PHV
  5. 5. BMW 330e
  6. 6. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  7. 7. Volkswagen Passat GTE
  8. 8. Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
  9. 9. Mercedes-Benz C350e
  10. 10. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Have you ever owned any of these plug-in hybrid cars? Let us know in the comments section...

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