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Scroll our pick of the best on sale now.
Pure electric cars aren’t right for everyone yet: those who do regular motorway journeys or long trips may find the anxiety of running out of charge too much to bear.
But we’re all mindful of our carbon footprint now, so eco-friendly cars like plug-in hybrids are the perfect compromise for many: up to 30 miles of electric driving on every charge, and a petrol or diesel engine to kick in until you can reach your destination.
Here’s our pick of the best on sale right now.
Best plug-in hybrid cars 2021: 7 to consider
1. BMW 330e
BMW offers the most generous electric range of nearly all plug-in hybrids on sale: up to 41 miles on electric power with the BMW 330e. Combined with a 2.0-litre petrol engine (lots of plug-ins only offer a small engine to partner the battery) and rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive, this is a swift, sexy car that shows you don’t have to wear a hairshirt to go green.
2. Mercedes E300e
Mercedes, like BMW, offers a luxury, high-tech plug-in hybrid experience.
The new Mercedes E300e E-class plug-in hybrid, which comes in saloon and estate form, has a fantastic new infotainment system with virtual-reality sat nav, a swipe-able gallery of your smartphone’s music, a wellbeing suite of music and seat massaging, and ambient lighting that changes colour. There’s tons of space and it’s smooth and quiet, and promises up to 34 miles’ electric driving with two hours’ charging time.
3. Ford Kuga PHEV
Ford’s Kuga PHEV family SUV is probably the most satisfying mid-size SUV to drive with precise, easy steering which makes parking in town easy, and a smooth ride.
You’ll get very good fuel economy even with the engine kicking in (around 50mpg) and there’s generous boot space plus good leg room in the back for passengers. Up to 35 miles on battery power only.
4. Volvo XC60 Recharge
Confusingly, Volvo’s Recharge badge used to mean the car was a plug-in hybrid, but it’s starting to be put on Volvo’s expanding pure electric range too, so be careful what you’re looking at. The Volvo XC60 isn’t cheap compared with rivals, but it’s a highly desirable, very comfy SUV with beautifully decorated interiors in everything from black leather and grey open-pore woods to cream leather and blue wool.
We also love the Scandinavian vibe that focuses on outdoor adventure; there’s even a little Swedish flag sewed into the front seat to remind you of the brand’s heritage. There are three versions of power to choose from but all are rapid and offer some electric driving via a ‘Pure’ button.
5. Jaguar F-Pace Plug-In Hybrid
Gone are the days of gentlemen racers driving big old Jaguar saloons slowly round town. Jaguar now is all about female owners and families, restrained design, sustainable materials, clean-air filters and beautiful digital graphics on the tech screens.
Their large SUV, the Jaguar F-Pace, is light and airy and simple to drive, but still, like all Jaguars, a lot of fun, too. You can charge the plug-in hybrid in as little as thirty minutes and get up to 33 miles of electric driving. We love the two-tone black and white leather steering wheel as an option.
6. VW Golf GTE
Staggeringly, the plug-in hybrid VW Golf GTE offers the same power as the racer Golf GTI. But you’re more likely to save the planet in the former than the latter. Win-win, no? Yes, because, on top of that, you get up to 38 miles of electric only driving, which is best-in-class stuff. It feels very rapid moving away from junctions, and has that quality-build feel that the Golf has always been known for. Good, if not beautiful, sat nav system and smart vibe inside.
7. Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4
Well built (Peugeot’s reliability is way better than it used to be), well equipped, comfy, stylish and surprisingly rapid, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is a fairly small but chunky SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The combo of two electric motors and a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine means this car sprints away from the lights like a scolded cat (under six seconds), which make you giggle. And it’s good value for money.