When considering a new car purchase, the choices can be overwhelming. You might think it’s a simple decision between traditional petrol or diesel cars versus fully electric vehicles. However, there’s a compelling option that often goes unnoticed: the plugin hybrid. In this article, we’ll demystify the jargon and introduce you to the ten best plugin hybrid cars available, as well as a few you might want to avoid.
What Is a Plugin Hybrid?
Plugin hybrids, often referred to as PHEVs, combine the benefits of both traditional internal combustion engines and electric power. Unlike regular hybrids that can’t be plugged in, PHEVs feature a larger battery, some of which can provide nearly 70 miles of pure electric driving. This dual-power setup allows for zero emissions and efficient electric driving, while the gasoline engine ensures long-distance convenience.
The advantages of plugin hybrids are significant. If you predominantly use the electric range, your fuel costs will be substantially lower than those of a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle. Even when not in full electric mode, a PHEV with a fully charged battery remains remarkably fuel-efficient. However, it’s important to note that plugin hybrids may not suit every driver. The fuel economy can plummet once the battery is depleted, making them less suitable for high-mileage motorway commuters.
Now, let’s explore the top ten plugin hybrid cars in the market.
1. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is an incredibly practical SUV with seven-seat capacity, generous standard features, and an impressive five-year warranty. While it may not have the largest battery or the longest electric range, it caters well to larger families.
2. BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series lineup offers a plethora of options, from frugal cruisers to high-performance models like the M5. The 530e plugin hybrid, in particular, combines driving enjoyment, comfort, and a respectable electric range. Keep in mind that official fuel economy figures may not fully represent real-world driving conditions.
3. Skoda Superb
The Skoda Superb provides a mainstream alternative to premium sedans. It’s incredibly practical, comfortable, well-equipped, and excellent value for money, making it a compelling choice for those seeking a plugin hybrid.
4. BMW 3 Series
If you prefer a smaller package, the BMW 3 Series offers the same hybrid benefits as its larger sibling. It delivers quick, precise handling and boasts an impeccably crafted interior.
5. BMW X5
The BMW X5 is a luxury SUV with a remarkable electric range, officially up to 54 miles. It’s well-built, comfortable, and enjoyable to drive, making it a standout option for plugin hybrid enthusiasts.
6. Volvo XC40
The Volvo XC40 blends generous interior space, a practical boot, top-notch safety, and a comfortable ride. While its electric range doesn’t match the X5, it offers a more affordable and polished plugin hybrid experience.
7. Range Rover Sport
The Range Rover Sport is a sensational luxury SUV with a plugin hybrid version that can cover up to 70 miles on electric power. Despite its impressive electric capabilities, it’s essential to remember the environmental impact of its production process.
8. Audi A3 40 TFSIe
The Audi A3 40 TFSIe stands out as one of the more affordable options on our list. It combines a high-quality interior, excellent driving dynamics, and a comfortable ride, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious plugin hybrid seekers.
9. Mercedes C-Class C300e
Mercedes’ C-Class C300e offers an outstanding electric range, surpassing many competitors. It’s comfortable, dynamic, and comes at a competitive price.
10. Lexus NX
The Lexus NX is our top recommendation for plugin hybrids in 2023. It impresses with build quality, practicality, a pleasant driving experience, and remarkable reliability. The second-generation NX represents a significant improvement in the world of plugin hybrids.
Models to Avoid
While there are excellent plugin hybrid options on the market, there are also models to steer clear of. The DS7 Crossback E-Tense, for example, falls short in handling, ride quality, and the transition between electric and petrol modes, making it less polished than its competitors.
In conclusion, plugin hybrids offer a compelling bridge between traditional and fully electric cars. Their ability to combine efficient electric driving with the convenience of an internal combustion engine makes them a practical choice for many. However, it’s crucial to consider your driving habits and priorities before making a decision. Remember that the best plugin hybrid for you depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.