Hybrid cars are fast becoming a regular sight on the roads of Britain, with most mainstream manufacturers offering some form of model.
When we say hybrid, we are usually talking about one of three types. The first is a smaller hybrid with electric motors which merely act as an assistant to the main combustion engine. The second type are plug-ins with much larger batteries, which can be charged for short but fully electric journeys.
The final type is known as range extenders, which have a small conventional engine which can be used to charge batteries providing power to an electric motor, without the conventional engine powering the wheels themselves.
With this in mind, we have taken a look at four of the best hybrids on sale today:Mercedes-Benz C350e
The C350e plug-in hybrid replaces the C-Class BlueTEC, and packs a 2.0-litre engine giving you a reported 134mpg and 48g/km CO2.
Available only in the “Sport” trim, it means you will receive plenty of equipment as standard, including full leather interior, Satnav and parking assistance. It has also been fitted with Mercedes’ airmatic suspension, which helps to lessen the impact of the extra quarter tonne of weight the hybrid system adds.
In spite of the added weight, the hybrid still puts out 275bhp combined, which will take you from 0-62mpg in just 5.9 seconds, and gives you a top speed of 155mph. Prices start from £37,875.Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV is a plug-in option that is capable of doing more than 30 miles purely on electric, alongside giving you 148mpg and low emission levels of 44g/km. Oh, and it’s also exempt from tax and congestion-charges.
With a 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors (one to power each axle of the four-wheel drive) you will receive a total power output of 204bph. The petrol engine is mainly used as a generator for the electric motor, but kicks in for the more demanding tasks such as motorway driving.
Prices on the Outlander start from £34,304, which is comparable to the conventional model once the government grants have been accounted for.Toyota Yaris Hybrid
With the Prius currently in between models, the Yaris hybrid makes our list as the sole entrant from Toyota. The 1.5-litre motor is connected to a compact battery to help paid progress and boost the fuel economy, which means the Yaris hybrid gives the driver 76.3mpg and 85g/km CO2, alongside 98bhp for 0-62mph in a little under 12 seconds.
One downside of the Yaris is the gearbox, which has a continuously variable transmission which may appear unnatural to some drivers. Auto Express also reviewed the vehicle recently, and stated that the revs constantly rise and fall as you try and maintain a steady speed, which can be an annoyance during motorway driving.
However, with prices starting at £14,995m the Yaris is one of the cheapest hybrids currently on sale in the UK, and is a great place to start for people looking to try a hybrid car for the first time.BMW i3 Range Extender
The BMW i3 is available as a full electric car, but it is the range extender specification which is the most popular in the range, accounting for around 60 per cent of all sales.
Adding the 650cc two-cylinder petrol motor to the i3 bumps the price up a bit over the electric model, taking the starting price to £34,130. However, it also increases the range to around 186 miles, so the price increase may be worth it for some people.
The range extender has been described as an ideal car for those who are looking for a small electric model, but are worried about how far they can go with it. The extra weight means it isn’t quite as nippy as the all-electric option, but BMW claim you can get 470mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions as low as 13g/km, which is pretty good whichever way you look at it.
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