Hybrid technology is more popular than ever in new cars. Thanks to their lower CO2 emissions and greater fuel efficiency, not only could the cheapest hybrid cars save you big money on purchase costs, but also on the running costs, too.
To make things simpler, we’ve discounted mild hybrids from this list, as the technology is almost universally included on new models these days.
Below you’ll find the cheapest full- and plug-in hybrids on sale now…
Top 10 cheapest hybrid cars to buy 2022
- Toyota Yaris – £20,820
- Renault Clio E-Tech – £22,590
- Honda Jazz – £22,930
- Toyota Yaris Cross – £23,280
- Hyundai Kona – £24,305
- Hyundai Ioniq– £24,395
- Toyota Corolla – £25,455
- Renault Captur E-Tech – £25,690
- Kia Niro Hybrid – £25,705
- Honda HR-V – £27,960
1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid – £20,280
The latest Toyota Yaris supermini is only available as a hybrid, as opposed to a number of rivals that offer hybrid options as part of their engine line-up. The technology suits the Yaris perfectly in the city, where the car spends a surprising amount of time in electric-only mode. We saw 65mpg when we tested it on 17-inch wheels, which suggests there’s even more efficiency to be found on the 16-inch alloys that come with the lower trim levels.
This base-spec Icon model starts from around £20,000, and comes with a seven-inch infotainment system that boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There’s a reversing camera too, plus automatic headlights and wipers, air-con and more.
While the Yaris struggles a little more on the motorway with its 114bhp, the steering is a joy around town: anyone in the market for a supermini should strongly consider it.
2. Renault Clio E-Tech – £22,590
The latest Renault Clio latest model comes with the option of an ‘E-Tech’ hybrid powertrain. Prices start from just over £22,500 and it comes with almost every bit of kit you could possibly need, including LED headlights, cruise control, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and plenty of safety tech too.
Combining two electric motors with Renault’s 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine results in fuel economy of up to 64.2mpg on paper, while 138bhp is enough for 0-62mph in under 10 seconds. So while performance isn’t earth-shattering, the steering is sharp and a comfortable ride makes the Clio one of the more capable cars in its class.
3. Honda Jazz – £22,930
Like the Toyota Yaris, the latest Honda Jazz is only available to UK buyers in hybrid form. The similarities between the two cars continues, too, as the Jazz also features a self-charging hybrid system made up of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors.
Where the Jazz could have the edge over its biggest rival, though, is when it comes to practicality. As with its predecessors, the latest model has been cleverly designed and is fitted with Honda’s ‘Magic Seat’ setup, with seat bases that can flip up to create a large space behind the front occupants. Four adult passengers can easily sit in comfort while there should still be a reasonable amount of room in the back for their luggage, thanks to a decent 304-litre boot.
4. Toyota Yaris Cross – £23,280
While Toyota is no stranger to producing efficient SUVs, the Yaris Cross represents a new approach from the brand – taking all the best bits of the Yaris hatchback and placing them into a larger and more practical car.
This is a winning combination that makes the Yaris Cross an ideal choice for a small family. It’s also an affordable one, returning well over 60mpg and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2. Even in base ‘Icon’ trim, the level of standard equipment is generous and includes an array of active safety equipment along with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
5. Hyundai Kona – £23,280
If the Toyota Yaris Cross doesn’t quite take your fancy then the Hyundai Kona Hybrid might. It harbours 361 litres of boot space, and enough rear legroom to make it another budget hybrid that’s suitable for families with young children.
Under the bonnet there’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s mated to a 32kW motor and a 1.56kWh battery. Official tests claim a CO2 output between 90-99g/km, while fuel economy ranges up to around 58mpg. That’s not bad for a car of this size and shape, but if you want maximum savings on running costs, then an electric Kona is also available – albeit with a larger price tag.
Engine noise is quite noticeable under acceleration, although the Kona Hybrid is exceedingly quiet when you reach a steady cruise. It corners well enough and SE Connect models – which start from just over £24,000 – are very generously equipped. Hyundai offers a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty as well.
6. Hyundai Ioniq – £24,395
With a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric version all on sale, the Hyundai Ioniq range can be a little confusing – especially when you also take the similarly named Ioniq 5 into account. Here, though, we’re focussing on the Ioniq Hybrid.
Originally launched as a direct rival to the Toyota Prius, the Ioniq Hybrid is a similarly styled hatchback powered by a 104bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s paired with a 43bhp electric motor. While the Ioniq hasn’t really been designed with thrills in mind, it does deliver strongly when it comes to efficiency, with a claimed economy of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 102g/km.
If you’re after a family car that isn’t an SUV then the Ioniq should indeed suit your needs, thanks to its rather impressive 443-litre boot and spacious cabin.
7. Toyota Corolla – £25,455
The Corolla boasts the title of the world’s best-selling car in history, and the latest model continues to impress with its build quality, efficiency, and overall value for money.
While it’s not without its flaws – such as a lacklustre infotainment system – the Corolla holds up well against its rivals in the areas that truly matter to most buyers. It’s refined to drive, it feels as though it will live up to Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability, and both the 1.8- and 2.0-litre hybrid engines provide enough power and economy for both short and long-distance drives. Add on a couple of extra thousand to the price and you can even have an estate version, the Corolla Touring Sports.
8. Renault Captur E-Tech – £25,690
The Captur E-Tech introduces a hybrid drivetrain to the mix. Much like the rest of the Captur’s underpinnings, the hybrid system is the same as the one found in the Clio – a 1.6-litre engine combined with two electric motors. The first motor can drive the wheels outright, while the second helps to smooth the gaps between gear changes. The Captur’s practicality does suffer a slight sacrifice in order to accommodate this setup, but E-Tech should still take a family of four and their luggage with ease.
9. Kia Niro – £25,705
Much like its sister car, the Hyundai Ioniq, the Kia Niro also comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully-electric forms. All three versions make a good case for themselves but the hybrid has the lowest starting price.
Thanks to its SUV styling, the Niro is more practical than the Ioniq, but this comes with a slight efficiency penalty. However, the Niro should still achieve over 55mpg on the combined cycle and emit around 110g/km of CO2. Where the Niro has a particular advantage is with its residual value. This should prove particularly beneficial if you were to buy one through a PCP finance plan.
10. Honda HR-V – £27,960
Yet another SUV to make this list, the Honda HR-V is actually rather pricey when compared to rivals such as the Toyota Yaris Cross. However, find a good deal and the HR-V should still prove a decent and efficient buy, and it’s also slightly larger in size.
Standard on-board equipment is a particular highlight of the HR-V, with 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, LED auto headlights, adaptive cruise control and a 9.0-inch touchscreen with integrated sat-nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The HR-V can also be personalised using one of three design packs: Sport, Obscura Black and Ilmenite Titanium, with each pack offering different exterior trim options.
Different types of hybrid
There are different types of hybrid car, and working out the difference can feel daunting if you’re unaccustomed to the latest developments in car technology. We won’t go into great detail about the differences between each type of hybrid here, although there are three main ones you should be aware of.
The first are ‘mild hybrids’. These typically use an electric motor to give an engine (usually petrol, diesel hybrids are rarer) a boost under acceleration. Crucially, mild hybrids cannot move under the power of their electric motor alone.
The second are ‘full hybrids’. Unlike mild hybrids, these can use their electric motors to drive the wheels, although usually this is only for very short distances; no more than a mile or two. Their limited electric range is caused by their typically small batteries, which collect energy lost while braking or directly from the engine itself.
The third are ‘plug-in hybrids’, or ‘PHEVs’. Their batteries are much larger than those of full hybrids, so much so that they need to be charged via a cable when parked. The very latest PHEVs can offer up to around 60 miles of electric-only range, so it’s realistic to complete short journeys without needing to use the engine (or any fuel in the tank) at all.
Looking to cut out combustion entirely? Check out our list of the cheapest electric cars…