Best hybrid estate cars
If you need space for lots of luggage and quite low running costs, you'll want to check out the best hybrid estate cars on sale now
Estate cars add extra practicality to family hatchbacks and saloons without adding too much extra to the price. Increased boot space can come in handy for families, dog owners and businesses alike, while estates tend to drive better than equivalent SUVs as they’re lower to the ground.
Diesel engines were the more popular choice for estate cars in the past because their pulling power and economy are well suited to load-lugging. However, diesel’s decline in popularity has prompted manufacturers to introduce estates with hybrid powertrains. It’s a fast-growing market; in the next few years, we’re expecting hybrid estates from Skoda, Audi, BMW and others. There’s a fairly wide range of options and brands to choose from at the moment, but most are relatively expensive.
Many of those available are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which pushes the cost up even more. Yet the higher purchase prices are offset by low running costs, as PHEVs can run for around 30 miles on electric power alone from a full charge. Plug-in hybrid cars always perform very well in the WLTP emissions test and many have very low company-car tax rates as a result. They make a lot of sense for businesses, especially as diesel cars now incur 4% more tax than petrol cars with the same emissions.
The majority of cars on this list use a petrol engine coupled with an electric motor but diesel-electric hybrid estates are also available. Whichever combination you go for, the car should be cheap to run and will cost less to fill up than a conventionally powered car. However, many can combine the engine and electric motor to give you extra performance when needed, so plug-in hybrids are often among the fastest models in a range too.
If you want a practical Volvo estate with sports-car performance, you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on fuel. The Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid uses a 299bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine (with both a turbocharger and a supercharger) and an electric motor, which adds another 86bhp. It’ll do 0-62mph in under five seconds but can also manage silent, emissions-free driving when you’re not in a hurry. Unlike some hybrids, the car’s boot space isn’t compromised by the batteries, and you’ll still enjoy Volvo’s beautiful interior. The only fly in the ointment is its £40,000+ price, meaning it’s subject to £465 in tax until the car’s more than six years old.
Skoda facelifted the Superb range in 2019 and introduced a plug-in hybrid model for the first time. It uses the same combination of a 1.4-litre petrol engine, 13kWh battery and powerful electric motor as the Passat GTE, for an all-electric range of 32 miles and a claimed 148.7mpg. Skoda offers the hybrid powertrain on a range of trim levels and all are well-equipped to offset the higher initial price compared to a petrol or diesel engine. The boot size is reduced because the underfloor storage is now a place to store the charging cable but the boot floor is flat - some rivals have awkwardly shaped boots.
Volvo’s bigger plug-in hybrid estate, the V90 T8 Twin Engine, offers many of the same benefits as the smaller V60. It’s as fast as the smaller car, thanks to a combined 385bhp, and still manages 29 miles of electric driving. The boot is slightly bigger and the interior slightly more luxurious, and it’s one of the only large executive estates currently available as a hybrid. Although it’s expensive to buy, businesses will appreciate its claimed emissions figure of 46g/km of CO2 and its resulting low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating.
Mercedes is embracing plug-in hybrids and the facelifted E-Class range will feature a number of them. At least one will be a fast AMG version and there’s the choice of petrol and diesel engines to accompany the electric motor and battery. Diesel plug-in hybrids are rare but they should offer even greater economy benefits and relaxing long-distance motoring. Unfortunately Mercedes hasn’t managed to package the batteries as well as some cheaper cars - like the Superb - so the boot has a cumbersome step that reduces practicality, although the boot’s still much more usable than the one in the E-Class saloon.
The facelifted Volkswagen Passat range brings a number of improvements, including extra range for the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid. It has an urban driving mode that only uses the electric motor in town, so you aren’t polluting the area and you can access low-emission zones. The GTE has 215bhp and will hit 0-62mph in under eight seconds when you put your foot down. Unlike the Skoda Superb, the GTE is a separate trim level and the hybrid engine is only offered on this model.
The Toyota Corolla has made a return to the UK after a number of years away, and the latest car will be available with two hybrid powertrains. The most popular of the two is likely to be the 1.8-litre engine and electric motor, which is shared with the Prius. A 2.0-litre petrol-hybrid is also available, providing welcome extra performance without much of a drop in MPG. Economy of around 60mpg is possible, while the 598-litre boot space makes it a much more practical choice than the Corolla hatchback. Sharp styling and plenty of kit add to the Toyota’s appeal, as does the price - it’s the most affordable car on this list.
While most manufacturers use a petrol-electric combination to give slightly better fuel economy than a diesel engine, Mercedes has decided to pair its 2.0-litre diesel with a battery and electric motor, giving a purely electric range of 35 miles. It’s built with long-distance drivers in mind, as the diesel engine and electric motor gives a very impressive total range. An emissions figure of around 40g/km of CO2 will appeal to businesses, and could halve the amount of BiK tax paid compared to a petrol or diesel C-Class. Mercedes also sells a petrol plug-in hybrid C-Class estate, and will be increasing the number of hybrid models on sale in the next few years.
No one needs a 671bhp plug-in hybrid estate that’s capable of 192mph and 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds, but Porsche has made one anyway. The Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid is the range-topping model, but there’s also a 4 E-Hybrid variant that represents the entry point into the hybrid range. This car is said to manage up to 31 miles of electric range and economy of 113mpg, yet it still gets from 0-62mph in under six seconds. With the extra weight of the hybrid drivetrain, these models aren’t quite as pin-sharp to drive as the petrol models, but provide other advantages - most notably at the pumps.
The plug-in hybrid Kia Ceed Sportswagon effectively replaces the discontinued Optima PHEV estate but it has a much lower price tag (and a smaller boot). Using the same powertrain as the Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq, the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV offers up to 37 miles of electric driving - slightly more than the Kia XCeed plug-in - and claimed fuel consumption is 188mpg, although that’s best taken with a pinch of salt. It’s far from the fastest car on sale and the batteries eat into boot space, but the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV can be cheaper to run than other models and rivals. Again, it makes the most sense for company-car drivers.
Peugeot is really stepping up its range of electrified cars, and the electric e-208 has now been joined by plug-in hybrid versions of the 3008, 508 saloon and 508 estate. The fantastic looks of the striking estate are bolstered by the ability to drive up to 39 miles on electric power alone, while the two power systems together produce 222bhp. Inside is very stylish, too, and there’s plenty of equipment to enjoy. Like the Superb and Passat GTE estates, Peugeot has managed to keep a flat boot floor.
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