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Best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars can reduce fuel consumption to an absolute minimum, but which models are the best all-rounders and which ones should you avoid? Here's our list of the best plug-in hybr...

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We all want the world to be a cleaner, greener place, but when it comes to plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), what’s good for the planet can be good for your finances too.

By combining a small petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery that can be topped up via mains electricity, there’s the potential to eke out incredible fuel economy, without suffering the range anxiety that often comes with fully electric cars.

It’s no good if that means putting up with something that’s badly compromised in other areas, though, so here we count down the top 10 plug-in-hybrid car models – and reveal the PHEV that’s best steer clear of.

Top 10 plug-in hybrids

10. Ford Kuga PHEV

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In our tests, the Kuga went almost 50% further on electric power than similarly priced plug-in hybrid SUVs. But it also trounced them when petrol power took over, returning 52mpg. Being a large SUV, the Kuga also gives you a lofty view of the road ahead. And the supple suspension makes it very comfortable, both at speed and when trundling around town.

Read our full Ford Kuga review >>

9. Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDi PHEV

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If you’re looking for a practical, five-seat SUV, the Tucson is well worth considering, because it gives occupants masses of space for their legs and luggage. Even the plug-in hybrid version, with a battery that’s big enough for 38 miles of pure electric running, can take seven carry-on suitcases, while the regular hybrid has room for eight.

Read our full Hyundai Tucson review >>

8. Hyundai Santa Fe 1.6 T-GDi PHEV 4WD

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There are lots of impressive facts and figures associated with the Santa Fe plug-in hybrid. There’s the 36 miles that it can officially cover before it needs to burn any fuel. Then there’s the 173.7mpg and 37g/km of CO2 that it averaged in government tests. But perhaps the most significant number of all is seven, because it’s one of the few plug-in hybrids that can carry that many people.

Read our full Hyundai Santa Fe review >>

7. BMW 530e

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The 530e is another car that can complete many journeys without needing to wake its engine at all. But even when this smooth 2.0-litre petrol unit does fire up, the car is quiet enough to put full-on limousines to shame. Specify it with adaptive suspension for the best ride, and the 530e becomes the supreme luxury package, without the price tag to match.

Read our full BMW 5 Series review >>

6. Skoda Superb 1.4 TSI iV

auto, car, cars, best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

In iV form, the Superb combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a battery big enough for an electric-only range of 34 miles. It’s essentially the same guts that you get in the VW Passat GTE , yet the Superb is cheaper and even more spacious.

Read our full Skoda Superb review >>

5. BMW X5 xDrive45e

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BMW’s plug-in hybrid X5 is every bit as comfortable and luxurious as the petrol and diesel versions, and you barely notice the extra weight of its batteries, even in corners. You can’t have seven seats, but that’s the only significant downside. Indeed, it has a much longer electric range than the rival Volvo XC90 Recharge T8, a far more user-friendly infotainment system and attracts significantly lower company car tax bills so, unless you need those extra seats, it’s the better car.

Read our full BMW X5 review >>

4. BMW 330e

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The thing that makes the 330e so special is that, aside from a shallower boot, it’s much like any other 3 Series, meaning great fun to drive. There’s simply nothing in the way it handles to suggest you’re carrying around enough batteries for 36 miles of zero-emission motoring. What’s more, every material feels suitably expensive, the infotainment system is a cinch to use and there’s a good amount of space in the back.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review >>

3. Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI iV Estate

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The Octavia iV’s official 282.5mpg shows what’s possible if you do lots of short journeys, while CO2 emissions of 31g/km drop it into the exceptionally low 6% company car tax bracket. Crucially, though, this is combined with a comfortable ride, loads of standard equipment and a boot that’s big enough to build a barn in.

Read our full Skoda Octavia Estate review >>

2. Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSIe

auto, car, cars, best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

If you’re in the market for a relatively compact plug-in hybrid with a premium badge on its nose, we’d recommend taking a look at the Audi A3 40 TFSIe. Yes, a Mercedes A-Class A250e has a slightly cheaper purchase price and a marginally better electric-only range, but it’s not as refined, it doesn’t handle as well and at times its ride is more fractious.

Read our full Audi A3 Sportback review >>

1. Lexus NX 450h+

auto, car, cars, best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

The latest NX is one of the most compelling reasons to go green that we’ve yet seen, with a long electric-only range which should not only slash your running costs, but also makes for tempting company car tax rates. This large SUV is good to drive, too, and has an interior that’s hard to fault in any respect. In short, Lexus has proved that driving an electrified car without accepting compromises need not be a fantasy.

Read our full Lexus NX review >>

And the plug-in hybrid to avoid…

DS 7 Crossback E-Tense

auto, car, cars, best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

There are some versions of the DS 7 Crossback SUV that are worth considering, but sadly the E-Tense isn’t one of them, because it just isn’t as polished as its plug-in hybrid rivals. Even if you overlook its sloppy handling, its ride goes from wallowy to crashy in an instant, while the integration of the motors and engine is anything but seamless.

Read our full DS 7 Crossback E-Tense review >>

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