As electrification technologies in new cars have diversified it’s become a less and less useful descriptive term. And yet, as diesel engines have been vilified by the court of public opinion and the goal of moving to full electric mobility is moved ever closer, more and more of us have decided we want a hybrid now – whatever that term should happen to mean.
This top ten chart seeks to take in anything and everything you might want to consider under the umbrella term ‘affordable daily-use hybrid hatchback’. There are superminis, regular five-door family cars and fashionable premium crossovers in here, some of which need to be plugged into a wall socked to deliver their best running efficiency – and some of which may notional capital out of not needing to be.
The cars listed here all remain driven primarily by a petrol engine paired to an electric motor, of course. Hybrids provide drivers with the instant torque and pedal response of that electric motor but without the range anxiety that comes with EV ownership – but some offer significantly more zero-emissions assistance than others, also making for greater returns on driveability and real-world fuel economy.
Having spent more than two decades introducing the world to the hybrid powertrain, Toyota is now well in advance with normalising it; and there isn’t a car on sale does that better than the current Corolla hatchback.
Ushered in to replace the ageing Auris in 2019, the Corolla is a game-changer for Toyota in what remains one of the most important market segments of them all. It combines a healthy dose of visual style with tangible perceived cabin quality, and like one or two other of its showroom siblings introduced these last few years, it’s based on a new global model platform and has been dynamically developed and tuned – quite successfully – for distinguishing ride and handling sophistication.
In its range-topping 2.0-litre hybrid form, it even performs with a bit of sporting edge. The free-spinning, elastic-band-effect acceleration feel of the car’s powertrain can still be found if you go looking for it under wide throttle applications, but generally the car’s part-throttle responsiveness is much better than you might expect, and its outright performance level a lot more assured.
That the Corolla is also one of Toyota’s self-proclaimed ‘self-charging’ hybrids will appeal to people who prefer their motoring lives to be kept simple – but not as much as the all-round ownership credentials of a car that they can feel equally good about owning and driving as they do about their outgoings at the pump.