Driven mainly by small petrol engines paired to an electric motor, hybrids provide drivers the instant torque of an electric motor but without the range anxiety that comes with EV ownership. And with more choices available than ever we pick out the top ten best hybrid hatchbacks currently on sale.
The Golf GTE plug-in hybrid has a sporty look mirroring that of its GTI and GTD siblings - but it also packs decent punch to live up to that bloodline, with 201bhp on offer. While it's not quite as enthralling to drive as the GTI, the car's electric motor is powerful enough to make zero-emissions motoring in it interesting and decently nippy - and when both motors combine, it's also usefully quick and fairly fine-handling.
The best thing of all about the GTE may be that it’s based on a Golf – and as hatchbacks go there isn’t a better basis from which to start.
The distinctive looking BMW i3 is an electric car first and a range-extended hybrid second. Unlike some of the other cars in this list which we refer to as plug-in hybrids, it has that special purpose-built feel of an urban EV, and excels in the city. The car's two-cylinder range-extender petrol engine doesn't endow it with any additional power when running, but doubles its operational range - and also means, when charging isn't possible, you can just top up your tank and keep going.
The car has a suave looking interior and a peppy performance, with both the standard car and the sporty i3S offering genuinely engaging ride and handling characteristics. It's expensive and relatively impractical - but it does feel like the future of motoring, squeezed into a surprisingly small and imaginative package.
The granddaddy of hybrids further refinines the formula Toyota developed back in 1997 with its fourth-generation model. The latest version is built on a new platform and its tweaked 1.8-litre petrol engine has improved efficiency and performance.
Overall, the Prius remains as usable as before and genuinely frugal. Though it doesn't look like it, the car's greatest asset has become how normal it is to drive.
Mini is really maturing as a brand, evident in this second generation Coutryman which is more practical and grown-up than before and available as an excellent hybrid.
Like all Minis, it remains characterful and desirable, but with more space for passengers and luggage. The Cooper S E All4 also only comes fitted with four-wheel drive to give this small crossover a modicum of off-road ability.
As first attempts go it is a pretty solid and stylish one. The hybrid versions earn their spurs by being practical, frugal and appealingly priced, but if it is a compelling drive you are after, look elsewhere as the Ioniq’s is fairly ordinary.
Audi lives up to its Vorsprug durch Technik mantra with the A3 Sportback e-tron.
It's a well-put together, stylish looking hatch with a supremely expensive looking interior. Match that to a slick hybrid powertrain and it is one fine car, the only drawback is that the e-tron is extremely expensive to buy.
The Kia Optima mid-sized executive car is the first recipient of the Korean manufacturer’s hybrid powertrain.
The Optima is available in both saloon and estate form and both feel upmarket and refined. However, the PHEV lacks any real driving thrills and it isn’t fitted or finished quite as well as its German rivals.
The Mondeo doing what it does best. The fourth generation car gives the big Ford a more striking look and a more impressive interior compared to previous iterations, although curiously the hybrid version is only available in saloon form.
Punching out a not insubstantial 184bhp, the hybrid Mondeo remains a competent car dynamically and dips below the 100g/km bar.
Lexus loves a good ol’ hybrid powertrain, so it comes as no surprise that there is one fitted in the CT200h.
What is surprising is that it is the only option available with the luxury brand’s hatchback. Its cabin is a pleasant place to spend some time but it isn't a particularly engaging car to drive and we didn't get near its claimed 68.9mpg.
The British-built Toyota isn’t top of the list when it comes to the family hatchback segment, lagging behind on interior quality and practicality fronts.
The hybrid uses a similar powertrain as the Prius, which is competent enough, but don’t think for one moment that the electric powertrain adds any dynamic appeal to the small hatchback.