Electric and hybrid cars are a fast growing market in the UK, which means there are an increasing number of used options available. These are the best bargains we could find.
1. BMW i3 (2013–present)
Nearly three years after its launch, the i3 continues to turn heads. We’d plump for the Range Extender version. It's more expensive but also more versatile because it adds a two-cylinder petrol generator, increasing the car’s maximum range to a claimed 205 miles.
Recharging the battery from a 13A plug can take up to eight hours, but home chargers (from £299) can cut this to four hours and rapid charge points can replenish 80% of reserves in 30 minutes.
Owners tend to report minor electrical glitches but, on the whole, the i3 has been reliable so far. Used values are bearing up well. We found a 63-plate example with 24,000 miles for £19,000.
2. Honda CR-Z (2010–2015)
Despite its futuristic wedge-shaped profile and combination of economy and pace, this hybrid 2+2 coupé didn’t really catch on in huge numbers.
Because it is hybrid, rather than fully electric, there’s no lengthy recharging to contend with — just short fill-ups at your local petrol station.
The 1.5-litre petrol engine is married to a small electric motor. Combined, they enable the CR-Z to cover 0-60mph in 9.1sec, return 56.5mpg and emit just 117g/km of CO2. More good news: it’s entertaining to drive, with good turn-in, lots of grip and little body roll.
Owners appear a happy bunch and report few issues. A 2010 Sport with 44,000 miles could be yours for £5750.
3. Nissan Leaf (2011–present)
If you want to turn over a new leaf (pun intended) and go electric for the first time, this Nissan is a great way to go.
The Leaf offers hatchback familiarity and practicality in an easy-to-drive and cheap-to-run package, although it isn’t exactly exciting to drive.
The Leaf’s range can suffer in colder weather and a full recharge from a household plug can take eight to 12 hours, although fast charging gives you an 80% charge within 30 minutes.
Owners have reported problems with the start-up battery going flat, but otherwise the Leaf appears reliable. We found an 80kW Visia Flex from 2014 with 4000 miles on the clock for just £6995, with its battery on Flex Lease.
4. Mercedes-Benz E 300 Hybrid (2013–2016)
Take a smooth-riding, quiet, comfortable and refined executive car, add an electric motor and the result is a more economical, quieter and cleaner car that’s great for touring.
Available in either saloon or estate form, the E 300 Hybrid has a 201bhp 2.1-litre diesel engine linked to a 27bhp electric motor. When fitted with 16in wheels, this combination can return 64.2mpg and emit 116g/km of CO2. Clever packaging ensures the hybrid kit doesn’t eat into rear seat or boot space, too.
After a few earlier gremlins, the E 300 appears as reliable as any other E-Class, with few electrical and engines issues being reported. We found a 2013 saloon with 62,000 miles on it for £15,795.
5. Citroën DS5 (2011–2015)
The UK doesn’t seem to like big Citroëns any more, which is a shame. The C6 became well known for its silky drive and quirky looks only after it went off sale, so perhaps the DS5 will head the same way.
It has stand-out-from-the-crowd styling - in a good way - and a hugely imaginative and intriguing interior.
The driver sits high in front of a cockpit-style fascia. However, the ride isn’t the best on broken surfaces. The 2.0-litre diesel and electric powerplants jointly develop 197bhp and return a claimed 74.3mpg and 99g/km.
Owners report many small gripes but nothing of particular note. An outlay of £11,995 can get you a 2012 DSign-spec car that has covered 38,000 miles.