How used car buyers can go green with a hybrid
Hybrid cars are on everyone’s lips at the moment. By 2040, the Government plans to phase out normal petrol and diesel engines entirely, meaning all cars will either have to be fully electric, or have some form of hybrid-style electrification. But you don’t have to wait until 2040 – you can buy one right now. Better still, there’s plenty of choice on the used market for bargain-hunters.
But buying a hybrid doesn’t mean simply buying one type of technology. There are several different systems out there. Let us guide you through the various types as we show you 10 bargains to be had right now.
10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The PHEV in the name signifies the Outlander is a plug-in hybrid. This means it has a 2.0-litre petrol engine plus extended-capacity batteries that can be recharged by plugging them in. When full, the batteries will give a range of just over 30 miles, after which the (rather thirsty) petrol engine takes over. The five-seat Outlander delivers a roomy SUV experience and is very well equipped.
We spotted: 2014 PHEV GX3h, 33,000 miles, £15,498
9. Toyota Prius
The world’s most well-known conventional hybrid car, the spacious Prius is a great everyday family car. It’s ultra-reliable, easy to use and serves up good fuel consumption, particularly in town. Many models are well equipped and if you want to go a step further, Toyota also offers a plug-in hybrid version with extended electric range.
We spotted: 2014 T Spirit, 11,000 miles, £16,000
8. Lexus IS300h
The executive-style Lexus is a premium-looking machine with distinctive styling and a fantastically well-built interior – excellent levels of equipment is another bonus. The 2.0-litre hybrid engine performs well and, even if it does become noisy when driven hard, it soon quietens down to a hushed cruise. Ride quality is good as well.
We spotted: 2014 Executive Edition, 28,000 miles, £15,445
7. Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid
A hybrid with a difference: the E300 Bluetec has a diesel engine rather than the conventional petrol engine. With its electric drive at low speed, this makes it a favourite with London minicab drivers, who aren’t likely to drive it hard enough to show up the clattery engine when revved. All the usual Merc comfort and status is there in abundance too.
We spotted: 2014 SE, 33,000 miles, £18,998
6. BMW i8
A bona fide hybrid supercar, the plug-in BMW i8 combines petrol engine with an electric motor, for 22 miles as a fully electric car and Porsche 911-rivalling performance with both powertrain in use. For ages, it’s had the heady price tags to reflect this two-door exotic car status, but they are finally starting to drop, meaning more people can consider the world’s most dramatic hybrid 2+2.
We spotted: 2014 i8, 30,000 miles, £62,995
5. Honda CR-Z
The quirky little Honda CR-Z is another sportily-styled hybrid coupe, this time with the rather unique novelty of offering a manual gearbox. It’s fun to drive and has all the Honda dependability added in despite its complicated drivetrain, and you even get two small rear seats and a decent boot. Ride comfort and road noise at speed are its two obvious demerits.
We spotted: 2013 GT, 35,000 miles, £7500
4. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The clever little Yaris Hybrid is a rare electrified supermini, which boasts a smooth and sophisticated drivetrain related to the best-selling Prius. It’s effective in the city and serves up excellent economy with low emissions, although it’s a pity the interior feels cheap because in terms of roominess and equipment, it’s right up there.
We spotted: 2014 Trend, 17,500 miles, £10,350
3. VW Golf GTE
Want a greener Golf GTI? Enter the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid that gives a degree of fully electric running when the batteries are charged and a sporty drive when you’re less in the mood to save the planet. All the usual Golf strengths such as roominess and quality are in place too, meaning it’s only rather high secondhand prices that stand in the way.
We spotted: 2015 GTE, 21,000 miles, £21,250
2. BMW i3 Range Extender
You can get the BMW i3 as a fully electric car, but here we’re looking at the Range Extender: an electric car with a little petrol engine in the ear that acts as a back-up electric generator. It means you don’t have to worry about range, so you can enjoy the many talents of the distinctive, fun to drive, modern-feeling BMW away from the sight of a plug socket.
We spotted: 2014 Extended Range, 19,000 miles, £18,995
1. Audi A3 e-tron
The ingenious Audi A3 e-tron is a great family car choice for those who want to go electric without compromising everyday practicality. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain gives a decent electric range and it’s as punchy as the related Golf GTE when you’re pressing on a bit more. Because it’s been around longer, it’s also cheaper than the Golf, and usually better equipped. You may have to hunt a bit to track one down, but it’ll be worth it because this is the best secondhand hybrid on sale right now.
We spotted: 2014 A3 e-tron, 11,500 miles, £19,900