Top 10 best hybrid estate cars 2023
The best hybrid estate cars you can buy right now in the UK save you money on fuel, but still have plenty of space inside. Here are our top picks
If you’re looking for a car that combines efficiency and practicality, but you also want it to be good to drive, a hybrid estate is a great choice. Estate cars aren’t as large and ungainly as SUVs, but can be just as versatile and practical, making them excellent all-rounders. They tend to be more efficient and cheaper to run than the equivalent SUVs, too, especially if you go for a hybrid model.
The popularity of the humble estate car might have waned in recent years, but there’s a variety of hybrid models out there. These pair a petrol or diesel engine with a battery and one or more electric motors. Low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rates for hybrids have made them ideal company car choices, overtaking diesels as the powerplant of choice for cars of this type.
Most of the entries on this list are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) which rely on relatively big batteries, and so can complete a modest commute – typically 30 miles or more – without using a drop of petrol or diesel. Many PHEVs also make use of regenerative braking to slow you down, and put some juice back into the battery. They occasionally harvest electrical energy from the engine as well, although they're at their most efficient and cost-effective when charged using a cable. They also make a good stepping-stone between a petrol or diesel car and a fully electric model, but with the MG5 EV being the only mainstream electric estate car on sale right now, these plug-in hybrid estates offer a solid compromise for those looking for something with load-lugging capabilities, as well as low running costs.
There are some ‘full hybrid' estate cars out there, like the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. These are also sometimes referred to as "self-charging hybrids" and use a small battery that’s charged by the engine and regenerative braking. They tend to be quite fuel-efficient all the time, rather than being ultra-efficient on some trips and less efficient on others (like a plug-in hybrid). They suit those who don’t have access to a charging point at home or at work, or those that spend reasonable amounts of time on the motorway.
So without further ado, here’s what we think are the top 10 best hybrid estate cars you can buy in the UK right now…
1. Skoda Superb iV Estate
Skoda has long been renowned for offering great value for money, and the plug-in hybrid Superb Estate certainly promises a lot of 'bang for your buck'. You get the voluminous passenger and luggage space that all Superbs are famous for, along with generous standard equipment and the ultra-low running costs brought by the Volkswagen Group's 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol-electric drivetrain. We think it's a fantastic all-rounder and one we’d recommend in an instant.
2. Mercedes C 300 e Estate
The latest Mercedes C-Class has truly reset the benchmark in terms of executive car interiors; its MBUX portrait touchscreen is inspired by that in the S-Class limousine and, along with its slick-looking ambient lighting, helps make the C-Class’ cabin feel truly special. We think the C 300 e plug-in hybrid powertrain is impressive too, offering an electric-only range of up to 65 miles – almost double that of some rivals. If you’re not quite ready to drive an EV but want to enjoy the benefits of electric running, the hybrid C-Class Estate is perhaps the ultimate company car.
3. Volvo V60 Recharge
The Volvo V60 is available with a choice of either T6 or T8 plug-in hybrid powertrains. The T8 offers plenty of punch, but we think the less-powerful T6 setup is the shrewder option; with 345bhp, it should be more than sufficient for most drivers. If you need a reasonable-sized runabout most of the time with scope for the odd longer journey, we think the V60 is hard to fault. Officially, it’ll return fuel economy north of 300mpg, although you’ll need to charge it regularly to get anything close to that figure. Perhaps more relevant (and impressive) is the V60’s 54-mile electric range, which should be able to cover the majority of commutes.
4. BMW 530e Touring
The BMW 5 Series Touring has long been a stalwart of the posh estate car class, and the latest generation model has taken things to the next level with a pair of superb plug-in hybrid variants. While the saloon model is also available with a more powerful 545e model, the Touring is only available in 530e form. Regardless, this still offers decent performance and, despite the extra weight from the batteries, the 530e still handles as well as a BMW should, getting from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. WIth a 430-litre boot and a 32-mile electric range, it’s pretty practical, too.
5. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
If you don’t have the ability to plug your car in overnight, then a conventional hybrid like the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate might be the perfect alternative to a PHEV. Priced from just over £31,000, the Corolla will comfortably surpass 60mpg on the motorway and – depending on which engine you go for – provide close to 600 litres of boot space. Inside, it has been finished to a high standard, and it’s easy to find a good driving position, as the wheel can be adjusted back and forth as well as up and down.
6. BMW 330e Touring
The popular BMW 330e plug-in hybrid is now available in Touring estate form. It’s just as good to drive as the saloon, but with the added versatility of the hatchback tailgate, we think the 330e Touring is a winner. Potential buyers can expect a familiar blend of driver-pleasing handling, slick infotainment and super-low running costs – as well as an electric driving range of up to 37 miles. Boot space is compromised slightly, although up to 1,420 litres (with the rear seats folded) should be enough for most. It’s worth noting the 3 Series line-up was updated in 2022 and now features the dual-screen infotainment system from the flagship iX SUV, as well as sportier styling.
7. Mercedes E 300 de Estate
Mercedes' E-Class plug-in hybrid is offered with either a petrol or diesel engine in four-door saloon form, but for the more practical estate model, it's diesel-electric power only. As with the saloon, boot capacity suffers somewhat due to a large box-shaped intrusion housing the hybrid system's batteries, but in all other respects we think it’s a very fine car, offering excellent passenger comfort, smooth and strong power delivery in either electric or hybrid mode and that timelessly classy Mercedes image.
8. Peugeot 308 SW
The Peugeot 308 is one of the best looking family cars around, and the estate version combines sharp styling, refinement and slick infotainment with 548 litres of boot space to create a very compelling package. Performance isn’t bad, and overall the 308 SW Hybrid is good to drive. Rear passenger room isn’t as generous as some of the other entries on this list, and we couldn't achieve the 37-mile electric driving range Peugeot claims for the plug-in estate. However, an 11% BiK company car tax rate makes this an ideal choice for those looking for an alternative to the typical Golf or Focus.
9. Audi A6 TFSI e Avant
The A6 TFSI e Avant estate uses the same plug-in hybrid setup as the Audi A6 saloon: a 2.0-litre petrol engine paired to an electric motor and 14.4kWh battery. Total power output is 362bhp, with Audi claiming CO2 emissions of between 34 and 37g/km and an electric range of 45 miles. While the boot is bigger and more practical than that of the A6 saloon, it’s smaller than in the petrol or diesel A6 Avant. That’s because the battery takes up some space; the standard car’s 565 litres shrinks by a surprising amount to 405 litres, but folding the seats down gives you 1,535 litres of space to play with.
10. Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate
The Passat GTE Estate seems like the ultimate all-rounder: 34 miles of electric range will be enough for most commutes, while 483 litres of boot space will serve most families well, even on longer trips away. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is smooth, too, making this a relaxing car to drive. Fleet operators and user-choosers are likely to be drawn in by the prospect of CO2 emissions in the region of 33-35g/km – leading to very low company-car tax. It may not be the most stylish option out there – the Arteon Shooting Brake is also available with the same hybrid powertrain – but the Passat GTE Estate is nevertheless a solid and dependable choice.
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