Best hybrid estate cars
If you’re in the market for a large, practical family vehicle, and you’re not keen on what the bulging SUV sector has to offer, an estate car might be the way forward.
They’re very big and very spacious, although the one potential drawback might be fuel economy, which tends to take a hit in heavier vehicles with larger proportions.
That’s where the hybrid estate comes in: hybrid technology, which marries an internal-combustion engine with a battery and electric motors, has made cars much more efficient in recent years. This has the potential to make the money you spend at the pump go much further than before
There are two types of hybrid estate: ‘full’ hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). Full hybrids often have a small battery that’s charged by the engine or via regenerative braking, and offer a fairly short electric-only driving range.
Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids tend to have much larger batteries capable of fulfilling modest commutes without relying on petrol or diesel at all.
Intrigued? Read on for our list of the best hybrid estate cars…
Ford Mondeo Hybrid
We’ll be honest, if you’re in the market for a hybrid estate car, you can do better than the Ford Mondeo Hybrid Estate. The CVT gearbox is sluggish, there’s significantly less luggage space than the petrol and diesel versions due to the inclusion of the hybrid system, and real-world fuel economy is disappointing.
It does have its plus points, though: the ride is very comfortable, equipment levels are good, and low on-paper emissions figures ensure low company-car tax rates. It’s also cheaper than many of its rivals, with prices starting from under £30,000. If there’s flexibility in your budget, though, one of the other options below will serve you better…
The Volvo V60 is available in T8 plug-in hybrid form, and the 10.4kWh battery affords a zero-emissions range of around 30 miles on a single charge. For drivers who need a reasonably sized runabout most of the time with scope for the odd longer journey, the V60 is hard to fault.
Officially, it’ll return 135mpg, although you’ll need to charge it regularly to get anything close to that figure. CO2 emissions of 48g/km also make it very clean, which is a boon if you’re an eco-conscious buyer.
The combination of an electric motor and the 2.0-litre petrol engine produces a total of 385bhp, making the V60 blisteringly quick, while the styling makes it an undeniably attractive vehicle. You do pay a premium for all that though: you can’t get a V60 T8 for less than £50,000.
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports Hybrid
If your money won’t stretch to a Volvo, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports Hybrid estate might be the perfect cheap alternative. Priced from £25,020, 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 steering wheel can be adjusted back and forth as well as up and down. The only disappointment is the infotainment system, which is badly designed and lacks smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
If the V60 above isn’t quite big enough for your needs, then there’s always the Volvo V90 T8 plug-in hybrid instead. This larger estate comes with 728 litres of boot space, rising to 1,562 litres with the rear seats folded down; more than enough for carrying large items around, although the V90 isn’t quite a class leader in this department it has to be said.
It has the same 10.4kWh battery as the V60 PHEV, although it returns a little less electric range owing to its extra weight. The official fuel-economy figure is 117.7mpg, but after you’ve exhausted the electric-only range you’re more likely to see somewhere in the region of 30-35mpg from the 2.0-litre engine. Again it’s an excellent package from the Swedish manufacturer, provided you’ve got at least £60,000 to spend.
Volkswagen Passat GTE
As an all-rounder, the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate appears to do it all: 34 miles of electric range will be enough for most daily commutes, and there’s no loss of boot space compared to the internal-combustion-engined alternatives in the line-up. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is extremely smooth, too, so the Passat GTE should be a relaxing car to own.
Prices are expected to start from around £38,000 when it arrives later this year, while fleet operators are likely to be drawn in by the prospect of CO2 emissions in the region of 40g/km. If it meets its target figures, the Passat GTE could be the ultimate family PHEV…
Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV
Another hybrid estate you might want to consider is the Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV. We haven’t driven it since the latest, facelifted version was announced at the start of 2019, but on paper it should be competitive.
Starting from £34,995, an 11.26kWh battery is capable of delivering 33 miles of zero-emissions range, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine joining forces with an electric motor to produce 202bhp and a 0-60mph time of 9.4 seconds. 440 litres of boot space is far from groundbreaking, but the inclusion of Kia’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty might just draw you away from the Optima Sportswagen’s rivals.