Best hybrid hatchbacks

A hybrid hatchback will give you all the practicality of a standard hatchback, but even lower running costs. These are the best on sale

If you’re in the market for a no-nonsense, cheap-to-run family car, there are plenty of conventional hatchbacks out there that fit the bill.

But combining a hatchback with hybrid technology can push its efficiency even further by improving fuel economy and reducing emissions, thus saving you money in the long run.

The way hybrid hatchbacks work is very simple: most harvest energy from the car’s engine and brakes in order to charge a small battery. This electrical energy can then be redeployed to make the car run more efficiently, working in conjunction with a petrol or diesel engine to provide drive.

Some hybrid hatchbacks are able to travel a short distance on electric power alone, but nowhere near as far as the leading plug-in hybrids, which typically have larger batteries.

So which model is right for you? To point you in the right direction, we’ve come up with a handy top five list of the best hybrid hatchbacks on sale today…

5. Lexus CT 200h

Lexus is known for build quality, and it shows in the CT 200h, with a solid interior and good reliability. The 1.8-litre hybrid petrol engine returns 67.3mpg, which translates into a 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. Meanwhile, 375 litres of boot space is more than enough for a trip to the supermarket or a weekend away. The main drawback of the CT 200h is the location of the hybrid system’s batteries: they eat into the boot space somewhat and reduce rear legroom. Still, the seats themselves are very comfortable, making the CT 200h pleasant on long-distance drives

Suzuki Swift

4. Suzuki Swift SHVS

At a shade over £15,000, the Suzuki Swift is more affordable than many of its rivals, and while it doesn’t have the same appeal of some competitors, there’s lots to like about it. The SHVS model is the greenest Swift on sale right now, returning 65.6mpg from a 1.0-litre petrol engine supported by a ‘mild-hybrid’ system. So, while extra power can be sent to the engine to aid acceleration, the Swift SHVS won’t move solely under electric power. Nonetheless, the Swift is entertaining to drive, largely thanks to its low weight.

3. Toyota Auris Hybrid

It's not be the most spectacular thing to look at, but the frugal Auris could be your ideal family runabout. Powered by a 1.8-litre petrol-electric combination, this hybrid manages a very creditable 68.8mpg and is capable of low-speed manoeuvres such as parallel parking on electric power alone. The design – inside and out – is beginning to look dated, but the Auris is very easy to drive and well equipped, even in the lowest of its four trim levels.

2. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The Hyundai Ioniq was the first car ever offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric car, and in all three guises it’s a competitive prospect. The Hybrid here is one of the frontrunners in this class, with an official fuel-economy figure of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 84g/km. Practicality is decent, with seating for five and 443 litres of boot space. A power output of 139bhp is enough to make the Ioniq Hybrid feel eager on the road and the light steering means it isn’t taxing to drive.

1. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the Ioniq Hybrid’s main rival, and in its fourth generation, its Japanese manufacturer has a refined the formula. The Prius is a hugely practical car, promising good head and legroom throughout, as well as easy access and a 343-litre boot. This figure rises to 1,558 litres when the rear seats are lowered, so transporting bulky goods is possible. It’s fuel economy that impresses most, though: 83.1mpg will make your money go further, although you need to be on the 15-inch wheels that are standard on lower Prius trim levels to achieve this.