Best Motability hybrid cars 2021
What are the best hybrid cars you can get on the Motability scheme? Here are our pics for 2021
The Motability scheme helps disabled people or those with reduced mobility to get into a new car, offering a range of practical and comfortable choices with reasonable running costs. The scheme works by diverting certain benefits into monthly payments for one of these pre-approved models.
Thankfully for those who want to keep their running costs and environmental impact low, a number of hybrid models are offered on the scheme. We’ve rounded up the best choices, many of which offer great practicality and larger boots suitable for carrying a wheelchair or other equipment. All prices mentioned below take the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP) into account – but these advance payments may vary if you receive one of the other allowances used on the scheme.
If you live in an urban area and do most of your motoring over shorter distances, one of the plug-in hybrid options featured below is worth a look; if longer journeys are more common, it may be worth looking at a traditional hybrid.
Read on for a run-down of our favourite Motability hybrid cars for 2021.
The Kia Niro is available on Motability as of October 2020, with advance payments starting at £799 in entry-level from. Using the same 1.6-litre petrol-electric drivetrain, but in a larger and more practical SUV body, the Niro offers a balance of economy, performance and practicality. There’s also a plug-in hybrid version, as featured below.
You’ll find it hard not to be impressed by the Niro’s interior space for passengers and luggage, while build quality is great and there’s decent standard equipment. Entry-level cars with smaller wheels are the most efficient, with quoted figures of 59mpg and 86g/km CO2 emissions. Power is the same as the Ioniq, at 139bhp, while performance is adequate if not electrifying, which is no surprise given the Niro is heavier than the Ioniq.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a direct and capable rival to the Toyota Prius that’s available in three formats: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric. As of March 2021, the entry-level hybrid version is available with no advance payment, while a higher-spec version can be secured with an advance payment of just £299 or £799 depending on trim. The purely electric version is available from £1,499, rising to £1,999 for a posher trim. The plug-in hybrid variant is not included in the scheme.
The Ioniq Hybrid is powered by a combination of a 104bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 43bhp electric motor. A 1.56kWh battery means the car can’t go very far on electric power alone. The car will happily travel at up to around 30-40mph on electric power, but sharper throttle inputs or inclines will see the petrol engine kick in. It takes over completely at higher speeds; the changes between these modes are well hidden, especially if you drive smoothly. If you’re a keener driver, the Ioniq’s dual-clutch gearbox makes a much better companion than the CVT in the Toyota Prius, offering more conventional control over the engine.
MINI Countryman Cooper S E All4
A stylish take on the plug-in hybrid theme, the Countryman Cooper S E All4 is a four-wheel-drive SUV with MINI's trademark retro styling and a focus on driving fun. It’s powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and a rear-mounted electric motor, which together produce 221bhp – enough for a swift 0-62mph sprint of 6.8 seconds and a 123mph top speed.
Going for the smallest 17-inch wheels keeps emissions down and economy up: 43g/km of CO2 and a fuel-economy figure of 157mpg are claimed, although as with all PHEVs, you won’t get close to that figure in most normal driving. Electric range from a full charge is quoted as 31 miles, which should be enough for round-town shopping and short commutes. If you plan on using all of the performance of what's a fun-to-drive SUV, though, economy will drop significantly. As of March 2021, advance payments start at £2,999 climbing to £3,899 for the most expensive trim.
Toyota Corolla hatchback
Toyota is the biggest producer of hybrid cars in the world, so it’s no surprise its models feature often on this list. The Corolla hatchback is an economical, reliable and relatively practical hybrid that’s a perfect size for smaller families – think Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus size.
The Corolla uses a 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to return good fuel economy (50-66mpg is claimed), low emissions (76-89g/km of CO2) and a smooth, comfortable driving experience.
Both this Corolla hatchback and its Corolla Saloon sibling are available on Motability as of March 2021 with advance payments starting at £0 for the hatch, or £545 for the saloon. And if you like the idea of a hybrid Toyota but need more interior space, there’s always the Corolla Touring Sports estate below.
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate
The Corolla Touring Sports is the estate version of the Corolla. It offers the same combination of a petrol-electric drivetrain, great build quality, practical specification and a focus on fuel economy and driving comfort, but adds a larger boot.
The standard Corolla hatchback has an 361-litre boot; the Touring Sports increases this to 598 litres. This makes it one of the best choices on this list if load space is paramount. You'll need to get together a slightly higher advanced payment for the estate, starting at £495 as of March 2021; plastic-clad Trek models (pictured) start at £2,445.
Toyota’s tried-and-tested 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol-electric drivetrains are used in the C-HR, a stylish SUV that’ll suit those who value a high driving position and a sharp driving experience. Despite its chunky looks, there’s no four-wheel-drive option, but you do get a claimed economy figure of 50-59mpg, a 0-62mph time of 8.2 to 11 seconds and remarkably sharp handling for a car of this type. The C-HR is well built, refined, rides well and is genuinely fun on a twisty road.
The C-HR’s bold looks are what's most likely to make you choose it over the other cars here. Doing so means you make sacrifices when it comes to practicality, but not unduly large ones. There’s good space in the rear despite the sloping roofline, although anyone over six feet tall may struggle. In terms of an advance payment, you'll need to find at least £295 to get one on Motability as of March 2021.
Kia Niro PHEV
Offered alongside its conventional hybrid sibling on the Motability scheme, the plug-in hybrid version of the Kia Niro is a similarly strong choice and makes the most sense if you plan on spending much of your time driving shorter distances or in built-up areas. A larger battery brings a pure-electric range of around 30 miles, while the same decent chassis and 1.6-litre petrol engine remain. It feels broadly similar to drive, but that’s no bad thing.
The Niro PHEV remains a practical small SUV, too – there’s loads of space for passengers both front and rear, while large doors and a sensible ride height mean getting in and out should be easy for those with mobility issues. You’ll have to sacrifice some boot space to the PHEV’s larger battery, however – the 382-litre boot in the normal car shrinks to 324 litres in the plug-in. As of March 2021, the Kia Niro PHEV is available on Motability in '2' trim for an advance payment of £3,049, or top-spec ‘3’ trim with an advance payment of £3,699.
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