Best Motability hybrid cars 2020
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.
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 2020:
The Kia Niro is available on Motability as of March 2020 with either no advance payment in entry-level from, or in higher spec with a payment of £999. 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.
The Toyota Prius+ is a seven-seat MPV version of the previous-generation Toyota Prius hatchback. So it's not exactly cutting-edge, but it is still a reliable, spacious and efficient way of getting around, and could be ideal for anyone with mobility issues who needs to carry a wheelchair or have a conversion carried out.
As of March 2020, advance payments start from just £195, so it's ideal if you budget is tight and you need a large hybrid car. Fuel economy of just under 50mpg is promised, although CO2 emissions of 106-112g/km betray the car's age and mean it's not eligible for London Congestion Charge exemption – although Blue Badge holders don't have to pay it.
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. It’s the first (and least expensive) of these that’s offered on the government’s Motability scheme. As of March 2020, the entry-level version is available with no advance payment, while a higher-spec version can be secured with an advance payment of just £99 or £449 depending on trim. The purely electric version is available from £749, rising to £1,249 for a posher trim.
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.
Elsewhere, the Ioniq Hybrid is a practical, comfortable and very well built car that'll easily stand up to everyday family use. It’s a relaxing car to drive both around town or on the motorway, all while returning reasonable 63mpg fuel economy and 85g/km CO2 emissions. Economy varies wildly depending on use; heavy motorway work will see the average drop, while short-distance, slow-speed driving will use no fuel at all if you're careful with your right foot.
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 2020, you needed to come up with an advance payment of at least £1,749 to get a MINI Countryman hybrid on Motability.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was one of the pioneers of the plug-in hybrid SUV trend. The latest version continues to be a sound choice thanks to its combination of practicality, comfort and performance. Power comes from a petrol engine working alongside two electric motors and a battery. Low running costs are a large part of this SUV’s appeal, especially if you do the bulk of your driving over shorter distances: 140mpg is claimed along with an all-electric range of up to 28 miles, while CO2 emissions are 46g/km.
The Outlander PHEV’s battery can be fully charged from a domestic socket in four hours, or to 80% capacity in just 25 minutes – perfect for shopping trips or commuting if charging facilities are available. If you’re forced to bring the petrol engine into play, an average of not much more than 50mpg should be expected in mixed driving. An option to switch between 'series' and 'parallel' hybrid power lets you decide exactly how and when the car’s electric motor is called into play.
Like the MINI above, the Outlander requires a hefty advance payment – £1,699 as of March 2020 – if you want one on Motability.
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 2020 with advance payments starting at £695. 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 £745 as of March 2020.
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 £495 to get one on Motability, as of March 2020.
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 2020, the Kia Niro PHEV is available on Motability in top-spec ‘3’ trim with an advance payment of £999.
The RAV4 is one of the largest hybrid SUVs on the Motability scheme. It’s a conventional hybrid in much the same mold as the Toyota Prius elsewhere on this list, powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor paired with a small battery and a CVT automatic gearbox. A plug-in hybrid variant is on its way in the latter half of 2020, but for now it’s just the standard Hybrid that’s available on Motability.
It’s a good car, especially if you need space for four or five to sit in comfort. The Toyota RAV4 majors on practicality but despite its size is not offered with a seven-seat option; there’s lots of rear leg and headroom as a tradeoff, plus a large 580-litre boot. Elsewhere, the RAV4 is comfortable and easy to drive rather than exciting.
Both options on the Motability scheme are the more powerful four-wheel-drive variant, complete with 219bhp and fairly brisk performance. It’s far from being the most efficient car on this list, but if you need practicality and ability from your Motability car, then the RAV4 is well worth considering. You’ll have to pay for it though – an advance payment of at least £3,445 is required as of March 2020.