Best hybrid company cars 2020
Driving a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car can be a great way of reducing your monthly motoring costs. Gone are the days when a cheap-to-run, tax-efficient car was boring to drive – there are some great hybrids on the market that'll not only slash your bills, but also put a smile on your face while they’re at it.
Hybrid cars are designed to produce less CO2 than their purely petrol or diesel-fuelled equivalents, making them potentially cleaner and more economical to run. This makes them excellent company cars, too, as the lower emissions mean lower Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rates.
So by opting for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid company car, you should be able to pay less tax while also enjoying the reduced running costs that come with filling up less frequently.
Here, we run down the best hybrid company cars on sale right now. It’s worth noting that the representative figures were correct at the time of writing, and are based on a three-year or 30,000-mile lease. The numbers listed are before options, and usually reference the entry-level model in the range.
Like the idea of a hybrid company car? Then keep reading for our best hybrid company cars…
The BMW 3 Series has been among the very best executive cars since its inception in the late '70s. So it comes as no surprise that the latest version – complete with its plug-in hybrid powertrain – is one of the most entertaining and cost-effective company cars money can buy.
The previous-generation 330e only offered modest electric range, but the latest one is capable of up to 37 miles without waking the petrol engine. The boot is slightly smaller than in the purely petrol or diesel derivatives, but the cost savings will outweigh this small compromise for many company-car drivers; also, a 330e Touring estate version arrives soon.
Read our full BMW 330e review
As far as company-car tax goes, the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid is at the pricier end of the hybrid scale. There’s no getting away from the high list price, but you’re getting a very capable executive car for your money: 0-62mph takes just 6.2 seconds and you’ll enjoy the limousine-like luxury offered by all 5 Series models.
An update in 2019 saw the 530e get a little extra electric range, plus the option of xDrive four-wheel drive. The standard model will now do 41 miles on electric power thanks to its slightly larger battery.
Read our full BMW 530e review
BMW X5 xDrive45e
The latest BMW X5 xDrive45e is one of those cars that could be a game-changer if you're looking for the pace and performance of a luxury SUV, but the running costs of a small hatchback. Now fitted with a punchy six-cylinder petrol engine and beefy 111bhp electric motor, the X5 hybrid is claimed to do more than 50 miles in electric mode.
In our experience, you’re likely to manage closer to 35 miles, but that’s still much better than the Volvo XC90 above. The BMW's luxurious cabin is a pleasant place to while away the miles, and there’s plenty of room to take the family along for the ride. Beware, however, that unlike the rest of the X5 range, there’s no seven-seat option.
Read our full BMW X5 xDrive45e review
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In
Like all PHEVs with an electric range of between 30 and 39 miles, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In has an attractively low BiK rating of 10% in the 2020/21 financial year. While it’s very closely matched by its big-selling Toyota Prius rival, the Ioniq gains the advantage on this list thanks to its slightly lower P11D value. It’s not quite as economical as the Prius, but keep the battery topped up and the difference will be small.
Read our full Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In review
Kia Niro PHEV
Kia offers no less than three different Niro models, so there should be something to suit all driving styles and budgets. We love the all-electric e-Niro (it was our 2019 Car of the Year, no less), and while the standard hybrid is great for those without access to a charging point, it’s the plug-in hybrid version that could help company-car drivers save substantially over the course of their three-year lease.
Its 30-mile electric range can’t match that of the Mercedes below, but its lower list price should translate into small savings: the Niro PHEV in basic 2 spec will cost higher-rate company-car drivers £1,208 in BiK tax for the 2020/21 financial year, while the better-equipped 3 means a contribution of £1,276.
Read our full Kia Niro PHEV review
Mercedes A 250 e
The Mercedes A-Class frequently features among the UK’s best-selling cars, and the introduction of a plug-in hybrid model is likely to cement the hatchback’s place near the top of that list. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s only available in top-spec AMG Line trim – this gives the BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf rival a sporty look, with loads of the kit that so many company-car users desire.
A 44-mile electric range means those covering short distances with regular access to a charging point could effectively run the A 250 e as a pure-electric car – relying on the petrol engine for longer journeys or motorway driving. The combination of relatively low list price and a long electric range means it’ll cost higher-rate taxpayers just £790 in BiK during the 2020/21 financial year.
Read our full Mercedes A 250 e review
Mercedes E 300 de
One of our favourite hybrid company cars is the Mercedes E 300 de plug-in hybrid. It’s quite unusual in that instead of using petrol power, the E 300 de uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine paired with a powerful electric motor (although there is an E 300 e petrol-electric version, too – we've compared the two here). That means even when the battery is depleted, you still benefit from more than 40mpg fuel economy.
The E 300 de has all the same luxury features as the standard E-Class, wrapped up in your choice of saloon or estate bodystyles. An E 300 de might cost a few hundred pounds more than a BMW 530e in BiK over three years, but you’ll save substantially on fuel costs if you regularly run the diesel engine on longer journeys. The sheer choice on offer, combined with potentially unbeatable running costs, makes the Mercedes E-Class a top hybrid company car.
Read our full Mercedes E-Class hybrid review
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
We’re big fans of the latest Toyota Corolla, naming it our favourite medium-sized hybrid car in the 2020 DrivingElectric Awards. Don’t be put off by the dowdy name; this latest-generation family car is a fantastic all-rounder – and that’s especially true in practical Touring Sports estate spec. Based on the big-selling Prius, the Corolla gets a more stylish body, with a surprisingly luxurious interior and plenty of fuel-saving technology.
It’s impressively efficient despite the fact there’s no plug-in hybrid version; the 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain should return more than 60mpg, while a 23% BiK rating translates to a £2,323 bill for higher-rate taxpayers in the 2020/21 financial year. Go for the basic Icon car and you’ll get a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those after an SUV body shape are well served by the excellent and mechanically similar Toyota C-HR.
Read our full Toyota Corolla Touring Sports review
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Whether you want the executive class of a saloon or the space and practicality of an estate, the latest Volkswagen Passat GTE aims to cover all bases. We love its classy interior and refined driving experience, while the 36-mile electric range should be more than enough for drivers looking to commute without using a drop of petrol. With a BiK rating of 10%, the Passat is an alarmingly affordable company car.
Read our full Volkswagen Passat GTE review
Volvo XC90 T8
The Volvo XC90 is our favourite electrified seven-seater, as judged by our panel of experts in the 2020 DrivingElectric Awards. It’s a fantastic all-rounder – while its 25-mile electric-only range isn't a match for what the BMW X5 xDrive45e can do, that car isn’t available with seven seats.
As such, the Volvo is a brilliant family car for those seeking useful electric range and the low running costs associated with a plug-in hybrid SUV. It’s not available in entry-level Momentum trim, but R-Design cars come loaded with kit. Beware, though: such a high list price means that even with a BiK rating of 15%, a 40% taxpayer will be shelling out £4,118 in BiK during the 2020/21 financial year.
Read our full Volvo XC90 T8 review