Best used hybrid cars 2021
Our list of the very best used hybrid cars will help you to find an affordable and efficient car that's right for you
Hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular in the UK, as attitudes to pollution and tax incentives drive new-car buyers to rethink their choices. This is great news for buyers looking for a used hybrid car, as your choices are continually growing.
Here, we're looking at traditional hybrid models, which use a combustion engine – usually petrol – and an electric motor fed by a small battery. You don't have to charge them to get the best out of them, which is something Toyota and Lexus have promoted about their hybrids in recent years.
These are sometimes also known as 'self-charging' hybrids (particularly by Toyota and Lexus, but also Kia and some others). If you're in the market for a secondhand plug-in hybrid car (with more than few miles' electric range, and that you can plug in to recharge), have a look at our roundup of the best used plug-ins you can buy right now, while we also have a list of the best used electric cars to check out. Toyota could be considered the leader when it comes to hybrid technology, as it has been making them since the original Prius in the 1990s. It's also the maker with the most mainstream success in this area. Yet there are plenty of options from other manufacturers, too, regardless of budget or requirements. Superminis, saloons, hatchbacks and SUVs are all available with full hybrid drivetrains that make a lot of sense for urban living or just cutting down on running costs. Read on for our list of the best used hybrid cars for 2021...
The CR-V is one of the newer models here, but it's still a good used buy, at about £22,000 for a 2019 model with 30,000 miles on the clock. The CR-V has been a good used buy for a long time because of its practicality and reliability, and in recent years a hybrid was added to the range, adding plenty of appeal for buyers wanting good efficiency too.
The CR-V is decent to drive, if not quite as good as a Toyota C-HR, and the hybrid system works well especially in traffic. It uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine with the electric motor, and it's the latter that drives the wheels most of the time. This means it's quiet, efficient and smooth. Read our full review here.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Toyota's Prius had things its own way in the hybrid family hatchback class for many years, until the similarly shaped and sized Ioniq arrived in 2017 to shake up the market. Somewhat dowdy interior and exterior looks mean the Ioniq isn't really a head-turner, nor will it stir your soul while driving, but it's a solid, sensible, efficient and great-value choice for everyday motoring.
In 2019 there was a facelift, which you'll have to be an expert to spot on the outside but it's easy to tell once you get inside because the touchscreen infotainment system got a lot bigger and this improved the cabin quite a bit, so it's worth seeking out a later model. Models with high mileage are likely to have been used as taxis, so we'd stick to low-mileage cars if you're buying privately. A 2020 example with under 10,000 miles can be had for £15,000 at the moment.
The Kia Niro was one of the first SUVs to use hybrid power, and while it's not as good to drive as the Toyota C-HR, it's comfortable, efficient and roomy enough to work well as a family car. Expect to pay about £10,000 for a 2017 model in a lower trim level with 70,000 miles.Even these cars will still have some of the long seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which makes them an excellent used buy. Even discounting the warranty, reliability should be a strong point, alongside the good list of standard kit even on lesser versions. Read our full Kia Niro review here.
Lexus IS 300h
There are plenty of well-looked-after ex-company-car IS 300s to choose from on the market. Sleek looks, generous standard equipment and decent fuel economy are all big plus points, as well as the reliability factor. It's also good to drive, if a little on the dull side (a BMW 3 Series is more fun, for example). We found a 2017 IS 300 for £14,000 with less than 50,000 miles on the clock. It uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine with the electric motor, which delivers decent economy and performance. Read our review here.
Lexus NX 300h
The Lexus NX is an upmarket family SUV that uses Toyota-sourced hybrid technology to great effect. Used Lexus models have a reputation for reliability, so despite their affordable prices, you can feel safe in buying one of these relaxing, high-quality cars. You'll pay roughly £16,000 for a 2015 model with 50,000 miles on the clock.
The NX 300h uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an economy-focused tune, plus an electric motor to boost efficiency. It's great for city traffic, and while the NX isn't all that much fun to drive, it's comfortable and the interior is well-made so should have stood up well even after 50,000 miles. Read our full review here.
The RX was a hybrid pioneer, offering petrol-electric drive in a luxury family SUV as early as the second-generation model in 2005. Today, these early cars can be picked up for well below the £9,000 mark. Excellent reliability means even age and high mileage shouldn't put you off, as long as the car has a good service history.
A bigger budget brings the more modern and efficient third-generation car (2008-2015, pictured above) into play: £13,000 will get you a high-mileage one. There's also the newest version, which still has plenty of appeal despite higher prices of about £26,000 for a 2017 model. These cars use 3.5-litre V6 petrol engines with their electric motors, so they're quick enough and also smooth and relaxing to drive. We have a full used buying guide for the RX here.
Lexus UX 250h
The UX 250h is one of Lexus' newer models and it uses technology shared with the Toyota Corolla and C-HR. This means it's one of the best-driving cars in the Lexus stable, with comfortable suspension, good control weights and an efficient and quiet powertrain – it's a 2.0-litre petrol with the electric motor here.
You will pay around £22,000 for a UX from 2019 that has about 20,000 miles on the clock, which looks good considering it has a fantastic interior and the aforementioned excellent chassis. It's roomy enough for a family, should be reliable and is really well built. Read our full review here.
Toyota Auris Hybrid
If you don't fancy a Toyota Prius but love its efficiency, its 1.8-litre petrol-electric drivetrain was also offered in the more conventional-looking Auris hatchback and estate (until it was replaced by the hybrid Corolla hatchback and Corolla Touring Sports estate in 2019). It's older, and therefore cheaper and more affordable, than the newer Corolla; you can find a 50,000-mile example from 2018 for less than £9,000.
It's far from the most exciting car out there, but a used Auris is still a very sensible buy. Toyota's record for customer satisfaction and reliability is very good, so this car should give you many miles of efficient and dependable motoring – even if it's not going to thrill you on a twisty road. Read our full used buying guide for the Mk2 Auris hybrid here.
Toyota C-HR Hybrid
It’s impossible to compile a list of non-plug-in hybrids without including a large number of Toyotas. The Japanese manufacturer was a pioneer of what it calls ‘self-charging’ hybrids and has used the technology across its range. The C-HR is a stylish small family SUV that benefits from this technology. Cars from 2018 with about 10,000 miles are currently selling for around £16,000.
That's for the 1.8-litre version, which is great for efficiency. The C-HR is one of the best-driving SUVs of its type, and a 2.0-litre version is also available, which boosts performance but sacrifices some efficiency in the process. Still, if you want a small SUV that looks good and is great to drive, the C-HR makes a lot of sense as a used buy. Read our full review here.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
The Corolla proves that hybrids doesn't have to be boring. The Corolla name may conjure a mental image of a stuffy, boring commuter car from years gone by, but this modern model is a fantastic car. It's great to drive, has stylish looks and delivers strong economy from its petrol-electric powertrain.
It's been on sale for long enough that there are plenty available secondhand, and most still have some of their five-year manufacturer warranty left. Reliability should be a strong point regardless, and the Corolla is also comfortable spacious and has a good level of standard equipment. You can grab a 2019 estate with even more practicality for around £14,000 with just 10,000 miles on the clock. Read our full Toyota Corolla review here.
Toyota Prius Hybrid
The Prius is, for many, the original hybrid and still the first one that comes to mind when you mention the word. On the used market, a third-generation model (2009-2015) is perhaps the most interesting prospect, due to the huge number of cars available at a wide range of price points.
Prices range from about £6,000 for early cars, which use the very reliable 1.8-litre petrol-electric drivetrain and have decent standard kit and a spacious interior and boot. Yet the newer model that's still in production is a better car overall. We found a 2019 car for £15,000 with only 1,500 miles on the clock, which looks like good value. After all, the current Prius is incredibly comfortable, good to drive and highly efficient. Read our full Prius used buyer's guide here.
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