New hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars 2021
As hybrid technology improves and government regulations get stricter, manufacturers are putting emphasis on hybrid models of all types and sizes. Here's what's on the way in 2021...
The new-car market is reinventing itself at the moment. As consumers demand more efficient, less-polluting cars and governments promote electrification with tax incentives and legal requirements for manufacturers, more and more cars with some kind of electric power are arriving. Hybrid cars are exploding in popularity as a result.
Some of the most notable changes are those to the UK company-car tax system, which heavily promote plug-in hybrids especially. Since so many new-car sales are driven by this sector, it's no surprise to see almost every car brand scrambling to offer this technology in multiple models.
Yet there are also new models arriving with normal hybrid power - a small battery and electric motor that helps to boost efficiency and cut costs without the need to plug in. After all, not all of us have a driveway or somewhere to charge up at home. Here, we'll take a look at some of the most notable new hybrid – and plug-in hybrid – cars that are arriving in 2021...
Audi Q5 TFSI e plug-in hybrid
Audi's new version of the Q5, both the normal SUV and the coupe-like Q5 Sportback, includes a plug-in hybrid drivetrain called TFSI e. It uses a new 14.4kWh battery, along with an electric motor and a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 261bhp. This allows for a driving range of 37 miles on electric power alone, which is pretty impressive for a large model like this. It's able to return a claimed fuel economy of 141 to 157mpg, with CO2 emissions of 42-45g/km. Read more about the Audi Q5 TFSI e plug-ins here.
Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
Bentley's luxury SUV was facelifted in 2020 and is set to return to plug-in hybrid power following a brief discontinuation of the technology in the range towards the end of the outgoing model's life. Unveiled in late 2020 and set to arrive later this year, the new Bentayga Hybrid is powered by more or less the same 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and electric-motor combination as the Porsche Cayenne hybrid; power sits at 443bhp and a 17.3kWh battery gives a claimed 31-mile range, albeit measured on the outdated NEDC testing procedure. Read more about the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid here.
DS 4 E-TENSE
DS is part of the Stellantis Group and so shares engine technology with Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall. It has already launched the fully electric DS 3 Crossback and plug-in hybrid DS 7 Crossback, and a smaller plug-in hybrid is coming in the fourth quarter of 2021. The new DS 4 will be aimed at rivals like the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40. It uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, producing a combined total of 222bhp and has a 31-mile electric range. Read more about the DS 4 E-TENSE here.
Ford S-MAX Hybrid & Ford Galaxy Hybrid
Ford has announced a pair of petrol-electric seven-seater MPVs to join its growing hybrid range: the S-MAX and Galaxy. They're both already on sale; the former costs from £36,535, while the latter costs from £38,695.
Both use a similar powertrain to the Ford Kuga Hybrid, which means there's a 197bhp 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. Ford claims CO2 emissions from 146-147g/km and fuel economy of 44mpg for the hybrid S-MAX, and 148-149g/km of CO2 for the Galaxy, with near-identical economy to the S-MAX. Read more about the Ford hybrid models here.
Honda is one of the last manufacturers to focus on traditional hybrid technology, with its recent Jazz supermini using it to great effect. This trend is set to continue with the forthcoming all-new HR-V, which will go on sale later this yea at prices expected to start around £25,000. It uses a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a pair of electric motors and a small battery.
The engine can drive the wheels directly or power the electric motors, assisted by the battery, which itself can be topped up by the engine and regenerative braking. It's also been redesigned to look more modern both inside and out. Read more about the HR-V here.
Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid
Hyundai has offered plug-in hybrid technology in its Ioniq hatchback for several years now, and the South Korean brand is now preparing to offer the technology in the latest generation of its Tucson family SUV, set to rival already-on-sale models like the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid and Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid.
The normal hybrid version of the new Tucson is already on sale – complete with a bold look and upmarket appointments – and has been well received, which bodes well for the plug-in effort, which will arrive soon. Read more about the 2021 Hyundai Tucson here.
Land Rover Defender P400e
It has been many years in the making, but the all-new Land Rover Defender arrived at last in 2020 and has been very well received. It's currently available with petrol, diesel and mild-hybrid power, but a plug-in hybrid version was unveiled at the end of 2020, with deliveries set to start imminently. Badged P400e, the plug-in hybrid Defender uses the same 2.0-litre unit employed in larger Range Rover PHEV models. Total power is 398bhp, there's a 27-mile range from its 19.2kWh battery and 85.3mpg is claimed. Read more about the Land Rover Defender plug-in hybrid here.
McLaren's next generation of supercars will get off to an electrified start in 2021 with the arrival of the Artura, a new plug-in 'High-Performance Hybrid' that'll sit between the GT and Super Series cars in the British manufacturer's range.
The all-new supercar uses a petrol-electric powertrain with a V6 petrol engine and electric motor for a total output of 671bhp. It has a small 7.4kWh battery that allows 19 miles of pure-electric range. Impressively, CO2 emissions of 129g/km are quoted alongside a 0-62mph time of just three seconds. Read more about the McLaren Artura here.
Mercedes-AMG GT 73 EQ Power+
While supercar manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren have for several years been making use of hybrid systems to boost the performance of their fastest models, the technology has yet to make a significant impact on the super-saloon market – with the exception of Porsche's Panamera hybrids. That's all about the change, however, as German powerhouse Mercedes-AMG is working on a plug-in hybrid version of its four-door GT model.
Expected to carry the long-winded 'Mercedes-AMG GT 73 EQ Power+' name, the model was teased very briefly in an official AMG video clip at the end of 2019 and has since been photographed undergoing cold-weather testing under light camouflage (above). A staggering power output of nearly 800bhp is anticipated, which could make for a sub-three-second 0-60mph time. Read more about the Mercedes-AMG GT 73 EQ Power+ here.
Mercedes C-Class hybrid
The next version of the Mercedes C-Class is on the way, and the hybrid model will continue to be offered in C 300 e form, both as a saloon and an estate. There's a new look for the updated models, plus more kit. While the launch of the new model is summer 2021, the plug-in models will come a little after that.
The C 300 e uses a petrol engine with its electric motor, but there'll also be a C 300 de coming afterwards that uses diesel power for those planning to do longer trips. The C 300 e combines a 201bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine with a 127bhp electric motor and has a range of 60 miles on electricity alone. Read more about the Mercedes C-Class hybrids here.
Nissan Qashqai e-POWER
A new Nissan Qashqai is on the way this year and a new 'e-Power' hybrid model will join the range in early 2022. A new platform called CMF-C means the Qashqai should be competitive with the latest rivals in terms of ride and handling, and allows better integration of electric power.
The Qashqai e-POWER will use a 152bhp 1.5-litre petrol-engine 'generator', plus a 188bhp electric motor that drives the wheels directly. Fuel economy of 53mpg and CO2 emissions of 122g/km are expected. Read more about the new Nissan Qashqai here.
Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered
A plug-in hybrid with serious performance, the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE) is – as its name suggests – a sports saloon that's been fettled by the French brand's motorsport and performance arm. It features a 355bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor combination, with power fed to all four wheels; 0-62mph is quoted at 5.2 seconds, with top speed limited to 155mph.
Green detailing, 20-inch alloys and an aggressive bodykit help set it apart and you'll still get to choose between hatchback and SW estate versions. The 508 PSE has the potential to make an interesting rival for the likes of the BMW 330e and Volvo S60 Recharge T8. Read more about the Peugeot 508 PSE here.
Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV
Land Rover has been selling plug-in hybrid versions of both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport for several years now, but with an all-new generation of the British brand's flagship model on the way, updated electrified models are in the pipeline, too. Land Rover’s MLA platform reportedly has room for two electric motors – one on each axle – and a large, 100kWh battery, which could give a plug-in model a very long range.
While a fully electric Range Rover isn't coming for a few years yet, the petrol-electric combination should arrive at or soon after the next-generation model's launch in 2021. Read more about the new 2021 Range Rover hybrids here.
The Highlander name has been used on Toyota SUV models in various markets around the world, but hasn't appeared in the UK and Europe so far. Now, the brand has announced its current Highlander – a seven-seat SUV that's larger than the RAV4 – will be offered in the UK from 2021.
It'll use Toyota's familiar "self-charging" hybrid technology, combining a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a 241bhp output, 146g/km CO2 emissions and fuel economy of just under 43mpg. Until now, if you wanted a seven-seat Toyota SUV in the UK, your only choice was the somewhat agricultural Land Cruiser; the Highlander gives Toyota a contender against rivals like the Skoda Kodiaq, SEAT Tarraco, Peugeot 5008 and Hyundai Santa Fe. Read more about the Toyota Highlander here.
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