New hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars 2020
Hybrids usually contain a small battery that's charged by a petrol or diesel engine – together with a regenerative braking system – affording you a limited amount of electric-only range and (more importantly) better fuel economy.
Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids often have a much larger battery that's charged using a cable, potentially giving you enough range to do a full commute or a trip in and out of town without needing to use a single drop of fuel.
There are lots of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models on sale already, and even more are due to arrive throughout the course of 2020, in the shape of SUVs, coupes, saloons and even sports cars.
The choice on the market has never been greater, with full hybrid, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid cars all offering drivers something different.
So, if you’re thinking about which new hybrid car will suit you best in 2020, read on for our rundown...
BMW 330e Touring
We’ve already driven the excellent BMW 330e saloon, but in summer 2020, a Touring estate version is set to go on sale in the UK. Its larger proportions mean official fuel economy drops to 122.8mpg, although savvy drivers will be able to get close to this figure if they charge up on a regular basis. Petrol and diesel versions of the estate are expected to offer around 500 litres of boot space and the plug-in hybrid model should get close to this figure.
BMW X1 xDrive25e
BMW says the PHEV version of the X1 SUV will have 35 miles of electric range thanks to a 9.7kWh battery, which will charge from empty to full in just five hours from a standard, three-pin household socket. The 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce 217bhp, which results in a 0-62mph time of around seven seconds. If form is anything to go by, the X1 xDrive25e will give the Volvo XC40 T5 and DS 7 Crossback E-Tense a proper run for their money.
Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV
Citroen plans to enter the plug-in hybrid market for the first time in 2020 with its C5 Aircross SUV: the plug-in hybrid variant will contain a 13.2kWh battery and deliver up to 31 miles of zero-emissions range on a single charge, while official figures of 166mpg economy and 39g/km emissions are promised. That sounds all well and good, but some customers may be put off by the starting price of £35,340. An eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty is included, at least.
Ford Kuga hybrid
Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ford Kuga are already on sale, but Ford has promised to introduce a full-hybrid model this year to complete the line-up. It'll have a 2.5-litre engine and an electric motor, with front or four-wheel drive in the offing. Official fuel economy of 50mpg will satisfy most, although the styling may leave some unconvinced.
Jeep Renegade PHEV and Jeep Compass PHEV
Jeep has developed a plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a 1.3-litre petrol engine and a rear-mounted electric motor to provide four-wheel drive. The system will be offered in plug-in hybrid variants of the Renegade and Compass this year, each producing 187 and 237bhp respectively. Although this gives each car up to 31 miles of electric range, Jeep says the main benefit will be performance: the electric motor will deliver lots of low-down torque, aiding acceleration and boosting traction on rough terrain.
Kia Ceed Sportswagon PHEV and Kia XCeed PHEV
Two variants of the Kia Ceed – the Sportswagon estate and the XCeed SUV – are set to welcome plug-in hybrid technology this year. Details remain scarce, however it’s possible both cars will be offered with the 1.6-litre petrol-hybrid powertrain that features in the Niro PHEV. In that case, you should expect to see an electric driving range of around 35 miles, with company-car-tax-friendly CO2 emissions in the region of 30g/km.
Land Rover Defender PHEV
In 2019, Land Rover revealed the long-awaited new Defender: it’s available now with two petrol engines that integrate mild-hybrid technology (as well as two non-hybrid diesels), but a plug-in hybrid option is due in the latter stages of 2020. We expect it to use the 197bhp three-cylinder petrol engine and 107bhp electric motor found in the Range Rover Evoque PHEV, with prices likely to break £50,000. Like the Jeep PHEVs above, low-down torque from the electric motor should make the plug-in Defender even better off-road.
Currently, the plug-in hybrid vehicle with the longest electric range is the BMW X5 xDrive45e SUV, which (on paper) can do up to 54 miles on a single charge from its 24kWh battery. That’s set to change with the arrival of the Mercedes GLE PHEV, which is promising a mighty 62 miles of zero-emissions range thanks to a 31.2kWh battery. By plug-in hybrid standards, that’s huge: the battery in the Honda e – also due in 2020 – is only marginally bigger, and that’s a fully electric car. Another break from the norm is the GLE PHEV’s diesel engine, which should return decent fuel economy on the motorway once that massive battery becomes empty.
Peugeot 3008 PHEV
Keep an eye out for the Peugeot 3008 PHEV in 2020. The French manufacturer is promising two versions: one with a single electric motor in tandem with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and a sportier ‘GT Hybrid4’ version with two electric motors for four-wheel drive. The latter should hit 296bhp and have a 0-62mph time of under six seconds, while an electric range of 40 miles should be possible from a 13.2kWh battery. A full charge from a home wallbox should take less than two hours.
Peugeot 508 PHEV
If you’re searching for an executive hatchback with plug-in power, your options are set to increase soon with the launch of the Peugeot 508 HYbrid. The plug-in hybrid version of the car gets an 11.8kWh battery for a modest 25-30 miles of electric range, while non-electric power comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 177bhp. Aside from the performance figures, the exterior and interior styling of the 508 looks superb, and will likely attract interest from buyers who wouldn’t normally give Peugeot a second thought...
Renault Captur PHEV
First shown at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Renault Captur PHEV will join an ever-growing roster of small SUVs with plug-in hybrid technology when it arrives. Up to 28 miles doesn’t sound groundbreaking, although it’s a reasonably good return from a 9.8kWh battery. Charging should take around four-and-a-half hours from a three-pin socket (a wallbox charger will cut this time significantly), with a full top-up likely to cost less than £1.50. If most of your journeys are short and you spend most of your time near home, you could save a lot of money in the long run.
Renault Clio E-Tech hybrid
If you’ve read this list carefully, you'll have noticed most of the cars on it are plug-in hybrids. However, the Clio isn’t one of them, as the French firm has only committed to a mild-hybrid version of the supermini for now. A 1.2kWh battery will gather electricity as you drive (you can’t plug this car in using a cable), and the assistance it gives to the 1.6-litre engine will deliver big improvements in fuel economy and emissions. Renault is yet to provide official figures, but has claimed gains of up to 40%.
SEAT Tarraco FR PHEV
The SEAT Tarraco FR PHEV will be the company’s first plug-in hybrid model. It’s based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq, and uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine working with an electric motor to produce a total of 242bhp. Acceleration from 0-62mph should take 7.3 seconds and top speed is 135mph, although fuel economy and emissions figures are still to be announced. When it comes to the latter, SEAT is expecting less than 50g/km of CO2.
Toyota RAV4 PHEV
In some ways, it’s a surprise that the RAV4 doesn’t have a plug-in hybrid variant already. That’s set to change this year, as the standard RAV4 Hybrid is joined by this plug-in sibling: a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor will produce 302bhp, making this the most powerful RAV4 ever. The electric driving range should amount to 37 miles on the WLTP test cycle, with CO2 emissions of less than 30g/km.
Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV
Another manufacturer breaking its plug-in hybrid duck in 2020 is Vauxhall, which has priced its Grandland X PHEV from £32,390. That’s a lot of money for a non-premium SUV, but it does at least undercut the existing all-wheel-drive models and offers the prospect of lower running costs in the long-term. Official tests show that 192mpg is possible if the 13.2kWh battery is charged regularly, with drivers relying on a slightly detuned version of the company’s 1.6-litre petrol engine after the battery has run out of juice.
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