Cheapest hybrid cars

Used hybrid cars can be affordable and cheap to run, making them a great way to save money on motoring. Here are some of the best value

Sam Naylor
Jul 31, 2021

Hybrid cars have been around for decades now, but in recent years a focus on air quality, reducing pollution and improvements to fully electric cars have made many drivers much more interested in these efficient cars.

Manufacturers such as Toyota have been producing models that incorporate an electric motor alongside a petrol or diesel engine for many years, which means that there are plenty of low-cost hybrid cars available on the second-hand market.

In this article, we've focused on the cheapest used hybrid cars available to find out which of these economical models can be purchased for the lowest cost. So, if you have a limited budget for your next car and fancy a hybrid, check out the cars below, which start with the very cheapest hybrid car available, and go up to the eighth cheapest available on BuyaCar.

There’s a good amount of variety here, from superminis to large family cars, so even if one model isn’t right for you, there should be one further down the list that costs just a little more that could still come within budget.

You’ll notice that because Toyota has been producing hybrid cars for the longest, the list contains many of the car maker’s models. That’s no bad thing, because the hybrid tech is tried and tested, and known to be really reliable as a result.

It’s not just traditional hybrids, though - there are also plug-in hybrids on our list. Also known as PHEVs, these cars drive very similarly to a traditional hybrid, using the electric motor and a petrol engine to drive the wheels. Yet PHEVs can be plugged in and charged up from a charging port, too.

They have larger batteries as well, which means they have a longer driving range on electric power alone - if you charge them up. Most normal hybrids can move for a couple of miles at most on electric power alone, but PHEVs are capable of more than 10 times that, usually around 30 miles for the cheapest models.

PHEVs can only run efficiently if you charge them up regularly and do predominantly short journeys. This allows you to cover most of your journeys on electric power alone. However, fail to charge and you'll get little benefit from the electric motor, with the petrol or diesel engine put under more strain lugging around a heavy electric motor and batteries, while getting little electric assistance.

Best cheap hybrid cars

1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Best cheap hybrid car for city life

Used deals from £10,250
Monthly finance from £185*

The cheapest hybrid car is the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which is a small car that works really well for driving in the city or for short hops around town. It’s reliable, easy to drive, practical for its size and very affordable to buy.

The great news is that for many drivers, the Yaris Hybrid will be all you really need. It’s not very exciting to drive, and it’s not as practical as some of the other cars below, but it’s simple to park, nippy enough at lower speeds and the cabin feels well put-together.

As it’s a hybrid, it excels in traffic. It’s an automatic, which means there’s no clutch to get annoying in stop-start jams, and the near-silent running of the electric motor means it’s really relaxing to drive. You can also expect over 60mpg without much trouble, making it cheap to fuel, so the Yaris Hybrid is a great choice for many.

2014-2020 TOYOTA YARIS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Toyota Auris Hybrid

Best cheap hybrid car for families

Used deals from £10,850
Monthly finance from £206*

If the Yaris is too small for you and your family, the Toyota Auris Hybrid is well worth a look. It’s the next cheapest hybrid car available, and it’ll also be easily capable of 60mpg in normal driving, plus it’s easy to drive in traffic and is relaxing to spend time in.

Like the Yaris, though, it’s not very exciting. It’s less comfortable and less satisfying to drive than other family cars of its type, but the hybrid engine and gearbox combination does mean that it’s really efficient and quiet. The Auris is roomy in the back, with plenty of space for kids or teenagers. Even adults won’t have trouble fitting in the rear seats.

The boot is a decent size as well - at 360 litres, it’s bigger than that of a Ford Focus of the same era. You can fold down the seats for extra storage space and trips to the dump, for instance, and while the cabin is a little bit dull to look at, it’s well built and should stand up well even in well-used models.

2013-2019 TOYOTA AURIS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Lexus CT 200h

Best cheap hybrid car for reliability

Used deals from £14,499
Monthly finance from £225*

Lexus consistently scores highly in customer satisfaction surveys such as Driver Power, and the CT 200h is known as one of the brand’s most reliable models. This means the smallest Lexus model is a clever used purchase if you want a dependable everyday car.

The CT 200h wasn’t too convincing when new because it didn’t feel as expensive as its price tag suggested, but as one of the cheapest used hybrid cars around, it makes a lot more sense as a second-hand purchase. The interior is better than that of the Toyota Auris, with higher-quality materials, yet because they use the same technology (as Lexus is Toyota's upmarket brand, so models from both brands share a lot of features), the CT 200h is just as efficient.

There aren’t a lot of CT 200h models at the low end of the hybrid car market, but higher-mileage models are very cheap to buy and because they’re so reliable, we’d have no issue choosing one of these if it’s been looked after correctly. It’s not great to drive, nor as practical as some of the other options here, though.

2011-2020 LEXUS CT BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Best cheap hybrid car for comfort

Used deals from £13,250
Monthly finance from £252*

Not every cheap hybrid car uses Toyota’s hybrid setup. There’s also the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, which is an excellent alternative that focuses on efficiency and comfort. It’s also really practical, so works well as a family car - and many taxi firms love them for their reliability and fuel economy.

The Ioniq is available as a plug-in hybrid and an electric car but the normal hybrid is the cheapest of the three options. It’s smooth over rough roads and the seats are excellent, so if you spend a lot of time in the car, the Ioniq could be an appealing choice. It’s really efficient too, as over 60mpg is easy to achieve in normal driving.

It uses a petrol engine and a small electric motor, and in traffic it’s relaxed and smooth to drive as the engine rarely needs to kick on. When it does, it’s still quiet and doesn’t intrude too much. The Ioniq is great value, but some might be put off by the slightly dull exterior and interior design. Look beyond the styling, however, and this is a very sensible option.

HYUNDAI IONIQ HYBRID BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Optima PHEV

Best cheap hybrid car for value

Used deals Limited stock

The Kia Optima is one of the largest cars on this list, with a huge boot and enough room in the rear seats to easily accommodate adults comfortably. The Optima is also good to drive, efficient and comes with lots of standard kit, so we rate it highly for value for money.

Perhaps most notably, though, is the fact that this is a plug-in hybrid. It has a driving range of around 30-40 miles from a full charge in electric-only mode, which is impressive for a plug-in that’s as cheap as this. It means a normal commute will be easily doable in electric mode, saving you lots on fuel costs.

If you don’t charge the battery up regularly then the Kia won’t be as efficient as some of the other cheap hybrid cars on this list - so think about your situation before you choose one. If you can charge up every night ready for the next day’s driving, then it could bring ultra-low running costs.

2016-2019 KIA OPTIMA SALOON BUYERS' GUIDE

2016-2019 KIA OPTIMA SPORTSWAGON BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota Prius

Best cheap hybrid car for efficiency

Used deals from £16,399
Monthly finance from £244*

The Toyota Prius is probably the most famous hybrid car in the world, and there's more than one good reason for that. It’s effortlessly efficient, massively comfortable and incredibly reliable, so it’s a fantastic choice second-hand.

Ordinary drivers sometimes steer clear of the Prius because it has a reputation for being a taxi favourite. Yet taxi drivers love them because they are reliable, ultra-efficient and comfortable to spend all day in, which are all good reasons to choose one as your own car.

The Prius is also practical and surprisingly enjoyable to drive, so don’t overlook it. Fuel economy of over 70mpg isn’t unheard of from these aerodynamic models, and there’s even a big boot and lots of passenger space.

TOYOTA PRIUS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Ford Mondeo Hybrid

Best cheap hybrid car for practicality

Used deals from £14,099
Monthly finance from £227*

It’s good to see that there’s a hybrid option if you want a large family car - the Ford Mondeo Hybrid - among the cheapest hybrid cars you can get. The Mondeo is really big and roomy inside, and although the 383-litre boot is smaller than in non-hybrid versions of the Mondeo, it’s still a decent size and shape.

The Mondeo isn’t as good to drive as older versions were, and the hybrid version’s heavy batteries mean it’s even less enjoyable on a twisty road. Yet the Mondeo is comfortable and sensible, with a smart cabin and a good amount of technology for the money.

The Mondeo is probably the least appealing option here if you are concerned about fuel economy, however. It’s difficult to match the claimed fuel economy figure, unlike in the Toyota and Hyundai models above, and in the real world it’s not really any more efficient than the diesel versions, which are easier to find and have a bigger boot.

FORD MONDEO BUYERS' GUIDE

FORD MONDEO ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Audi A3 e-tron

Best cheap hybrid car for upmarket appeal

Used deals from £16,600
Monthly finance from £260*

The Audi A3 e-tron is an interesting alternative not only because it’s a more upmarket car than most of the others on this list, but also because it’s a plug-in hybrid. It can travel for about 30 miles on electric power alone from a full charge, making it great for those who can charge up at home and maximise their time driving without using petrol at all.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine is quiet and smooth too, although this early PHEV model was a bit jerky to drive, as the technology was still young when the car came out. Yet the Audi’s smart interior, roomy cabin and comfortable ride are all attractive when it’s among the cheapest hybrid cars around.

The A3 e-tron is less practical than a normal A3 as the batteries take up some boot space, so it’s not as practical as you might expect. However, the high-quality cabin will make everyday driving a highlight and you could save a lot of money if you have the right usage pattern to make the PHEV setup work in your favour.

2012-2020 AUDI A3 BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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