Which hybrid lease car should you choose?

Hybrid cars have become more popular over the last few years – mainly because they’re a good compromise between purely combustion engine and purely electric engine alternatives.

Recent research by YouGov has shown that the number of buyers who would choose a hybrid has increased to 46% (from 40% in 2021), with no sign of this trend dying down any time soon.

If you fancy dabbling your foot in the cool waters of electric driving, but you’re not quite ready to make the plunge, a hybrid car lease could be the perfect step. And there are some excellent hybrid cars available on the market for you to lease right now.

With improved fuel economy and reduced running costs, they’re almost a no brainer.

And, with the ability to choose between mild hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid, you can pick the level of electric you’re comfortable with. 

If you opt for mild or full hybrid, you don’t even have to plug the car in – the battery will charge itself up, and boost the engine with some lovely electric power to help the petrol engine merely sip the fuel, rather than guzzle it up.

We’ve rounded up ten of the best hybrid cars available – but which one is your perfect pick?

Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage

One of our favourite family SUVs, the Kia Sportage is a great pick if you’re looking to keep costs and arguments down. 

With a spacious rear, you’ll be able to fit in car seats and kids with no problems. The interior is smart, the whole car feels solidly screwed together, and the boot is spacious enough that the dreaded luggage Tetris before a family holiday will pose no issues.

And really, any model in the Sportage line-up is great, right from the entry-level petrol-powered variants. 

But if you’re looking to save on your fuel costs and keep your emissions low, it’s the plug-in hybrid variant you want on your car lease shortlist.

Our pick: Kia Sportage 1.6T GDi 248 PHEV GT-Line 5dr Auto AWD

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Dare we say it, the Honda Civic is the best hybrid hatchback money can lease. 

With impressive fuel economy, a luxury feel to the finish and plenty of kit to keep you both safe and entertained on the go, the humble Civic has a lot to write home about.

But the best bit of the Civic is hidden under the bonnet: Honda’s phenomenal petrol/electric hybrid powertrain. 

The 2.0L petrol engine pairs perfectly with the two electric motors and 1.06kWh battery, providing 181bhp and around 30 miles of range (WLTP Comb). If you’re a big town driver, and you can keep the Civic’s battery topped up, you should be able to rely on electric power alone for most of your journeys. 

Keeping costs and your running emissions down? We’re sold.

Our pick: Honda Civic eHEV Elegance 5dr CVT

CUPRA Formentor

CUPRA Formentor

The SUV that doesn’t look like an SUV, the CUPRA Formentor combines all the practicality of the larger vehicle with the stylish looks of a coupe.

If you prefer a sportier look and driving position, but you don’t want to compromise on the space, then it’s well worth a look. 

The interior is just as good-looking as the exterior, with an air of the Lamborghini Urus about it, and the contrast stitching giving it a suitably sporty air. 

It’s another PHEV, with the 204 model sporting a combined power output of 201bhp, a 0-62 time of 7.8 seconds, and a WLTP Comb range of 36 electric miles. It’s the one to opt for – the slightly more expensive and slightly more powerful 245 model does knock a second off the 0-62 time, but the extra money isn’t really worth the extra power. 

Our pick: CUPRA Formentor 1.4 eHybrid 204 V1 5dr DSG

Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR

If we say the word ‘hybrid’ to you, you’ve likely pictured a Toyota in your head. The brand became ubiquitous with the hybrid with the launch of the Prius all those years ago, and it’s only gotten better.

The Toyota C-HR combines all the learnings of the past couple decades and wraps it up in a very nice crossover SUV package, tapping into both the want for smaller SUVs, and the need for hybrids to combat high emissions and high costs.

And whether you’re after a self-charging or plug-in hybrid, Toyota has got you covered. 

Our pick: Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

Sharing its underpinnings with the Kia Sportage (and you know we love the Sportage), the Hyundai Tucson is an excellent option for a family-friendly SUV lease.

Its bold styling might be a little divisive, but there’s no denying it stands out in the crowd. And when the car park at Tesco is that crowded, you need a car that’ll stand out, lest you lose it forever.

Nearly the entire Tucson line-up is available with some level of hybridity.

The entry-level models benefit from mild hybrid tech, boosting fuel efficiency. 

Step up the range, and there’s the self-charging hybrid. It’s slightly more affordable than the plug-in hybrid (and doesn’t require you to have access to an at-home or public charger), and has a big enough battery to benefit from short bursts of electric-only driving.

Keeping costs down without faff? It’s music to our ears. 

Our pick: Hyundai Tucson 1.6 TGDi Hybrid 230 SE Connected 5dr 2WD Auto

BMW 3 Series Saloon

BMW 3 Series

This is the one for you if you’re looking for an executive company car, but don’t want to pay the top levels of company car tax.

Any hybrid model will keep the Benefit in Kind tax lower, but if you want that executive feel, the BMW 3 Series brings a premium finish and a very nice drive to the table. The 330e sits in the 12% BiK band, with its ability to do up to 36 miles on electricity alone (WLTP Comb), with CO2 emissions of around 34g/km.

Currently, if you’re a 40% taxpayer, that means you’ll pay around £187 a month in BiK. By contrast, if you go for the petrol 3 Series Saloon, you’re looking at around £452 a month, because it falls into the 34% BiK band.*

The savings really speak for themselves – and you don’t lose the luxe feel or excellent drive.

Our pick: BMW 3 Series Saloon 330e Sport 4dr Step Auto

*Prices correct at time of publication

Dacia Jogger

Dacia Jogger

Any car in the Dacia line-up offers incredible value for money, and even the Dacia Jogger - the most expensive of the lot – isn’t going to break the bank.

Sure, you don’t get the same sort of little luxuries and creature comforts that you’ll find in more premium brands, but if you’re looking to keep costs down and efficiency high, the hybrid Dacia Jogger is certainly worth a good look.

Dacia claims that the Jogger will run on electric-only roughly 80% of the time when you’re in town, with the petrol engine there for back-up, which will help to keep fuel costs low without having to plug in when you get home.

It’s an excellent compromise, and a good step between no hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Our pick: Dacia Jogger 1.6 HEV Expression 5dr Auto

Renault Clio

Renault Clio

One of the better superminis on the market, the Renault Clio has gone through some big changes that have made it a more enticing option than ever.

The full hybrid powertrain combines a 1.6L engine with an electric motor for efficient and fast driving, with the Clio able to achieve 60mpg. 

And it’s not just good under the bonnet either. 

The Clio is a good-looking car – the French really know how to make an attractive supermini – and it makes the perfect city-car-that-sometimes-does-motorway-driving, with the electric motor aiding efficiency and the petrol engine bringing the power.

Our pick: Renault Clio 1.6 E-TECH full hybrid 145 Evolution

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

Listen, you’re not going to find a more spacious supermini than the Honda Jazz.

Not a verified fact, but I managed to move an entire house in approximately five trips in a Jazz, and it fits a packaged Billy bookcase. Just about.

It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a compact car that still ticks all the practical and versatile boxes, and the fuel-sipping hybrid system will help to keep running costs down. 

If you don't want to commit to anything more electric than an MHEV, this is an extremely good one.

Our pick: Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid Elegance 5dr eCVT

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

We couldn’t finish a list of the best hybrid cars on the market without including at least two Toyotas.

They really do know what they’re doing with the hybrid powertrain, and the Toyota Corolla makes an excellent hatchback option.

Its 1.8L hybrid engine has excellent fuel economy, the car itself is solidly built, and the interior is spacious and finished to an excellent standard.

Sure, the Corolla might be a little more conventional than some of the bolder designs available, but as we have said before – if it’s not broke, why fix it? And the Corolla’s all-around excellent package is certainly not broke.

Our pick: Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT

Everything you need to know about hybrid leasing

What are the different types of hybrid powertrain?

There are three different types of hybrid powertrain available: mild hybrid (MHEV), self-charging or full hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Mild hybrid is, as it says on the tin, the mildest of the hybrids. It has a small electric motor that takes the electricity generated when you lift your foot off the accelerator and stores it in a little battery. This battery is then used to give the engine a boost, improving fuel economy and making your engine work more efficiently.

Self-charging or full hybrid is the next step up. It works in a similar way to a mild hybrid, but the battery is a little bigger and it’s able to run on electric power alone for short bursts, helping you to get the most mileage from each tank of fuel.

Plug-in hybrid is the last frontier before you dive into a fully electric car lease. Like a mild or full hybrid, it has both an electric motor and a petrol engine, but the battery is much bigger and a PHEV needs plugging in to make the most out of its electric capabilities.

The bigger battery does mean you can travel further on electric power alone, with many having an electric range of over 30 miles. If you have access to an at-home or public charger and can keep the battery topped up, it’s only on those longer drives that you’ll have to rely on the petrol engine – keeping your fuel costs right down.

What are the benefits of hybrid car leasing?

There are many benefits to choosing hybrid car leasing. These include:

  • Better fuel economy
  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • Reduced running costs
  • Reduced tailpipe emissions
  • Lower levels of Benefit in Kind tax for company car drivers
  • Cheaper Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax)

What are the disadvantages of hybrid car leasing?

There aren’t many downsides to choosing a hybrid car lease. However, the addition of the extra electric bits can make hybrids a little heavier than their purely combustion engine or electric counterparts.

This is mostly an issue with PHEVs, because they have the biggest battery of the lot, when you run out of electric juice and the petrol engine is left alone to haul around the weight of the car. But if you’re keeping your PHEVs engine regularly topped up, you won’t see much of an issue with it.

Spied the hybrid car of your dreams?

Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.