A hybrid has a powertrain that combines a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor powered by a battery. The battery is charged by capturing energy from braking and, under certain conditions, from the engine.
Petrol-electric hybrid cars are ideal for urban areas as most can run on electric-only power for short distances, and when at standstill the engine is switched off, thereby reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and emissions that impact upon local air quality. Of course, stop-start systems are also found in more conventional cars these days.
Diesel-electric hybrids are designed to offer diesel-levels of economy, with the ability for electric-only running in urban areas, thereby reducing emissions from the diesel engine.
Hybrids don’t need to be plugged in to the mains to recharge the battery.
Because there’s a petrol or diesel engine, hybrids have no range limitation.
Hybrids can provide the performance of a larger engine with the economy of a smaller one.
Hybrid technology generally means extra purchase cost but lower fuel costs than a petrol or diesel.
Diesel-electric hybrid powertrains are relatively heavy, which in real-life can offset some of the theoretical fuel economy savings.
Hybrids offer little advantage for motorway use.
Most hybrids can’t be used for towing.
Is a hybrid ideal for your driving?
Hybrid cars are ideal for people who split their time in and out of urban areas, where the hybrid system will reduce fuel costs and emissions in the city, yet the car is perfectly able to drive outside of urban areas.
Read our Hybrid Car Reviews
Here are ten reviews of some of the most popular hybrid cars being sold in the UK from manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Citroen, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota. You can also see our ranking of the Top 10 Hybrid Cars here complete with fuel economy and performance figures..