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Lifestyle Guides

Top 10 bestselling plug-in hybrid cars in the UK

Plug-in hybrid cars (PHEVs) are the perfect introduction to electrified motoring, offering the best of both worlds

Ford Kuga PHEV

Not only are they capable of running for around 30 miles in pure electric mode (perfect for short commutes), but they also have a conventional petrol engine for longer journeys, offering potential fuel economy as high as 300mpg if you keep your battery pack charged up.

With low CO2 emissions, they are also especially appealing for company car drivers looking to make significant tax savings.

We asked the SMMT (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) to give us the data for the top 10 most popular PHEVs in the UK, based on half-year registrations between January and June 2021.

The results below are fascinating with premium choices leading the charge, perhaps indicating that company car drivers, in particular, are benefitting from the cost savings of running plug-in hybrids.

1) BMW 3 Series - 6,321 registrations

BMW 330e

It's no surprise to see the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid topping the charts, though maybe not by such a big margin. It's a class act, offering a winning combination of elegant looks, efficiency, driving dynamics and low running costs.

The 330e pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (181bhp) and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, resulting in a combined output of 249bhp (or 289bhp for short bursts using the new ‘Xtraboost’ feature hidden in the Sport driving mode).

It can run on battery power alone for up to 37 miles, while officially quoted CO2 emissions are as low as 37g/km. The 0-62mph benchmark can be reached in as little as 5.9 seconds, while top speed is 143mph.

2) Mercedes-Benz A-Class- 3,667 registrations

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Now in its third generation, the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class has proved to be a hit with British buyers, thanks to its stylish looks, comfort, technology, badge appeal and top build quality.

The A 250 plug-in hybrid combines a 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine, a battery and an electric motor to produce a punchy 215bhp, meaning it can sprint to 62mph in just 6.6 seconds, yet its CO2 emissions are as low as 25g/km. 

It can travel for up to 44 miles purely on electric power, while fuel economy is (on paper) more than 200mpg. 

3) Audi A3 - 3,455 registrations

Audi A3

Launched in 2020, the handsome fourth generation Audi A3 builds on the success of the outgoing model, with its blend of driver engagement, refinement, a comfortable, quality interior, the latest tech and serious badge envy.

The Audi A3 Sportback plug-in hybrid (badged TFSI e), comes in Sport, S Line or S Line Competition trims levels. Sport blends a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and battery pack, developing 201bhp in all.

The official all-electric range is 40 miles. Fuel economy is as high as 235.4mpg and CO2 emissions are as low as 29g/km. The 0-62mph sprint takes 7.6 seconds and the top speed is 141mph.

4) Volvo XC40 - 3,338 registrations

Volvo XC40

Volvo's baby SUV is stylish, safe, comfortable and a pleasure to drive, while its high driving position offering a commanding view of the road.

Oozing Scandi chic inside, the plug-in hybrid version (badged T4 or T5 Recharge) combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with a battery and electric motor, producing 258bhp.

CO2 emissions are 47g/km, fuel consumption is a potential 134.5mpg and the pure electric range is 28 miles. The 0-62mph dash takes as little as 7.3 seconds and top speed is 112mph.

5) Ford Kuga - 3,208 registrations

Ford Kuga PHEV

Launched in 2020, the latest Ford Kuga is a mid-sized SUV delivering an impressive blend of practicality, performance and efficiency.

The Kuga Plug-in Hybrid matches a 2.5-litre petrol engine with a battery and electric motor, giving it a total output of 222bhp. 

Offering up to 35 miles of electric-only motoring on a full battery charge and (in theory) as much as 200mpg, CO2 emissions are as low as 32g/km. With a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds, maximum speed is 122mph.

6) Range Rover Evoque - 2,453 registrations

Range Rover Evoque PHEV

The second-generation Range Rover Evoque is a real step-up from its popular predecessor, boasting more space, the latest tech, refinement and a surprisingly dynamic driving experience – plus Land Rover's legendary off-road capability.

The Evoque plug-in hybrid (badged P300e) powertrain comprises of a 1.5-litre petrol engine, plus an electric motor and battery, giving total power of 305bhp.

With an EV range of 34 miles, CO2 emissions are from 44 g/km. The 0-62mph sprint takes 6.4 seconds, while top speed is 132mph.

7) Range Rover Sport - 1,879 registrations

Range Rover Sport PHEV

Launched in 2013, the Mk 2 Range Rover Sport is arguably one of the coolest, most capable big SUVs on our roads – and the most up-market vehicle in this top 10.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV (P400e) combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery pack, to develop a total output of 400bhp.

Offering a 0-60mph sprint time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 137mph, it has potential fuel economy of 84.5mpg. C02 emissions are from 72g/km and it has a pure electric range of 26 miles. 

8) BMW X5 - 1,877 registrations

BMW X5

Bigger, bolder and better than ever, the latest BMW X5 is packed with the latest tech, it’s more capable off-road, more spacious and far more agile than you’d expect for such a large 4x4. 

The BMW X5 xDrive45e Plug-in Hybrid boasts a smooth six-cylinder, 3.0-litre petrol engine, producing a combined 389bhp petrol and electric output.

It also delivers an impressive electric range of up to 53 miles and as little as 29g/km of CO2 emissions. In theory, fuel economy is as high as 217.3mpg, while top speed is 146mph and the dash to 62mph from standstill takes just 5.6 seconds.

9) Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - 1,793 registrations

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Launched in 2014 and updated in 2018, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was originally one of the few plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the market, and the first 4x4 SUV PHEV. 

The UK’s bestselling plug-in vehicle until recently, it has a 2.4-litre petrol engine, plus two electric motors (one at the front, the other at the back) and a battery pack.

The Outlander PHEV can travel for up to 28 miles in electric mode only, while CO2 emissions are 46g/km. Top speed is 106mph and 0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds. 

10) Volvo XC60 - 1,639 registrations

Volvo XC60

Volvo's mid-sized XC60 SUV is another class act, offering style, safety, comfort and kerb appeal.

The entry-level plug-in hybrid version of the XC60 (badged T6 Recharge) offers a four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol turbo and electric motor with a battery giving a total output of 335bhp.

It can run electric-only for 32 miles, has a fuel consumption of 117.7mpg, in theory, and CO2 emissions of 52g/km. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds and top speed is limited to 112mph.

I'm an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter, now specialising in motoring. I’m editor of Automotive Blog and have worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online for household names including the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I’ve produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I'm married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

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