Let’s start with the basics, what is a hybrid car?
A hybrid vehicle is one that makes use of more than one means of propulsion. At present that would be pairing a normal petrol or diesel (combustion) engine with an electric motor. However, the way these are merged differs among the automakers.
The major benefits that come with a hybrid car include less fuel being used which in turn lead to less CO2 emissions. These are the greenest cars from the lot. From this, owners also pay lower rates of road and company car tax.
There are also different types of hybrid cars but almost all of them drive like a conventional automatic car. The first is Conventional hybrids. Like the system in the Toyota Prius, the car can run on the power of one of the sources only or they can work together. When driving slow, the engine will switch off and the car is powered by the electric motor only. When maximum acceleration is required then both sources will power the car.
Another type of hybrids is the ‘plug-in hybrid’. As its name suggests, the car can be plugged into an external power outlet to recharge their batteries. These batteries will be bigger and carry the car to a further distance on battery power alone than the conventionals.
Engine: 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine + McLaren (ECU) electric motor
Power: 542 kW / 725 hp
Torque: 720 Nm
Produced by McLaren automobile, the P1 is a limited production hybrid. The P1 was manufactured between 2013 and 2016 with only 375 units built. It is the most powerful hybrid which also had F1 technology in it. The car pulls a 0-100km/h time in 2.8 seconds and 0–200 km/h in 6.8 seconds. The car is electronically limited to a top speed of 350 km/h and manages a total range of 530 km/charge.
Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine with a permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack
Power: 90 kW/121 hp
Torque: 305 Nm
The Toyota Prius was the first to appear on the scene, being in production since 1997. Currently, in its fourth generation, released in 2015, it’s fitted with a new generation of powertrains. There have also been significant improvements in the battery, electric motor and gasoline engine technologies. The electric motor produces 52 kW/71 hp while the engine produces 71 kW/95 hp making a combined output of 90 kW/121 hp.
In the States, the Prius is the best-selling hybrid on the market. The 2016 model has a fuel economy rating of a mere 4.4 L/100 km.
Engine: 1.3-litre i-VTEC petrol engine
Power: 73 kW/ 98 hp
The Honda Insight was produced between 1999 and 2014. There’s speculation that Honda might be bringing back the Insight hybrid to take on the Prius. It will be a very modern and stylish car considering the different body styles it has already explored. Its first generation was said to be the “most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the U.S.” It had a fuel economy rating of 3.4 L/100 km for highway driving and 3.9 L/100 km for city driving.
BMW Active Hybrid 7
Engine: turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with an electric motor
Power: 260 kW/ 349 hp
Torque: 498 Nm
The BMW Active Hybrid 7 was produced between 2010 and 2015. Its first generation model had high fuel economy ratings but its second generation, released in 2012 were significantly lower. With the updated drivetrain, fuel economy was rated at 10.7 L/100 km for the city and 7.8 L/100 km on the highway. At the time of release, BMW boasted that it was the quickest hybrid sedan with it sprinting from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds. Its top speed was 250 km/h.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Engine: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.5-litre inline-4 with permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor and 1.6-kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack
Power: 149 kW/ 200 hp
Torque: 202 Nm
The Camry Hybrid has been in production since 2007. The hybrid setup in the Toyota Camry is one Toyota has been using for years and has proved to be durable and reliable. While previously an A-student, it was surpassed by Honda and Chevrolet in areas of its technology, fuel economy, and driving pleasure. Its 2018 model has a fuel economy rating of 5.3 L/100 km.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Engine: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.0-litre inline-4 with a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor and a 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Power: 138 kW/ 185 hp
Torque: 415 Nm
Currently, in its second generation, the Ford Fusion Hybrid has been in production since 2008. Its fuel economy ratings have been recorded as 6.4 L/100 km on a combined cycle (highway + city). The second generation models are also said to be more fuel efficient than its predecessor. It is fitted with some handy tech that includes Smart Gauge, voice commands activated system, satellite radio, and a rearview camera.
Engine: 1.5 SOHC i-VTEC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder with IMA Integrated Motor Assist
Power: 91 kW / 185 hp
Torque: 174 Nm
The Honda CR-Z is the automakers third hybrid model (after the Insight and Civic hybrid) and has been produced since 2010. Its name CR-Z stands for ‘Compact Renaissance Zero’ and was first seen at the Tokyo motor show in 2007. Its engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission as standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available.
It sprints from 0-100 km/h in around 8.5 seconds and fuel consumption is marked at 5.0 L/100 km.
8. Audi Q7 hybrid
Engine: 3.0 TDI V6 turbodiesel engine paired with an electric motor-generator
Power: 190 kW / 250 hp
Torque: 600 Nm
The plug-in hybrid Audi Q7 e-tron was introduced as part of new second generation Q7s. It was introduced in 2015 and sold on the Asian, American and European market. The Q7 e-tron can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds in hybrid mode, and 0-60 km/h in 6.5 seconds in its all-electric mode. In hybrid mode, its top speed is 230 km/h and 135 km/h in the electric mode. Best of all, its fuel consumption is rated between 1.8 and 1.9 L/100 km. (Its ok, I read that twice too!)
9. Lexus CT 200H
Engine: 1.8-litre VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine paired with electric motor/generators
Power: 100 kW / 134 hp
Torque: 207 Nm
Making its debut in 2010, the Lexus CT 200H has been in production since 2011. It’s the smallest Lexus you can buy. To break down its name, the “CT” stands for “Creative Touring” and the “200h” refers to the hybrid performance of its 2.0-litre engine. Fuel consumption for the CT 200h is rated roughly around 3- and 4.0 L/100 km. It accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 10.3 seconds.
10. Nissan Leaf
Engine: Synchronous electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack
Power: 90 kW / 120 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
Nissan’s five-door electric hatchback has been in production since 2010. More than 250,000 Leaf’s have been sold marking it as the “world’s all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car in history” (for now). It’s said to produce 0 exhaust pollution and 0 greenhouse gas emissions. It has several awards to its name including the 2011 World Car of the Year. The Nissan Leaf has a top speed of over 150 km/h and an unofficial 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 9.9 seconds. Its fuel consumption figures have been tagged at 2.4 L/100 km on a combined cycle, 2.2 L/100 km in city driving and 2.6 L/100 km on highways.