Best hybrid cars to lease 2020

  • Leasing is the easiest and often the cheapest way to get behind the wheel of a new hybrid car
  • Can get you early access to desirable hybrids with long waiting lists 
  • Low emissions for low costs 

Around the millennium, when hybrids first shot into the limelight in the UK, choice was pretty poor. The Toyota Prius was the most notable, while there was also the fascinating Honda Insight, which became progressively less interesting over time, and later on the flawed but revolutionary Vauxhall Ampera made its mark. But that was pretty much it.

In 2020, some 20 years later, the options are more varied than ever. Nearly every manufacturer offers a hybrid of some sort.

>> Skip to the best hybrid cars to lease

Standard, plug-in, and mild hybrids

Plug-in hybrid cars

Standard hybrids' (non-plug-ins) batteries are replenished by recuperating kinetic energy from the brakes as the car slows, and by taking a small amount of the engine's power to recharge them. This electricity is then deployed at convenient times to increase economy. Some standard hybrids can run on electric power alone for a few miles. Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, and others, refer to this as a self-charging hybrid.

Plug-in hybrids have their batteries recharged by connecting the car to an auxiliary power supply, otherwise known as a charger. Some of these are range-extenders, such as the now-discontinued BMW i3 REX. Here the engine is used as an on-board generator, with the electric motor alone powering the car.

Oh, and there are mild hybrids. These employ a small electric battery to make better use of start stop systems and a small electrical boost under hard acceleration. They are not capable of driving via electric motors alone. For the sake of clarity, we've excluded these types of cars from this list.

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Benefits of leasing a hybrid car

>> Less risk than buying outright

If you like the idea of an electric car, but can’t commit to charging every day, or don’t like the range, going hybrid can help. And if you're after new tech, without any of the financial worry, leasing can offer a simple way to finance a car.

>> Electric power with no charging

Fully electric vehicles, at the moment at least, are a bit of a pain to charge. Fine if you can charge at home at your leisure. But it can take up to an hour at a service station. Hybrids, well standard hybrids at least, do away with this.

>> Fuel savings

This varies wildly depending on which car you choose. Some plug-in hybrids can cover around 30 miles on electric power alone. If this is your commute you could spend no money on fuel for work days at least. Even regular hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, should top 70mpg. A similarly sized petrol model will only achieve around 40mpg.

>> Lower tax

With lower emission rates than petrols or diesels, hybrids do attract lower tax rates than traditionally propelled cars.

>> Visit our car tax calculator

>> Exemptions

Save money with charge exemptions. Some hybrid cars will qualify to be exempt from the London congestion charge if they emit less than 75g/km. The congestion charge currently costs £11.50 per day.

Best hybrid cars to lease 2020

Audi A3 E-Tron
Toyota Corolla
Hyundai Ioniq
Volvo XC90
BMW 3-Series
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mitsubishi Outlander
Toyota Yaris
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid

Audi A3 E-Tron 

Best hybrid car to lease for: upmarket plug-in hybrids

2019 Audi A3

What we have here is a plug-in hybrid hatchback, from a premium car maker, at a price that's more suited to tiny and tinny city cars.

In fact, we think this deal makes the A3 E-Tron one of the cheapest ways to drive a plug-in hybrid car, period. The catch? Well, it's not so much a catch. But there is a new A3 just around the corner, which helps keep the prices of these old cars down.

For your money you get a well appointed interior, plus, a car that should be able to do 30-miles worth of electric-powered driving.**

Leasing price: from £237 per month
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Toyota Corolla

Best hybrid car to lease for: first-time hybrid drivers

2019 Toyota Corolla front

The Corolla name returned to the UK in 2018. Do you remember the old one as a basic form of motoring without much excitement? Well, this new one is much less basic, but just as unexciting.

This lack of excitement is chiefly what makes it a good hybrid car to lease. Especially if this is your first hybrid. There are two engines on offer (a 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre), and the whole package is easy to use, easy to understand and you should expect north of 70mpg and up to 85mpg.**

Leasing price: from £213 per month
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Hyundai Ioniq

Best hybrid car to lease for: cut-price Tesla vibes

2020 Hyundai Ioniq

You know the idiom, variety is the spice of life? If that's true, consider the Ioniq to be a Carolina Reaper chilli pepper. That's because the Ioniq is offered in fully electric, plug-in hybrid, and regular hybrid powertrains.

To eek the most out of your leasing deal (and assuming you can home charge) we'd go for the plug-in. Its dual-clutch automatic gearbox is much better than CVT style ones used in rivals (because it's quieter) and, despite it being slightly down on fuel economy compared with the Prius below, you should still get close to 80mpg.**

Leasing price: from £271 per month
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Toyota Prius

Best hybrid car to lease for: looking like an Uber driver

2017 Toyota Prius Plug-in blue rear

The archetypal hybrid car and the one most people think of when you say hybrid.

It comes in both plug-in and regular hybrid flavour, and no matter which derivative you opt for, they're both powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine.

Day to day usage will see the standard Prius hybrid achieve a diesel-bashing mpg, while leasing deals tend to be a good chunk higher for the plug-in. So unless you cover loads of miles and charge it religiously, we'd opt for the regular hybrid.**

Leasing price: from £240 per month
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Volvo XC90 T8

Best hybrid car to lease for: posh seven-seaters

2019 Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid

It's big. It's posh. It's surprisingly kind to the environment. Volvo's XC90 may be not quite as luxurious inside as a Range Rover, but it comes without the footballer image too.

Other selling points? It's one of the safest cars you can buy. Its semi-autonomous tech, called Pilot Assist, is up there as one of the best. And, it should also do 25 miles in pure EV mode too.

In full-on Power mode it'll also crack 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds. This level of pace for this size of the car is amazing.**

Leasing (for XC90 model range) price: from £562 per month
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BMW 330e

Best hybrid car to lease for: slick driving characteristics

2019 blue Volvo XC90 tracking front

Its 2.0-litre petrol engine makes 181hp, while the electric motor makes 111hp. This means the 330e is impressively green (39g/km CO2 emissions) and impressively hoofable in the right conditions, courtesy of BMW's trademark handling and the total power output of 292hp.

It does come at a price though. A standard 3-Series saloon has 480 litres of boot space, while the 330e has just 375 litres.**

Leasing (for 3-Series model range) price: from £344 per month
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Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

2020 VW Passat GTE

Modern families might prefer the heft and height of an SUV, but at Parkers, we still think the estate shape has an awful lot to offer.

The Passat is one of those cars that suits being an estate more than a saloon. And while the default choice is diesel, the GTE hybrid is a clean and sensible alternative. It combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine and a battery capable of more than 30 miles of electric only travel. 

Plug-in hybrid estates are few and far between, so if you're after a large hybrid estate that's premiumish, the Passat makes a brilliant choice.**

Leasing price: from £467 per month
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Mercedes-Benz E 300 de

Best hybrid car to lease for: long-distance drivers

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 300 de

No seriously, we've added a diesel to this article. The reason, is obvious. Most of the hybrids on this list, while effective at lower speeds, become less economical at motorway speeds.

The Mercedes E 300 de allows drivers to travel 34 miles on electric power alone, perfect for town and city driving. But then when you get on a motorway, it's packing a 2.0-litre diesel engine that will return more than 50mpg.

Inside, it's typically E-Class too, in other words, a real step up compared with similar cars. The iPad-like touchscreen is top-of-the-line, and everything feels wonderfully put together.**

Leasing price (for E-Class model range): from £345 per month
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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Best hybrid car to lease for: cheap space

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rear

When the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) hit the market in 2013, Mitsubishi caught the rest of the market napping. It was the first big SUV with a plug-in hybrid system, combining rufty tufty 4x4 looks with emission free motoring. Londoners loved them, and still do.

The game has moved on a bit since then (look at the Volvo XC90 above), but the Mitsubishi is usefully cheaper.

When compared to the Volvo XC90, the interior is nowhere near as premium, and the drivetrain's total power output is just 224hp all-in, so it's nowhere near as fast. But leasing helps bring the prices down to a significantly cheaper level.**

Leasing (for Outlander model range) price: from £308 per month
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Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Best hybrid car to lease for: tight city streets

2019 Toyota Yaris

The little Yaris is by far and away one of the cheapest and smallest hybrids around - a huge reason why they're regularly used in London estate agents.

Around 40% of Yaris sales are for the hybrid. And the figures stack up. It's a 1.5-litre petrol engine matched with an electric motor, with official claims of 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions of just 75g/km.

It's cut-price feeling inside, and the automatic gearbox is noisy. But it is cheap.**

Leasing (for Yaris model range) price: from £225 per month
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Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid

Best hybrid car to lease for: earth-shattering acceleration

2020 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid

This comes up last on the list because of the cost. But don't get us wrong, the snappily titled Porsche Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid is an absolute monster.

Of course, hybridisation brings with it a slew of zero emissions benefits. But, more importantly from a Porsche perspective, it adds eye wateringly fast speed. The E-Hybrid Panamera is a four-door missile. Up front there's a 4.0-litre, twin turbo V8 powering the Porsche to a 0-62mph time of 3.4seconds, making it quicker than a McLaren 540C.

Should do close to 30 miles of electric-only miles, too.**

Leasing (for Panamera model range) price: from £864 per month
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Looking for your next car?

Want to find out more about leasing? Check out our video guide explaining how leasing works. Want to look at some leasing deals? Take a look at our personal leasing search tool.

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** These deals are indicative examples of some packages available as at 23 June 2021, but are subject to change without prior notice. Everyone's financial circumstances are different and the availability of credit is subject to status. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically.

Bauer Consumer Media Limited is an appointed representative of ZenAuto Limited for the broking of regulated consumer hire agreements. ZenAuto Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ZenAuto Limited's registered office is Number One, Great Exhibition Way, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds LS5 3BF. ZenAuto Limited's company registration number is 10967345. ZenAuto is the trading name of ZenAuto Limited.