Learning to love Toyota’s plug-in pioneer

Toyota has taken the cabbies' favourite and made it even better. But it's no longer the only maker of hybrid cars.

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The Toyota Prius was a pioneer the most important standard-bearer for cars that combine an electric motor with a conventional engine, or "hybrids", says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. It was also, however, "awful": it had "parrot-fish looks and felt like a spacehopper powered by an elastic band" to drive.

The latest incarnation, thankfully, is a huge improvement. At last, we have a Prius we could learn to love. Toyota's major success has been to make the Prius feel more like a normal car to drive than any of its predecessors, says Matt Saunders in What Car. If green and cheap is what you're after, it's hard not to be swayed by the Prius, says AutoExpresss. "It's more than just a cabbies' favourite now."

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Price: from £23,295.

Two alternative hybrids

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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been a huge hit in the UK, being the only plug-in hybrid SUV on sale, says Steve Cropley in Autocar. The fuel economy and carbon emissions are low enough to keep running and tax costs low, making buying one an attractive proposition. It's a decent drive too, with a classy cabin and spacious interior. If you're commuting 20-odd miles a day, can charge a car on your driveway overnight and need something to get across a moist field at weekends, says Sam Philip in Top Gear, the Outlander PHEV might be just the car for you.

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Price: from £29,249.

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The game is up, saysChris Knapman in TheDaily Telegraph. Electric cars are moving from thefringes to something youand I would seriouslyconsider buying. Nothingrepresents that shift betterthan the Audi A3 E-tron.We already knew the A3was an excellent car, says Vicky Parrott in What Car. But theelectric version is genuinely as good as its stablemates: great todrive, as refined as you'd expect an Audi to be, and certainlyone of the best plug-in hybrids on the market today.

Price: from £35,690.

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