Learning to love Toyota’s plug-in pioneer

Toyota Prius

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.”

Price: from £23,295.

 

Two alternative hybrids

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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.

• Price: from £29,249.

Audi A3 E-tron

The game is up, says Chris Knapman in The Daily Telegraph. Electric  cars are moving from the fringes to something you and I would seriously consider buying. Nothing represents that shift better than the Audi A3 E-tron. We already knew the A3 was an excellent car, says Vicky Parrott in What Car. But the electric version is genuinely as good as its stablemates: great to drive, as refined as you’d expect an Audi to be, and certainly one of the best plug-in hybrids on the market today.

• Price: from £35,690.