Are These PHEVs The Answer To Fuel Crisis?

Thu 30th Jun 2022

If you are frustrated by the thought of paying astronomical petrol and diesel prices, but not convinced by the thought of an all-electric vehicle then you might be considering a plug-in hybrid. But what are the most economical options on the market?

Well thanks for the team at What Car? we now know the top ten most economical cars, and some of the PHEVs currently on the market are promising unbelievable fuel economy. While it is important to take a manufacturer’s MPG claims with a pinch of salt, some of the numbers being reached will excite those whose current petrol MPG is laughable.

The research, which looked at the most economical vehicle in the range of all the major manufacturers, found a surprising winner, with the Mercedes-Benz C300E offering the prospect of a very healthy 470.8mpg. Those fanciful figures are unlikely to be ever achieved in real-world conditions, but efficiency anywhere near that mark can only be achieved thanks to the car’s very large battery. On the market at £46,310, the car can comfortably drive for 62 miles in electric mode before the petrol engine kicks in.

Another efficient performer is the Volvo S60 Recharge T8 PHEV, which again goes north of 400mpg, but only just (403mpg), but is well clear of the next nearest challengers, the Range Rover Sport P440E (341.2mpg), the LEXUS NX 450H+ (313.9mpg) and the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI EHybrid (313.9).

These figures all compare favorably with the limited fuel economy of our petrol and diesel equivalents, but it is worth remembering that real figures are likely to be a lot less. Consumer group Which? analysised some of the claims in a report last year and found them to be a little economical with the truth.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “A fuel efficient plug-in hybrid vehicle is an attractive feature for prospective buyers, as many will expect to spend less on fuel and reduce their carbon footprint. 

“Yet our research shows many popular hybrid models are not as efficient as the manufacturer's claim, which means motorists could be spending more on fuel than they anticipated.

“It is clear that the standard set for calculating fuel efficiency rates is flawed and should be reviewed to reflect real-life driving conditions. This would ensure manufacturers advertise more accurate rates and consumers have an accurate understanding of how much they should expect to spend on fuel.”