Hampered by supply shortages and Covid-19, these are uncertain times for the car industry. However, one constant has been the continued growth of electrification, including surging sales of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.
As a middle ground between traditional combustion power and fully electric vehicles, sales of plug-in hybrids grew by more than 70% in the UK last year with more than 114,000 sold in total. That said, petrol power is still king, with over three quarters of a million petrol cars sold throughout 2021.
If you are in the market for a plug-in hybrid, you will no doubt be spoilt for choice, with budget, mainstream and premium brands consistently adding these contestably eco-friendly models to their line-ups.
Whether you are looking to take advantage of lower tax rates, intrigued by the idea of battery-powered driving, or feeling concerned with your carbon footprint, the top ten best-selling PHEVs listed below come in all shapes and sizes, from small hatchbacks to large SUVs.
The ten best-selling plug-in hybrid cars of 2021
1. BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series topped the PHEV sales charts with nearly 11,000 UK registrations in 2021. Available in either saloon or estate form, the 3 Series is widely regarded as one of the best medium-sized cars you can buy at the moment, highlighted for its interior quality and driving experience.
The BMW 3 Series currently holds an Expert Rating of 85% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index, which is also the highest-rated plug-in hybrid in the top ten.
2. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was one of the UK’s best-selling new cars in 2021, finishing fourth in the sales charts. The plug-in hybrid version accounted for 21% of A-Class sales, a percentage which is growing over time.
Praised for its build quality, infotainment and interior, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class currently holds an Expert Rating of 69% on our unique Expert Rating Index.
3. Volvo XC40
Another consistent sales performer, the Volvo XC40 has made several appearances in the monthly best-seller rankings. The plug-in hybrid version of the XC40 arrived in 2020, boasting lower tax rates and lower running costs than the regular petrol versions.
The Volvo XC40 range currently holds an Expert Rating of 79% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index, with consistent praise for its build quality and safety features.
4. Ford Kuga
The Ford Kuga may have fallen out of the top ten best-sellers list overall, but the plug-in hybrid version remains highly pooular, recording more than 6,000 PHEV registrations in 2021.
With a current Expert Rating of 72% on our Expert Rating Index, the Kuga has received praise for its spacious interior and affordability, but overall, reviewers comment that the SUV provides an unconvincing driving experience.
5. Audi A3
The plug-in hybrid version of the Audi A3 only arrived in the second half of 2021 – a fact that makes the A3’s fifth place finish in the PHEV annual sales rankings all the more impressive.
Inheriting advanced on-board tech from its more expensive siblings, the A3 range has received a largely positive reception since its 2020 arrival, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 71% on our Expert Rating Index.
6. Range Rover Evoque
The first of two Land Rover SUVs to appear in these rankings, the plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover Evoque sold well in 2021, with over 4,500 new models registered throughout the year.
Praised by the media for its comfortable ride and off-road ability, the Range Rover Evoque currently holds an Expert Rating of 75% on our Expert Rating Index.
7. BMW X5
Praised for its strong performance paired with low running costs, more than 3,700 plug-in hybrid BMW X5s were sold last year. Reviewers commonly agreed that this SUV is one of the best plug-in hybrids you will find on the new car market.
The BMW X5 currently holds an Expert Rating of 77%, meaning that it is the highest-ranked SUV within BMW’s ‘X’ sub-division in our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.
8. Volvo XC60
The XC40’s bigger brother, the Volvo XC60 is another example of the Swedish brand successfully electrifying every model in its range. The SUV was crowned World Car of the Year in 2018, and PHEV versions of the XC60 arrived in 2020.
Commended for its interior comfort and safety features, the Volvo XC60 currently holds an Expert Rating of 76% on our Expert Rating Index.
9. Range Rover Sport
It may be the oldest car in the top ten – the Range Rover Sport in its current iteration has been available since 2013 – but the plug-in hybrid version achieved just short of 3,000 registrations in 2021.
The Range Rover Sport has received a largely positive set of reviews over its tenure, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 73% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.
10. SEAT Leon
The SEAT Leon plug-in hybrid arrived in 2020, and it has largely become the UK media’s favorite variant in the Leon range, consistently described as an “affordable all-rounder” with very low tax rates.
The SEAT Leon range currently holds an Expert Rating of 71% on our Expert Rating Index, a score that positions the hatchback in the top half of a very competitive medium-sized car market.