Hybrid cars are becoming a more important chunk of the market in the UK, and on paper have many benefits as family cars, not least their impressive running costs.
However, although the Toyota Prius – probably the best-known hybrid – is indeed a family car, other so-called 'green cars' are designed as hyper-efficient city cars, and as such are limited in size and power.
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Those with large families or needing significant carrying capacity, but who still want to limit their carbon footprint as only a hybrid can do, will be looking for something larger.
We selected six vehicles that are available in the UK that represent the larger end of hybrid cars. These are all petrol hybrids, bar the upcoming Citroen DS5 family car. This is both as a representative diesel hybrid, although Citroen tilts its DS towards the premium end of the market.
These cars fall into two groups; the Porsche Cayenne, Lexus RX and VW Touraeg are 4x4s, while the rest are nominally hatchbacks, although the DS5 in particular seems uncertain about what type of car it is.
These groups are quite distinct within the data. The hybrid 4x4s are more powerful vehicles by some way; needless to say they also have more boot space.
Of the rest the DS5 leads the Prius and other hatchbacks in terms of power and torque, meaning it may be better for heavy loads or towing (official stats for the hybrid are few and far between at present). It's also likely to prove a more acceptable choice for those who want performance with low emissions.
However though the C5, on which it's based, probably packs more boot space the DS5 Hybrid's battery pack eats into boot space, meaning it loses out to the Toyota, Lexus and Honda.
So what are you trading off for power? The big numbers on the minds of hybrid owners are usually CO2 emissions (determining tax band) and fuel consumption. Let’s look at how the bigger hybrids stack up:
The correlation between low emissions and low fuel consumption is clear; showing that hatchbacks are completely in a different efficiency class to the 4x4s in terms of their 'greenness'.
While the Toyota Prius is the accepted benchmark in the hybrid stakes, Citroen's diesel-electric hybrid looks like a strong contender in a hybrid family car sector, with the best official fuel economy by some way.
As ever, weighing up your specific needs and situation, followed by a careful examination of the stats at hand is the best way forward.