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Latest first drive reviews: hybrid cars on test

We reveal our first impressions on brand new hybrid car offerings from manufacturers including Alfa Romeo, Nissan and Vauxhall
Nissan Juke hybrid front angle photo

If you're not yet ready to make the switch to an electric car, opting for a hybrid can be a good compromise. There are plenty to choose from, and we've recently published first drive reviews of the latest hybrids from Alfa Romeo, Honda, Nissan and Vauxhall.

These first drive reviews are based on our initial road tests with the cars - as always, we reserve final judgement on a car until it's been through our rigorous lab tests.

If you're looking to buy a hybrid car right now, or want to find out about the different types of hybrid technology, check out our pick of the best hybrid cars for 2022 to see which models aced our lab and road tests.

Alternatively, continue reading to see an overview of the brand new hybrid cars, then click through to read our first drive reviews for each.

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Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer (2022-), from £25,515

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer review car on road

The new Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer (2022-) ditches the style of the old Astra in favour of a sleek estate with a more contemporary feel.

We tested the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model. It's Vauxhall's first electrified estate, but the car is also available with traditional petrol and diesel engines. 

Our surveys tell us that estate drivers do more miles than anyone else, so driving comfort is obviously important. Although we found the drive a little bumpy at lower speeds, it was never uncomfortable. The Astra Sports Tourer also has decent leg, feet and head space - we'll provide more precise measurements once the car's been to our labs.

Does this new model mark a positive change in direction for the Astra? Find out in our Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer review.

Nissan Juke hybrid (2022-), from £27,250

The popular Nissan Juke has finally taken its first steps into the world of hybrid motoring. Sitting in the compact/small SUV range, the new Nissan Juke hybrid will be competing with the Toyota Yaris Cross (2021-) and the hybrid version of the Hyundai Kona (2019-).

This Juke is a full hybrid, which means it has an electric motor and battery in addition to a combustion engine (petrol in this case), and limited electric-only range. Unlike plug-in hybrids, the Juke can't be plugged into a charging point and instead charges its hybrid batteries via the engine and wheels.

For a petrol hybrid crossover, the Juke’s official fuel economy figures are impressive - between 54 and 56mpg. We'll deliver our own mpg figures for the Juke hybrid once it's been through our lab tests.

Find out how the car performed in our Nissan Juke hybrid first drive review.

Honda Civic e-HEV (2022-), from £29,595

Mid-size full-hybrid hatchbacks are a rare breed. In fact, unless you're prepared to plug-in your car, your only real part-electric alternative is the Toyota Corolla.

To beat its long-standing competitor though, this all-new eleventh generation Honda Civic e:HEV will have to be good. Reliability and practicality are only part of the picture, as this corner of the market has been dominated by upmarket models from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Audi in recent years. It's available to order now, priced from £29,595.

For this all-new eleventh generation model, the Civic is hybrid only, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine working in tandem with a 135kW electric motor. Compared with the Corolla, there's a unique difference to the Honda's hybrid system in that most of the time its petrol engine is used only to generate electricity, with the petrol motor driving the front wheels only in more demanding driving.

How does this affect the overall driving experience? Find out in our Honda Civic e:HEV first drive review.

Alfa Romeo Tonale (2022-), around £35,000

Alfa Romeo Tonale

The Alfa Romeo Tonale brings the brand's SUV range to two models, joining the medium-size Stelvio. With the release of the Tonale, Alfa Romeo is moving into the compact crossover arena and goes up against popular models including the Ford Puma and Kia Niro

However, it is the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 that will be viewed as Tonale’s closest competition, with all three sitting firmly at the premium end of the car market.

When the Tonale is available in September 2022, the only engine option will be a 160hp 1.5-litre mild hybrid. As with all mild hybrids, the small electric motor can't power the car on its own, but is instead designed to assist the petrol engine.

Prices have yet to be announced, but are expected to start at around £35,000. The Q4 285hp plug-in hybrid version is due to arrive in December 2022.

Find out whether this mild hybrid impressed in our Alfa Romeo Tonale first drive review.

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