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eco-friendly family cars

Our pick: 9 of the best electric and hybrid cars for modern families

EV, PHEV, or hybrid? We’ve got your covered.

THE EARLIEST GENERATIONS of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and petrol-electric hybrids may not have seemed to fit in with the needs of a modern family.

Limited ranges and long charging times don’t offer the flexibility many busy families need when it comes to doing the school run, trips to the shops, ferrying the five-aside team and making after school clubs and matches on time.

However, there are some eco-friendly models on the market that not only offer the cabin and cargo space that families need but also a decent range and fast charging that should suit the majority of families. (At present, it is free to use public charge points but to get the most out of your EV or PHEV your should install a charger at home.)

Tesla models aside, here are nine EVs, PHEVs and hybrid cars we think tick all those boxes.

Hyundai Ioniq hatchback (EV)

The Ioniq is powered by a 120hp 28kW Li-Ion battery and has a maximum potential driving range of 280km. It has a top speed of 165km/h and costs just €120 a year to tax. It is fairly roomy inside too and comes with a generous amount of kit as standard.

Replenishing the battery from empty takes 12 hours from a conventional plug, four hours using Hyundai’s home-install Pod Point or just 33 minutes using a 50kW rapid charger.

Nissan Leaf hatchback (EV)

Nissan Nissan

The new Nissan Leaf 40kWh has a one-charge range of 270km on the WLTP cycle, which is closer to what is considered real-world driving than the old NEDC test procedure.  If you use the new ePedal and keep the car around town where the regenerative braking can work more efficiently the range can increase to up to 415km.

With a DC fast charge, the Leaf can get to 80 per cent capacity in 40-60 minutes. Using a standard 7.2kW public charger or home wall box, it takes approximately 7.5 hours to fully charge the car. The Leaf comes with a decent amount of safety features as standard.

Volkswagen e-Golf hatchback (EV)

Paddy McGrath Paddy McGrath

The Volkswagen e-Golf has a claimed range of 300km, but again the ‘real-world’ figure is more like 200km of driving range per charge. The e-Golf also has the ability to fast charge, which can replenish up to 80 per cent of the battery’s charge in as little as 45 minutes.

With its hatchback body and same roomy interior as the regular Golf, the e-Golf is well suited to families.

BMW 530e iPerformance saloon (PHEV)

Max Earey Max Earey

THE BMW 530e iPerformance is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the new G30 5 Series. The large luxury saloon uses less fuel than a small city car (2.0-litre/100km) and has low CO2 emissions (44g/km) so it should appeal to those who are looking for a car with green credentials.

The 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the electric motor and the electric motor can power the car by itself at speeds of up to 140km/h. On a full charge, the electric motor can power the car for around 50km. The batteries charge fully in around three hours using a 3.7kWh wall box, which BMW can supply.

Mitsubishi Outlander SUV (PHEV)

Max Earey Max Earey

The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is a comfortable and spacious five-seat SUV. It has a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 1.8 litres/100km (157mpg) and costs €170 per year to tax.

It can be charged in three different ways. At home, using a three-pin plug and the PHEV’s 13A charge cable, it takes 4.5 hours. If using an on-street ESB charge point it takes four hours. Finally with a quick charge station it will charge to 80 per cent in just 25 minutes.

On a full charge, the electric-only range is around 52km. The Outlander PHEV can also be had with four-wheel drive, which is rare for a plug-in hybrid.

Volvo XC60 T8 crossover

Volvo Media Volvo Media

The Volvo XC60 T8 is a good looking car with a stylish interior. It is very practical too with plenty of space and storage solutions on board as well as some great tech and safety features. In fact, the Volvo XC60 was the car with the best overall safety performance of 2017 in the Euro NCAP tests.

The electric-only range of the T8 model is around 50km – the same as most other PHEVs – and it takes 2.5 hours to fully charge using a 3.7kWh charge point. Volvo claims an official fuel consumption figure of 2.1 litres/100km (134.5mpg) for the T8 version.

Kia Niro crossover (Hybrid)

Max Earey Max Earey

With the Niro, Kia is combining two big motoring trends – the desirability of a compact crossover and the fuel saving, lower emissions technology of a hybrid.

The cabin is roomy and there is plenty of kit as standard. There are 373 litres of boot space and some clever under floor storage with an organisation tray; the boot can swell to 1,371 litres with the rear seats tumbled.

It costs €180 a year to tax and has a claimed fuel economy figure of 3.8 litres/100km (74.3mpg).

Toyota C-HR crossover (Hybrid)

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

The futuristic-looking Toyota C-HR is a very good hybrid with lots of room in the back, especially across the rear seat. The cabin has a quality feel to it and it comes with generous levels of equipment. It costs €180 per year to tax and on 17-inch wheels returns 3.8 litres/100km (74.33mpg).

Toyota Prius

Toyota Toyota

When it comes to hybrids, the Toyota Prius is king. The Prius is a solid car with a good track record for reliability. The car scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, too.

The cabin is high quality and there’s plenty of space in all seats plus useful storage and a 502-litre boot. The Toyota Prius Hybrid has a CO2 figure of 70g/km and it costs €170 a year to tax. It has a combined driving fuel economy figure of 3.0 litres/100km (94mpg).

READ: Review: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a comfortable and refined cruiser >

READ: 3 of the most spectacular driving roads in Spain – plus what to know before you go >

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