Today we conclude our focus on the European car market by analyzing which were the best-selling plug-in cars in the first half of 2021. With the emergence of hybrid cars, plug-ins are convincing more and more customers. Able to travel tens of km with zero emissions but at the same time to travel long journeys with the internal combustion engine, plug-ins are the perfect bridge between thermal and fully electric cars. And what are the most popular models? We find out today together by analyzing the data from Jato Dynamics here at Auto for Dummies, the column that explains the world of the car in a simple way. Are you ready? Let’s leave … in silence!
Ford Kuga is (for a handful of examples) the best-selling plug-in car: value for money and space are its arrows
Although the overall numbers are still quite low compared to traditional cars, plug-in hybrids continue to increase their share of the market. Not to mention the new models, in fact, all cars on the list have seen an increase in sales over last year of at least 200%, for a segment in constant and important growth. And, as you will see, this is one of the segments where SUVs are most present, occupying 4 places in the top 5.
And indeed the fight for first place among Europe’s best-selling plug-in cars was between two SUVs. The winner? In the first half of 2021, the crown went to Ford Kuga. The SUV of the American company has in fact totaled well in the Plug-in Hybrid engine alone 23,888 registrations, which make it the queen of “on tap” hybrids. Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid offers its customers a rather efficient and proven hybrid system, born in the early 2000s by purchasing several Toyota patents, a system with which in fact it has several similarities. The internal combustion engine is a 152 HP 2.5 4 cylinder Atkinson cycle, coupled to a electric motor of about 110 HP powered by a 14.4 kWh battery.
The power of the hybrid system, which moves only the front wheels, is of 225 CV, while autonomy in full electric momentum exceeds i 56 km. The driving experience is smooth and smooth, with fuel consumption which, using a light foot, is quite low. Thanks to modular platform C2, the same as Focus, Kuga drives very well, making it one of the funniest midsize SUVs on the road. On the Plug-In, however, the presence of the E-CVT gearbox pays, which maximizes efficiency but not driving pleasure. Well the space for things and people, while the value for money is excellent. The Plug-In starts at 38,050 euros in preparation Connect, with the already very well equipped ST-Line starting at 41,750 euros.
Volvo XC40 second by a whisker: despite the premium price, driveability and originality pay off
And separated from very few units sold by the Ford Kuga we find the ranked second in the best-selling plug-in cars, Volvo XC40. The small Swedish SUV has indeed totaled 23,559 units sold, only 329 less than in Kuga. Compared to its American rival, XC40 is smaller, more trendy and definitely more premium, and also available with two distinct plug-in versions.
Volvo XC40 indeed delivers due versioni “Recharge Plug-In” (this is the name of the rechargeable hybrid versions) the T4 and T5. The mechanics are almost the same: on the modular CMA platform, appreciated for its driveability and comfort, the House of Goteborg has chosen a powertrain derived from the thermal versions T2 and T3. The engine is indeed a 1.5 three-cylinder, able to 129 hp on the T4 and well 180 hp on the T5. The electric motor instead it is identical on both, with 82 hp and coupled to a 10.7 kWh battery. The maximum power of the system is 211 hp on the T4 Recharge and 262 hp on the T5 Recharge, both available only with front-wheel drive and with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
XC40 is a rather expensive car, with a price list starting from 47,750 euros for the cheapest of the T4s, the almost top of the range Inscription, and from 48,850 for the T5. In this package, however, XC40 offers a unique and personal style, really elegant and very technological interiors, equipped with an Android-based infotainment, and a very good quality of finish and ride. It’s not the most exciting SUV to drive, but on curvy roads it knows its stuff. Both versions then allow you to travel up to 45 km with zero emissions in the combined WLTP cycle. Despite the original lines, XC40 is pragmatic, beautiful to drive and to live every day, features that have allowed it to be so popular despite the not-so-cheap price.
Peugeot 3008 is the third best-selling plug-in car in Europe: style, great performance and technology
Al third place we have one of the most popular plug-in hybrids since launch, Peugeot 3008. The French SUV has indeed totaled 20,719 registrations in the first 6 months of 2021, conquering the podium among the best-selling plug-in cars. The merit is above all of a project that was right from the start by the French technicians, and which finds its ideal dimension with the successful plug-in system from Peugeot. In fact, also available with petrol and diesel engines, the two hybrid proposals of the 3008 convince more and more customers who “migrate” from traditional solutions.
Peugeot 3008 offers indeed two Hybrid versions, one front-wheel drive and one all-wheel drive. The first, the 3008 Hybrid, coupled with the tried and tested and now very reliable 1.6 turbobenzina da I 180 CV a front electric motor of about 110 HP, for a maximum system power of 225 hp. The version Hybrid4 instead it carries the 1.6 a 200CV, and a second 113 HP rear electric motor, for a 3008 a four-wheel drive. The maximum power of the system? Well 302CV, which allow sports performance with one 0-100 km / h in just 5.9 seconds. The gearbox is an 8-speed automatic, and the battery it is for both from 13,2 kW, by a’zero emission autonomy of over 50 km.
Despite the not quite a feather weight (especially of the all-wheel drive version), 3008 Hybrid drives very well thanks to the small steering wheel typical of the Peugeot “i-cockpit” cockpit setting, which sports a lot of technology, original lines and excellent build quality. Space is good, travel comfort is excellent (net of suspensions that are a bit stiff on the holes for the hybrids) while despite the already 4 years of career the look continues to win many customers. The restyling gave the 3008 a very particular “shaded” front grille, but the overall look continues to please. The 3008 Hybrid and Hybrid4 are therefore two excellent all-rounders, which give an excellent driving experience and an original and appreciated look, without forgetting the pragmatic soul. The price, however, puts it in direct comparison with the Volvo XC40. The version Hybrid 225 starts at 44,930 euros, while for the Hybrid4 from 302CV need at least 51,030 euros.
BMW 3 Series, tradition that embraces innovation: in fourth place the sports sedan par excellence
After a Top3 dominated by SUVs, in fourth place we find a real institution of European motoring, BMW Serie 3. Despite the fact that the German sedan failed to enter the overall rankings, it finds a place among the hybrids with its offer eDrive, with two very interesting models. European audiences have shown that they still believe in Series 3, rewarding it with 19,034 cars sold between January and June 2021. The great merit of the BMW 3 Series plug-in is that of not having lost an iota of the features that make Series 3 so popular. In both sedan and Touring versions (Station Wagon in BMW-ese), the 3 Series sports a sporty yet elegant look, which with the last generation, the G20, has reached full maturity. Inside then together with the larger space than in the past we find a elegant, technological cockpit with reference materials and assemblies.
But if there is one thing that has always made the BMW 3 Series special, it is guide. Thanks to rear-wheel Drive, at the CLAR modular platform and to the care for the driving experience typical of the Bavarian House, Series 3 ranks among the best “normal” cars for driving pleasure, without bothering the very powerful M3. A driveability that is also found with the two plug-in hybrid versions in the range. Alongside the 330e, already launched with the previous generation, one is also available “entry level”, la 320e. At the heart of both plug-in hybrid systems is the very good 2.0 turbo B48, coupled to a 112 HP electric motor positioned between engine and gearbox, the classic 8-speed automatic ZF.
To differentiate the 320e from the 330e is the level of power of the petrol engine. On the 320e in fact it delivers 156 CV, while the 330e comes to 184 CV. The maximum power of the two versions therefore reaches 204hp for the 320e, and 292hp for the 330e. The battery is then identical, from 12 kWh, which loses about 90 liters of luggage space on both the sedan and the Touring but allows you to run across up to 60 km in WLTP cycle. Despite the hybrid soul, however, both the 320e and the 330e allow you to consume surprisingly little without losing anything in terms of driving pleasure and performance. The prices, then, are not exaggerated: the 320e starts at 48,450 euros, while the 330e from 54,500 euros. But pay attention to the options, which can really raise the price.
In fifth place among the best-selling plug-in cars is Renault Captur, the smallest and cheapest in the ranking
The Top 5 of the best-selling plug-in cars in Europe closes with a model that we know quite well here at Techprincess: Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in. The French B-SUV is one of the most compact plug-ins on the market, and it is too the cheapest car that we find in the ranking. Its nature as an entry level in the world of “on tap” hybrids and its characteristics that have made it a success in Europe make it earn an excellent fifth position, with 16,262 units sold in the first six months of 2021.
The merit is above all of the eaesthetics successful and highly appreciated both inside and out. Captur, despite not being a premium car, sports an elegant and refined look. The dynamic but refined exterior, with the right mix of elegance and aggressiveness, and the elegant and well-kept interior have convinced many customers, especially in Italy where its success has been very important. Space is also at the top among the B-SUVs, and the driving, even if not sporty, is agile and casual. The plug-in version of Captur is also very interesting, based entirely on …