Hybrid cars have been slowly making their mark on the automotive world over the last decade. With everyone looking to make a switch, they want to know what is the best option for them, and Driva is here to provide you with some guidance.
We’re going to run through an updated list of the best hybrid cars in Australia. Some of these you’ll already know, and others you’ll have never heard of. Regardless, you’ll find the car you’re looking for by the end of this article!
What is the difference between PHEVs and regular hybrid cars?
Australian drivers are currently feeling the pinch at the petrol pump. And with rising fuel prices showing no signs of turning around to the record lows of 2020, many car owners are tossing up whether to make their next new car purchase an all-electric or a hybrid one. And the stats show that a lot of Aussie motorists are choosing to get out of their internal combustion engine cars and into something a bit more modern and better for the environment. Officially, sales of electric engine vehicles have been skyrocketing ever since 2021.
According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, 99% more plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) were sold in Australia in 2021 compared to 2020. Meanwhile, conventional hybrid vehicle sales (also known as self-charging hybrids) were up by 20% over 2020 sales.
Unlike plug-in hybrid cars, a self-charging hybrid doesn’t need to be plugged in to recharge a battery pack. Instead, it uses things like regenerative braking (friction produced by the electric motor when it’s not running) to not only slow down the car but also create kinetic energy stored in the battery pack.
The new models of hybrids are revolutionary as well as top-rated indeed.
This is good news for the planet and for the hybrid automotive industry alike, as increased consumer demand will further drive down the cost of these cars and put pressure on other car manufacturers to offer more hybrid options.
If you are in the market for a new hybrid, this is the article for you. We have done all the required legwork in investigating the best options for Australian motorists, so you don’t have to. With this in mind, let’s turn the key in the ignition and accelerate into exploring the best hybrids in Australia for 2023.
The Best Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Coming to Australia in 2023
As we gear up for an electrifying year ahead, our friends at ReDriven have teamed up with us to give you an exclusive sneak peek into the best hybrid and electric vehicles hitting Australian roads in 2023. This comprehensive video review dives deep into each model's features, performance, and innovations.
Continue reading for an in-depth textual breakdown of each vehicle, complete with specs, features, and what sets them apart in the evolving electric landscape.
Kia Sportage Hybrid
Get ready because Kia is bringing the heat by introducing their rival to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with their Sportage Hybrid. This 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and a 44 kw electric motor are ready to get you where you need to be in style. While we don’t know everything about the model grades for the hybrid powertrain, it’s safe to assume we’re in for a good ride with a car that looks as good as it drives. Look out for this model in the second half of this year because it’s going to be an in-demand hybrid vehicle.
- Spacious cabin with a lot of included tech.
- A great riding experience.
- Responsive option hybrid powertrain.
- The exterior styling might not be for everyone.
Range Rover PHEVS (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Motor Model)
Price: $220,000 (estimated)
- 68 miles electric range.
- Great tech features.
- Drives phenomenally well.
Range Rover is known for its larger-than-life vehicles that offer a different driving experience, especially for travellers. Well, the P510e is their latest addition that’s ready to make short-distance trips and the bulk of long-distance trips emission free. While there are expectations of a fully electric Range Rover on the horizon, the P510e is a great start. It’s unsurprisingly a big car that handles well, and it’s a pretty luxurious car with a modern interior, spacious cabin, and great tech and design features. Overall, if you’re going fancy, go with the model that’s got great range, battery power, a decent engine, and all the other aspects that make for a good vehicle.
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Price: $31,610 (estimated)
- Decently priced.
- Great tech and safety features.
- Comfortable and stylish interior.
- It’s uncertain if it will have a third row of seating or not.
Honda’s latest CR-V model has a hybrid powertrain option opening up new clients to this amazing vehicle. What does this new CR-V have to offer? It’s got high-tech features, a large cabin, a modernised interior, tons of safety features, and both an internal combustion engine and an electric engine. It’s a 1.5l turbo that sits in a big car in comparison to prior models. This is another great option from Honda that’s sure to fill the gap left by the Odyssey people mover. Of course, it’s yet to be known if this model will have a third row of seating. Let’s wait and see.
Peugeot 308 GT Sport Plug in Hybrid
- Decent infotainment centre.
- It’s a fun car to drive.
- The interior/exterior design of the car is great.
- Not as powerful as it could or should be.
This year Peugeot is bringing us their 2023 308 GT Sport Plug-in hybrid, and it’s a stunning vehicle inside and out. The design is amazing, with a stylish exterior and modern interior that’s comfortable, complimenting the roomy cabin. This five-seater has a fuel consumption of 5.3L/100km and drives smoothly even if the powertrain isn’t amazing. This hybrid features a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol and 96kW @ 5500 rpm. Overall, it’s a great option from Peugeot that’s safe and reliable.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Plug in Hybrid
- Great for short-distance all-electric driving.
- Can tow up to 6,000 lbs.
- Has the off-road capabilities of the standard Grand Cherokee.
- The price tag is eye-popping.
Let’s start with the obvious. This is a good-looking car, which is hardly a surprise given it’s a Jeep. If you’re looking for an all-terrain vehicle that can be used for short distances too, without making a major impact on the planet, this is a great vehicle for you. It’s perfect for all-electric short-distance travelling at 26 miles of electric-only range. It’s by no means a cheap car, but it’s worth it if you’re one for going around the country on adventures.
Lexus RX Hybrid
- The cabin is among the best out there.
- It’s a gentle riding experience.
- The list of standard features is expansive.
- It’s going to take a moment to understand the infotainment section.
Lexus is bringing Aussie drivers a comfort-oriented people-haulier that’s got substance and style to spare. The RX hybrid is considered a luxury SUV that’s filled with premium features like the infotainment centre, cabin design, safety features, and fuel-efficient powertrains. The biggest complaint for this particular Lexus is that it’s not as agile as some of the other cars on this list, and cargo space is almost non-existent. Finally, understand that premium features mean a premium price tag. Overall, it’s a great car for those with bigger families.
Mazda MX-30 Hybrid
- Nice cabin design.
- Stylish design.
- Interesting doors.
- Terrible range.
The Mazda MX-30 2023 hybrid is a somewhat disappointing entry from Mazda. The car is very eco-conscious, with the interior being the bulk of that aspect for the Mazda MX-30. Also, the price is pretty decent too. However, the range on this car makes it seem like it’s a first attempt back when hybrids were becoming a thing. If you are restricted to local travel, this might be the car for you. But long-distance travellers will find this car to be a bit disappointing. Beyond its low range, the driving experience itself isn’t great. It’s fine, just not great. Overall, it’s a Mazda, but it’s a far cry from what Mazda’s capable of. If you have range anxiety, avoid it.
Nissan X-Trail e-Power
- The integration of the combustion and electric aspects of the vehicle are amazing.
- Decent fuel efficiency.
- Quality design and construction.
- Can’t fully utilise the electric motors without some combustion of fuel.
The current generation of X-Trail vehicles from Nissan has been a fan favourite in Australia, and now they’re bringing the newest version of their popular hybrid to our shores. This car features a stunning interior design that’s spacious and uses quality materials. It doesn’t stop there because, under the hood, the X-Trail e-Power has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol and dual electric motors. This is a worthy follow-up for Nissan. It’s a quality car with a creative integration of both engine types meaning you’ll get where you need to go the best way possible.
Nissan Qashqai e-Power
- The e-Power tech is clever.
- Spacious cabin.
- The design of the vehicle is attractive and sleek.
- Could use more of a punch.
Another Nissan entry, the Qashqai e-Power, features another great design that echoes the cars of Nissan’s past while looking to the future. The interior is spacious, modern, and comfortable, with ample space for the driver and passengers. Even the boot space is decent. Under the hood, you’ve got a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 140kW electric motor with a promised range of 1000 km. The biggest complaint is that this car does lack a punch and it’s something you’ll feel while on the road.
BMW XM Hybrid
- Great to drive.
- Engines are smooth and torqued.
- The interior is refined and well-designed.
- The warranty offered by BMW isn’t good enough.
This large plug in hybrid SUV from BMW is a great car for those looking to be a force to reckon with on the roads. Not only are you getting the style, but you’re also getting substance. The XM hybrid features a roomy cabin that’s well-designed and made using quality materials. The performance of the vehicle is still good considering the car is big and weighs a decent amount, and the safety and standard features are great. The biggest downside is the pathetic warranty of three years which simply isn’t long enough.
Mercedes-AMG C63 Hybrid
Price: $200,000 (estimated)
- Stunning looking vehicle.
- Comfortable interior.
- Exceptional performance.
Mercedes is bringing one of their most desirable performance vehicles into the future with a hybrid makeover. This is the semi electrified version of the AMG. You’re getting a high-tech car with a stunning interior and exterior that handles like a dream. Younger drivers are going to find this car is ready to go anywhere you want to take it, and it does it with a level of class and performance unseen in other models. You’re getting G forces, a high-tech interior, a longer wheelbase, wider front and rear axles, and so much more.
Great Hybrid Electric Vehicles Available Now In Australia
Diving deeper into the realm of hybrid electric vehicles, we've prepared a special treat for you. In collaboration with our partners at ReDriven, the esteemed car review influencers, we've created an exclusive video that offers an insightful walkthrough of the top hybrid electric vehicles available in Australia today.
Enjoyed the video? Let's delve into the specifics. Below, we've provided a comprehensive breakdown of each hybrid electric vehicle featured in the video. This will equip you with more granular details and insights into their performance, efficiency, and distinct features.
Toyota Prius Hybrid
What? The ubiquitous Toyota Prius at number 10! You might be thinking we’ve made a mistake. But hear us out. By virtue of being about the only affordable hybrid for many years, the Toyota Prius used to be something of a status symbol. A showing off of one’s green credentials, if you will. Emphasis on the used to be. No longer the only viable option for Australian motorists, the technology and fuel economy (4.4L/100km) of the Prius has been surpassed by electric vehicles that are a lot more fun, and more stylish, to drive.
However, the Prius still makes it into our top 10 because it still offers good value for money. For a shade under $38,000 plus on road costs, you get reasonable power. The Prius’ no plug-in hybrid setup matches a 1.8L four cylinder petrol engine producing 72kW with a smooth and efficient self-charging electric motor. Oh, and don’t forget the 1.3kWh battery.
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
The Toyota Corolla Hybrid packs a fair bit of zip for a small hybrid. Plus, it also outshines the aforementioned Prius in the styling department. Not to mention its fuel economy. Achieving 3.5L/100km means it is one of the forerunners in fuel efficiency amongst the hybrid offerings on this list.
Overall, the Corolla hybrid exhibits responsive power and smoothness while cruising around town at low-speed. It has no issues matching it with city driving conditions. However, its acceleration is a bit lacklustre when trying to get up to highway speeds. Which is pretty standard for hybrid fuel misers like this one.
The Corolla hybrid represents a leading option in the compact hybrid category, although it does leave a little to be desired when it comes to driving experience. The cabin feels tight and the brakes a little grabby under normal braking conditions. That said, for $30,795 you do get a reasonably well-appointed five door small family car that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to run. So we tend to think of that as a win. And we’re not alone. Most car reviews peg the Corolla hybrid as one of the best cheap hybrid cars in Australia.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
This is a great option for those who want a compact hybrid that also handles well. Powered by a 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine that produces 77kW paired with a 32kW electric motor, it’s not going to win too many traffic light drag races. However, in the fuel efficiency stakes, it’s not too bad. The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid manages to achieve 3.9L/100km on average whilst producing only 92g of CO2.
Handling-wise, the Ioniq is quite responsive, although it doesn't quite live up to the feel and performance of some of the other higher-end vehicles on this list. Priced at $41,390 plus on-road costs, this is sure to be one hybrid on many Aussies’ test drive lists in 2023.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Yes, it’s another Toyota in our list. That’s because the Japanese car manufacturer has invested heavily in its hybridised offerings. And it shows. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is a delight to drive. With a 2.5L hybrid engine you’ll not only be quick off the mark, but also blaze along the highway. Plus, the car has great handling and a nice interior to boot.
Although, with a sticker price of $43,300 for the SX model plus on-road costs, some buyers may be weighing up other, cheaper options.
The Camry hybrid doesn’t have much in the way of hi-tech gadgetry. Meaning, parts of the cabin are a little lacking. Plus, there is always the fact that this car is used by many ride-share drivers as well as being omnipresent on our roads in taxi livery. Which is enough to put off some Australian buyers.
However, if you can look past this, you end up getting good value for money. Not only are you getting an impressive 4.7L/100km in a family sedan, but you also get all the advanced safety systems the Camry range is known for. So, if you are looking for the most reliable hybrid, it’s worth taking the Camry for a spin.
Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid
This midsize SUV is a bit of an all-rounder and it certainly ticks a lot of boxes. However, it doesn’t really offer anything in the way of standout value or performance.
Costing slightly more than $50,000, the 2022 model Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV runs a plug-in hybrid system that will steer you through a modest 84 km before the 2.4-litre 98kW petrol engine kicks in. With two electric motors driving each axle (85kW at the front and 100kW at the rear), you can be sure that whilst you are in the SUV’s all-electric mode, the power from the hybrid powertrain will be transferred to the wheels smoothly and efficiently.
There just isn’t a lot of that electric power to go around. So, if you don’t require too much range or fuel economy out of your hybrid SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander might be the vehicle for you. Overall, Mitsubishi lists fuel consumption at an impressive 1.6L/100km. And when the electric battery runs empty, the plug in hybrid system becomes just like a normal hybrid, only more sluggish. However, the fact remains that the Outlander hybrid is one of the most fuel efficient hybrid cars on Australian roads.
Toyota Kluger Hybrid
Going one better than their successful releases of the Prius, Corolla, and Camry, Toyota has upped the stakes with the new Toyota Kluger hybrid. In fact, it is the biggest hybrid-powered Toyota on the road. But what is it like to drive this big 7-seater?
The Kluger takes on city driving impressively with its responsive handling. The Kluger offers three driving modes – ECO, NORMAL and SPORT. Plus, the hybrid version also comes equipped with a ‘Trail’ mode if you are looking to enjoy some light off-roading. Powered by a 2.5 litre petrol engine paired with a hybrid powertrain, the Kluger’s fuel efficiency is remarkable for a car of its size, sitting right around the 5.6/100km mark.
The Kluger accelerates off the line silently under electrical power. And, at low speeds (under 40 km/h) it easily stays that way unless you require more power out of it. This is an often forgotten aspect of buying big SUVs: city driving. Under its low-speed all-electric power, the SUV handles well.
We give the Toyota Kluger hybrid our tick of approval. At the moment, there are some used models floating around. But we recommend getting onto these sooner rather than later. Because everyone will want these examples of the best second hand hybrid cars Australia-wide.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
At $32,200, the ZR-spec Yaris hybrid is priced scarily close to the Corolla hybrid. So what are you getting in this smaller, city-dwelling cousin to the Corolla? How about 16-inch alloy wheels, LED head and tail lights, and a blacked-out grill? And that’s just the outside. Under the bonnet, the hybrid Yaris sports a 67kW petrol engine ably supported by an electric motor combo powering the front wheels, capable of producing 59kW. Combined, Toyota claims this setup produces 85kW. Which is bang on for what this car is meant to be: a small and sporty city runabout.
Let’s talk about fuel consumption figures for a moment. Again, working from the official Toyota specs, the combined cycle is rated at 2.8L/100km. Which makes it one of the most fuel efficient small hybrids you can buy.
Handling-wise, the car feels nimble and controlled. But when it’s time to overtake or power up a steep incline you will notice the bottom end lacks some torque. There are some prices that need to be paid for owning such a fuel-sipping new car after all.
Volvo XC40 Hybrid
The Volvo XC40 is all-class. Recent winner of the Small Car of the Year Award, the XC40 Recharge sure has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s got a brawny 1.5L three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine capable of punching out 132kW. Volvo has added to this a 10.7kWh battery set-up as well as an electric motor that produces 60kW.
If you only need to go short distances, the XC40 hybrid has you covered as its electric-only range extends to 45km. And the car will even allow you to go up to 125km/h in this power mode! Overall, Volvo claims 2.2L/100km as the official fuel consumption figure.
Precise and nimble are the two best words to describe how the XC40 hybrid handles. However, several car reviews have pointed out the brakes take some getting used to. That aside, its cabin is well put together and roomy and the finishes are what we have come to expect from the Swedish manufacturer. Overall, when it comes to choosing the best hybrid cars Australia has available, the XC40 Recharge sits near the top.
BMW X3 Hybrid
BMW’s hybrid X3 is an awesome PHEV. But coming in over the 100k mark it's got an awesome price tag too. So, does the cost-for-benefit equation stack up?
Powered by a 2 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is turbocharged, BMW has also integrated an 80kW electric motor. All up, this combination is good for 215kW. Which is a lot. And good enough to go from 0 - 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.
BMW officially puts the X3’s fuel consumption at 3.2L/100km, which is a really good stat for a PHEV with this much grunt. However, multiple car reviews point out that it could benefit from a larger battery, as the car tends to chew through its battery power fairly quickly. Although, the good news is that it will only take you 3.8 hours to fully replenish the X3’s battery power.
Ride, handling, and comfort bear all the hallmarks of classic BMW quality in that they are all top-notch. The BMW X3 hybrid is a powerful prestige car that will save you money at the petrol pump in the long run. And that’s why we are happy to rate it as the second-best among hybrid electric vehicles in Australia.
Mercedes-Benz C-class Hybrid
With 100km of electric-only range, the Mercedes-Benz C-class PHEV maintains the ability to function as an electric vehicle for most of the time for most drivers. Plus, you get the option to transform it into a 230kW power sled with the push of a button. Under the hood, the C-class boasts a big 25.4kWh battery, an efficient and powerful 95kW electric motor matched with a 2L four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. All of this means it packs quite a punch, especially from takeoff. Even running it as an EV alone, the C-class is good for a top speed of 140km/h.
But how much does all this cost? For around $90,000 we think this represents amazing value. Yes, it is on the pricier side, but this is a car that will withstand the test of time both in styling and finishings, but also more importantly, as hybrid technology advances to catch up with this fine automobile. That’s why we are happy to declare it the best hybrid electric vehicle currently available on the Australian market.
So there you have it, the best hybrid cars of 2023. If you’re interested in any of the above hybrid models, and you’re looking for a green car loan to help you finance it, you’ve come to the right place! Or if you're after a different type of vehicle we have a guide for that - be sure to check out The Best Australian Small SUVs in 2023 here.
To get your personalised quotes, simply head to the Driva Dash and fill out a few details about yourself and the type of car you’re looking to finance. This process takes just a couple of minutes and won’t impact your credit score. From there, you’ll be able to see all of your best loan options from our panel of more than 30 lenders.
What's the downside of hybrid cars?
While hybrid electric vehicles are great, they’re not perfect. Just like combustion engine vehicles, they’ve got their ups and downs. Some of the downsides associated with hybrid vehicles are the following:
- They aren’t as powerful as cars with a dedicated electric engine or gasoline engine.
- They don’t handle as well because they’ve got more moving parts and additional weight which impacts performances.
- They can have higher running costs as you’ll need a mechanic who knows how to work on this type of vehicle, and parts can be costly.
How does a hybrid car work?
Hybrid cars are powered by two sources. The first is an internal combustion engine, and the other is one (or several) electric motors that use battery-stored energy. The electric engines are charged through the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.
Is hybrid better than electric?
It’s not the fairest comparison right now, but you could argue against both being the better of the two. Electric vehicles are considered the future of cars, but the price for one is still high, and they’re not yet fully realised. Hybrids offer fuel savings, plug-in hybrid options, and the beauty of having an internal combustion engine and electric motor. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the best options available for those looking to do some good for the environment and their wallets. At Driva we can assist with both green and electric car loan options from our panel of 30+ Aussie lenders to get you personalised rates in just minutes.
Learn more: The Best SUVs on the Australian Market