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 broke new ground in 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.
What is the difference between PHEVs and regular hybrid cars?
Unlike plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), 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 which is then stored in the battery pack.
The new models of hybrids are revolutionary as well as very popular 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 then 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 10 best hybrids in Australia for 2022. From 10 to 1, here are our rankings of the top hybrid models currently on our roads.
10. Toyota Prius
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.
9. Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla 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 the 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
8. Hyundai Ioniq
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 2022.
7. Toyota Camry
Yes, it’s another Toyota in our top 10 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.
6. Mitsubishi Outlander
This midsize SUV gains mid-range billing in our top 10 hybrid models for 2022. That’s because as a bit of an all-rounder 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 84km 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 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.
5. Toyota Kluger
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 40km/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.
4. Toyota Yaris
You might be wondering what the Toyota Yaris hybrid is doing this far into our list of the top 10 hybrids. 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 taillights, 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.
3. Volvo XC40
Now that we are getting close to finding out what is the best hybrid vehicle in Australia, it’s time to step it up in class. And 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 have 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.
2. BMW X3
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 amongst hybrid electric vehicles in Australia.
1. Mercedes-Benz C-class hybrid
Why have we listed this as the best hybrid in Australia? With 100km of electric-only range, the Mercedes-Benz C-class PHEV maintains the ability to function as an electric vehicle 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 10 best hybrid cars of 2022. 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!
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.