The only problem is, manufacturers have been somewhat slow to get the ball rolling when it came to hybrid options, which gave one manufacturer - Toyota - a massive head-start on the competition.
Now, though, in 2021, there’s more hybrid engine options available than ever before, which is great news for Australian buyers that are looking for a hybrid priced under $40,000.
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With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best hybrids priced under $40k and see what they’ve got to offer in terms of power, fuel economy, entertainment and safety equipment lists to help inform your next purchase.
Taking the honour of Australia’s current cheapest hybrid car is the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid, a car from the manufacturer we mentioned earlier that has enjoyed a massive head-start when it comes to hybrid engines.
The Corolla hybrid comes powered by a 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder paired with an electric motor for an impressive amount of power and even more impressive fuel economy figures of 4.2L per 100km for the hatchback and just 3.5L/100km for the Corolla sedan.
In spite of its compact proportions, the Corolla platform is surprisingly practical, offering a very usable set of seats for adults in the second row and a large boot totalling 470L in the sedan, which drops to 333L in the hatchback.
Standard equipment for the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid includes 16-inch alloys, bi-LED headlights with LED daytime running lamps & tail lights, climate control and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Subaru’s hybrid vehicle comes in the form of its charismatic XV crossover SUV, with prices starting at $35,490 for the base model and stretching out to $40,790 for the range-topping XV Hybrid S.
The Subaru XV Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre flat-four petrol producing 110KW of power and 196Nm of torque which is paired with a lithium-ion battery that adds 12kW/66Nm of torque to the mix.
This mild-hybrid setup translates to fuel economy figures of 6.5L per 100km on a combined cycle.
The XV’s cabin offers a heap of space in the front of the cabin, while the second row remains usable for growing kids and teenagers; boot space is rated at 310L which expands to 765L with the rear seats folded.
Standard equipment for the XV Hybrid includes 17-inch alloys, premium cloth upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, automatic headlights and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Stepping up to the XV Hybrid S adds a heap of safety equipment, as well as 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, satellite navigation, and a set of heated front seats.
The Haval H6 has made waves in the midsize SUV for its outstanding value for money proposition, and this very much extends to the H6 Ultra Hybrid, which is priced at $45,990 drive-away.
The H6 Hybrid receives a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with an electric motor and small 1.8kWh battery pack, with power standing at 179kW and torque figures at an impressive 530Nm.
Haval says fuel economy figures for its H6 Hybrid stand at 5.2L/100km on a combined cycle, which is a very impressive figure for a spacious midsize SUV.
Inside, there’s a heap of space for growing families in the first and second rows, which benefit from a boot measuring in at 600L, with a feature-packed interior brimming with special touches.
The H6 Hybrid comes riding on 19-inch alloys, and receives LED headlights & fog lights, leather upholstery, surround-view camera, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, powered boot lift, panoramic sunroof, wireless smartphone charging and a 10.25-inch infotainment system, atop a full suite of active safety equipment.
As a result, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an SUV, let alone a midsize hybrid SUV that can match the H6 when it comes to sheer value for money and an exceptional features list.
Honda’s sleek and stylish HR-V range has been updated recently with the addition of a clever little hybrid engine that makes for one of the best hybrid compact SUVs you’ll find on the market.
Under the bonnet, there’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid engine producing 96kW of power and 253Nm of torque to the front wheels via an e-CVT automatic that returns impressive fuel economy figures of 4.3L per 100km on a combined cycle.
Inside, the cabin is sleek, comfortable and surprisingly practical, with a compact second row of seats and boot measuring in at 304L.
The e:HEV hybrid comes fully equipped when it comes to safety features, as well as receiving a set of 18-inch alloys, active LED headlights, heated front seats & steering wheel, hands-free boot lift, keyless entry & start and a 9.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient hybrid with a generous equipment list, look no further than the MG HS Plus EV which offers buyers a heap of value for money within the hybrid segment.
The HS Plus EV is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder paired with an electric motor and 16.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack that offers outputs of 189kW of power and 370Nm of torque.
Pure electric driving figures stand at 63km, while fuel economy figures drop to just 1.7L per 100km, however, this is dependent on the battery pack being charged.
Inside, the HS Plus EV is a comfortable, spacious and practical midsize SUV that is perfect for family duties, with a spacious second row and large 451L boot.
Standard equipment for the HS Plus EV includes a set of 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, surround-view camera, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, leather interior and a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.