PHEVs effectively bridge the gap between typical petrol or diesel-powered vehicles and electric vehicles, offering huge fuel savings and eliminating any range anxiety that EV owners might experience in the process.
As the world moves toward an all-electric future, plug-in hybrid vehicles will play a central part in this transition, so let’s take a look at the best PHEVs currently available here in Australia.
What is a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle?
Before we break down some of the best PHEV options here in Australia, let’s first get an idea of how they work, and how different they are from conventional petrol or diesel-powered cars, other types of hybrids and electric vehicles.
The wheels are powered by either a single or dual electric motor, with power supplied by an onboard battery that, like an electric vehicle, you’re able to plug into a power outlet and charge.
These battery packs are often quite small, though, so the onboard internal combustion engine works either as an electricity generator for the e-motors, or powers the wheels when the battery is depleted.
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Best Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles in Australia
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how a plug-in hybrid vehicle works, let's take a look at, in no particular order, some of the best PHEVs you’ll find on the market here in Australia.
For those looking for one of the most affordable plug-in hybrids on the market, the MG HS Plus EV is a great value pick of the bunch.
Prices start from $48,690 drive-away, which includes a seven-year warranty for the car, battery and electrical components, with a generous amount of both creature comforts and safety features thrown in as standard.
The MG HS Plus EV pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor producing 189kW of power and 370Nm of torque, with power supplied by a 16.6kWh lithium-ion battery.
This translates to a claimed all-electric driving range of 63km, with fuel economy figures standing at 1.7L/100km on a combined cycle.
Standard equipment for the MG HS Plus EV includes a set of 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, powered boot lift, dual-zone climate control and a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Another member of Australia’s most affordable plug-in hybrid vehicles is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, which offers a smooth driving dynamic in a very usable compact SUV design.
The Eclipse Cross PHEV range is available in three different variants, with prices kicking off from $46,990 for the entry-level ES grade, moving to $50,490 for the Aspire and $54,490 for the range-topping Exceed.
Each variant comes powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol and a pair of electric motors over the front and rear axles, with power supplied by a 13.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Mitsubishi says the Eclipse Cross is good for 55km of all-electric driving range, and has a combined cycle fuel efficiency figure of 1.9L/100km when the battery pack is charged.
For those looking for a stylish European midsize SUV with a smooth and clever plug-in hybrid layout, the Peugeot 3008 might just be your perfect option.
While prices for the Peugeot 3008 range kick off from $47,240, opting for the PHEV variant brings the price to $79,990 before on-road costs.
To sweeten the deal, though, the 3008 comes jam-packed with features, including 19-inch alloys, heated Nappa leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive LED headlights, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Under the bonnet, you’ll find a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 147kW of power paired with an electric motor on each axle that gives the 3008 an all-wheel drive platform, with power supplied by a 13.2kWh battery pack.
Peugeot says this translates to an all-electric driving range of 59km on the WLTP cycle, and combined fuel economy figures of 1.6L/100km.
For those in the market for a seven-seat plug-in hybrid vehicle that is perfect for a large family, the Kia Sorento is a heavy-hitter in this segment of the market.
The Sorento is available in a single PHEV variant that is priced at $80,300 here in Australia, which Kia backs with a seven-year warranty and a heap of comfort, entertainment and safety features as standard.
Powering the Sorento PHEV is a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a single electric motor that pushes out a combined 195kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
Combined with an onboard battery pack measuring 14kWh, the Sorento PHEV offers electric-only driving ranges of 68km, and a fuel economy figure of 1.6L/100km with a fully-charged pack.
If you’re in the market for a sleek, practical and safe SUV package for your family, the XC60 now features a clever plug-in hybrid option in the form of its XC60 Recharge.
The XC60 T8 Recharge is priced at $97,990 here in Australia, and comes powered by a twin-turbo four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor over the rear axle that produces a combined 335kW of power and 709Nm of torque.
These outputs put the XC60 T8 Recharge at the head of the pack and translate to a very spirited 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds, alongside an all-electric driving range of 76km from its 18.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Fuel economy figures for the XC60 T8 Recharge stand at a claimed 1.6L/100km on a combined cycle over the 7.6 - 8.0L/100km you’ll find in the rest of the XC60 range.
The BMW X3 has become one of Australia’s go-to compact SUV options and, in recent times, has received a plug-in hybrid variant at the top of the range.
It’s known as the BMW X3 xDrive30e, and is priced at $107,000 before on-road costs.
BMW’s plug-in hybrid X3 comes powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with an electric motor that produces a combined 215kW of power and 420Nm of torque with the added stability of an AWD system.
BMW says the X3 xDrive30e offers up to 50km of all-electric driving on the 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack, returning fuel economy figures of 2.6L/100km on the WLTP test cycle.
Lexus recently gave its NX SUV range a major update for the latest model year, with hybrid options available across almost all of its NX lineup.
Sitting at the top of the range is the NX450h+, which is the latest and greatest PHEV from Lexus in a comfortable, sleek and technologically-advanced SUV package.
The NX450h+ comes powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine working alongside a pair of electric motors producing a combined 227kW of power, with an onboard lithium-ion battery measuring 18.1kWh.
Lexus says this is enough for an 87km all-electric driving range and a very impressive 1.3L/100km combined cycle fuel economy figure when the battery is full.
One of the leading options for families looking for a well-equipped, fuel-efficient and extremely practical package is the latest generation Ford Escape, which features a plug-in hybrid engine at the top of the range.
The Escape ST-Line PHEV is priced at $53,440 and comes powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor and 14.1kWh battery pack that produces a combined 167kW of power.
Ford says the Escape PHEV has an all-electric driving range of 50km per charge, with fuel economy figures standing at 1.5L/100km that make it one of the heavy-hitters of the midsize SUV lineup with a clever PHEV powertrain.
Mercedes has a number of plug-in hybrid options within its ranks, with the company offering PHEV variants of the popular A-Class, E-Class and the GLC compact SUV.
Here in Australia, the GLC 300e is priced at $93,800 and comes packing an all-wheel drive system and a clever engine design that pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with an electric motor and 13.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Mercedes says the GLC 300e produces a combined 235kW of power and 700Nm of torque, which gives buyers a generous heaping of power for the size of the package.
The GLC 300e offers all-electric driving for up to 43km on the WLTP test cycle, and has a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 2.6L per 100km.
If you’re looking for an affordable plug-in hybrid that is perfect for family duties, look no further than the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV lineup.
Prices for the range kick off from $54,590 for the entry-level Outlander PHEV ES, and rise to $68,490 for the range-topping Outlander PHEV Exceed Tourer with a seven-seat layout.
It comes powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors that produce a combined 185kW of power and 450Nm of torque, with power supplied by a 20kWh battery pack.
Mitsubishi says this translates to an all-electric driving range of 84km on the NEDC cycle, with a combined fuel consumption figure standing at 1.5L/100km with a fully-charged battery pack.
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