Plug-in Hybrid SUVs - Insight & Options?

Looking to upgrade my trusty Sorento to something more efficient, and while I still need the features of an SUV it seems the only way to get under 7 litres per 100km (i.e. $10/100km) is to get a hybrid. A plugin hybrid gives even better value than non-plugin using offpeak at 11c/kWh, and I still get the long-range benefits of a jerrycan in the trailer if I need it.

Currently doing 20,000km/yr but commuting 20km round-trip for work which works well for the smaller PHEV battery packs.

Must haves:

  • Boot space: I need an SUV for the sheer volume of toolboxes I need to squeeze in; a Prius or Volt just won't cut ti
  • Towball: likewise, I need a vehicle rated for towing which most small PHEVs are not.
  • Efficiency: the endgoal is lower running costs; if you can recommend a better value option that's not a hybrid I'll certainly consider it!

At the moment the only the only three options are the Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander and the MG HS which are all approx. $50k each. I quite like the look of the MG (very close to a Mazda CX5!) but the Outlander can be found used for about $40k. Don't think Toyota has any offerings in Aus right now.

Any recommendations on these, or feedback? Things to avoid? Info I need to know?

Poll Options

  • 3
    MG HS
  • 10
    Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 8
    Kia Niro


  • +1

    Resale on an MG will destroy any cost savings compared to a normal hybrid IMO.

    It's a real shame Toyota or Subaru don't have anything plug in.

    • Ten years ago I would have agreed with you that the resale would be poor on the MG compared to the others, however I think at the moment its different, and im not talking about current inflated prices for used cars because of the long wait on new stock/semiconductor shortage im looking more long term.

      A ten year old car today with 150'000km might be worth 30% of its initial purchase price, but just imagine what sort of cars will be available in 2031 in terms of technology and efficiency and lower costs of ownership. I don't think its wise to assume a 'safe resale brand' car bought today, will hold its value in the same way one was bought in 2011 would.

      This guys done a good breakdown on the 5 year costs of owning a Tesla 3 vs Camry Hybrid to give you an idea of the massively reduced costs of servicing and obviously fuel (particularly if you have home solar)

      Even with higher initial purchase price the Tesla works out better today over 5 years. I'm not saying buy an EV im more trying to say, don't assume an expensive car bought today will hold its value similar to one bought ten years ago.

      Looking at your needs, have you considered waiting for the Haval H6 Hybrid., Got a huge boot, claimed 5.2l/100km,stacked with feature, I expect it will be priced $40-42k max, with 7 year unlimited warranty and a similar if not identical fixed price capped servicing first 70k its hard to pass up.

  • your only choice is the Outlander


  • What are you planning to tow?

    • Just my box trailer - no caravans or anything heavy, so I don't need a massive towing capacity/electric brakes etc.

  • Best to wait a few months for the 2022 outlander honestly.

    • Only new gen petrol will be released in next couple of months. NG PHEV not due until some time next year.

  • +2

    Do your assessment thoroughly.
    Watch the depreciation rate. Some EVs may depreciate like a brick when they are say 5y/o with 100,000 on the clock. I doubt many people will be keen on old EVs because of the fear of the cost of a replacement battery. Hybrids are better viewed but depends a lot on k's and condition.
    Don't just focus on pure fuel economy either. Servicing costs for some cars are a pure rip off and will quickly erode any saving you make at the petrol bowser. The same goes for reliability and repair costs. You often see people with low k cars fighting the maker trying to claim assistance with a crap transmission or engine and still ending up having to pay thousands to get the thing back to a usable state.
    An unreliable vehicle is not an economical one no matter what the lt/100km it returns.
    There are a few good low cost of ownership cars around that would suit your need.

    • Not too worried about depreciation - looking to own long-term anyway, but also considering that any ICE vehicles will also depreciate more rapidly into the future as EVs and hybrids take off.

      There are a few good low cost of ownership cars around that would suit your need.

      Suggestions? Very happy to expand my options; I'm not locked into PHEVs at all if the TCO is nice and low

  • +1

    Be mindful that although the Kia is rated to 1300kg towing, it's only rated to 100kg down ball. Really that should limit the towing to 1000kg, as most manufacturers work to 10%

  • New Lexus NX is releasing with a plug in hybrid as well, not sure on the specifics but have been looking as well and slim pickings with the plug in models still.

  • Plug-in Hybrid SUVs - Insight & Options?

    What state are you in? Some states are talking a km based road tax for plug in hybrids and VIC has already done it for EV and plug in.

    So honestly the plugin doesn't stack up in VIC anymore, better to go all in with a EV or stick to a hybrid.

    • NSW thankfully - I saw that Vic hybrid owners get rammed from both ends with BOTH taxes, which is rather sad

      • Hybrid owners don't get it that bad, same as a normal ICE now…. But yes, Plug in hybrid owners are getting rammed for sure. Paying fuel taxes and a km road tax.

      • NSW will do those taxes too - in the near future.

  • +1

    hold out till 2022 when new Hybrids and PHEV's are released by Toyota (Kluger), Kia (Sorrento), Hyundai (Santa Fe) and Mitsubishi (Outlander). Something to note is that some manufacturer's may only sell their hybrid model's in the top of the range spec which may exceed the costs savings benefits. But that really depends if you we're already determined to get the top of the range spec.

  • Oh, damn, and here I was going to talk you into getting a Holden Volt. Oh well, cross that off my list.

  • What's the economy in your current vehicle? Calculated the break even point?

  • +1

    Have you considered a Diesel? Even the Sorrento Diesel?

    Another good thing about Diesel is the price doesn't fluctuate like petrol does..

    • Say hello to shit resale buying a diesel, non-commercial vehicle in 2021/22

      The world will go away from diesel sooner than it goes away from petrol. People know this, hence less of an interest in diesel passenger cars, more interest in some form of electrification

      Ooh comment #32,000

      • +1

        The world will go away from diesel sooner than it goes away from petrol

        Farmers and commercial vehicles will strongly disagree with you.

        It's also the reason that diesel doesn't fluctuate as much; the constant market demand from B-doubles, trains, headers, tractors etc ensures smoother market forces.

        • Farmers and commercial vehicles will strongly disagree with you.

          Farmers, yes, will hang onto their diesels for a longer time.

          Commercials, nope. Trucks yes, but cars/4x4s will be ditching diesel as soon as they can. Market is dictated by brands, which are dictated by governments right now. EU looks to be getting rid of petrol and diesel by 2035, and with brands finding alternatives to petrol cars… Diesel commercials have been late to the switch due to towing and off-road ability, but it won't be long before these are taken care of. New Kluger Hybrid does 2T towing. Hybrid LC300 and Prado are coming soon. By 2030 there's no doubt that diesel, or big petrol guzzlers, will be gone from the new car market, leaving trucks as the only diesel road vehicles.

          Given that change will happen by 2030, and buyers now are already thinking of electrification, resale will take a dive. 2030 isn't that far away in terms of car ownership.

          • +2

            @spackbace: You'll be right to say that resale of 2030 diesel cars will take a dive if they stopped selling diesels at service stations but the switch won't be flicked off overnight.

            In 2030, I'd say that pure electric cars will make up the bulk of sales as prices come down which will affect both petrol and diesel cars.

            Don't get me wrong, hybrid cars make sense in smaller cars and sports cars, and especially for Rav4s and Camry's were the price premium over petrol only is small… but for large SUVs/4WD diesels still provide better performance for the price.

            LC300 will only come in diesel when released in Australia.. if you want a new Landcruiser, would you not buy one until the Hybrid is released?

            In future, Hybrids will make more sense as they become more popular/cheaper.. but if you were looking a SUV/4WD today that offered Diesel or a non-Hybrid, would you not choose the Diesel?

      • I think Diesels will be popular in Australia for a long time for SUVs and 4WDs due to relaxed nature that suits these heavy cars.

        Unlike European cities which ban or tax diesels higher than petrol/hybrid/electric cars.

        If resale value was the #1 priority, we'll all be driving boring Corollas.

        Plus, if you plan on keeping a car for a long time, resale value matter less. It's also arguable that diesel engines last longer than petrol engine.

    • +1

      Currently have a 2010 diesel Sorento! Picked it specifically for the economy and it's been fantastic. Averaging 7-7.5l/100km.

      However, at 267,000km it's getting tired and now looking to trade it in for something with better features. Also no longer need 7 seats like I used to

      • Get the new Sorento.
        Fantastic car and if you're towing anything like a bucket load of dirt in your trailer, I don't think any of these ~1500kg mid size cars will do it well.

        Even if you don't use the third row, do you need the cargo space?
        I went from a CX9 to a Tucson and miss the larger cargo area on a regular basis.

        • I gave it a fleeting thought - but for the same price point at $50k, and same depreciation over say 10yrs, a hybrid is going to give me $15k less in fuel costs over the same period.

          Depreciation might even be worse, if as Spackbace says diesels will be considered worse value for resale - if the market becomes saturated with good, efficient hybrid SUVs now, then in ten year's time nobody will want a used diesel. I wouldn't…

          • @Switchblade88: Tend to agree about diesels. Petrol efficiency is getting close to diesel, but without as much horrible stuff out the exhaust, even without being hybrid.

            Not too long from now the only vehicles using diesel will be those used to haul heavy loads. Trucks, caravan tugs etc.

  • 20k/kms a year. 20km round trip for work mean 4.4kms a year. What is the other 15.6k a year?

    You'd be looking at the other 15.6k/kms and if they are long distance highway looking at best highway economy. Plug in hybrid might not be best option as the small engine has to lug that around. If you are in Vic with the distanced based tax applying to PHEVs too you'd be shooting yourself in the foot.

    Also don't forget service intervals. It will make a difference between 15k or 10k intervals.

    • Bulk of it is (NSW) trips to the nearest city for groceries, and then regular Melbourne trips for medical stuff. Highway efficiency was kind of assumed for PHEVs, but also happy to look at alternatives that are 'traditional' if they suit too.

  • The new xtrail will be announced around September, supposedly it will be realeased with a hybrid, however it's a different beast to Toyota Hybrids, and in a good way

    Unlike RAV4 and Subaru Forester hybrid rivals, Nissan X-TRAIL e-POWER variants are driven exclusively by an electric motor. The petrol engine has no connection with the driving wheels and acts purely as a generator

    • Honestly, a pure petrol genset makes heaps more sense - less mechanicals with a transmission, presumably bigger electric motor if it's the only source of torque, less engine dependency if it's only a glorified generator.

      Looks like rubbish, but form follows function so if it works I don't really care!

  • Have you considered a regular hybrid Lexus SUV? Would be an NX or RX.

    Fuel efficiency would be close to, if not better than what you are after, Toyota reliability, no need to charge it.
    In Victoria, they have introduced a tax for EV's and PHEV's - so they could introduce a similar thing in NSW, so i'd see buying a PHEV as a risk because you dont get the full benefits of an EV when it comes to cost.

    Edit: Or you could just get a Rav4 hybrid. Im assuming the Kluger is too expensive because its so new. Lexus SUV hybrids have been around for a while so you can get a decently priced one thats a couple of years old.

    • Rav4 hybrid is certainly an option, if there was any stock available! A plugin initially made more sense to me but a non-plugin hybrid is also an appealing option as well.

      Lexus is basically a non-starter; too expensive from new and even used are still the same price as all other options at $50k - despite being 5yo.

    • Im assuming the Kluger is too expensive because its so new.

      Both Kluger and RAV4 are selling close to RRP because the stock is low and demand is high. Kluger is just more expensive because bigger, not just because new.

  • +1

    We get totally shafted in Aus. There’s pnnwtynof EV and PHEV around that aren’t imported here because there are no incentives.

    Just watched a YouTube clip of a PHEV Jeep Wrangler. If the yanks can get one of those in the land of V8 and cheap gas, why can’t we have more choice.

  • +1

    OP if you're not fazed about getting the latest and greatest, considering the new gen model isn't far away, a demo Outlander PHEV will do the trick. There's always one or two about…

    We picked up an ex-Mits corporate MY20 (built late 2019, with updated 2.4L motor) Outlander PHEV Exceed with 7K on the odo for $42K around this time last year. Just turned over 47K, yes we clock the kms. Averaging 4-5L/100km overall. Mix of town and highway driving including two to four drives up Tamborine Mountain each week. Vehicle software is configured with timer to allow charging only during day while solar is operating, as I work nightshift most weekday nights. Also use it for towing a box trailer, 4.3m aluminium boat and PWC too, no dramas. Very happy with the vehicle, we'll definitely be upgrading to the new gen model when it gets released next year.

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