Car Buying Tips

Best Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles to Consider in Canada in 2024

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are an excellent option for drivers who want some of the emissions-free benefits of an electric vehicle (EV) without sacrificing the convenience of a gas-powered car. With a larger battery than a regular gas-electric hybrid, PHEVs can be driven between 40 and 80 kilometres on electric power before the gas engine kicks in, so as long as you can find a gas station, you’re good to go, and there’s zero range anxiety. Some drivers who can charge at home will find that they can run most of their daily errands without burning a single drop of fuel and can go weeks or months without visiting a gas station until a longer trip is called for.

As part of our annual AutoTrader Awards, our team of Canadian automotive experts has considered every new PHEV available and voted on the best ones. Here are the five PHEVs that got the highest scores from our jury of more than 20 car experts.

2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

A minivan is a no-brainer if you want to maximize space for people and their cargo. As the only PHEV minivan on the market, our AutoTrader experts would like to direct your attention to the Pacifica Hybrid if saving fuel is also on your wishlist.

You probably already know about the Pacifica. It’s Chrysler’s latest iteration of its iconic minivan but with an upscale approach to features and styling. The Pacifica Hybrid’s powertrain marries the base 3.6-litre V6 gas engine with two electric motors powered by a battery. Total horsepower is rated at 260, going to the front wheels only via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This allows the $64,790* Pacifica Hybrid to travel up to 51 kilometres on battery power alone with a full charge.** With a full gas tank (using less expensive regular 87-octane gasoline) and a charged battery, the Pacifica PHEV’s total range is estimated at 784 km, and city and highway combined fuel economy is an excellent 8.0 L/100 km when the battery is drained.

In other areas, the Pacifica Hybrid admirably performs its minivan role as comfortable and spacious transport for up to seven occupants. It has convenient features like power sliding side doors and comprehensive safety features. Chrysler’s Stow’ n Go second and third-row seats from the non-hybrid Pacifica are unavailable, but the Hybrid’s third row can still fold flat into the floor.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid

The CX-90 has replaced the venerable CX-9, and Mazda did an excellent job with this new PHEV three-row SUV, highlighted by the fuel-efficient plug-in version.

Continuing the brand’s move upmarket, the CX-90 is the most luxurious Mazda ever. It starts with a turbocharged 3.3L inline six-cylinder gas-electric mild-hybrid powertrain making 280 or 340 hp in a higher trim. In between those six-cylinder models is the 323-hp, $54,900 CX-90 Plug-In Hybrid. The powertrain is based on Mazda’s naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor wedged between this engine and the automatic transmission. The result is up to 42 km of electric driving range, a 9.4L/100 km fuel economy estimate, and a total driving range of 747 km. Like all CX-90s, AWD is standard.

The big Mazda SUV’s sleek exterior and sophisticated powertrain options are just the appetizers. Inside, the CX-90 bucks the trend towards massive touchscreens, retaining a significant amount of traditional switchgear for ease of use, enhanced by high-quality materials. As a people hauler, the upper CX-90 trims come with second-row captain’s chairs and two third-row seats, giving six occupants more room.

2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

While the latest generation of the Outlander SUV shares a lot with its Nissan Rogue corporate cousin, Mitsubishi’s exclusive third row of seats and available plug-in hybrid powertrain made our experts add it to their list of recommended PHEVs for 2024. With prices starting at $48,198, the Outlander is also one of the more affordable new PHEV SUVs Canadians can buy.

The Outlander PHEV’s powertrain is entirely different from the non-hybrid Outlander. A 2.4L four-cylinder gas engine is mated to two electric motors: one at the front axle and one in the back. Power for the electric motors comes from a lithium-ion battery pack, which enables a total system output of 248 hp. A CVT delivers power to all four wheels. The Outlander PHEV can travel up to 61 km on battery power alone and 626 km with a full battery and tank of gas. Operating as a gas-electric hybrid, it gets a 9.0 L/100 km estimate when that charge is depleted. Thankfully, DC fast charging claims up to an 80 per cent battery recharge in under 40 minutes.

The Mitsubishi SUV’s interior is a big step up from the previous generation. The ergonomics are excellent, the materials are high-quality, and there’s plenty of new technology. Although the third row is best suited for smaller people, the second-row room for passengers is generous.

2024 Toyota Prius Prime

You’re probably already familiar with the Toyota Prius Prime, the PHEV version of the pioneering hybrid, but we bet you didn’t realize that it’s now attractively styled, fun to drive, and boasts hot hatch-like power without sacrificing excellent fuel economy.

Starting at $39,550 for the base SE trim, the front-wheel drive Prius Prime uses a 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine along with an electric motor to produce a total of 220 horsepower, 26 more horses than a non-PHEV FWD Prius hybrid. The Prius Prime’s electric-only maximum estimated range of 72 km (64 km for the XLE trim) is almost double the distance of the last generation model. Once the battery has been drained, the Prime gets an impressive 4.5 L/100 km fuel economy (4.9 L/100 km for the XLE).

The compact Toyota hatchback PHEV is quite fun to drive when you’re not hypermiling. Even when you’re using electric power only, it accelerates briskly. While we wouldn’t book the plug-in Prius for a day at the track, the Toyota’s ride and handling are composed and predictable, which is a huge improvement over the snoozy previous generation model.

The new Prius Prime’s interior is just as stylish as its exterior. The digital instrument gauges have been moved to the front of the driver instead of in the middle of the dash, replaced by an extensive infotainment central touchscreen. The Toyota’s cabin has an almost Lexus-like design, with top-notch materials and excellent fit-and-finish.

2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime

As one of Canada’s most popular new vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 needs little introduction. The five-passenger compact SUV is available with gas, hybrid, and PHEV powertrains. Unsurprisingly, our AutoTrader experts have chosen a second Toyota PHEV for this year’s list. Like its Prius sibling, the plug-in version of the popular RAV4 SUV offers power and a driving range backed up by the brand’s decades of hybrid powertrain experience.

Using the same plug-in hardware as the upscale Lexus NX 450h+, the $51,150 RAV4 Prime is one of Toyota’s faster and more powerful vehicles. Its powertrain combines a 2.5L four-cylinder gas engine with a CVT, battery, and three motors (two on the front axle and one in the rear), which makes AWD standard. The total system output is 302 hp, yet the RAV4 Prime boasts 68 km of pure electric range and a combined 6.0 L/100 km fuel economy estimate. For anyone who suffers from range anxiety, the RAV4 PHEV has a total range between fill-ups of 911 km. Plus, every 2024 RAV4, regardless of drivetrain, has a cabin made of durable materials and assembled to a decent quality. The infotainment system is easy for anyone who can negotiate a smartphone.

*Starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Prices and model availability in Canada as of March 1, 2024.

**Based on Natural Resources Canada estimates.