Hybrid and Electric Car Shopping Tips

5 Hybrids and PHEVs That Made Me Forget About EVs + Video

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There’s a lot of buzz about electric vehicles (EVs), and the automotive industry is undergoing immense change as we wean off our gasoline dependency. EVs are still in their early days, however, and they’re not currently a viable solution for every Canadian. If you’re like many other drivers who want something more sustainable and efficient but aren’t yet ready to commit to a fully electric vehicle, don’t panic. Luckily, there are many excellent options in many different body styles that offer some of the benefits of an EV but with none of the downsides. Here are a handful of hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that recently impressed us.

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius has earned its reputation for being efficient and reliable, but it also lives with the stigma of being somewhat dorky-looking. Now that it has been completely overhauled, the Prius looks sleek and stylish, addressing one of the only downsides to the previous-generation models. The new Prius is also more powerful than it was before, but its efficiency is still the showstopper.

I drove it on a long trip from Toronto to Michigan and back, which was mostly highway, and I managed to get just 5 L/100 km with barely even trying. The Prius is also available with all-wheel drive: it adds an electric motor to the rear axle and only sends power back there when slippage is detected or when you need a stronger launch, enabling AWD without impacting fuel economy.

There’s also the Prius Prime, which is a PHEV that is even more efficient and can drive 72 km on battery power alone. The Toyota Prius lineup has also won numerous 2024 AutoTrader Awards, with our expert jury agreeing that it’s a great choice for drivers who want an efficient car without any compromises.

BMW X5 xDrive50e

Typically, SUVs can either be powerful or efficient, but not both. This BMW plug-in hybrid manages to blend both beautifully, using a larger battery to augment both performance and efficiency. The X5 xDrive50e checks a lot of boxes and is a well-rounded mid-size luxury SUV with almost no compromises.

I did something really bad when I drove it and didn’t even plug it in, yet I still managed to get just 8.7 L/100 km, which is excellent for an SUV of this size and with so much power. If you were a better person than me and plugged it in as much as possible, you could drive 64 km on electricity alone, get even better efficiency, and significantly cut down trips to the gas station. This SUV is smooth, powerful, luxurious, and efficient, making it one of the best in its segment, regardless of powertrain.

Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

The regular Toyota Corolla Cross is underwhelming because it’s very slow, but the Hybrid version fixes that and still manages to be super efficient, so it’s my favourite one in the whole lineup. A big bonus is that it has AWD and is still rated at just 5.6 L/100 km. The Corolla Cross Hybrid is pretty roomy and practical, easy to drive, and it shares its platform with the Prius, so the electric motor on the rear axle adds enough power to give the small SUV some needed passing power. The Corolla Cross Hybrid also happens to be the only hybrid in its class, so if you’re looking for a subcompact crossover that is practical and efficient, it’s a great pick. Toyota also has many other efficient options if you’re looking for something larger than the tiny Corolla Cross – the RAV4, Highlander, and Grand Highlander are also all available as hybrids, while the Sienna minivan comes standard as a hybrid.

Volvo V60/S60 Recharge

If you’re into wagons or sedans, Volvo has a few options, too. The S60 and V60 share a platform but come in two body styles. These plug-in hybrids are efficient but don’t sacrifice performance because they drive beautifully and can be very fast. When the battery is fully charged, it offers 64 km of EV range and otherwise, they’re rated at a combined 7.6 L/100 km. They’re both luxurious and handsomely styled, but the V60 also won the Best Wagon trophy in the 2024 AutoTrader Awards.

Ford F-150 Hybrid

The Ford F-150 Hybrid is rated to burn 10.1 L/100 km combined, which is crazy efficient for a half-ton truck. It offers everything you love about the F-150 but with more efficiency. When properly equipped, it can tow over 12,000 lb, and my favourite feature is Pro Power OnBoard, which offers a massive 7.2 kW of power that turns the truck into a mobile generator to power your tools or campsite.

And if you need something smaller, the Ford Maverick Hybrid is also more affordable and is packed with clever features, but it doesn’t come with AWD, so that’s why it didn’t make the cut.