Plug-in hybrid models are a great middle-ground for people who like the idea of an all-electric car but still suffer range anxiety. They combine an electric motor and battery pack with a traditional internal combustion engine, just like a conventional hybrid. The difference is the battery has enough capacity to deliver a short all-electric driving range -- generally 30-50 kilometres.
This is often enough to handle the morning commute or run errands in the afternoon without using gasoline. However, if you decide to take a longer trip, you can stop and refill at any gas station instead of searching for a charger like you would with an electric vehicle (EV).
What are some of the best plug-in hybrids in Canada? Continue reading to find out.
Let's look at the essential qualities you should consider when shopping for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Of course, you need a vehicle that fits your family's needs first and foremost, but beyond that, the key traits to consider are as follows.
The all-electric range (AER) -- the distance you can drive on a full battery before the internal combustion engine kicks on -- is the primary consideration when shopping for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). This will fall somewhere in the 30-50 km range in most PHEVs.
The goal is to get a vehicle that can get you to work or through most of your errands without gasoline. If the vehicle will have enough range to get you home, that's a bonus.
Before you start shopping, map out your commute and determine the number of kilometres from home to work or wherever you drive daily. Try to find a vehicle with the range closest to this number of kilometres or in excess of it.
The fuel-efficiency equivalent measures how many kWh of electricity a vehicle uses to cover 100 km and converts it to gasoline at a rate of 1 litre of fuel for every 8.9 kWh of electricity. Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) lists this as combined Le/100km.
The lower the combined Le/100km is, the more efficient the electric motor and charging system are. This doesn't always translate to AER, as that's mostly determined by battery size. This will, however, help you determine just how much it may cost you to keep this vehicle charged.
Another key concern is the hybrid fuel efficiency, which measures the PHEV's efficiency after you've depleted the battery and the vehicle switches to hybrid mode. Like all other hybrid cars, NRCAN measures this in litres per 100 km (L/100km).
This will only impact you when driving long distances or if your daily commute exceeds the vehicle's AER. Though it may not be a top priority, it is worth considering.
If you're searching for a quality PHEV, these nine models are some of the best options to consider.
The BMW i3 REx is actually a range-extended electric vehicle, as its primary propulsion is the electric motor. Its gasoline engine acts only as a generator. That said, it still fits the bill with its ability to travel longer distances with gasoline.
From 2019 through 2021, this tiny hatchback had a 116-km AER, making it great for folks with a longer commute. However, its tiny gas tank limits its total combined driving range to just 203 km. But, with frequent refuels, the i3 REx can go as far as you need without charging.
The i3 REx is also efficient in all-electric mode, turning in a fuel-efficiency rating of 2.4 Le/100km. However, its hybrid fuel economy leaves a lot to be desired at 7.7 L/100km combined.
The Chevy Volt features a stylish design and a PHEV powertrain that will suit nearly any Canadian driver. From model years 2016 through 2019, it boasted an 85-km AER, giving it plenty of range to get where you need to and return home. And if you've got a longer journey ahead of you, a full battery and a tank of gas will get you up to 591 km.
In hybrid mode, it's fuel efficiency is good, not great, at up to 5.6 L/100km, but its all-electric efficiency is outstanding at 2.2 Le/100km.
The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid delivers a mature look that isn't overly futuristic. Plus, it has a respectable 77-km AER on a full charge, giving it plenty of driving range without needing a charger at your destination.
If you're going on a road trip, the Clarity is prepared with a 475-km range with a full tank and battery.
The Clarity's equivalent fuel economy in electric mode is stellar at 2.1 Le/100km, and its hybrid fuel economy isn't bad at 5.6 L/100km combined.
Need a compact SUV with the convenience of a plug-in-hybrid powertrain? The Toyota RAV4 Prime is a good option with its 68-km AER -- plenty for the normal commute, though you may switch to gas at some point. If you're a long-hauler, the RAV4 Prime will satisfy your needs with its 911-km total range on a full tank and battery.
For an SUV, the RAV4 Prime does well in fuel economy, with a fuel-consumption rate of 2.5 Le/100km in all-electric mode and 6 L/100km combined in hybrid mode. Plus, with a roughly 6-second 0-100 km/h sprint time, this 302-horsepower SUV delivers some thrills too.
There aren't many plug-in hybrid SUVs, but the RAV4 Prime more than makes up for the lack of them.
The Prius Prime is another affordable PHEV from Toyota. It delivers a slightly shorter AER at just 40 km, but its combined fuel-efficiency equivalent is super-low at just 1.8 Le/100km. Plus, its overall driving range is excellent at 995 km.
That overall range is fueled by the Prius Prime's superb hybrid fuel efficiency, which checks in at 4.3 L/100km combined.
On top of this, the RAV4 Prime comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD), so it can easily tackle Canadian winters.
The 2018-2021 Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid is a great option in the PHEV space with its 47-km AER. For those looking to go longer distances, the IONIC can travel up to 954 km with a full battery pack and a full tank of fuel.
The IONIC's all-electric fuel-efficiency equivalent is also great at just 2 Le/100km. Its hybrid consumption is also on point at just 4.5 L/100km combined.
On top of all this, the IONIQ is stylish and unique, so you're sure to be satisfied by its looks for years to come.
Joining the RAV4 Prime as one of the few PHEV compact crossovers on the market is the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid. This thrifty Escape delivers 60 km of AER and boasts a fuel-consumption equivalent of just 2.2 Le/100km.
If you've got a longer drive ahead, the Escape Plug-In Hybrid delivers 784 kilometres of total driving range with a full battery and tank of gas. When you deplete the battery and enter hybrid mode, the Escape Plug-In Hybrid delivers a respectable 5.8 L/100km combined.
In addition to its thrifty ways, the Escape Plug-In Hybrid features a sleek and sporty look that'll please most buyers. Plus it hauls 974.1 litres of cargo behind the second row and 1,721.7 litres with the rear seats folded.
Another plug-in hybrid crossover, albeit much smaller than others on this list, is the Kia Niro PHEV. This PHEV delivers up to 42 km of AER, offering most commuters plenty of range. Longer-distance drivers will appreciate its 853-km total driving range on a full tank.
In fuel-efficiency equivalent in all-electric mode, the Niro PHEV received a 2.2 Le/100km rating, putting it on par with other crossovers. Where it gets a leg up is its hybrid efficiency, which checks in at 5.1 L/100km.
Despite its small stature, the Niro PHEV isn't far behind the competition in cargo room, swallowing up to 1,543.3 litres with the seats folded. With the seats upright, it's a little tight at 649.3 litres.
If you've got a big family to haul around and need a minivan, you've got one option: the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Depending on the model year, NRCAN rated the Pacifica Hybrid at 51 or 53 km of AER and 784 or 858 km of total range.
Its all-electric fuel-efficiency equivalent rings in at an equally respectable 2.8 to 2.9 Le/100km. Its total hybrid fuel efficiency is good for a minivan at 7.3 to 8 L/100km combined.
Not only does the Pacifica Hybrid have room for the whole family, but it also takes up to 3,978.5 litres of cargo with the rear seats flat or removed and 2,477.7 litres behind the second seats. With all the seats upright, it is still cargo-friendly at 914.6 litres.
Whether it's to save on fuel costs, cut emissions, or both, a plug-in hybrid is a great option. At Clutch, you'll find a wide range of the best plug-in hybrids in Canada, so you have plenty of options.
On top of a wide selection of pre-owned plug-in hybrids, you also know you're getting a quality vehicle at Clutch. All our vehicles go through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they're top-notch. We then add a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty before placing them up for sale.
When you buy a vehicle from Clutch, you get the added confidence of a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your new vehicle, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for a different Clutch vehicle.
Browse Clutch.ca today and see all our in-stock plug-in hybrid vehicles. While you're searching, you can also apply for financing and get a firm value on your trade-in vehicle, if you have one.