It’s no secret that Australia is dragging its heels when it comes to environmentally conscious decisions, especially in the automotive space.
Sales of electric cars have stalled, thanks in part to a lack of government incentives, with just 219 registered last year compared to five times that amount in 2015.
Sales of hybrid cars, on the other hand, continue to grow in popularity, recording a slight increase in 2016.
SUVs as a whole are commanding a larger slice of the new-car sales pie in Australia, recently eclipsing sales of regular passenger cars, and the number of hybrid powered SUVs entering the market are on the rise as well.
With the upgraded Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV expected to launch here next month, breathing new life into what is Australia’s first truly mainstream plug-in hybrid SUV, we take a look at some of its electron-enhanced competitors.
Tesla Model X
The only all-electric SUV option presently on our market, the Tesla Model X is the Californian company’s first-ever SUV entrant. But it doesn’t come cheap and its $159,342 entry-level price puts it out of sight for most family buyers. It offers five, six or seven seats, and comes in two variants, 75D or the high-performance P100D. The Model X is based on the same underpinnings as the Model S, so comes with all the speed, technology and charisma you’d expect of a Tesla, only with the convenience of an SUV.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV was one of Australia’s best-selling plug-in SUVs, but has since been joined by other viable options. It’s due to be updated next month, when we’ll get more details but we expect the Outlander PHEV to get an update to its tech system and a facelift, as well as some improvements to fuel efficiency, ride and safety. At $47,490 for the PHEV Hybrid or $52,490 for the Aspire PHEV (which gets radar active cruise control, heated front seats, power operated boot and a sunroof), it’s one of the more affordable options. And recording figures of just 1.9L/100km, it’s also the most fuel efficient plug-in hybrid SUV available in Australia.
The Volvo XC90’s T8 hybrid is the most expensive of the Swedish manufacturer’s SUV line-up, with the T8 Inscription Hybrid and T8 R-Design Hybrid costing $120,900 and $122,900 respectively. The XC90 is a practical, luxurious and stylish car that also comes as an enjoyable and safe drive, as you’d expect from a Volvo. And with the hybrid’s claimed 2.1L/100km, it throws in fuel efficiency as one of its positive attributes and earns itself a place as one of the least thirsty on the list.
The BMW X5 is a luxurious, well-equipped large SUV, and can seat up to seven people. The hybrid version of the range is the xDrive 40e, and like most hybrids, it’s the best choice for those sticking to town because it can drive around 25km on electric power alone. If you do drive on longer trips its fuel figures will be closer to the xDrive 30d or xDrive 35i, but according to the official combined-cycle fuel economy standard it records an average consumption of 3.4L/100km.