Expert Car Picks: Best PHEV for less than $50K
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
It’s the topic of the month and with the government’s new Clean Car Programme taking effect as of July 1, it’s the ideal time to look into exactly which EVs and PHEVs we’d choose and drive for our own lives and lifestyles.
So with the budget of $50k, well under the $80k cap, and with the mandate of three-star crash rating, we’ve delved into the first part, to find the PHEV/Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle that we’d each buy and drive.
Andrew: MG HS PHEV
As New Zealand’s cheapest EV, the MG ZS EV has proven to be a popular choice for those looking to get into battery-powered motoring. Offered with only pure electric or petrol power, the ZS isn’t a great choice for those looking for hybrid power, and that’s where the larger HS PHEV comes into the picture.
In my opinion, the HS is one of the more ‘normal’ looking PHEV SUVs on the market right now, and it’s nice to see that MG hasn’t felt the need to include strange styling just to emphasize the fact that it’s electric.
On the inside, the cabin looks to be quite a comfortable place, with a 12.3-inch infotainment display as well as a panoramic sunroof as standard.
In terms of PHEV power, it gets a 16.6kWh battery, that’s capable of a pure-electric driving range of up to 63km. This should be more than enough range for an average Kiwi commute, meaning that it’s possible to not burn any petrol before the weekend. That’s as long as you keep it charged up at night of course.
In terms of pricing, this MG would’ve set you back $52,990 before the government’s rebate kicked in, but now buyers can have it from just $47,240, which is not a bad price for a low-emission family-hauler.
Also, you can get it in Phantom Red Metallic for no extra cost until the end of this month, so that’s a done deal for me.
David: Toyota Prius Prime
One day I’ll stop banging on about the Toyota Prius Prime whenever it fits into one of DRIVEN’s car-selection challenges. But today is not that day.
The Toyota Prius was the original mass-produced eco-car and deliberately weird-looking. Clean cars are now mainstream and it’s fair to say the Prius looks a little like the odd car out. In fact, the “standard” Prius has been quietly dropped from the New Zealand Toyota lineup.
All the more reason to celebrate the Prius Prime then, which continues as (a) NZ’s cheapest PHEV with a post-rebate price of $43,740 and (b) the only plug-in vehicle in Toyota NZ’s entire range right now.
The Prime has a decent EV range: 45km according to official figures, but I’ve found you get over 50km, sometimes more, in city commuting. Build quality is everything you’d expect from Toyota and there’s real attention to detail. The Prime is quite different in look and feel to the now-departed Prius on which it’s based, including eight headlights up front and a carbon fibre reinforced plastic tailgate at the back. Does your car have a carbon tailgate? Exactly.
Dean: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV
Having spent a lot of time with Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV long-termer recently, that’s the obvious choice but with the launch of the Eclipse Cross PHEV, that takes all its fantastic plug-in technology and slots it into the slightly smaller SUV body. There’s still the same 55km EV range, same 2.4-litre engine and same direct driver interaction allowing the manual overriding choice of pure EV mode, save or charge EV power, or simply letting it do its thing.
And then there’s the appeal of the smartphone app that allows the car’s charging and climate control to be operated, and the frugal figure of 1.9l/100km, though this is hugely variable based on its use, Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive, and up to 650km range – though as we found out with EV driving/charging around town, this could easily run over 1000km+.
Of course the price is also a little cheaper than the Outlander PHEV, too, with the Eclipse Cross starting at $49,990 for the XLS, which after the $5750 PHEV rebate, comes down to an appealing $44,240.