Hybrids on a $20k budget? Here’s 10 of NZ’s best hybrid bargains
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Whether you're wanting to do your bit to 'go green' or you're just hoping to save a bit of money at the petrol station, the idea of shifting into a hybrid car is an understandable one.
The biggest perceived barrier between people and purchasing a fuel-efficient hybrid is typically the issue of cost. And it's true; hybrids — like their fully electric brethren — are a pricier option than internal-combustion powered rivals. However, they can still be affordable. To show this, we assembled 10 of the best-value hybrids currently listed on Driven.
From small hatchbacks and SUVs, to people movers, to luxury European sports sedans. And each of them available for around $20,000 (and sometimes less).
One of the interesting elements about buying cars in New Zealand are the models that weren't initially sold here new, but become common through an influx of Japanese imports. The hybrid variant of Honda Jazz is one such example.
The Jazz — which is badged as a Fit in Japan — is a sound and competent runaround in its normal petrol format (those 'Magic Seats' in the back are a huge asset). The third generation Jazz/Fit is still current, making early examples like this one an attractive option for those wanting reliable and modern motoring on the cheap.
But adding hybrid technology takes things to another level. Many of these hybrid Fit models can be purchased for under $10,000 (particularly second-gen models), but you'll often have to spend a little extra for distinctive colours like the sharp blue of this Auckland-based 69,300km example. Click here to check it out.
Hybrid technology isn't all about little runabouts, though. Some manufacturers have harnessed it for performance benefits.
One such car is BMW's 335i. While most examples of these are purely a petrol affair, some models like this 76,154km four-door are 'Active Hybrid' models. In this instance, a hybrid system is mated to the car's twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine and used as a 'torque fill' for the rev range. In layman's terms, the hybrid system helps provide a boost of torque to the engine while the twin-turbos are still spooling up to eliminate lag.
There are mild benefits at the fuel pump, too, allowing owners to have their performance-flavoured cake and eat it too.
This 335i Active Hybrid sits just outside the magical $20,000 budget, priced at $26,480. But that's still a handy deal for German performance paired with an M-Sport appearance package, tan leather and wood. Click here to check it out, or — if you're wanting something a bit bigger click here to check out a larger 2012 535i with just 51,550km on the clock.
Of course, buying a second-hand German luxury car can be somewhat risky. Which is why many people opt for the Lexus route instead.
The Lexus GS 450h has been a mainstay for over 10 years in the hybrid luxury-car segment. While its German rivals traditionally pack an edge in performance, handling, and badge-led star power, older Lexus models tend to fight back with excellent ride quality and sound deadening, superior depreciation, and noted reliability.
This 2009 GS 450h sits in New Lynn, Auckland, with a mere 59,063km on the clock and a price-tag of $18,995. And, most uniquely, it also comes with a full service history — a rarity in most fresh Japanese imports. Click here to check it out.
Hybrid systems can make a serious dent in your petrol bill, especially if you have to drive a large, heavy car — like a people-mover for instance.
Thankfully, the technology is becoming more readily available for minibus drivers and those known to host the occasional large family gathering. And this 2014 Nissan Serena 8-seater is a prime example.
It makes a chain-driven 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to a proven hybrid system. While Toyota tend to attract the majority of accolades for its refinement of battery tech, it's worth noting that Nissan aren't too far behind with the longevity of cars like the Leaf, Note, and indeed the Serena. This 64,077km example is listed at St Johns in Auckland, and is priced at $22,950. Click here to check it out.
The compact SUV genre is growing at an exponential rate, and Subaru's XV is one of the more interesting players in the line-up.
Based on the same platform as the standard Impreza, the XV sports an increased ride-height and rugged looks. Ironically, even though it's clearly an SUV with hatchback roots, the XV can arguably claim to be 'more of an SUV' than a lot of its competitors given that it comes with a version of Subaru's renowned and rallying-honed four-wheel drive system. On the flipside, these XVs are known to not be terribly quick cars (something made worse by the CVT), but there's no denying that they have street presence.
There are plenty of hybrid versions available in Auckland (like this $20,995, 46,000km model), but this silver example in Otago — with just 38,824km on the odometer — caught our attention. Click here to check it out.
In terms of value-for-buck, the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid might present the best value on this list.
Early models are now popping up in the low-$20k bracket, with this black version (with half-leather cabin, cruise control, buckets of space, and 81,040km) slotting in at $23,990.
What makes the Outlander different to most on this list is that it's a plug-in hybrid. This means it can run purely on electric power, which can be charged at a home socket or at a public charger. Early Outlanders like this one boasted a claimed 50km range on electric power alone. In the real world that number is an optimistic one, with 35km a much more realistic aim.
It might not sound like a huge distance, sure, but for many in urban centres that's enough to cover the run to work and back. Click here to check it out.
Now, the Honda Fit Hybrid featured earlier was very much a car at the budget end of the spectrum. If you wanted to take the values of that Fit and aim for something much newer, you'd likely land on this electrified Suzuki Swift.
The current-shape Swift divides somewhat with its curious styling, but it's one of the most enjoyable 'b-segment' micro-cars on the market to drive. And in Japan, there was a hybrid model. It paired a hybrid system to the Swift's 1.2-litre Dualjet four-cylinder engine, with Suzuki claiming an economy rating of 5.1L/100km.
The main thing to monitor with current-gen Swift imports is the level of spec. This white model (based in Auckland) looks exceptional, has just 35,213km on the clock, and is priced at an impressive $19,892. Click here to check it out, but note that it lacks adaptive cruise control and a few other features that a lot of Swifts of this generation get as standard.
But, good news ... if you're after those features there's a black, body-kitted Swift listed currently for exactly the same price. Click here to check it out.
The new Mazda3 has just landed in New Zealand, meaning that now is a good time to go looking for deals on previous-generation models.
Hybrid versions are hard to come by, but they're out there — as evidenced by this Auckland-based 2014 Axela sedan. Here Mazda combined its 2.0-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder with a hybrid system good for a claimed economy of 3.2L/100km.
This particular car comes with a generous amount of spec, including leather upholstery, an electric driver's seat, Bose audio, alloys and more. And all of this is hooked to one of the roomiest and most enjoyable steers in the compact-car class of the time. Click here to check it out.
Yes, there had to be a Prius on this list.
Toyota's pioneering hybrid is a favourite of Uber drivers nationwide for good reason. They're the daddy of the segment, and still represent a benchmark today for those wanting a reliable, frugal, and fuss-free hybrid ownership experience.
For $20,000, you're most likely to be buying a low-km Prius from the last generation. However, if you shop around, you can find a few early models from the current generation almost within budget — like this 60,300km, $23,950 model in Panmure.
The current generation's styling isn't going to win any beauty contests, but it does help the Prius achieve a better drag coefficient and, in turn, better economy. Click here to check it out.
But just like there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's also more than one way to become a Prius owner. Those who want the economy, the resale, and the reliability of a Prius but don't want the Uber association or quirky looks are slowly starting to migrate over to the standard Prius' cheaper, friendlier cousin — the Prius C.
Mating similar technology to a smaller 1.5-litre engine and a smaller platform, the Prius C wraps Toyota hybrid tech in a more approachable package. Economy is listed at a still very impressive 3.L/100km, and most come with features like cruise control and touchscreen infotainment.
The big thing to look out for with Prius C models, like the aforementioned Swift, is spec. In Japan they're known as a Toyota Aqua, and low-spec models can sometimes come with nostalgic features like wind-up rear windows. Low spec models with less than 100,000km on the clock can be found for much, much less than $10,000 (click here to check out a 2014 model with 96,000km on the clock for just $7,950).
But, those wanting to get the best possible vehicle would struggle to do much better than the above New Zealand–new example listed in Auckland. It's spec'd well with alloy wheels, a touch-screen, and neat blue interior highlights. Plus it's only done 30,900km. Click here to check it out.