NZ's top 5 fuel-efficient plug-in hybrids revealed: Driven News
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We previously revealed NZ’s most efficient petrol-powered cars, but as gas prices dominate national headlines we turn our attention to the ultimate gas sippers money can buy.
All cars in our countdown are capable of sipping less than 2-litres of petrol every 100km thanks to plug-in hybrid powertrains.
5 - Dead heat: Audi A3 e-tron / Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - 1.7 litres/100km
Scraping into the top 5 is a dead tie between two very different vehicles. The Audi A3 e-tron hatchback and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are both available in local dealerships with a 1.7 litre/100km fuel rating.
Under the bonnet of the Audi is a 1.4-litrepetrol engine producing 110kW and 250Nm gets shifted across slightly and paird with a parallel hybrid electric motor delivering an electric driving range of up to 50km.
Read more: Audi roll out hybrid e-tron range
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has an electric range of 54km and a combined range of over 600km.
By the end of 2017, Mitsubishi New Zealand had sold 500 Outlander PHEVs, making it this country’s biggest-selling pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.
That means 45 per cent of all EVs or plug-in vehicles sold new in New Zealand have been Outlander PHEVs.
4 - Kia Niro PHEV LTD - 1.3 litres/100km
New for 2018 is the Kia Niro SUV range. Available in hybrid or plug-in, the Niro PHEV will sip 1.3 litres of fuel every 100km.
Early next year a full-electric Niro will join Kia NZ’s line-up with an expected real-world range of around 400km.
3 - Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Elite - 1.1 litres / 100km
You know the Ioniq as Hyundai’s first full-electric vehicle to land in NZ, but there’s also a very economical hybrid in the line-up, too.
How do you spot the difference? EVs have a solid grille, plug-ins get a black slotted item to feed air into the engine bay.
The plug-in Ioniq has A 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 32kW hybrid electric motor that achieved fuel consumption of 1.1 litres in testing.
2 - Toyota Prius Prime - 1.0 litres / 100km
You knew it was going to make the list, but which Prius is best Prius when it comes to saving on fuel? Well, surprisingly, it’s not even close.
The Prius Prime that was introduced to Kiwis earlier this year is by far the most efficient Prius in the line-up, achieving an incredible fuel consumption rating of exactly 1.0 litre per 100 km and offering full-electric range of 62km.
Read more: Toyota Prius Prime road test
1 - BMW i3 REx (Range Extender) 0.7 litres / 100 km
We’re sure you’ve seen these little Beemers running around town, companies like Air New Zealand and Waste Management have a whole fleet of the things. Why? We’ll besides its unmistakable styling, the BMW i3 REx is the most efficient petrol sipper on sale in NZ.
You can purchase a full-electric i3 that will travel up to 200km on a charge, but you can also option a range extender with a small 650cc two-cylinder engine that charges the battery on the go, and extends the city cars range up to 330km.
Despite its economical credentials, the i3 will still do 0-100 in under 7 seconds and, if your keen enough, is good for 160km/h without the use of the petrol engine.
Read more: BMW i3 S road test
Driven's Best Bits
Craig Lowndes' final full-time season in Supercars is now guaranteed to be regarded as one of the best of his long career, after he and Steve Richards won today's memorable Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 — Lowndes' seventh and Richards' fifth.
The podium was filled by Walkinshaw Andretti United's Scott Pye and Warren Luff, and leading Kiwi Scott McLaughlin and Shell V-Power co-driver Alexandre Premat.
Lowndes’ is set to return as a co-driver for Red Bull Racing team next year, and he now eyes catching Holden Legend Peter Broock’s nine wins.
World's first flying car
The wait for that flying vehicle is finally over. The world's first flying car is set to go on the market with pre-sales scheduled to begin this month.
This is the Terrafugia TF-X, a two-seat hybrid-electric vehicles, which can switch between driving and flying modes in less than a minute, will be delivered to customers next year.
The vehicle has a cruising speed of 322 km/h, along with a 805 km flight range. It was certified as a Light Sport Aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2016 and the vehicle meets National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards.
Mazda Rotary returns
It's news few expected after the last Mazda RX-8 rolled off the production line in 2012. But rumour became reality last week when Mazda confirmed the return of the 'Wankel' rotary engine to its powertrain line-up, but not in the form you might expect.
Initial plans reveal that Mazda will develop two battery electric vehicles; one powered solely by a full-electric battery and another that pairs with a 'newly developed range extender powered by Mazda’s small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet rotary engine'. The range extender will recharge the battery when necessary, increasing the vehicle’s driving range.
Mazda won't say how big the rotary extender will be, but add that it will be developed to run on both liquid petroleum and LPG gas.
The engine could make its way into a production version of the RX-Vision concept, revealed in 2015, as a potential successor to the RX-7 and RX-8, but nothing has been confirmed yet.