Five great alternatives to a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Want a hybrid mid-size SUV but don’t want to wait over 12 months for it? Nissan, Haval, Mitsubishi, MG and Kia have the answers…

Nissan X-TRAIL e-POWER

The X-TRAIL e-POWER is Nissan’s first entry in the hybrid medium SUV segment and, whereas the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid relies primarily on an internal combustion engine for drive, the X-TRAIL does the exact opposite.

Like the front-drive and all-wheel drive RAV4 Hybrid (priced from $42,260), the X-TRAIL e-POWER is a plugless hybrid, but instead of having a series-parallel hybrid system that can employ petrol or electric power to drive it wheels, the Nissan is exclusively electric-drive and uses a small-capacity internal combustion engine to generate charge for the modest onboard battery pack that powers its wheels (all four in this case).

The end result is an EV-like driving experience with direct drive and instant torque, plus all the traditional convenience of a fuel tank and internal combustion.

Price: From $54,690 plus ORCs

Haval H6 Hybrid

Following the more conventional method of giving priority to the internal combustion engine is the Haval H6 Hybrid which, in no uncertain terms, is the torquiest vehicle on this list.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine under the bonnet is paired with a mighty electric motor for a combined system output of 179kW/510Nm, all of which is shipped to the front wheels… without the help of a limited-slip differential.

This gifts it some immense roll-on performance on the open road, while the in-town driving experience is similar to that of most other hybrids.

Price: From $42,490 plus ORCs

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV

Admittedly more expensive than the other options on this list but a whole lot more advanced is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which blends the best elements of internal combustion with the perks of battery-electric tech into one do-it-all plug-in hybrid package.

Whereas a regular hybrid can barely cover a kilometre on battery power alone or surpass town speeds, the Outlander PHEV can travel up to 84km (ADR) emissions-free and at up to 135km/h, so if you keep the battery topped up you might never need to put fuel in it.

Like the X-TRAIL e-POWER, the Outlander PHEV is exclusively all-wheel drive, and it nearly wins the kiloWatt count with 185kW/450Nm on tap, which makes for some very peppy performance when called upon.

Price: From $57,290 plus ORCs

MG HS PHEV

Fancy some of that plug-in hybrid life but don’t have the budget for an Outlander? Perhaps the front-drive MG HS PHEV and its sub-$50,000 drive-away starting price is for you then.

The HS PHEV has been on sale in Australia since 2021 (and will be replaced by an all-new model in 2024), but hasn’t garnered anywhere near the popularity of the other established offerings in this list, let alone the internal combustion versions.

Still, MG is advertising a 64km NEDC electric driving range, warm-hatch performance and one of the most competitive aftersales programs in the industry, with a seven-year warranty that betters all but the Mitsubishi’s conditional 10-year warranty.

Price: From $49,690 drive-away

Kia Sportage HEV

Not technically available just yet but not far away from Australian showrooms is the new Kia Sportage HEV – the electrified version of our reigning Best Mid-size SUV.

The Kia follows the traditional hybrid recipe in having an internal combustion engine to power the wheels most of the time, a self-charging battery pack and an electric motor that’s really only there for pulling away, parking and other low-speed manoeuvres.

Australia is only getting the front-drive version at this stage, which puts the Sportage at a disadvantage against the RAV4, X-TRAIL and Outlander, but it strikes back against the former two with more power and a seven-year warranty.

Price: TBC

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