By: Byron Mathioudakis

Over the past 20 years, hybrid cars have quietly and steadily moved into market segments ranging from tiny city cars through to large SUVs and luxury sports cars.

They’ve become more efficient, safer and more refined. And you’re now more likely to be able to buy one that suits your needs and your budget. 

We've looked at the pros and cons of a wide range of regular and plugin hybrid cars on offer in Australia in 2021 for under $100k, to help you decide if moving to a hybrid is the right choice.

These reviews cover hybrid cars. For a run down of SUVs, check out our reviews of Hybrid SUVs available in Australia 2021.

Regular hybrid cars:

(Skip to plug-in hybrids)

Toyota Corolla Hybrid from $27,395 plus on-road costs

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota quietly released a series-parallel hybrid version of the previous Corolla in 2016, but it was the all-new 12th-generation version launched in 2018 that brought electrification to the masses.

Also available in sedan shape, the Corolla’s hybrid system has been substantially updated, using a 1.8-litre engine, a lighter electric motor and redesigned battery. Pure electric-only drive is only possible under light acceleration or off-throttle cruising, before the petrol unit kicks on.

Spirited off the line, and ultra-smooth as it transitions from electric to piston power, acceleration then tapers off noticeably at higher speeds, revealing the economy – rather than performance – priorities at play. The flipside is exceptionally low consumption, as well as quiet, easy operation. Great for around town, but tardy on the open road compared to the muscular 2.0-litre petrol-only alternative.

More worrying is the hatchback’s boot capacity – just 217L with a temporary spare – which is less than the baby Yaris’ – so if that’s an issue then choose a tyre-inflation kit for 333L, or go the 470L sedan instead.

Otherwise, with excellent road manners, a comfy ride, roomy cabin, stylish dash and generous standard safety kit, the Corolla Hybrid is a fun, efficient and engaging choice.

Toyota Corolla Hybrid specifications
Engine: 72kW/142Nm 1.8L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 53kW/163Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.3kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 90kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.2L/100km
CO2: 97g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Toyota Yaris Hybrid from $29,090 plus on-road costs

Blue Toyota Yaris Hybrid

While carmakers are abandoning the light hatch class in droves, Toyota is redoubling its efforts with the Yaris Hybrid, providing affordable petrol-electric motoring for the masses.

Completely new, Toyota’s fourth-gen five-door hatch since 1999’s breakout Echo, mirrors the previous model size-wise, matching rivals like the Suzuki Swift, but offers substantially greater interior space.

The styling inside and out transforms from dull to daring, with notable advances in seat comfort, cabin quality and refinement levels, backed up by reduced road noise, a modern touchscreen interface and even a world-first airbag between the front seats. Plus, driver-assist safety like AEB, adaptive cruise control and a lane-keep system debut, highlighting the Toyota’s newfound high-tech maturity.

Likewise, the Hybrid’s powertrain also breaks fresh ground, introducing a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine assisted by a lightweight lithium-ion battery and electric motor. Along with stunning economy, this Yaris delivers surprisingly sprightly performance and battery-only power for a claimed “80 per cent of most average commutes”, as well as surefooted handling. It loses points though for entry-point pricing and no cupholders or USB ports for rear-seat riders.

Smart, advanced, affordable and fun, the Yaris Hybrid is perfect for eco-minded urban commuters needing a compact car.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid specifications
Engine: 67kW/120Nm 1.5L in-line 3 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 59kW/141Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 4.3Ah lithium-ion
Total system power: 85kW
EV range: <2km
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 3.3L/100km
CO2: 76g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Toyota Camry Hybrid Series II from $33,490 plus on-road costs

Beige Toyota Camry

The last nameplate standing from the bygone era of Australian vehicle manufacturing, the popular Camry has remained a byword for durability and functionality.

Released in 2017, the current, eighth-generation version has been facelifted for 2021.

Along with a new nose, larger touchscreen and improved safety, only a single, non-hybrid Camry grade remains – the fleet-focused Ascent, now with a 152kW 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The V6s have also gone. The rest are all petrol-electric.

The hybrid system remains Toyota’s proven series-parallel set-up, consisting of a 2.5-litre engine that’s assisted by an electric motor and battery to provide extra muscle while also saving petrol. Up to 2km of battery-only motoring (at under 40km/h) is possible to help stretch out the latter.

Like all Camrys, the Hybrid offers easy controls, family-friendly practicality, five-adult accommodation and a big, 524L boot including a space-saver spare, yet it now also steers, corners and grips the road with impressive assurance and control, reflecting the stronger engineering emphasis that went into the latest iteration.

Throw in high equipment levels (including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity), and it’s clear why the Hybrid really helps the Camry to dominate the medium-sedan segment. Good work, Toyota.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Series II specifications
Engine: 131kW/221Nm 2.5L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 88kW/202Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.6kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 155kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.2L/100km
CO2: 96g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid from $35,690 plus on-road costs

White Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

With three distinct Ioniq models to choose from, Hyundai has the affordable electrified small-car market covered.

The cheapest is the Hybrid, which undercuts the conceptually-similar Prius by more than $3,000. It’s available in Elite or the better-equipped Premium and includes AEB autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert and other driver-assist safety gear.

Like the Toyota, the Hybrid employs a series-parallel set-up, but in smaller 1.6-litre (rather than the Prius’ 1.8L) sizing, driving the front wheels via a responsive six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Assisted by a 32kW electric motor, 104kW is the total system power output, but there’s no battery-only driving range. Instead, its main mission is to greatly benefit economy, to average an exceptional 3.2L/100km.

The battery is recharged via energy garnered from braking and/or the petrol engine. There is also the Plug-in that adds a cable to recharge using the mains, for more than 60km of electric driving, while the Electric EV is purely battery powered and is claimed to achieve up to 373km between charges.

With plenty of cabin space, a stylish dashboard, excellent multimedia set-up, easy controls and a sizeable luggage area under the hatch, the Ioniq Hybrid is a practical and frugal runabout.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid specifications
Engine: 77kW/147Nm 1.6L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: Six-speed DCT/FWD
Motor: 32kW/170 AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.56kWh Lithium-ion
Total output power: 104kW
EV range: N/A
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 3.4L/100km
CO2: 79g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Toyota Prius V from $37,590 plus on-road costs

White Toyota Prius V

Essentially an expanded third-generation Prius, the series-parallel hybrid V launched back in 2012, and is smaller and narrower than people movers such as the Honda Odyssey, as well as midsized SUVs like Nissan’s X-Trail.

Yet the seven-seater wagon’s front, second and third rows can concurrently accommodate up to 190cm, 180cm, and – at a squeeze – 170cm people respectively. Wide doors provide easy access, there’s 180 litres of cargo space, or 485L with row three dropped, beating some larger wagons. Clever.

Toyota swapped out the regular Prius’ nickel-metal hydride battery pack for a far slimmer lithium-ion unit, housed between the front seats. With no external charging possible because the hybrid system is only designed to assist rather than take over, under 2km of pure electric drive is possible, before the 73kW/142Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine kicks in.

Where the V feels its age is in its initial sluggish and noisy acceleration, though owners are more likely to appreciate the willing performance once at highway speeds, brilliant economy, good vision and light controls for effortless parking and generous safety kit that include a camera, AEB, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning.

Nearly a decade on, the Prius V remains one of the cheapest seven seaters available, as well as the only one that’s a hybrid, making it a uniquely compelling proposition.

Toyota Prius V Hybrid specifications
Engine: 73kW/142Nm 1.8L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 60kW AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.0kWh lithium-ion
Total system power: 100kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.4L/100km
CO2: 101g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars (ANCAP tested in 2015)

Toyota Prius from $38,365 plus on-road costs

Red Toyota Prius

Synonymous with the term ‘hybrid’, today’s Prius is a culmination of decades of development.

Launched in 2016 and facelifted in 2019 with a new nose and tail, updated multimedia screen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, the fourth-gen version evolves the series-parallel hybrid technology the original pioneered back in 1997.

At the Prius’ heart is a 1.8-litre engine, electric motor and battery system. After a brief period of battery-only motivation at take-off, the petrol unit kicks on quietly, then shuts off again under deceleration or braking, while charging the battery pack along the way. Efficiency is assisted by very deliberate aerodynamic styling, helping achieve a startling 3.4L/100km.

Unlike previous Priuses, today’s version rewards the keen driver, with accurate steering and sharp handling, while the suspension isolates most bumps well. The dash is space-age in design, but employs quality materials. Comfy cushions and the spacious hatch out back (over 500L in capacity) highlight the Toyota’s family-friendly packaging. And, driver-assist safety systems like AEB, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are also offered. Going for the flagship i-Tech adds plenty of luxury touches. However, no spare tyre is fitted.

Though not cheap, the well-rounded Prius represents strong value.

Toyota Prius specifications
Engine: 72kW/142Nm 1.8L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 53kW/163Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.3kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 90kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 3.4L/100km
CO2: 80g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mazda 3 X20 M Hybrid from $40,790 plus on-road costs

Red Mazda Astina X20

Mazda’s first hybrid (in Australia at least) is SkyActiv-X – badged X20 for short.

The X20 uses a 2.0-litre engine (hence ‘20’), combining compression ignition (just like a diesel) at one point of the combustion cycle, as well as spark ignition like petrol engines do at the another. Why? Because one’s better for low-speed response while the other suits high-rev performance. Best of both worlds stuff.

But wait, there’s more, because the X20 also includes an integrated, belt-driven starter generator and 24-volt lithium-ion battery, which assists the engine and recoups lost energy during deceleration. That’s the M, for mild hybrid.

With a supercharger plumping out power, the result is a modest 132kW and 224Nm – up from the usual 114kW/200Nm in the normal 2.0-litre engine, while slashing the petrol combined consumption figure to 5.3L/100km – that’s 1.0L/100km down.

Everything else is regular Mazda3 – meaning elegant styling, a beautiful, roomy and refined interior and ample practicality. It’s also fun to drive. Combined with a premium feel, this is a small car that ticks all the boxes right now.

Mazda 3 X20 M Hybrid specifications
Engine: 132kW/224Nm 2.0L in-line 4 supercharged petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 6-speed/front
Motor: Integrated Starter Motor
Battery: 24V lithium-ion
Total power/torque 132kW/224Nm
EV range: 0km
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 5.3L/100km
CO2: 127g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Lexus CT200h from $41,750 plus on-road costs

Blue Lexus CT200h

Now a decade old, the CT200h is feeling creaky.

Like the related (2009-2015) Prius, the Japanese-built hatch is a series-parallel hybrid, giving it a uniquely eco-focused identity against rivals like Mercedes’ A-Class.

Reasons for the littlest Lexus’ longevity are clear. Its design has presence, with a stylish dash, clear dials, plush seats, plenty of equipment and high-quality fittings. A 2016 facelift brought additional driver-assist safety and other updates.

Additionally, even though it is based on the previous-generation Corolla, the CT200h features a sophisticated independent rear suspension set-up, promising excellent dynamics.

However, while the littlest Lexus is frugal, the 73kW 1.8-litre engine feels oddly flat even with electrical assistance, lacking the punch or refinement of most premium competitors. Acceleration is merely adequate, and is accompanied by a harshness and drone at higher speeds that is at odds with the brand’s values.

Worse still, the suspension is too firm. Sure, it helps the CT200h take corners quickly, but the ride feels bumpy and unsettled on all but smooth roads, while the steering is too light and seems artificial.

Factor in the fiddly multimedia, cramped rear seat and small boot, and the CT200h is left wanting. Go for Lexus’ superior UX250h instead.

Lexus CT200h Hybrid specifications
Engine: 73kW/142Nm 1.8L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 60kW/207Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.3kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 100kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.1L/100km
CO2: 95g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid from $55,800 plus on-road costs

Silver Honda Accord

Hailing from Thailand but designed mainly for American tastes, the 10th-generation Accord in Hybrid guise takes the fight upmarket, boasting everything-including-the-kitchen-sink luxury, quiet refinement, sprawling rear legroom and a massive boot (with a space-saver spare).

Under the bonnet is a 107kW/175Nm 2.0-litre engine and a pair of electric motors – one for propulsion, the other a generator – driving the front wheels. Like Toyota’s system, this is a series-parallel hybrid set-up, offering three modes – EV Drive with short bursts of full electric propulsion during initial acceleration, light cruising and braking; Hybrid Drive that combines electric plus petrol power; and Engine Drive that prioritises petrol, but is aided by electric as required. Note that sustained EV-only drive is not possible.

The upshot is instant, seamless and gutsy performance, combined with exceptionally low fuel consumption, while precise steering and agile handling are further plus points. But bumpy roads can make the Honda feel bouncy, the dash already seems dated and somewhat downmarket, and the multimedia interface is needlessly fiddly.

Still, with sleek styling, heaps of equipment and a full suite of driver-assist safety tech, today’s Accord Hybrid makes for a convincing if understated premium eco alternative.

Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid specifications
Engine: 107kW/175Nm 2.0L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 51kW AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.3kWh Lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 158kW/315Nm
EV range: N/A
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.3L/100km
CO2: 98g/km
Safety rating: N/A

Peugeot 508 Hybrid from $60,000 (approx.) plus on-road costs

White Peugeot 508

Peugeot has sold cars in Australia for almost as long as it has made them (132 years and counting), but the 508 PHEV Plug-in Hybrid EV – or Hybrid – will be its first local foray into electrification when sales commence later in 2021.

The thing is, the French brand has honed this technology for over a decade in the previous 508 elsewhere, so it’s no Johnny-Come-Lately to the eco party. And the sveltely stylish 508 liftback is here to take on luxury giants Mercedes-Benz C300e and BMW’s 330e.

So, what does the latest Peugeot hybrid entail? A punchy 132kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine is combined with an eight-speed auto transmission and 80kW electric motor, to drive the front wheels. Some 54km of pure EV range is available as required, at up to 135km/h, and needs about seven hours to recharge using a household socket – or under two hours at fast-flow accelerated charging stations.

The continuing normal petrol version, with its sharp handling, supple ride and outstanding interior presentation – remains as a great premium medium liftback (or wagon) choice – and with this level of technology, the same ought to apply to the 508 Hybrid.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid specifications
Engine: 133kW/250Nm 1.6L in-line 4 turbo petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 8-speed/front
Motor: 80kWh AC synchronous electric
Battery: 11.8kWh lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 165kW/360Nm
EV range: 54km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 1.5L/100km
CO2: 28g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Lexus ES300h from $62,525 plus on-road costs

Silver Lexus ES300h

Once, the cheapest Lexus sedan was criticised for being a bloated, dressed-up Camry, but today’s seventh-generation ES, out since 2018, truly benefits from its Toyota connection.

Streamlined, imposing and astoundingly spacious inside, the ES300h comes in three grades – Luxury, F Sport and Sport Luxury – and all include goodies like top-level driver-assist safety tech, smartphone wireless charging, a head-up display and a massive multimedia screen. Too bad the latter’s mouse control is infuriating to use. The dash looks expensive, the seating is sumptuous, rear legroom monumental and the boot (with temporary spare) cavernous.

Underneath, the ES300h is pure series-parallel hybrid Camry, from its proven 2.5-litre petrol engine/CVT transmission, electric motor and battery set-up, to charging only via the engine and/or captured kinetic brake energy redistribution. However, though speedy off the mark (thanks to all that electric motor’s torque assistance), pleasingly responsive to throttle inputs and quiet on the move, the Lexus’ steering feels a little too light and disconnected from the action.

About the size of a BMW 530e PHEV but at nearly half the price, the Japanese-built ES300h represents real value for money. Note that a facelifted version for 2022 will be released later this year.

Lexus ES300h Hybrid specifications
Engine: 131kW/221Nm 2.5L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/front
Motor: 88kW/202Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.6kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 160kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 4.6L/100km
CO2: 104g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Lexus IS300h from $64,500 plus on-road costs

White Lexus IS300h

Not so much as a facelift as an extensively restyled version of the previous model launched in 2013, the fourth-gen IS can be spotted by its more coupe-like silhouette, fresh face, revised rear and wider tracks, giving it a racier and more contemporary appearance.

As before, the popular IS300h features a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, consisting of a 2.5-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery combination. Though prioritising economy, the electrical assistance in Sport mode will provide a hefty surge of torque to the rear wheels from stand still. Plus, light steering offers precise cornering agility, though more feedback would be welcome.

The Lexus’ cabin is snug yet special, with a striking dash, lovely materials, excellent quality and loads of standard features helping to justify the premium pricing – including a 10.3-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2021. Sumptuous seating, storage galore, thoughtfully placed controls and a decent boot (but with no spare) are further highs.

With updated looks, added safety and improved multimedia, the 2021 IS300h provides a high quality, enjoyable and dependable alternative to a BMW 3 Series.

Lexus IS300h Hybrid specifications
Engine: 133kW/221Nm 2.5L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: CVT/rear
Motor: 105kW/300Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 1.6kWh Nickel-metal hydride
Total system power: 164kW
EV range: <2km @ <40km/h
Electricity: N/A
Fuel: 5.1L/100km
CO2: 116g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

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Plug-in hybrid cars:

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in from $42,410 plus on-road costs

Hyundai Ionic plug-in

Released locally in 2018, the Ioniq was overhauled in 2020 with fresh styling, a slick dashboard redesign bringing a massive touchscreen, a fuller suite of safety equipment like stop/go adaptive cruise control and a quieter cabin.

Emulating the Toyota Prius in size and shape, the Ioniq is a full five-seater with ample space up front but tight rear headroom for taller folks due to the aero-enhancing sloping roofline. The hatch brings a useful 341L of cargo capacity.

Undercutting other plug-ins by many thousands, Hyundai’s Plug-in arrives in Elite or leather-and-luxury $46,950 Premium guise. Both are handsomely equipped, and feature a 77kW/147Nm 1.6-litre petrol engine paired to an electric motor driving the front wheels via a dual-clutch auto (DCT).

Over 60km of sole electric drive is achievable, before the batteries drain and the engine fires into life, though the motor does provide additional muscle. The result is a zippy performer that handles corners with reassuring agility, though bumps do make themselves felt (and heard) around town. Recharging via a regular home socket takes around seven hours.

Great for all-electric commuting yet still good for 900km on a tankful of unleaded, the Ioniq Plug-in is a friendly stepping stone to full EV motoring.

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in specifications
Engine: 77kW/147Nm 1.6L in-line 4 petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 6-speed DCT/front
Motor: 44.5kW AC synchronous electric
Battery: 8.9kWh lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 104kW/170Nm
EV range: 63km
Electricity: 10.3kW/h/100km
Fuel: 1.1L/100km
CO2: 26g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-Benz A250e PHEV from $63,500 plus on-road costs

Beige Mercedes Benz A250e

Mercedes’ first tilt at a small-car plug-in hybrid in Australia was the A250e hatch and sedan (for a $3,000 premium), released late in 2020.

Powered by a 1.3-litre turbo engine and electric motor combo, up to 73km of battery-only driving is possible, before switching to petrol motivation, and charging requires around seven hours at home or about two hours via an optional wall box.

Driving modes include Comfort, Eco and Sport, while the regenerative braking strength can be adjusted via steering wheel-mounted paddles.

Performance is lively, with the combined 160kW of power coming on strongly and seamlessly, though with 450Nm of torque on tap, the front wheels might struggle for traction. Decisive steering and nimble handling are further highlights, but a stiff suspension tune can result in a bumpy ride.

Otherwise, it’s all pure fourth-gen A-Class, including the beautiful multimedia screen, digitised instrumentation offering multi-configurable views as well as excellent safety levels. Rear-seat room is tight as usual, while boot capacity drops dramatically (down 60L to 310L in the hatch and 75L to 355L in sedan) due to the battery tech being stored back there.

Still, compact eco statements don’t come richer than the hybrid baby Benz.

Mercedes-Benz A250e Plug-in specifications
Engine: 118kW/250Nm 1.3L in-line 4 turbo petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 8-speed DCT/front
Motor: 75kW/300Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 15.6kWh Lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 160kW/450Nm
EV range: Up to 73km
Electricity: 14.6-15.3kWh
Fuel: 1.6L/100km
CO2: 34g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

BMW 330e PHEV from $84,900 plus on-road costs

Grey BMW 330e

Did you know BMW is a hybrid pioneer in its premium segment, first with 2012’s ‘ActiveHybrid 3’ model and then its 330e replacement four years later?

Based on the seventh-generation ‘G20’ 3 Series launched during 2019, today’s 330e plug-in hybrid arrives from Germany in either M Sport or Luxury grades, and consists of a 135kW/300Nm four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, an electric motor and battery pack combination.

The upshot is 60km of pure EV drive – doubling that of its predecessor – before the engine kicks in seamlessly, while over 1800km between refills is claimed. Impressive. Charge times vary from three to seven hours, the latter from a normal household outlet.

However, being a BMW, driving pleasure also matters, so unless the 330e is driven directly after the regular 330i petrol, you’d struggle to pick differences. The hybrid is only 0.1 seconds slower to get to 100km/h (at just 5.9s), handles corners with similar, precise control, and features the same spacious, quality-made, media-savvy interior.

On the flipside, the 330e’s boot capacity is 105 litres smaller (at 375L), there’s no spare wheel, desirable options remain expensive and the warranty is mean, while going green attracts a $7000 slug.

Still, electrification only enhances what is one of the most sports/luxury sedans around.

BMW 330e Plug-in specifications
Engine: 135kW/300Nm 2.0L in-line 4 turbo petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 8-speed auto/rear
Motor: 83kWh AC synchronous electric
Battery: 10.3kWh lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 215kW/420Nm
EV range: 60km
Electricity: 15.4kW/h/100km
Fuel: 2.2L/100km
CO2: 50g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-Benz C300e from $85,100 plus on-road costs

Silver Mercedes Benz C300e

Launched in 2014, Australia’s favourite luxury midsizer will soon be completely redesigned, but the C300e released last year remains surprisingly up to date.

Available only as a sedan, it amalgamates a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo, nine-speed auto, an electric motor and sizeable battery, with startling results. On one hand, a scalding 5.4 seconds 100km/h, or on the other, 52km of petrol-free electric drive. The latter is replenishable in seven hours using a normal domestic power outlet, or in two hours via an available wall box.

Such tech doesn’t come cheap, but be grateful that the standard C300e is quite luxuriously equipped, and impresses with supportive seats, terrifically connected steering, full driver-assist safety and air suspension offering either a cushy ride or road-hugging tautness.

However, when extended, the turbo powertrain can sound gruff, the dash is looking very last decade and lags behind BMW’s 330e equivalent with outmoded multimedia and a laughably inaccurate voice-control, while luggage capacity is curtailed by a battery pack stack (and there’s no spare wheel either).

Hushed as an EV yet still a slingshot in sport mode, the handsome C300e’s PHEV tech remains a real drawcard for the ageing series.

Mercedes-Benz C300e Plug-in specifications
Engine: 155kW/350Nm 2.0L in-line 4 turbo petrol
Transmission/driving wheels: 9-speed auto/rear
Motor: 90kW/440Nm AC synchronous electric
Battery: 13.5kWh Lithium-ion
Total power/torque: 235kW/700Nm
EV range: 52km
Electricity: 16.7kWh/100km
Fuel: 2.1L/100km
CO2: 46g/km
Safety rating: 5 stars

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Last updated: April 2021