Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Reviews

PHEV's blend some of the benefits of an electric car, with the convenience and familiarity of a traditional engine.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!


What are PHEV cars?

PHEV is the acronym for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. PHEV hybrids differ from other types of low emission cars because they have a rechargeable onboard battery. With a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, this power pack can be used temporarily as the sole means of propulsion, thanks to an electric motor. However, because it isn't as large as a fully electric car's battery, the EV-only range is somewhat limited. Thankfully, with a conventional internal combustion engine under the bonnet, buyers don't have the range anxiety of a battery electric vehicle (BEV, like the Tesla Model 3 or Nissan Leaf 2).

Interestingly, manufacturers often blend the two technologies together, with the fossil fuel engine and electric motors working as a team. The result is decreased emissions, especially in towns and improved fuel economy.

In short, you could think of a PHEV hybrid as a car with many of the benefits of an electric car, i.e. low emissions (electric cars are tailpipe emission-free) and an EV-only mode, with the added capability of travelling long distances without having to stop and recharge.

PHEV facts

Surprisingly, the first hybrid is a lot older than you think. The Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid was built in 1899. NASA and Boeing investigated the Mixte when designing the Lunar Rover.

How do you pronounce PHEV? Some people pronounce it as a word that sounds like "fev". However, as it is an acronym, spelling out "P-H-E-V" is also perfectly acceptable.

What's the difference between a PHEV and a mild hybrid?

As above, the PHEV is a plug-in vehicle with a combustion engine. Generally, they have a larger onboard battery pack than a mild hybrid and the ability to travel in EV-only mode.

A mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) is more of a closed circuit, typically with smaller batteries and generally lacking the ability to run entirely on electric power. In an MHEV, the electric motor supplements the engine (rather than providing propulsion power independently) and makes use of energy reclamation systems like regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The MHEV could be thought of as the middle ground between a HEV (see below) and a car with a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). A hybrid vehicle (HEV) can run under a combination of the electric motor (for brief periods, it is possible to travel on electric power alone) or the engine, but lacks the ability to be plugged in for topping up. The most widely known HEV is probably the Toyota Prius. Some manufacturers label this type of hybrid as "self-charging", which is a term that attracts much scrutiny.

People tend to call all of the above a hybrid car, which is true, but PHEV, MHEV and HEV more acutely denote the degree of hybridisation.

Latest Plug-in Hybrid reviews by Finder

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review

If you’re after a large SUV, you’re spoiled for choice. However, if you’re looking for a large SUV that attempts to reduce its footprint on the planet your options are considerably less. Enter the Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid ...

Read more…
2021 MG HS Plug-In Hybrid Review

2021 MG HS Plug-In Hybrid Review

After launching its first fully electric vehicle, MG has launched what it believes to be a good compromise: the MG HS Plug-In Hybrid.

Read more…
Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review

We really liked the combustion-engine-only XC40 when we drove it earlier in the year, so how does this plug-in hybrid compare considering you do pay a premium for the Recharge version?

Read more…

What to consider when buying a PHEV

Here's what you need to know before purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Which PHEV model is best?

That depends on your circumstances. Do you have a family? Are you looking for something sporty? Is it a car you'll drive mostly around town? The answer to these common PHEV questions can be found below.

Which PHEV should I buy for a family car?

That really is dependent on your budget and the size of your family. If the budget is a bit tight, the MG HS PLUS EV Essence PHEV is one of the cheapest plug-in hybrids on sale.

If you want something more luxurious, and need to carry up to seven, then the Volvo XC90 Recharge PHEV will meet those requirements, though they have a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $127,059.

Which PHEV is the most sporty?

Picture not described

Probably the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, which is the famous sports car brand's first PHEV. It has a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 and three electric motors. The car will warp from 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds and has an electric-only range of 25km. Claimed fuel economy combined is 6.1L/100km, but the price for this luxury sports car is likely north of $1 million once you factor in dealer delivery and on-road costs.

If you want a PHEV that's a smidge more affordable, then you might like something like the BMW 330 e M Sport PHEV, with a Manufacturer's Recommended Drive-away Price (MRDP) that starts at $95,415. This car produces 215kW and 300Nm from its 2.0-litre petrol engine. Combined fuel economy is given as 2.1L/100km.

BMW I8 Coupé

Another option, that's a less common, is the BMW i8. This car is no longer sold in Australia, but used ones are for sale online from $158,000 (excluding government charges). 0-100km/h is timed at 4.4 seconds and a Coupé model has electric range of 55km.

Which PHEV is good for around-town driving?

Hyundai IONIQ PHEV

Something like the Hyundai IONIQ PHEV, with its compact turning circle of 10.6 metres will suit you nicely. It also has an impressive EV-only range.

Which PHEV should I buy for a company car?

The Mitsubishi Outlander makes sense thanks to its solid blend of fuel economy and EV range. The BMW 330e or Merc C300e would also make a lot of sense, as those cars (in non-hybrid guise) have been travelling business person staples for decades.

Thanks to their "bulk buying power", OnlineAuto.com.au is able to help you buy the car you want and potentially save you money too. In fact, the average saving through OnlineAuto.com.au is $4,104.
Promoted Find a Deal on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

PHEV car financing

Looking for a pocket-friendly loan for your environmentally friendly car? Use the below comparison table and you could save hundreds of dollars.

$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
3.99% (fixed)
4.53%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$400
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.

⭐Special Offer: Settle the loan before 30 June 2022 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From 4.74% (fixed)
5.01%
$5,000
3 to 7 years
$195 for refinance and dealer sale ($245 for private sale)
$0
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $64,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From 3.69% (fixed)
4.23%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$350
$8.50
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.69% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.23% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
IMB New Car Loan
4.88% (fixed)
5.23%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$275.12 ($250 Application fee + $25.12 PPSR fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Driva Car Loan
From 3.99% (fixed)
4.79%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$295 (Varies by lender, starting from $295)
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.99% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.

⭐Exclusive Offer: Apply and settle with Driva by February 7, 2022 to earn a $250 fuel voucher.

RACV New Car Loans
From 4.99% (fixed)
5.69%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 3.69% (fixed)
5.27%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$700
$8.25
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.69% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
NRMA New Car Loan
From 4.99% (fixed)
5.69%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
7.16%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$265 ($175 Establishment Fee + $90 Security Administration Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.91%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From 5.75% (variable)
6.47%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From 5.45% (fixed)
5.45%
$5,000
2 to 7 years
from $0 to $595
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.45% p.a. and 21.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From 5.35% (fixed)
5.65%
$2,001
1 to 7 years
$250
$0
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
Latitude New and Used Car Loan
From 5.99% (fixed)
7.24%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$395
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a.
Apply for a loan from $5,000 to finance a new or used car. Flexible repayments and options to finance a classic car.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From 6.24% (fixed)
6.94%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Supplied

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site