For those arriving to the party late, a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) combines the best of both worlds with Electric and Hybrid powertrains - both of which can drive the wheels. There's an electric motor that enables drivers to travel a certain distance based on the capacity of the batteries and there's a normal petrol engine that kicks in once the electric battery is depleted.

Plug-in Hybrids are perfect for those who want the environmental and fuel saving benefits of an EV, but still require more range for those weekend getaways.

We’ve assembled a list of the top four selling PHEV vehicles (in order of 2018 sales figures) and pointed out some of their key features and merits that may appeal to anyone considering a new plug-in vehicle.

Mitsubishi Outlander 

Go back to 2014 and it was Mitsubishi who introduced the world's first mass production plug-in hybrid SUV. Since the launch, the Outlander has been selling very well with little commotion. In fact in 2017, six out of every ten PHEVs sold in NZ were Outlanders – not a bad stat!

Though the Outlander PHEV has had upgrades since its introduction four years ago, including the ability to recharge on a fast-charging station (20 mins), the vehicle retains the same powertrain, transmission and main features as the first model introduced. The 5-star ANCAP rated SUV has an electric range of around 54km and retails from $60,990 + on road costs. 

Hyundai Ioniq

The Ioniq can reach a range of up to 63kms on pure electric power- while creating zero emissions – and over 1000kms in Hybrid mode. For maximum convenience, the Ioniq can be charged for as little as 3 hours using a home fast charging wallbox or alternatively, a regular 3-pin wall socket can be used for overnight charging. The Ioniq has an ANCAP rating of 5-stars and retails from $53,990 + on road costs, making it an affordable and enticing offering from the Korean automaker.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota have always been known for their hybrid vehicles. The Prius Prime offers enviable environmental credentials, including an electric vehicle range of up to 63kms, a weighted combined fuel consumption of only 1.0L/100kms and CO2 emissions of just 22 g/km.  One feature that sets the Prius Prime apart is its world-first gas injection heat pump air conditioning. The heat pump can efficiently warm the interior using heat absorbed from the outside air. The Prius Prime is 5-star ANCAP rated and is priced from $48,490 – on road costs included. 

Kia Niro

The Kia Niro is the company’s first dedicated hybrid model designed specifically with advanced fuel-saving powertrain technology in mind. The Niro can travel up to 57km on battery power alone – and when the petrol and electric motors are used together, the combined fuel economy is just 1.3L/100km. The Niro comes with a 3.3KWh onboard charger that is fitted with a 3-pin plug so that it can be charged at home using special power adapters. A full charge takes around 4 hours using the standard system, while an upgraded Type 2 charger can charge the battery pack in under 2 hours.

Like all of the models mentioned above, the Kia Niro  has a 5-star ANCAP rating. It is priced from $55,990 + on road costs.

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