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Best Hybrid SUVs to buy in Australia 2024 – Drive

Given that the SUV is the most popular body style in Australia, it should come as no surprise that an abundance of new SUVs will be arriving in the area in 2024.

Not only can we anticipate slight modifications to beloved vehicles such as the Kia Sportage and Land Rover Discovery Sport, but we can also anticipate brand-new Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda’s CX-80 models.

Not to mention the SUV hybrid car that are rapidly taking the market by storm—all-electric and hybrid models!

1: Land Rover Range Rover

By no means are luxury four-wheel drives a novel idea. The segment was actually invented by Range Rover decades ago, and although the British brand had things its own way for a while, other manufacturers quickly realized they could make a move and wanted a piece of the action.

Though it seems unthinkable today, the concept of a vehicle that could combine luxury and functionality in the late 1960s was merely a pipe dream. These days, all manufacturers wish to participate.

Furthermore, it’s not limited to Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW. The list is constantly expanding and includes Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Maserati, and Porsche.

The realm of ultra-luxury four-wheel drive is fascinating, made even more so if the vehicle in question sports a badge from Land Rover or Range Rover.

Any Land Rover product needs, on the one hand, to be extremely capable off-road. Fans and customers alone do not demand it; the brand does.

But nobody will ever go anywhere near much farther than a gravel national park trail in a 4WD like this, especially north of 300 grand.

Therefore, one would assume that the Rangie would be hindered when playing more concentrated opponents on the road. Not so sure, especially considering that Land Rover can provide 4WDs with dual purposes—off-road and on.

How much does the Range Rover cost in Australia?

Suggesting that the Rang Rover under test is expensive in Australia could be the succinct response here, and then continue. You can’t afford it if you have to ask, and all that. But let’s break it all down for those of you who can afford it.

The long wheelbase, seven-seat Autobiography model has an eye-watering starting price of $312,193 before on-road expenses.

Interestingly, the options list in our test example is fairly short.

Sure, you shouldn’t have to overload a car with options at this price, but once the options list is attacked, it’s not uncommon to see an additional 20 or 30 grand added to the cost. 

2: Bentley Bentayga

Bentley has discontinued the W12-powered Bentayga Speed in many global markets due to dwindling sales and tightening emissions regulations.

With many of the dynamic changes from the Speed as well as some helpful spec upgrades, the new V8 Bentayga S is meant to take the place of those who are no longer able to purchase the 6.0-liter model.

More substantial suspension adjustments have been made by Bentley, though they have been carefully calibrated to avoid impairing the regular Bentayga’s compliance with cushioning.

The Sport dynamic mode has been modified to increase agility when pushing hard, and the ESC stability control has been tuned more liberally. According to engineers, the S’s dampers are 15% stiffer than the standard V8’s.

The active Dynamic Ride system, which is an option on the less expensive car, is fitted as standard equipment, which is the biggest improvement to the driving experience over a basic V8.

With S branding embroidered into the seats and on the dashboard, the cabin receives an abundance of the Alcantara trim that interior designers use to convey a sporty vibe. Similar to other Bentayga models, buyers will have the choice of a third row that can be used part-time in addition to a bench or individual seats in the back. 

In summary, it’s an upscale parts bin special with minimal overall changes that feels like a compelling upgrade over the standard V8. The distinguishing feature is unquestionably the new exhaust.

Even in its quieter switchable mode, it is loud and raucous; no S owner will be able to slip away for an early-morning drive without being noticed.

When the engine is running and the exhaust is turned up loud, the Bentayga lets out a snarl that many V8 racers would be proud of. However, judging from onlookers’ occasionally surprised reactions, this noise isn’t exactly in line with the car’s stately size and proportions. 

The gearbox can’t keep up with the V8’s eagerness to rev and its keen response. Compared to the much smarter twin-clutch ‘box in the Flying Spur, the eight-speed torque converter auto feels dull-witted and slow.

It also has a tendency to miss shifts when multiple downshifts are requested using the steering wheel paddles and to hang onto low gears for longer than necessary when the transmission is in Sport mode.

How much does the Bentley Bentayga cost in Australia?

Pricing in Australia places the ‘S approximately $71,600 above the regular V8 ($378,600). While this is more than the £24,500 (A$43,000) difference in the UK market, the additional cost over the regular V8 is essentially the cost of the additional options it comes with as standard.

This seems like it should be the range’s sweet spot at first glance.

3: Kia Sorento

Choosing a big, four-wheel-drive SUV hybrid car for the family was once solely a matter of practicality—a compromise akin to those who wear tracksuit pants and business suits to work every day.

Large crossovers and SUVs used to be hulking, unwieldy things that felt more like vans with seats than aspirational freedom machines, but the market couldn’t be more different today.

As demand has grown, many brands have responded by providing a wide array of options that simplify daily tasks, are truly enjoyable to live with, and—above all—don’t settle for mediocrity. 

The Kia Sorento Is one of the best automobiles to illustrate that point.

The largest SUV produced by the South Korean company, now in its fourth generation, has developed into a stylish vehicle that satisfies both needs and wants by providing quality and functionality.

Kia has launched the first plug-in hybrid variant of the Sorento lineup, replacing the GT-Line range-topper that we are currently driving and establishing a new flagship vehicle for the lineup.

The 2021 Drive Car of the Year has never looked better thanks to its V6 power, the most extensive equipment of the family, and mid-range pricing.

How much does the Kia Sorento cost in Australia?

Three hybrids were added to the lineup starting in October of 2021. The least expensive closed-loop hybrid front-drive vehicle is $66,750; the AWD model costs $69,750; and the most expensive is the plug-in hybrid, which starts at $81,330 plus on-road expenses.

All three of the hybrid versions are available in the most generous GT-Line specification of the Sorento; there are no low-cost versions available.

The Sorento S V6, which has a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine, front-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission, is the most economical model in the lineup. Sport and Sport+ round out the middle of the range at $50,270 and $54,850, respectively, before on-road expenses.

4: Porsche Cayenne

The German sports car manufacturer claims that the 2024 Porsche Cayenne is a nose-to-tail redesign of the SUV, which debuted in 2017.

While most of the time this would just be a cosmetic update to keep the car from getting stale, Porsche has made some significant changes to the Cayenne, and its exterior style is perhaps the least important of those changes.

Instead, Porsche has given the Cayenne what we would call a mid-life facelift. Furthermore, this updated Cayenne cannot be referred to as a “mid-life” update because Porsche has another significant update scheduled for the SUV hybrid car that will prolong its lifespan until 2030.

After that, the gasoline-powered Cayenne may no longer be available. In 2025, an electric Cayenne is expected to go on sale using a completely new platform and possibly a completely new design. In all honesty, this new Cayenne appears quite nice.

It draws the eye with a subtle, attractive quality that is never garish or overdone.

While there was never a problem with the previous model, we believe the current one is an improvement. Not quite a whole new “do,” more like a short, back, and sides

Porsche’s interior design is reminiscent of the electric Taycan, with the gear selector relocated to an upright position, the center console enlarged, and the space between the two front passengers cleared out.

The new HD-matrix headlights and upgraded safety systems, along with the option of up to three digital monitors inside, one especially for the front passenger, are the highlights of the technological upgrades. We’ll go into more detail about these later.

The V6 engine of the E-Hybrid gains a 130kW electric motor mounted in the gearbox, for a total output of 346kW and 460Nm. This allows for up to 90 kilometers of electric-only driving and a claimed 4.9-second 0-100 km/h time.

Upgrade to the Cayenne S for 349kW and 600Nm. Its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 has been replaced with a tuned version of the Turbo GT’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8.

This is equivalent to 25kW and 50Nm more than the previous 2.9, which Porsche claims is sufficient to propel it from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.

How much does the Porsche Cayenne cost in Australia?

The base price of the 2024 Porsche Cayenne wagon is $140,200 before on-road expenses, which is $5900 more than the pre-facelift model. In contrast, the coupe version now costs $148,200 plus on-road expenses, an increase of $3100.

For those who prefer a plug-in hybrid, the E-Hybrid wagon costs $155,900 before going on public roads, an increase of $5000. The E-Hybrid Coupe starts at $161,600, with a price increase of $2100, the least of the whole range.

The Cayenne S wagon and coupe, which previously cost $181,000 and $190,000 before on-road expenses, respectively, have increased by $5700 and $5000 after switching from twin-turbo V6 engines to twin-turbo V8 engines.

5: Volvo XC60

Along with developing brand-new, innovative products, such as the soon-to-be fully electric Volvo C40 Recharge, it is also revisiting and improving its previous models to make them more efficient, effective, and environmentally friendly.

As a matter of fact, the vehicle under review happens to be the most potent and swiftest production Volvo ever made. The brand’s flagship and priciest medium SUV, the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge, is a dual-motor plug-in hybrid that sits at the top of the range.

Although it has been available in Australia since 2019 in a few different forms, the updated 2022 model introduces a number of significant changes.

Along with an upgraded electric motor and larger battery (11.6kWh to 18.8kWh), both the gasoline and electric motors have been upgraded.

Value for Money

Next best in line if you’re sold on the idea of an SUV with a short electric-only range is the 2022 Lexus NX450h+. It is a plug-in hybrid, similar to the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge, with a marginally greater electric-only range (87 km).

However, we haven’t tested one yet, so we can’t speak to its actual efficiency just yet.

It is also important to take into account that the Lexus is nearly $10,000 less expensive, at $89,536 before on-road costs. Notably, the starting price of our 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge is $97,990 before on-road expenses.

Volvo’s plug-in SUV hybrid car is one of the best available. Put simply, they provide individuals who are unable to operate an electric vehicle with the advantages of one. It makes no difference if you park on the street outside your chic patio or if you frequently spend your weekend in the country, where electricity is scarce and unpredictable.

Driving an electric car can help you too during your Monday through Friday workday, or even anytime you choose.

Just make sure you have access to a charger at work or that your round-trip distance is no more than 75 km. Its two engines not only make it extremely versatile, but they also make it extremely quick.

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