By Vincent Aubé , 2019-03-15
It’s gotten pretty hard for even a day to pass without there being some mention of electric mobility in the automotive industry. We have been witness to this staggering explosion of interest and innovation in the domain of green vehicles for a few years now, but 2019 is proving to be a particularly fertile and febrile period for new hybrid, plug-in and all-electric vehicles – and Canada’s market is being as upended as any in the world!
We published our first Hybrid and Electric Car Guide in the summer of 2017, and the immense interest it drew begged for a follow-up last year. Interest has only grown since then, so we’re back this year with a comprehensive look at all the models that in their way contribute to reducing fossil-fuel emissions around the world.
As in the past, we’ve included important figures like base prices, as well as links to relevant reviews we’ve published and specifications of certain models.
One other change in the domain is worth noting for 2019: this year, with Ontario’s cancellation of its EV rebate program, only two provinces currently offer incentives to buyers of electricity-powered vehicles, Quebec and British Columbia.
The greening of the automotive industry may be well under way, but Acura is being slow to adjust its product offering. In 2019, the automaker’s lineup includes the same three hybrid options as it did in 2018. Once available with only a combustion engine, the big RLX sedan ($69,990 CAD) has since last year been offered only with a hybrid powertrain. That system combines a 3.5L V6 with a hybrid system similar to the one in use in the NSX exotic car and with all-wheel drive.
The MDX Sport Hybrid ($69,990) is a more common sight on Canadian roads; its V6 is a 3.0L unit.
As for the NSX ($189,900), it’s also the beneficiary of a hybrid powertrain, but obviously the focus is much more on delivering exhilarating performance. It runs on a twin-turbo V6 combined with three electric motors.
The American manufacturer is no stranger to hybrid models, with a rich history in the segment, but it seems General Motors’ decision to direct its energies to developing all-electric models has led to atrophy in the area of hybrid technology there.
For the moment, Chevrolet still offers the Malibu hybrid ($32,695), which combines a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors. The result is fuel consumption of just 4.8L/100 km in city driving.
While we await the arrival of the Ford Explorer hybrid (and several other similar variants), the U.S. manufacturer has in its lineup just one hybrid model, the Fusion hybrid sedan ($31,695). This version constitutes a more-affordable alternative to the plug-in hybrid edition of the model, known as the Fusion Energi.
We can expect to see Ford’s hybrid product offering grow in the coming months and years.
2019 marked the return of a sedan that has tried and failed in the past to establish itself in the past. Will the new Honda Insight ($27,990) make everyone forget the previous generations of the model? It just might, especially as it now sports a more conventional design that cozies up to the successful look of the Civic sedan; the two models in fact share several components.
Above it on the Honda model ladder is the Accord Hybrid ($33,390), which is an attractive alternative choice thanks to its larger interior environment and more-powerful engine-motor combo.
Korean automaker Hyundai has been busy as a beaver expanding its hybrid-vehicle product offering. The entry-level model for the brand is the IONIQ Hybrid ($24,399), the most affordable green car and one that really should make the Japanese automakers uncomfortable. Higher up the model range, the Sonata Hybrid midsize sedan ($29,649) is pretty nicely loaded with equipment, and its combined fuel consumption is an attractive 5.6L/100 km.
Kia’s strategy is, not surprisingly, similar to the one employed at sister company Hyundai. For 2019, for example, Kia is offering a crossover with three different powertrain choices, like Hyundai does with its IONIQ. But the Niro Hybrid ($27,395) is a more practical option than Hyundai’s little crossover – although it is pricier! Meanwhile, the Sonata’s cousin, the Kia Optima ($31,795), is also available with a hybrid powertrain.
Hybrid technology has been part of the vocabulary at Lexus for a very long time, just like it has at Toyota. The new Lexus UX teeny crossover ($39,700) constitutes the new portal into hybrid vehicles at Lexus. Then come the ES 300h sedan ($47,000) and the NX 300h SUV ($51,250).
For its part, the popular RX 450h ($64,500) can now be had in a stretched version. The RX 450HL ($77,600) adds 110 mm to the length of the crossover, but also demands a bigger pound of flesh from buyers.
Lest we forget, Lexus’ product offering still includes the LC 500h coupe ($118,850) that integrates a V6 into the company’s hybrid system. Then there’s the LC 500h sedan version ($134,500) sitting at the top of the hybrid heap, and which has the advantage of offering a more usable cabin space than its two-door variant.
As it is at Ford, so it is at luxury division Lincoln. In 2019, the MKZ Hybrid ($47,000) is the only model with a greenish hue in the lineup, since the PHEV variant is no longer available. The model’s 4-cylinder 2.0L Atkinson Cycle engine is back unchanged from last year; its optimal fuel consumption in city driving is 5.7L/100 km.
The next few months will see the company add the Aviator plug-in- hybrid, called the Aviator Grand Touring. This three-row utility model is built on the same platform as the new Explorer.
Hybrid is a popular, even near-ubiquitous term at Toyota, as we saw with Lexus. The Prius nameplate is such a force for the Japanese company that it could almost be sold as a stand-alone brand. The diminutive Prius c ($22,260) is back on the menu for 2019, but its cancellation in the U.S. bodes not very well at for its survival in Canada. We’ll see what happens in 2020.
The Prius itself ($27,990) is of course back as well this year, but it has gotten a redesign and is now even being offered with all-wheel drive (in which case its price climbs to $28,990). Needless to say, this AWD-e variant is likely to get a warm reception up here in Canada
The Camry Hybrid sedan (31,550) is another solid option for consumers who want a comfortable sedan that positively sips gas by the drop-full in heavy city traffic.
Then there are the two hybrid SUVs with the Toyota name on the back: the next-gen RAV4 Hybrid ($32,090), now available in several different equipment configurations, and the Highlander Hybrid ($50,950), which calls out to big families wanting to reduce the frequency of trips to the pump