Are you thinking of going green and switching over to a hybrid vehicle?
Ever since Canada set its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, hybrid vehicles have become far more prominent as major manufacturers invest in developing hybrid-electric technology.
One of the main issues with hybrids is that they’re often more expensive than their non-hybrid counterparts. Thankfully, the gap for affordable hybrids has been steadily filling.
Below, I’ll show you some of the cheapest hybrid cars in Canada so you can catch a deal at the pump and the dealership.
If you’re new to the hybrid vehicle market, it’s important to understand the distinction between traditional hybrid cars and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
Hybrid technology is nothing new. The first mass-produced hybrid was the Toyota Prius, first released in Japan in 1997. Since then, hybrids have slowly gained traction throughout the world.
Hybrid cars have both a combustion engine and an electric motor. The combustion engine handles most of the heavy driving, and the electric motors take over for low-speed city driving (which is typically where the most pollution comes from).
In traditional hybrids, the engine and braking systems charge the battery, as the mechanical energy is converted into stored electrical energy.
PHEVs are a relatively new concept. Like traditional hybrids, their batteries can be charged by the engine or during braking. However, PHEVs also feature a plug-in port, allowing them to be charged in the same manner as fully electric vehicles.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between PHEVs and traditional hybrids, as you’ll come across both in the list below:
|Traditional Hybrids||PHEV Hybrids|
|Rely solely on the engine and regenerative braking to charge the battery||Can be mechanically charged or plugged in|
|Have smaller batteries, which limits their electric driving range||Have larger batteries, giving them a longer electric driving range|
|Good fuel efficiency||Better fuel efficiency, thanks to longer electric driving range|
The main upside of PHEVs is that they have a longer electric driving range, which can help you save more on fuel, especially when you’re stuck in busy city traffic. The main downside of PHEVs is that the batteries are larger and more expensive to replace.
Now that we’ve got the technical details out of the way let’s look at some of the cheapest hybrids in Canada according to their perspective categories.
- Starting price: $44,000
Toyota continues to solidify its foothold in the world of hybrid vehicles with the Prius Prime. Unlike the older models, the newly redesigned Prius looks almost athletic, featuring sharp, aggressive, aerodynamic styling that makes it more appealing to the masses.
This top-selling plug-in electric vehicle boasts an enticing price point and demonstrates unmatched efficiency, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable hybrid without a high price tag.
We can’t forget that Toyota has had decades to perfect its hybrids while other manufacturers are just starting.
Its combination of a gasoline engine and electric motors produces an exhilarating 220 horsepower, which is more than enough to add some fun and acceleration to your morning commute.
Toyota has a wide range of additional features and add-ons available for the new Prius. One of the coolest is the option to add solar panels on the roof that are capable of charging the electric battery as you drive.
- Lots of available add-ons
- 220 horsepower
- Sleek, modern design
- Outstanding all-electric driving range
- Starting price: $36,700
Kia has jumped headfirst into the green market, and the Kia Niro is a great choice for those looking for a competitively-priced compact hybrid SUV.
The driving experience is both smooth and responsive, with its 1.6-litre combustion engine and hybrid system making a punchy 139 horsepower. It doesn’t launch as quickly as the Prius, but it’s very responsive (which matters most when you’re weaving through traffic).
As a plug-in EV with a larger battery, the Niro gets an average of 53 mpg on the highway, which is significantly more than you’ll get in traditional hybrids.
Despite being a compact SUV, it has 41.5 inches of front legroom and 39.8 inches of rear legroom, which makes it a good choice for a road trip or if you plan to get into the gig economy as a rideshare driver.
- Expansive legroom in the front and rear
- Great selection of colours
- Large, high-tech driver display
- Heated front seats
- Starting price: $50,000
The Kia Niro is an excellent choice if you’re in a busy city and need a reliable compact SUV to help you get around town. If you have a larger family, though, or need extra space to haul around your gear, you’ll probably need to look at a full-size SUV.
Currently, there are very few options on the market when it comes to full-size hybrid SUVs. Of them, the Ford Explorer Hybrid is easily the best.
Unlike its Asian counterparts, Ford has taken a more conservative approach to its design. The Ford Explorer Hybrid looks just like the other non-hybrid models in its lineup.
It generates 318 horsepower and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with ease, making it a great choice for contractors looking for something to tow their trailers with or families who want to take a camper on the road.
It’s also off-road ready and comes standard with all-wheel drive, so it can handle snow, ice, and mud just as easily as the asphalt.
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- All-wheel drive
- 318 horsepower
- Can tow up to 5,000 pounds
- Plenty of space for large families or gear
- Starting price: $32,000
Looking for a small pickup truck with a great starting price that gets 40 mpg? The newly redesigned Ford Maverick Hybrid should definitely be on your radar.
Aside from the standard trims (XL, XLT, and Lariat), you can also opt for the Ford Off-Road Tremor package, which comes stock with off-road tires, improved suspension, and other features that make it great for off-roading or handling rough winter terrain.
Ford has also designed the truck’s bed to be very adaptable. From tops to connection points, you can customize it to fit all of your needs and keep your gear safe.
While the outside appears sporty and aggressive, the inside is comfortable and modern. Leather seats are available with the Lariat trim, and all models are fully compatible with Apple Carplay and feature a widescreen display.
- Available off-road packages with 4wd
- Flexible bed options
- Apple Carplay
- Great price point for a small truck
- Starting price: $50,000
In 2023, Subaru unveiled its revamped Crosstrek Hybrid, blending the brand’s renowned ruggedness with eco-friendly credentials. Subarus are widely regarded as some of the longest-lasting, most reliable vehicles on the market and hold their value quite well, even past 100,000 miles.
The hybrid variant integrates an 8.8 kWh battery, enhancing fuel efficiency while preserving the brand’s adventurous spirit.
On the aesthetics front, the Crosstrek showcases a refreshed look, featuring a contemporary frameless hexagonal grille and striking LED headlights with DRLs. Looks aside, though, the car handles great, even with the added weight of a hybrid battery.
The Crosstrek also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which can be a lifesaver when driving down icy roads. You can also upgrade it with various offroad packages if you see yourself driving through harsher terrain.
- All-wheel drive
- Dependable and reliable
- Holds its value past 100k miles
- Off-road packages available
- Plenty of headspace and trunk space
- Starting price: $33,800
2023 signaled a substantial evolution for the Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid. The compact PHEV is expertly designed to maneuver tight urban spaces while still retaining plenty of headroom and decent trunk space.
Despite its compact size, Hyundai increased its usage of ultra-high-density steel to create a stronger frame, protecting drivers and passengers in the event of an accident.
The ride quality doesn’t disappoint, either. The car glides effortlessly over uneven terrains, rough patches, and potholes. It’s loaded with safety features, like collision prevention, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive smart cruise control.
Hyundai’s 1.6-litre engine and 32 kW electric motor work together to produce 104 horsepower. It’s not as quick and punchy as a Prius, but it’s a great daily driver and could also be an excellent choice for new drivers, thanks to its advanced safety features.
- Loaded with safety features
- Ultra-strong frame provides enhanced driver protection
- Low centre of gravity for improved handling
To incentivize Canadians to make the switch to low and zero-emission vehicles, the government is offering tax credits and rebates to individuals who purchase a new hybrid or EV.
The most substantial tax credit comes from buying a fully electric vehicle, which can get you up to a $5,000 tax credit.
Shorter-range hybrids and PHEVs are only eligible for a $2,500 tax credit since they still rely heavily on fossil fuels. Still, saving $2,500 on your taxes is nothing to sneeze at and could cover some of the costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle.
For the most part, hybrid vehicles are just as reliable as their combustion counterparts. The main difference between full-combustion vehicles and hybrids is that the latter have smaller engines and a battery.
On average, hybrid batteries are rated to last between 100,000 and 150,000 miles or 15 years (whichever comes first).
Over this period, though, you’ll practically double your fuel mileage. The average Canadian spends over $1,500 per year on fuel. Over the course of 100,000 miles, the amount you’ll save on fuel easily offsets the cost of replacing the hybrid battery.
The Hyundai IONIQ and Ford Maverick are two of the cheapest hybrids on the market in Canada. Between the two, I would be more inclined to go with the Maverick, as it features all-wheel drive, has available off-road packages, a multi-purpose truck bed, and a great overall design.
Want to save yourself a trip to the dealership? Keep on reading to see the best places to buy your car online in Canada!