Beat the fuel price – drive a hybrid

Debating the benefits of electric vehicles is ongoing and never ending. And considering our electricity supply chain challenges, one can understand this. Hybrid technology does offer a viable alternative and it is cheaper.

closeup of wooden word on wooden table background concept - Hy

While the recently announced temporary reduction in the general fuel levy certainly comes as welcome relief for increasingly cash-strapped motorists, there’s no escaping the reality the petrol price is on an upward trajectory.

In fact, April’s hikes pushed South Africa’s fuel prices to record highs, with a year-on-year increase of more than 25%. Your investigations into potential fuel-saving methods may have led you to consider switching to a hybrid vehicle. If that’s the case, what are your most affordable options on the used market?

Well, according to AutoTrader data – which uniquely drills right down to variant level – covering the first quarter of 2022, there are a number of budget hybrid choices out there. Interestingly, every single one on the top-ten list hails from Japan and takes the form of a parallel hybrid (meaning the internal combustion engine and the electric motor can either individually or jointly drive the vehicle), rather than a mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

Toyota dominates the table, taking nine of the ten spots (considering the Lexus brand falls under the Toyota umbrella) with its Prius featuring as many as three times. The Prius variant with the most affordable average list price (sub-R100 000) is the HSD-badged version of Toyota’s original eco-warrior, which has an average registration year of 2007.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid also makes an appearance, boasting the freshest average registration year of 2017, an average list price of just over R200 000 and a claimed fuel figure of only 3.6L/100km.

Those requiring a little more space could consider the Toyota Auris XS HSD, though it has the highest average mileage here at nearly 225 000km (but an attractive claimed consumption of 3.8L/100km).

Two variants of the Lexus CT200h also make the list, with the flagship F-Sport version predictably holding its value a little better and bearing an average list price of nearly R185 000.

The largest vehicle here, however, is the Lexus GS 450h, which pairs a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with a small electric motor and battery.

While it’s the least efficient of the bunch, it’s certainly the most luxurious. Finally, there’s the hybrid version of the Honda Jazz (a nameplate that has since been swapped for the Fit badge), which has a claimed consumption figure of 4.4L/100km.

“Hybrid cars have the potential to be very efficient – allowing you to fight rising fuel prices – and also offer quiet operation, which can make for relaxed driving. And since there’s an internal combustion engine to fall back on, the question of range anxiety doesn’t come into the equation,” said George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

Top 10 cheapest hybrids in South Africa*

 *AutoTrader data covering January to March 2022