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Hybrids We’re Excited About For 2024

The pool of new hybrid vehicles from which a new car buyer can buy from has grown considerably over the last couple of years.  The mainstay of hybrid manufacturers (e.g., Honda and Toyota) that have been in the hybrid game for over two decades are still providing us with some great vehicles; however, we have plenty of new hybrid options to choose from now. 

Hybrids vehicles are vehicles that are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) but also have one or more electric motors to enhance a vehicle’s fuel economy, lower its overall emissions (gCO2/km), and add to the car’s performance.  Hybrids also have a battery pack to source electricity for powering the electric motors.  The battery is usually charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine, though some cars, like the Mitsubishi Outlander, are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meaning that their battery packs can also be charged up when not being driven, like a full electric vehicle (EV). 

At the moment, hybrid vehicles are fantastic and make a lot of sense.  For much of the time, they happily pootle about town on electricity alone (no emissions and no fuel usage).  Then, when longer journeys are necessary (out of town) or if you need to tow something, a hybrid vehicle can make use of its ICE power and the country’s fuel network for taking you places far beyond the infrastructure for battery recharge. 

So, what new hybrid vehicles can we buy in 2024?  I’ve endeavoured to break down the new hybrid vehicles according to their price bracket.  There are actually over 70 new hybrid vehicles available today.  See our review pages for more details on most of these, and we’re adding to our list of reviews all the time.

Up to $50,000

  • GWM Haval Jolion SUV
  • Hyundai Kona SUV
  • Hyundai i30 Sedan
  • GWM Haval H6 SUV
  • Kia Niro SUV
  • MG HS Plus SUV
  • Subaru Forester SUV
  • Toyota RAV4 SUV
  • Toyota Yaris Cross Small SUV
  • Toyota Camry Sedan
  • Toyota Corolla Hatch
  • Subaru Crosstrek SUV
  • Toyota C-HR Small SUV
  • Toyota Yaris Hatch
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan
  • Honda HR-V Small SUV
  • Toyota Corolla Cross SUV

$50,000 to $75,000

  • Peugeot 408 SUV
  • Honda Civic Hatch
  • Honda ZR-V SUV
  • Honda CR-V SUV
  • Mini Countryman SUV/Hatch
  • Lexus NX SUV
  • Toyota Corolla Cross SUV
  • Subaru Forester SUV
  • Toyota RAV4 SUV
  • Honda Accord Sedan
  • Nissan Qashqai SUV
  • Toyota Camry Sedan
  • Toyota Kluger SUV
  • Cupra Leon Hatch
  • Cupra Formentor SUV
  • Lexus ES Sedan
  • Lexus UX SUV
  • Mitsubishi Outlander SUV
  • Kia Sorento SUV
  • Nissan X-Trail SUV
  • GWM Tank 300 SUV
  • Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV
  • Kia Niro SUV
  • MG HS Plus SUV
  • Peugeot 308 Hatch
  • Ford Escape SUV

$75,000 to 100,000

  • Kia Sorento SUV
  • Mazda CX-60 SUV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV
  • Peugeot 3008 SUV
  • Volvo XC60 SUV
  • Toyota Kluger SUV
  • Peugeot 508 Wagon
  • Lexus ES Sedan
  • BMW 3 Series Sedan
  • Peugeot 508 Hatch
  • Mini Countryman SUV
  • Lexus NX SUV
  • Lexus RX SUV

$100,000 to $125,000

  • Mercedes Benz GLC-Class SUV
  • Lexus RX SUV
  • Volvo XC60 SUV
  • Audi Q5 SUV
  • BMW X3 SUV
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV
  • Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SUV

$125,000 to $150,000

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
  • Land Rover Defender SUV
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar SUV
  • Volvo XC90 SUV
  • Mercedes Benz E-Class Sedan
  • Lexus RX SUV

$150,000 to $200,000

  • Lexus LM People Mover
  • Audi Q8 SUV
  • Porsche Cayenne SUV
  • BMW X5 SUV
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport SUV

$200,000 and Beyond

  • Lexus LS Sedan
  • Lexus LC Coupe
  • Mercedes Benz AMG GT Coupe
  • Bently Bentayga SUV
  • McLaren Artura Coupe
  • Bentley Flying Spur Sedan
  • Ferrari SF90 Stradale Coupe
  • Ferrari 296 GTB Coupe
  • Ferrari SF90 Spider Convertible

A Big Weekend At Bathurst

It was a big weekend of racing that happened at Bathurst.  The 2024 Repco Bathurst 12 Hour race proved to be an eventful and exciting race, and it was a dominant performance from Matt Campbell, Ayhancan Guven, and Laurens Vanthoor who all drove faultlessly to take out the win in their yellow Manthey EMA Porsche race car, number 912. 

The race was fraught with changeable weather throughout the day, meaning that a skilful pit crew needed to remain on the ball for selecting the right tyre for the driving conditions.  There were numerous cars involved in crashes with or without other race cars, and against barriers that forced the teams out of the race.  At multiple stages, the skies opened up, lashing down torrential rain that made driving quickly extremely risky in the wet.  Throughout the day, these changing conditions made it very important for the teams’ pit crews to match up their car with the right tyre, enabling them to be set-up for successfully completing the race. 

It was less than three seconds between first and second place, with team number 75 and its drivers (K. Habul, J. Gounon, and L. Stolz) guiding their SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG into second place.  And it was less than four seconds behind the race leader and team number 22; drivers L. Talbot, K. van der Linde, and C. Haase bringing their Wash It/Jamec Team MPC Audi home for third place.

The excitement didn’t end there.  Previously, in the build-up to the big race, a new closed-cockpit race record was set by Jules Gounon driving an unrestricted Mercedes-AMG GT3 car.  Gounon, the three-time defending 12 Hour Bathurst race winner, clocked a 1 minute and 56.6054 second lap.  Though this was an unofficial lap record (official lap records are set during racing itself), his time was quicker than the previous closed-cockpit track record (1 minute and 58.690 seconds) set in 2019 by Luke Youlden in a Brabham BT62.  During this fastest lap for closed-cockpit cars, Gounon, in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, was hitting 270 km/h on Mountain Straight, 200 km/h into the Cutting, 240 km/h into McPhillamy, and 302 km/h into The Chase.  This bid for a race record was part of Mercedes-AMG’s celebration of its 130th anniversary of being involved in motorsport.

And if you think that reading about it is exciting enough, try and take yourself there next year to actually watch at least some of it live. Motorsport is a lot more exciting when seen live in person, where you can feel the air shake, smell the fumes and see what those speeds actually look like as the vehicles pass you.  Or if the full 12 hours of Bathurst isn’t for you, then check out another motorsport event – something that should be on every car enthusiast’s bucket list.

Or just enjoy the highlights reel:

Hilux Baby Ute a Champ

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

I think plenty of people would love to get their mitts on Toyota’s cute baby Hilux.  Due to the Champ’s very no frills disposition, the cost of buying a new Toyota Champ Hilux would only be around $20k if you could buy one here in Australia.  However, we’ll have to wait and see if the new Hilux Champ actually makes it down under.

Toyota have launched the new Hilux Champ in Thailand, and it was a vehicle that featured, for the first time, at the recent Japan Mobility Show.  At this show, it was displayed in numerous configurations to show just how versatile the little Champ can be, and so it was demonstrated as an off-road vehicle, a coffee van, and even as an ambulance. 

The Champ workhorse has plenty of variety in the way it can be built up, so, for example, there are long wheel-base (3085 mm) and short wheel-base (2750 mm) variants with two different cargo trays offered.  There are numerous holes for bolting down whatever you like to the cargo tray, so you could easily use this as a camper, a stock carrier for the farm, or even as a coffee van. The Champ’s payload for the cargo deck is around the 1-tonne mark.

You can also opt for any of three engines to power the little Champ.  Five-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes are available to link with your specific engine of choice.  A rather nice 2.4-litre turbo diesel is good for 110 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.  This would be an economical engine with loads of grunt for performing any demanding tasks with relative ease.  A 2.0-litre petrol has 102 kW and 183 Nm of torque, while a bigger 2.7-litre petrol produces 122 kW and 245 Nm of torque. 

Luxury isn’t the Champ’s forte, so even electric windows are found only on the higher-spec models (not that this is a bad thing – I kind of miss having roll-down windows that work when the key’s out sometimes).  The seats are upholstered in black vinyl, and there are a few safety features like seat belts, a strong structure, and two airbags.  There is no infotainment system on-board when sold new; however it does come with two speakers, for which you can access, probably via the driver’s instrument panel. 

The new Toyota Hilux Champ takes me back to the solid and reliable little 2WD Hilux and Nissan Navara utes of the eighties and early nineties.  These were no frills workhorses, but they were very dependable and robust work companions. And yes, I wouldn’t mind having one.

Tips To Cope With Congested Traffic

We’ve all been there, locked in grid traffic.  And it’s always a bit tempting to slip past slower traffic, cutting back in front to get a little closer to the next set of lights before anyone else does.  Yes, you’re with me! 

These sorts of tedious, testing journeys may occur every day when you’re coming back from work or going to work.  Traffic jams can occur after an accident has taken place or when people are heading away for the holidays all at once.  It might be the popular school run, or it could be that everyone is dispersing all at once from the stadium car park after a big win for the Green and Golds.  These phases of our journeys can be made to feel a little bit easier when you have planned well in advance and if you can keep an open mind that it won’t last forever.  Being a little more flexible and giving yourself more time to get to your destination means that you can breathe a little easier and relax behind the wheel. 

When the roads are busy, take your time and be aware of what’s happening around you.  Try and give other road users the respect they deserve, too.  There are others trying just as hard as you are to do the right thing and get to work on time.  Yes, and they may not be as confident behind the wheel as you, so cut them some slack and don’t cut them off!  If you keep a decent gap between your car and the car in front of you, you can look ahead and see what the traffic is doing, slowing gradually to maintain a nice steady flow with fewer sharp stop and start scenarios.  It also helps to negate the all too common nose to tail accidents.

The same goes for merging lanes.  Problems show up when some drivers stop in the merging lane to wait for a gap.  Then there are those who would rather speed up and get ahead of another car in the line.  Both of these styles aren’t cool, and both styles cause the traffic flow to come to a halt.  Giving each other some space and time keeps the flow moving steadily, which is really what we all want anyway.

When you’re travelling home from a lazy day at the beach, or towing your caravan, or when maybe you just want to revel in the moment and soak up the scenery by travelling along at 70–80 km/h, well, that’s cool, but do keep in mind that there are other road users that have to make an appointment or who need to get to the start of a school rehearsal.  Not everyone can travel this slow below what the open road limit allows, so use those mirrors and be aware of who needs to get past you.  Show them respect because you are holding them up, and they are getting more and more frustrated at being dictated by you choosing to travel at a slower pace on a perfectly good piece of road with a much faster speed limit.  Pull over and let them pass as often as you can, and don’t be the cause of a crash. Especially don’t be that driver who drives slowly along the windy bits or the parts with double yellow lines, then speeds up to the limit as soon as a passing lane or a clear straight comes along.

We all need to be prepared to react to someone’s mistake, poor judgement, or poor decision, whether the roads are busy or not.  Keeping ourselves fresh and aware on the road while being courteous and respectful of others helps our journeys to be safe and enjoyable. 

Ideas to help you stay calm:

  • Play the right sort of music through your sound system – nothing too aggro. You don’t have to listen to soothing spa music, but anything that gets you on edge should be avoided.
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth, trying to breathe with all of your torso.
  • Remind yourself that all the other drivers are probably in the same boat as you and you all want to get home or to work. Maybe smile at some of the other drivers near you.
  • Put on a really enjoyable podcast or audiobook. With a really good one, you might not want the journey to end!
  • If the traffic is absolutely gridlocked and doesn’t look like it’s moving soon (e.g. if the road closes after a major accident), switch off your engine if applicable and move around while you’re waiting. Or get out your phone or laptop and do what you can for work. Just be aware of when the traffic starts moving again!