Hyundai Australia is plotting an electrified onslaught over the coming year, but it won’t be offering a plug-in hybrid Santa Fe anytime soon.

    Speaking with CarExpert, a Hyundai Australia spokesperson said there are still no plans to bring the new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Down Under.

    That’s despite the Toyota-style hybrid’s impending launch early in 2022, and sister brand Kia prepping the plug-in Sorento for a September-October launch.

    The brand has previously cited the slow uptake of PHEVs in Australia for its decision. It’s more than likely Europe and the USA’s demand for low-emitting plug-in hybrids is the main reason for such a model’s inception in the first place.

    Like the series hybrid, the Santa Fe PHEV features a 1.6-litre petrol turbo four teamed with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. However, in Plug-in Hybrid guise the electric motor makes 66.9kW (up from 44.2kW) and the battery measures 13.8kWh (compared to 1.49kWh).

    System power output is quoted as 195kW and combined torque is rated at 350Nm. By comparison, the Santa Fe Hybrid offers 169kW and 350Nm combined.

    The main highlight of the PHEV versus the hybrid is the extended electric-only driving range, which is claimed to be up to 69 kilometres.

    Official fuel consumption in Europe is rated as a thrifty 1.63L/100km on the WLTP combined cycle, with emissions of just 37g/km. The Hybrid AWD uses between 6.9L and 7.6L/100km on the same WLTP regime.

    While Australia will miss out on a plug-in Santa Fe, the related Kia Sorento will offer a PHEV option within the next month or so, sporting the same 1.6-litre turbo hybrid drivetrain as its Hyundai sibling.

    It’s unclear whether the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid will be offered as a single, highly-specified trim level or on numerous grades, but a recent entry in the Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) details several available wheel sizes – suggesting there could be multiple variants.

    It’s expected the PHEV will be pitched as a flagship GT-Line model, with an estimated price tag of around $75,000 – slotting above the likes of the MG HS Plug-in Hybrid and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and below luxury models like the BMW X3 xDrive30e and Mercedes-Benz GLC300e.

    PHEV sales are steadily climbing in Australia in 2021, albeit off a low base. Plug-in hybrid SUVs are up 121.6 per cent (1527 units) to July 31, and overall PHEV sales are 99.0 per cent greater year-to-date (1765 units) compared to 2020.

    Meanwhile, hybrid SUV sales are up by 63.9 per cent but volume is some 25 times greater than that of plug-in equivalents (25,816 units). Toyota is driving sales with its ever-popular RAV4 Hybrid, and no doubt the new Kluger Hybrid will bolster this trend further.

    Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

    MORE: Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid delayed until 2022
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    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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