Hyundai won’t have a rival for the top-selling Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in Australia anytime soon.

The company says it’s “very unlikely” we’ll see electrified variants of the Tucson mid-size SUV Down Under because right-hand drive production of the hybrid and PHEV are restricted to its Czech factory.

“We’re very unlikely to see Tucson Hybrid and Plug-In variants in Australia,” a spokesperson for Hyundai Australia told CarExpert.

“With no Australian government-regulated corporate/fleet emissions targets in place, we are not considered a priority market for electrified powertrains.

“This does not rule us out for any products, but it puts us lower down the list than we might otherwise be.”

Australian-market versions of the petrol and diesel Tucson will be sourced from the Ulsan plant in South Korea. This factory builds hybrid and plug-in hybrid models for its domestic market, but Korea is a left-hook nation.

Preliminary price and specifications have been revealed, with the local range starting at $34,500 and topping out at $50,000 from launch, with a more expensive diesel flagship to follow. All prices exclude on-road costs.

The news limits Hyundai Australia’s ability to compete with Toyota’s strong-selling hybrid range.

Around 55,000 of the 60,400 hybrid sales in Australia during 2020 came from Toyota. With that said, Hyundai has confirmed the Santa Fe Hybrid for a local launch late in 2021.

The Toyota RAV4 currently has a stronghold on the mid-sized SUV segment when it comes to overall sales and hybrid sales. Demand for the RAV4 Hybrid outstrips supply; we’ve heard of wait times of up to six months from customers.

Mitsubishi has seen ongoing success with its Outlander PHEV line-up in Australia, an MG recently entered the space with the HS PHEV.

Ford has committed to bringing the Escape PHEV before the end of 2021, as has Peugeot with a pair of 3008 PHEVs. Nissan has all but confirmed an electrified X-Trail as part of the next-gen line-up in 2022 as well.

All eyes will now be on Kia, which is set to reveal an all-new Sportage within the coming weeks, likely with hybrid and PHEV variants.

Given Kia is bringing the larger Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, as well as the smaller Niro in Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and EV variants, electrified Sportages would be a logical addition to the local range.

Sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles are up across the board in Australia, with 16,128 HEVs, 629 PHEVs and 969 EVs sold to the end of March (excluding Tesla).

Our launch drive review of the 2021 Tucson is due on May 7.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

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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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