Honda Australia is promising to bring more affordable petrol-electric hybrid versions of its models to Australia.

    The brand has confirmed it plans to expand its hybrid model range so it’s spread across more variants at lower price points in the coming years. 

    That’s despite the fact it has just launched the new ZR-V midsize SUV with a flagship e:HEV LX hybrid model sitting $6400 higher than the equivalent VTi LX petrol. Further, the company confirmed it will launch the new-generation CR-V with a high-spec hybrid, too.

    Honda Australia director, Carolyn McMahon, said the brand is eager to add more affordable hybrid options to its line-up, but the strategy is to launch with a highly-specified e:HEV hybrid variant first, and follow it up with additional petrol-electric variants.

    “So we started the expansion of hybrids from Civic Hybrid and then HR-V, and now ZR-V. And our hybrid strategy is all about introducing hybrid with each new full model launch. 

    “Once we’ve done that, then the next step is then to introduce more variants within each model – so with Honda ZR-V, and of course then with CR-V, there will be a hybrid top-grade spec in those models.

    “And then as we move through the lifecycle, you’ll see more variants coming in,” she said. 

    Belinda Cusworth, GM customer experience for Honda Australia, confirmed the ZR-V model has seen significant interest when it comes to the hybrid powertrain in particular, with executives telling CarExpert the numbers are stacking up. 

    “It’s well over 1000 to date,” she said when asked about how many ZR-V orders have already been placed.

    “The hybrid has been really strong, too. It’s pretty significant, and we’re looking to grow that over the next three to five years. It’s part of our long-term strategy.

    “We haven’t committed to the model variants at this point in time, but it’s more ensuring we’ve got the volume to meet demand,” she said. 

    For context, here’s a rundown on the hybrids that Honda offers currently, and some competitors and the options available:

    • Honda Civic e:HEV LX small hatchback – $55,000 drive-away. 
      • Rivals include: Toyota Corolla hybrid hatch, from $31,130 to $38,120 (MSRP)
    • Honda HR-V e:HEV LX small SUV – $47,000 drive-away. 
      • Rivals include: Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid, from $35,500 to $49,050 (MSRP); GWM Haval Jolion hybrid, from $36,990 to $40,990 drive-away; Hyundai Kona hybrid, from $36,000 to $46,500 (MSRP); Kia Niro hybrid, from $44,930 to $50,580 (MSRP)
    • Honda ZR-V e:HEV LX medium SUV – $54,900 drive-away. 
      • Rivals include: Toyota RAV4 hybrid, from $43,550 to $56,650 (MSRP); GWM Haval H6 hybrid, from $42,490 to $45,990 drive-away; Nissan X-Trail e-Power hybrid, from $49,490 to $57,190; MG HS Plus EV hybrid (plug-in), from $49,690 to $53,690 drive-away; Subaru Forester e:Boxer hybrid, from $43,290 to $49,340

    Honda is not the only brand aiming to increase its hybrid footprint in the Australian market.

    In the last few months alone, Kia Australia has confirmed its plans to add hybrid variants of its Sportage midsize SUV, and sibling company Hyundai is likewise planning to introduce multiple electrified takes on the Tucson medium SUV.

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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