Driving the Hybrid Dream: Best Hybrid Cars in the Philippines

Princess Anaviso

Princess Anaviso

Last updated August 17, 2022

The rising inflation has left everyone scrambling to save money on gas. Some even consider selling their cars—and understandably so, because how can anyone afford to drive around with such exorbitant fuel prices? 

Still, owning a car has its undeniable upsides. If you’re looking to buy a vehicle and you have the budget for it, it’s never too late to consider hybrid cars in the Philippines. 

You read that right—locally purchasing a hybrid vehicle isn’t a far-fetched dream anymore. Hybrid cars entered the Philippine automotive market way back in 2009 when Toyota first introduced the iconic Toyota Prius.[1] Find out why hybrid cars are great alternatives to good old cars in this extensive beginner’s guide.

What is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle with at least one electric motor paired with a gasoline engine. Because it has two power sources, a hybrid car can choose which one is more efficient in a given driving condition. When you’re driving slow, most hybrid cars are programmed to use the electric motor to move the car. At higher speeds, the regular engine is arguably the better choice. 

But how does a vehicle run using electricity? A hybrid car comes with a high-voltage battery separate from the car’s conventional battery. Power is generated by capturing energy from the deceleration usually lost to the heat generated by the brakes—a process known as regenerative braking. A hybrid car also uses its gasoline engine to charge and maintain the power of the battery.

You can choose to drive solely using the electric motor, and then just switch to the gasoline engine when the battery is low. This can go the other way around as well. Ran out of fuel? Switch to the electric motor before you reach the next gas station. From there, you can probably deduce the advantages of owning a hybrid car.

 

 

Types of Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid cars also have subcategories that offer various advantages and disadvantages.[2] It’s best to familiarize yourself with these types, so you can better sift through the long list of hybrid cars in the Philippines. 

  • Parallel hybrids are the most common vehicles you’ll find. In a parallel hybrid, the electric motor and the gasoline engine are connected to the transmission, effectively blending the two power sources. 
  • Series hybrids are the opposites of parallels, as the electric motor is the one doing the legwork, and there’s no physical connection between the engine and the wheels. The gasoline engine is simply there to recharge the electric motor. A series hybrid operates like an electric vehicle, only with a gasoline engine.
  • Plug-in hybrids have a larger battery pack compared to other hybrids, and they must be fully recharged using an external electricity source. If you run out of battery, this vehicle will revert to a conventional parallel hybrid.
  • Mild hybrids can’t run on electricity alone, but their electric motor still assists the gasoline engine. This results in reduced fuel consumption, although not as efficient as their hybrid counterparts.

What is the Difference Between Hybrid Cars vs Electric Vehicles?

hybrid cars in the philippines - hybrid vs electric

Before you think about plugging an extension cord that will stretch to your garage, let’s make one thing clear: a hybrid car isn’t exactly the same as an electric vehicle.

As explained above, hybrid cars for sale in the Philippines still come with a gasoline engine that helps them to accelerate. They have the option to choose whatever power source fits.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles, commonly referred to as EVs, run purely on electricity with little to no assistance from a gasoline engine. EVs are usually powered by large battery packs that allow them to run at least 400 kilometers non-stop. As convenient as they sound, they come with high price tags, and they’ll probably blow up your Meralco bill every month.

While electric vehicles have long since been available in the market, most establishments have yet to add accommodations for EV car owners. For example, you probably won’t find an EV charging station in far-flung provinces, but you’ll surely find a gas station if you drive long enough. That’s why it’s currently better to invest in hybrid cars in the Philippines.

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Pros and Cons of Using a Hybrid Car

Owning a hybrid car sounds good and all, but just like with any other purchase, you should always consider the pros and cons. Here are the most common advantages and disadvantages you should review before going to the nearest car dealership.

Hybrid Car Advantages

👍 Pro: Better Fuel Economy

Probably the biggest upside is the fuel consumption of a hybrid car. Because it comes with an electric motor that can take over or assist the gasoline engine, hybrid cars tend to rank among the top fuel-efficient cars compared to traditional vehicles. While hybrids tend to be more expensive, owning one can be more cost-effective in the long run. 

👍 Pro: Sustainable and Eco-Friendly

Because hybrid cars have electric motors, their gas engines tend to consume less fuel, leading to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. If you’re a green-conscious person looking to contribute to the numerous efforts that address the global climate crisis, you should consider owning a hybrid car. 

👍 Pro: Smoother Ride and Quieter Engine

An electric motor provides higher torque compared to a traditional gasoline engine. This allows a hybrid car to accelerate faster and with less vibrations. An electric motor also makes little to no noise, resulting in a smooth and peaceful drive. You can enjoy your travel playlists or conversations with your passengers better without being distracted by angry car noises. 

Hybrid Car Disadvantages

👎 Con: More Expensive Upfront 

There’s a reason why hybrid and electric vehicles still aren’t too popular despite them being in the market for almost a decade now. It’s because they come with price tags that will make your wallet cry. Try to compare this roster of hybrids to our list of cheapest cars in the Philippines, and see if you still prefer a hybrid car over a cheaper alternative.

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👎 Con: Poorer Handling

Another con of hybrid cars is that they have poorer handling compared to traditional cars. Because hybrid cars are packed with innovative technologies, they tend to be heavier and are therefore more difficult to handle. The extra weight also reduces their fuel efficiency, so keep in mind the weight of the vehicle when choosing a brand new or second-hand car

👎 High-Voltage Batteries 

Because hybrid cars are powered by high-voltage battery packs, there’s a risk that you, your passengers, and potential rescuers can get electrocuted if an accident occurs. If you’re planning to drive a hybrid car, make sure to brush up on your defensive driving and focus all your attention on the road.

Best Hybrid Cars in the Philippines in 2022

Now that you’ve decided to go hybrid, here comes the fun part: exploring and comparing your options! To help you make the right choice, here’s an extensive list of hybrid cars available in the Philippines, arranged according to their fuel efficiency. 

Hyundai Ioniq

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Hyundai Ioniq
  • Highway rating: 30.1 km/L
  • City rating: 16.1 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 139 HP @ 5,700 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 4
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,548,000

The Hyundai Ioniq easily tops the list of most fuel-efficient cars, making it one of the best hybrid cars in the Philippines for 2022. The combination of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motor, and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission allows this car to achieve an average fuel efficiency rating of 23.1 km/L, which means you won’t have to frequent gas stations each time you take your Hyundai Ioniq on an out-of-town road trip.

Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid
  • Highway rating: 29.7 km/L
  • City rating: 16.1 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Performance: 97 HP @ 5,200 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 4
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,610,000

The Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid V is never out of the conversation when talking about the best sedans in the Philippines. With an average fuel efficiency rating of 22.9 km/L, it’s almost as efficient as the Hyundai Ioniq. 

This vehicle is powered by a VVT-I, four-cylinder in-line DOHC, 16-valve, paired with an equally capable electric motor.[3] Its CVT transmission allows for better handling and smoother acceleration, contributing further to its fuel efficiency.

Toyota Corolla Cross

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Toyota Corolla Cross
  • Highway rating: 26.3 km/L
  • Body type: SUV
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Performance: 98 HP @ 5,200 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,665,000

Want an SUV version of the Toyota Corolla Altis? Then check out the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid V. With a highway fuel efficiency rating of 26.3 km/L, this vehicle proves to be a capable hybrid that can match the efficiency of its sedan counterparts.

The Toyota Corolla Cross is powered by a capable 97-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and an equally efficient electric motor. If you’re looking for an affordable hybrid SUV, this one’s a good pick.

Toyota Prius

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Toyota Prius
  • Highway rating: 26.1 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Performance: 73 HP @ 5,200 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱2,436,000

Of course, the OG hybrid car should be part of this list. As the first hybrid model to be introduced in 2009, the Toyota Prius has evolved with the times and has remained popular among hybrid car enthusiasts.[4] 

While it remains to be up there in terms of price, the Prius can still match other hybrid cars’ fuel consumption, with its highway fuel efficiency rating of 26.1 km/L. If you prefer a smoother, more comfortable ride, this car has still got it. 

Toyota Camry Hybrid

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Highway rating: 23.8 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Performance: 178 HP @ 5,700 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱2,355,000

The Toyota Camry is pretty much the Corolla Altis’ big brother. It’s a bigger vehicle that can seat up to five people. It has a beefier 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder engine, and it’s almost double the price. While it’s not as fuel-efficient as the Corolla Altis, the Toyota Camry is still a good choice for a hybrid car for anyone looking for a more spacious sedan. 

With its current vehicle lineup, there’s no wonder Toyota is a go-to for hybrid cars in the Philippines for 2022.  

Geely Azkarra

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Geely Azkarra
  • Highway rating: 20 km/L
  • City Rating: 13 km/L
  • Body type: SUV
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 187 HP @ 5,500 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,665,000

Looking for a hybrid all-wheel-drive SUV that’s relatively cheap? Chinese car manufacturer Geely has you covered with the Geely Azkarra. 

First introduced in 2020, the Azkarra is a mild hybrid vehicle powered by a 48V Electric Motor Synergy battery and a 1.5L turbocharged gasoline engine.[5] While it’s not as fuel-efficient as the other cars on the list because of its mild hybrid system, it’s still more fuel-efficient than most traditional SUVs out there.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  • Highway rating: 18.1 km/L
  • City Rating: 12.9 km/L
  • Body type: SUV
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 128 HP @ 4,500 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱2,998,000

Mitsubishi claims that the Outlander PHEV emits up to 61% less carbon dioxide,[6] making it a great choice for eco-friendly car owners. It also has an average fuel efficiency rating of 15.5 km/L, a result of the Japanese manufacturer’s 30 years of hybrid innovation. 

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is also the first plug-in hybrid SUV powered by a twin electric motor system that gives this off-road car all the power. Plus, it takes only four hours to fully charge this vehicle.

Mazda 3 Hybrid

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Mazda 3 Hybrid
  • Highway Rating: 17.5 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 164 HP @ 6,000 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,495,000

Included in this list of top hybrid cars in the Philippines is the Mazda 3 Hybrid. This sedan is powered by Mazda’s patented M Hybrid system that pairs the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G direct-injected engine with a small belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator.[7] The Mazda 3 may be a mild hybrid, but for its price, it’s still a capable all-around vehicle from one of the most reputable car manufacturers in the world. 

Volvo XC90

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Volvo XC90
  • Highway rating: 17.2 km/L
  • City rating: 13.2 km/L
  • Body type: SUV
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 225 HP @ 4,250 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 7
  • Price: Starts at ₱5,590,000

If you’re looking for the ultimate flex, then the Volvo XC90 mild hybrid should be your next hybrid car. While not as fuel-efficient compared to its cheaper alternatives, the Volvo XC90 is packed with power and safety features like City Safety, Run-Off Road Protection Package, and Park Assist Pilot.[8] The XC90 has a plug-in hybrid model, the Volvo XC90 T8, but it currently isn’t available in the local market. 

Geely Okavango

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Geely Okavango
  • Highway rating: 17 km/L
  • City rating: 12 km/L
  • Body type: SUV
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 190 HP @ 5,500 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 7
  • Price: Starts at ₱1,285,000

The Geely Okavango is an even more affordable SUV that has the same power as the Azkarra in an even more spacious body.[9] The Okavango seats seven compared to Azkarra’s five, making it a better option for your big family. 

The bigger and heavier body does affect its fuel efficiency, though, as it clocks in at an average fuel efficiency rating of only 14.5 km/L. Still, this mild hybrid is a great choice if you’re looking for the best SUV in the Philippines.

Lexus LS 500h Premier

best hybrid cars philippines 2022 - Lexus LS 500h Premier
  • Highway rating: 15.4 km/L
  • Body type: Sedan
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Performance: 354 HP @ 6,000 rpm
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Price: Starts at ₱9,428,000

As if the average hybrid car price in the Philippines can’t get any higher, here comes Lexus with its line of hybrid standouts. What do you get for a car worth almost ₱10 million? A powerful V6 3.5L direct injection engine paired with two self-charging electric motors, a premium-feeling interior and exterior, and a 14-airbag collision safety feature.[10] Fuel efficiency could be better though, but that’s what a power-hungry engine gets you.

Hybrid Car Buying Tips

1. Make Sure to Get the Most Out of Your Buck

Even the cheapest hybrid car in the Philippines can still cost you more than ₱1 million. So, if the goal of going hybrid is to save more in the long run, get yourself a car that efficiently conserves fuel down to the last drop. As you’ve seen from the list above, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean better fuel efficiency rating. 

2. Choose Your Hybrid Car Type Carefully

The type of hybrid car you choose will affect your overall hybrid car experience. So, before you search where to buy a car with a hybrid system, make sure to choose a type that fits your lifestyle.

A parallel or series hybrid should be perfect if you prioritize fuel efficiency and want the full hybrid experience. A plug-in hybrid is best if you prefer to drive using your car’s electric power and don’t mind charging your car at home. A mild hybrid is usually cheaper than other hybrid types, so you can save more money upfront by choosing mild.

3. Choose a Hybrid with a Lighter, More Compact Body

If you’re looking to save more on fuel and don’t have a large family, it’s probably best to get yourself a smaller, more compact sedan. This will help your hybrid engine consume less fuel, further optimizing its efficiency. 

Hybrid Cars FAQs

hybrid cars in the philippines - faqs

1. How much do hybrid cars in the Philippines cost in 2022?

The price range of hybrid cars varies wildly, but you can usually get one at around ₱1.2 million or higher. Prices can go as much as ₱10 million (at least as far as this list goes)—and that’s not even the most expensive one out there! If you’re looking to save more on a hybrid car, start figuring out where to buy second-hand cars

2. Why are hybrid cars expensive in the Philippines?

Hybrid cars are more expensive than traditional cars because they’re usually packed with innovative features that aid their fuel efficiency, smooth handling, and low carbon emission, among many other perks. They may be expensive upfront, but they’re relatively more cost-effective in the long run, considering how they require less fuel and maintenance.

3. How long does a hybrid car battery last?

A hybrid car battery has a pretty long life. It usually matches the life of a car's regular battery, mainly because the electric motor of a hybrid car usually gets its power from the gas engine. Plus, the hybrid’s computer system monitors the charge of the electric motor, preventing it from overcharging and undercharging.

4. How do I charge a hybrid car battery?

Unless you have a plug-in hybrid, you don’t have to worry about recharging your hybrid car’s electric motor. Most hybrids feature self-charging batteries powered through their gasoline engine’s regenerative braking. 

For plug-in hybrids, they need to be plugged into an external source for them to recharge, which usually takes four to eight hours.

5. Is a hybrid car more expensive to service?

Concerned about hybrid cars’ maintenance costs? You shouldn’t worry too much. Unlike traditional vehicles, hybrid cars are easier to maintain since their gasoline engines don’t experience too much stress. Their motors also have minimal moving parts and take longer to wear out. Aside from saving on gas money, you’ll also save on trips to the mechanic. 

Final Thoughts

The concept of hybrid cars in the Philippines might sound futuristic, but these vehicle types are as good as reality in this modern age. Anyone can have a taste of the future now, so if you can afford one, make sure to maximize every million you spend on a hybrid. 

Also, just like with any other vehicle, it’s always best to insure your million-peso purchase. Get a free car insurance quote from the country’s top insurance providers!

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Princess is a seasoned writer with over seven years of experience in digital marketing and corporate communications. She took master's degree units in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman and graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Saint Louis University. Beyond writing, she enjoys reading novels, watching series, and crocheting. Follow Princess on LinkedIn.