Top 10 PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) in Canada for 2021
For many Canadian drivers, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer the perfect compromise between zero-emission driving and going longer distances when needed.
Today’s PHEVs are typically capable of completing the average daily commute entirely on electric power and recovering the necessary charge with a home-based charger overnight, all while keeping an engine and gas tank in reserve for family visits or great Canadian road trips.
These vehicles tend to be more expensive than their gas-only counterparts, which is where the Incentive for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program comes in. This program was initiated by the Canadian federal government in May 2019 to help offset the higher costs of electrified vehicles and speed up their adoption. Electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as some plug-in hybrid vehicles with a longer electric range, qualify for the full rebate of $5,000.
A vehicle qualifies provided the base model’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) falls below $45,000, or $55,000 if the vehicle has seven or more seats, up to a cap of $55,000 and $60,000 respectively excluding options, fees, and taxes. Shorter-range PHEVs within these limits qualify for a rebate of $2,500.
The full incentive amount is available on purchases or leases of 48 months or longer, while shorter leases can access prorated amounts. Vehicles do not need to be from the current model year to qualify, but they must be new and cannot have been previously registered or plated.
For residents of Quebec and British Columbia, provincial rebates are available on many PHEVs that can be stacked with the federal incentive.
Here, we’ve narrowed down the full list to the top 10 PHEVs available (including this writer's top pick) in Canada in 2021 that qualify for the iZEV rebate program.
Read more: How To Get Your Electric Car Rebate in 2021
Find out if you can get finance approved for one of these vehicles. It's free to get pre-qualified online, and there's no obligation to buy.
Toyota Prius Prime
The Prius name is a familiar one to people who care about fuel efficiency. The Toyota Prius Prime is currently in its second generation, making it one of the longer-lived PHEVs, and it starts at an MSRP of $33,550, meaning that it’s also one of the most affordable. It qualifies for $2,500 in iZEV rebate thanks to its electric-only range of 40 km, and it can travel a total of 995 km before needing to refuel or recharge. Along the way, it achieves a remarkable average fuel consumption rating of 1.8 Le/100 km combined.
Between its slightly quirky looks and sedan body style – Canadians just aren’t buying a lot of cars these days – the Honda Clarity doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Those rear fender skirts are not just for show: the aerodynamic improvements they provide help to give the Clarity a combined fuel efficiency average of 2.1 Le/100 km. Able to travel 77 km on electric power alone and with a total range of 475 km, the Clarity’s starting price of $44,505 means that its owners can expect to claim $5,000 from the federal iZEV program.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
With plug-in hybrid capability in a mid-size SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was a quick hit with Canadians and became the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Canada in 2018. One of relatively few PHEVs that can be charged at a Level 3 fast charger, the Outlander PHEV averages a combined 3.2 Le/100 km and can go for 39 km on all-electric power and a total of 470 km without recharging or refueling. That lower electric range means that the Outlander PHEV qualifies for a $2,500 iZEV incentive on its $43,998 MSRP.
Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in
The Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in lands as an electrified alternative in the ultra-hot subcompact SUV segment, which is the only segment that made gains in Canada through the challenges of 2020. Starting from $42,495, this PHEV qualifies for $2,500 in iZEV rebate with an electric range of 27 km. Over its combined total range of 747 km, the Crosstrek Plug-in is rated by Natural Resources Canada at a combined fuel consumption average of 2.6 Le/100 km.
Mini Countryman Cooper SE All4
There are relatively few luxury-branded vehicles that qualify for the iZEV program, and both of the ones that make this list come from BMW Group. The Mini Cooper Countryman SE All4 is the first in an expected rollout of a wide range of electrified Minis, this one priced from a starting MSRP of $44,990. With a combined average fuel consumption of 3.2 Le/100 km, 29 km of electric range, and 451 km of total range, the Countryman Cooper SE All4 qualifies for a $2,500 rebate from the iZEV program.
Ford Escape PHEV
Production was delayed on the Ford Escape PHEV due to COVID-19, but it has now begun following its rescheduled start in January 2021. If the Escape Hybrid is anything to go on, this compact SUV should be a good fit for urban families looking for a crossover with zero-emission capability. Its pricing is attainable with a starting MSRP of $37,649 and it's also eligible for a $2,500 iZEV rebate.
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in
Hyundai is about to spin off the Ioniq nameplate into an entirely new brand for its electrified vehicles. In the meantime, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in has quietly been one of the more frugal PHEV offerings in Canada for several years with a starting MSRP of $33,749. Its 47 km of all-electric range qualify it for a $2,500 incentive from the iZEV program, and it can travel for 954 km when the battery and gas tank are combined while sipping just 2.0 Le/100 km.
BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid
Looking to combine gas and electricity in style? Consider the BMW 3 Series Plug-in, which makes this list despite its luxury marque thanks to a starting MSRP of $44,950. It qualifies for a $2,500 iZEV rebate with an all-electric range of 37 km, and over its total combined range of 486 km is rated by Natural Resources Canada to average 3.1 Le/100 km.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
This plug-in hybrid minivan, built at FCA Canada’s Windsor assembly plant, is the only vehicle on this list that’s made in Canada. With seating for seven, family-friendly minivan capability, a 51 km electric-only range, a total driving range of 784 km, and a combined fuel efficiency average of 2.9 Le/100 km, the Pacifica Hybrid has been well-received by eco-conscious urban families with a healthy budget and a need for plenty of space. At a listed starting MSRP of $55,990 including destination charge, the Pacifica Hybrid qualifies for the full $5,000 iZEV rebate.
Toyota RAV4 Prime (writer's top pick)
Any way you slice it, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is a game-changer. It takes Canada’s best-selling compact SUV and adds 68 km of all-electric driving capability as rated by Natural Resources Canada. Combine that with the gas powertrain, and the RAV4 Prime can go 911 km without stopping for a refuel or a recharge at an average of 2.5 Le/100 km combined. (Le means litres equivalent, the estimated combined energy consumed per 100 km between the fuel and the equivalent electricity used in electric driving.)
At a starting price of $44,990, it qualifies for the full $5,000 iZEV incentive, and in Quebec where an $8,000 provincial rebate can also be applied, the RAV4 Prime actually costs less overall than the conventional RAV4 Hybrid. The catch is that RAV4 Prime models are in high demand and can be very hard to find, and some markets without provincial incentives may need to wait for inventory to arrive.