Hybrids and hatchbacks are a natural pairing, as it combines the city-going convenience of a small car with the fuel efficiency that is only possible with a new-energy powertrain.
The good news is that South Africa has two of these to choose from in the form of the Honda Fit hybrid, which starts at R509,800, and the recently-updated Toyota Corolla hatch hybrid, with the top-spec XR model now clocking in at R524,900.
Toyota’s hybrid hatch runs on a 1.8-litre engine working in tandem with an electric battery and motor, which produces a total of 103kW.
Due to the complicated nature of its powertrains, however, the automaker does not list the official torque figure for any of its hybrids, instead listing the Corolla’s as 142+e Nm.
In any case, this small car will do an impressive 4.0l/100km on a combined fuel cycle, which is also due in part to a CVT transmission sending power to the front wheels.
It’s a similar story with the Honda, which also uses a CVT and front-wheel-drive, though its drivetrain instead takes the form of a 1.5-litre engine combined with a battery-driven power source.
The result is an output of 80kW and 253Nm, and its fuel consumption is pegged at an incredible 3.7l/100km on an average cycle, slightly better than the Corolla’s.
Buyers of Honda’s hybridised Fit can look forward to full leather interior, an Eco driving mode, a 7-inch driver display, a 9-inch media screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, automatic air conditioning, four speakers, and front and rear parking sensors.
In comparison, the updated Toyota brings a larger 8-inch infotainment unit also with smartphone mirroring, a more sizeable 12.3-inch driver’s display, dual-zone aircon, a wireless phone charger, leather and suede upholstery, lumbar support for the front seats, and six speakers.
However, both hatchbacks sit at the top of their respective model ranges and you probably won’t be left wanting more in either, as they also get LED headlamps with daytime running lights, keyless start and entry, a multifunction steering wheel, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, hill assist, lane-keep assist, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Thanks to slightly larger dimensions the Corolla does have fractionally more cargo capacity at 305 litres, compared to the Fit’s 298 litres.
The Toyota Corolla hatch 1.8 Hybrid XR has a South African starting price of R528,400.
This includes a 3-year/100,000km warranty, a 6-year/90,000km service plan, and an 8-year/195,000km warranty on the hybrid battery.
The Honda Fit Hybrid has a local starting price of R509,600.
Each purchase comes with a 5-year/200,000km warranty, a 4-year/60,000km service plan, and an 8-year/200,000km battery warranty.
Toyota Corolla Hatch Hybrid
Honda Fit Hybrid
Keyword: Toyota Corolla vs Honda Fit – The only hybrid hatches in South Africa