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Nissan Qashqai E-Power vs Hyundai Kona Hybrid vs Toyota C-HR Hybrid: spec battle!


It’s the battle of the small hybrid SUVs, with Chasing Cars pitching three fresh rivals against each other on the spec sheet

Pure electric vehicles might be the talk of the town in 2023, but now, more than ever, we are seeing a greater number of hybrid-electric vehicles coming onto the Australian new car market. 

Many of the major manufacturers now sell an electrified model of some kind, and the small SUV segment has recently adopted a host of enticing new options. 

Enter our three rivals for our latest Chasing Cars spec battle: the upcoming Nissan Qashqai E-Power, the new-generation Hyundai Kona Hybrid and, lastly, the soon-to-be-released 2024 Toyota C-HR Hybrid.  

Silver and black 2023 Toyota C-HR small SUV, rear 3/4 exterior shot
This is the new Toyota C-HR small SUV

In this comparison, we’ll take a look at the most affordable hybrid variant offering for each, what they cost, what they feature and how safe they’re likely to be for owners.

So, let’s dive in and get started!

How do these small hybrid SUVs compare on price?

Starting off with Nissan’s Qashqai E-Power, this model is only available in one hybrid grade, and a high grade at that, called the Ti E-Power. It’s priced from $51,590 before on-road costs. 

Nissan Qashqai 2022-3
The Nissan Qashqai will soon be available with E-Power in the Ti grade

Next in the lineup, we have the Hyundai Kona Hybrid that is available in base model ‘Kona’ and Premium guises. The pair start at $36,000 and $43,500 respectively before on-road costs. 

Rounding out the group is the new Toyota C-HR which will be available in early 2024 with hybrid powertrains exclusively, and starts from $42,990 before on-road costs for the entry-level GXL. The mid-tier Koba starts from $49,990 before on-road costs, and the flagship GR Sport costs $54,990. 

Standard features compared back-to-back

Nissan Qashqai 2022-4
The Nissan Qashqai E-Power is priced from $51,590 before on-road costs

Nissan Qashqai

Starting off the spec list, Nissan’s Qashqai E-Power is based on the flagship Ti grade, and features the following notable features as standard:

  • 12.3-inch centre touchscreen
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10.8-inch head-up display
  • Quilted leather upholstery 
  • 10-speaker Bose sound system
  • Hands-free power tailgate 
  • Hybrid regenerative braking 
  • Active noise cancellation 
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Wireless phone charging 
  • Adaptive LED headlights 
  • Eight-way power adjustable front passenger seat and driver’s seat 
  • Massage function for front seats 
Hyundai Kona Premium N Line 2023 front beach
The Hyundai Kona Premium N Line

Hyundai Kona 

Up next is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid, which in its most affordable base guise, comes standard with the following features:

  • 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • 4.2-inch display nestled between two analogue dials
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 
  • DAB+ radio
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Secondary rear air vents
  • LED headlights 
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Smart key with push button start
  • Steering wheel paddle shifters
  • Manual adjust cloth seats
Hyundai Kona Premium N Line 2023 front
The new-generation Hyundai Kona is now on sale

For those interested in the higher grades of Kona Hybrid, such as the $43,500 Premium, buyers will receive additional features including:

  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster 
  • Blind-spot view monitor 
  • Bose eight-speaker sound system
  • Built-in satellite navigation 
  • Leather seat upholstery
  • Power tailgate
  • Dual project LED headlights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Ambient lighting
  • 360-degree camera

Toyota C-HR

Yellow and black 2023 Toyota C-HR small SUV, front 3/4 exterior shot
The new Toyota C-HR will be available in the first quarter of 2024

Next up on the spec sheet, the new base Toyota C-HR GXL hybrid, comes from the factory standard with the following features:

  • 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen
  • 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
  • Satellite navigation
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Sports fabric seats 
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rain sensing wipers 
  • Smart entry and start 

And, if you’re interested in the $49,990 Koba, this variant adds:

  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Nine-speaker JBL sound system
  • Bi-LED headlights with adaptive high beam
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Power tailgate
  • Head-up display
  • Wireless phone charging 
  • Ambient interior lighting
A Toyota C-HR GR Sport on display

With the $54,990 GR Sport, Toyota adds:

  • Unique 19-inch alloy wheels
  • GR Sport brakes
  • Heated steering wheel
  • GR Sport front seats with synthetic leather and suede mix upholstery 
  • GR floor mats, steering wheel and aluminium scuff plates

It’s great to see that each of these small hybrid SUVs offer a large 12.3-inch centre touchscreen, along with other key features such as the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless phone charging and satellite navigation. 

What sort of hybrid systems do these small SUVs have?

Nissan X-Trail E-Power badge 2023
Nissan’s E-Power tech debuted in Australia with the X-Trail

Nissan has been talking a lot about its E-Power hybrid technology, and soon we’ll be able to try the Qashqai with this hybrid-electric technology installed. 

The Qashqai E-Power propels itself down the road thanks to a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine that is mated to a single electric motor. 

It’s front-wheel drive, and unlike some other hybrid systems, Nissan’s E-Power system does not require the petrol engine to have a physical link to the wheels, and instead it acts as a generator to produce electricity for the onboard electric motor. 

Nissan Qashqai 2022-1
The E-Power hybrid system uses a petrol engine along with an electric motor

The electric motor, which is permanently connected to the driven wheels, then drives the car. 

All up, the Qashqai E-Power produces 140kW with its electric motor, and 116kW of power from the turbocharged petrol engine. 

The Hyundai Kona hybrid, meanwhile, uses a 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that is coupled with an electric motor. The combustion engine and electric motor make a combined system output of 104kW/265Nm

Hyundai Kona Premium N Line 2023 badge
The new Kona Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre engine wth an electric motor

Toyota’s new generation of C-HR is all hybrid for 2024. Two hybrid setups will be available, including a 2.0-litre hybrid setup with maximum outputs of 145kW for the GR Sport, however the GXL and Koba use a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a combined 103kW of power. A torque figure is not stated for the Toyota hybrid system. 

The Nissan Qashqai’s hybrid system is one of the most powerful in class, but it’s worth noting that the upcoming Toyota C-HR Hybrid can produce up to 145kW of combined power in GR Sport trim. 

How fuel efficient are these hybrid small SUVs?

We can only go off manufacturer’s claims here, but beginning with the Qashqai E-Power, Nissan claims that this hybrid model will consume 5.2L/100km on the combined cycle. 

Two 2023 Toyota C-HR small SUVs
Two of the brand-new Toyota C-HRs coming in 2024

The Hyundai Kona Hybrid, meanwhile, has a much lower claimed combined fuel economy of just 3.9L/100km. 

Toyota is yet to release fuel consumption figures for its upcoming C-HR small SUV. 

It’s hard to go past the Hyundai’s very low 3.9L/100km combined fuel consumption, however we are interested to note that the Toyota C-HR’s figures will be. 

Yellow and black 2023 Toyota C-HR small SUV, front wheel close-up
The C-HR Hybrid is due in Australian showrooms in early 2024

Are these hybrid small SUVs safe?

Nissan’s new Qashqai E-Power hybrid has been rated by ANCAP, where it received a five-star score in 2021. 

As standard, the Ti E-Power features the following safety features:

  • Seven airbags 
  • Forward collision warning
  • Autonomous emergency braking with junction assist and pedestrian/cyclist detection
  • Blind spot warning and intervention
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane intervention
  • Traffic sign recognition 
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Driver attention alert 
  • Active speed limiter 
  • Tyre pressure monitoring 
  • Reversing camera and parking sensors 
Nissan Qashqai 2022-2
Nissan has loaded the Qashqai with standard safety inclusions

The new-generation Hyundai Kona Hybrid, meanwhile, has not yet been rated by ANCAP in Australia, or with Euro NCAP. 

As standard, the new Kona hybrid includes the following safety features:

  • Front, front centre, side and side curtain airbags 
  • Multi-collision avoidance brake
  • Blind spot collision assist
  • Driver attention warning
  • Forward collision assist (AEB)
  • High beam assist
  • Intelligent speed limit assist
  • Lane follow and lane keep assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Rear occupant alert
  • Safe exit warning
  • Adaptive cruise control

The new generation Toyota C-HR Hybrid has not yet been tested by ANCAP, with the rating of its previous generation to expire in Australia in December 2023. 

Hyundai Kona Premium N Line 2023 badge 2
The Kona N-Line trim grade can have a hybrid powertrain

Toyota is yet to announce further details of its next-gen C-HR’s safety suite. This will likely be determined shortly, before the model is released in the first quarter of 2024.

Which do we pick as the winner of the spec battle?

As is always the case with Chasing Cars spec battles, it’s hard to pin down a clear winner based on a spec sheet alone.

However, considering each of the core areas discussed, the Hyundai Kona Hybrid seems to us to be the most bang-for–your-buck option, with an impressive array of entry-level equipment and standard safety inclusions, even in the most affordable grade. 

We look forward to driving all of these new small SUV hybrids in the coming months, as they trickle their way into the Australian new car market.