Hybrid vs Petrol vs Diesel cars in South Africa — price and fuel efficiency

While the diesel price is currently substantially lower than the cost of petrol, some hybrids and petrol-powered cars are still cheaper to run, a MyBroadband analysis has revealed.

MyBroadband compared two hybrid, petrol, and diesel cars in terms of price, fuel consumption, and cost of travelling certain distances.

The cars we compared included:

  • Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid 1.8
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 Hybrid
  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI
  • Renault Kwid 1.0
  • Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi
  • Renault Duster 1.5 DCi

Our comparison revealed that the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient, with a cost per kilometre of R1.00. The 1.0-litre Renault Kwid isn’t far behind. It costs R1.03 per kilometre to run.

The other hybrid included in the comparison — the Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 Hybrid GLX — was the most expensive of the six to run at R1.29 per kilometre.

We used the manufacturer’s stated fuel economy figures, which are usually quite optimistic. Therefore, the actual running costs will likely be much higher.

However, unless some manufacturers were less honest than the rest about their fuel efficiency, the vehicles’ relative positions in the ranking below should remain the same.

The cost per kilometre of the six vehicles is compared in the chart below. The fuel prices used for the comparison were the recently-announced May 2023 inland prices for unleaded 95 and 50ppm diesel.

Cost per kilometre comparison. Hybrids in green, petrol cars in blue, and diesel cars in orange.

The diesel-powered vehicles compared reasonably well, taking the number three and four spots in our comparison.

The Ford Ecosport 1.5TDCi costs R1.08 per kilometre to run, while the Renault Duster 1.5DCi works out to R1.13 per kilometre.

The Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI was the second-least affordable to drive, with a figure of R1.26 per kilometre.

For the diesel price, we assumed a 15% retail markup on the government-set wholesale price.

Therefore, while the wholesale price of 50ppm diesel is almost R3.00 less per litre than unleaded 95’s regulated retail price, the markup makes diesel around 20 cents more expensive than petrol per litre.

Looking at purchase prices, the most affordable car listed is the Renault Kwid, pricing for which starts at R184,999.

The two hybrids are the most expensive of the lot, with the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid and Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 Hybrid starting at R458,300 and R529,900, respectively.

Volkswagen’s Polo 1.0 TSI starts at R334,400, with the Ford Ecosport coming in slightly cheaper at R322,500. Renault’s diesel-powered Duster starts at R367,999.

The vehicles, prices, and official fuel economy figures are summarized below.


Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid 1.8 XS

  • Price: From R458,300
  • Consumption: 4.3/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R100.36


Renault Kwid 1.0l

  • Price: From R184,999
  • Consumption: 4.4/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R102.69


Ford Ecosport 1.5TDCi

  • Price: From R322,500
  • Consumption: 4.6/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R108.45


Renault Duster 1.5DCi

  • Price: From R367,999
  • Consumption: 4.8/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R113.16


Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI

  • Price: From R334,400
  • Consumption: 5.4/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R126.04


Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 Hybrid GLX AllGrip

  • Price: From R529,900
  • Consumption: 5.6/100km
  • Cost to travel 100km: R130.70


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Hybrid vs Petrol vs Diesel cars in South Africa — price and fuel efficiency