Hybrid SUVs combine big, practical cabins, good visibility and cheap running costs in a stylish, high-riding package. As an added bonus, most won’t mind venturing off-road thanks to their grippy four-wheel-drive systems and have more street cred than your average family car.
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[2018 update: No new models have worked their way into our top 10 list for 2018 so the hybrid Audi Q7 e-tron holds on to the top spot, closely followed by the equally large Volvo XC90 and rather more expensive Range Rover Sport hybrid. More affordable cars are represented by the Toyota RAV4 hybrid in fifth but the hugely popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV slips to ninth.]
Here are the 10 best hybrid SUVs and crossovers on sale:
- Audi Q7 e-tron
- Volvo XC90 T8
- Range Rover Sport Hybrid
- Lexus RX450h
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- Lexus NX300h
- Mercedes GLE500e
- BMW X5 xDrive40e
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Kia Niro
1. Audi Q7 e-tron
The Audi Q7 e-tron rivals the Volvo XC90 at the top end of the luxury SUV market. This plug-in hybrid has lots of interior space, although there’s no third row of seats unlike the non-hybrid model. The luxurious interior features lots of tech and, while it isn’t cheap, the e-tron brings lower running costs – averaging 156.9mpg – and punchy performance to the table with its hefty diesel engine and powerful electric motor. Take a peek at our Audi Q7 e-tron review for more in-depth analysis.
2. Volvo XC90 T8
The Volvo XC90 is the firm’s most convincing premium model yet – a stylish hybrid SUV with seven full-sized seats and a 451-litre boot with them all in place. Plenty of storage makes it a great family car and the minimalist interior has plenty of plush touches to help it feel upmarket. The T8 Twin Engine combines a supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and sizeable battery pack to produce 407hp. Despite its prodigious performance, this plug-in hybrid can average up to 134.5mpg and emit just 49g/km of CO2. Check out our Volvo XC90 review for the full low-down on this SUV.
3. Range Rover Sport Hybrid
A rather average 45.6mpg means the Range Rover Sport Hybrid isn’t the most frugal or eco-friendly car on this list. Nevertheless, it has many other strong qualities, including a handsome exterior, a luxurious interior, excellent off-road capabilities and punchy performance when on road. Its 3.0-litre diesel and electric motor combo makes 354hp for strong, relaxed acceleration. Read our Range Rover Sport review for lots more info.
4. Lexus RX
If you want a bit more room and space, the Lexus RX is a better fit compared to its little brother, the NX that places lower on this list. It adds a touch more practicality and space, alongside a clever hybrid system that returns impressively low running costs – the 3.5-litre V6 petrol and electric motor make 312hp and average 51.4mpg. It’s more expensive than the NX but is actually more fun to drive and feels more upmarket inside. Take a peek at our Lexus RX review to find out more.
5. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Striking looks and an unusual cabin design help the Toyota RAV4 stand out from the crowd. Plenty of standard kit and a 547-litre boot make it a great family car with room for five. It isn’t the most fun SUV to drive and fuel economy of 57.6mpg from its non-plug-in-hybrid drivetrain can’t quite match rivals, but it’s a sensible, safe choice for families and Toyota has an excellent reliability record. Interested? Be sure to give our Toyota RAV4 review a look.
6. Lexus NX
The Lexus NX’s eye-catching exterior design is matched by a stylish, well-built interior with good amounts of room and lots of tech to get to distract yourself with. It’s one of the most striking cars in the hybrid SUV class but, underneath, you get the same reliability and hybrid tech as the Toyota RAV4. Like the Toyota, the Lexus returns a healthy 56.5mpg – less than plug-in hybrid rivals but more than many conventional SUV. Check out our Lexus NX review to find out more.
7. Mercedes GLE500e
While the Mercedes GLE500e can’t quite rival the Audi Q7 e-tron’s smart exterior design and high-quality interior, it’s still a pleasant car to look at and sit inside, with room for five. It features a useful 480-litre boot – slightly smaller than the standard car due to the batteries – and plenty of plush touches. Its 3.0-litre V6 petrol and electric motor make 434hp and return an impressive 76.4mpg. See our Mercedes GLE review for more on this posh hybrid.
8. BMW X5 xDrive40e
The BMW X5 xDrive40e merges stylish Bavarian looks with generous interior space and efficient hybrid technology. It produces 309hp yet averages 85.6mpg from its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor, without compromising the driving experience. A long list of standard kit including the excellent iDrive infotainment system and a large boot make it a capable family car, while decent handling makes it a good choice for keen drivers. Have a look at our BMW X5 review for further details.
9. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The chunky Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a large SUV with plenty of interior space and impressively low running costs. There’s room for five and a large boot, with a well-built if somewhat old-fashioned interior. The plug-in hybrid system is clever, offering an automatic ‘best-of-both-worlds’ setting or allowing the driver to tailor the settings manually – it can favour pure-electric mode with the petrol engine charging the batteries or to favour the engine and save the battery charge for the city. In optimum conditions it can return a staggering 166mpg. See our Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review for more information.
10. Kia Niro
If you’re looking for a smart, spacious mid-sized SUV crossover, the Kia Niro is a great choice. There’s a large 427-litre boot, while the Niro’s interior has room for five passengers and a high driving position that gives a brilliant view of the road. Unlike rivals’ CVT-equipped hybrid models, Kia’s twin-clutch automatic gearbox is impressively smooth and quiet in use. It’s not especially light, but the hybrid Niro handles competently both around town and on the motorway while returning an impressive 74.3mpg. Be sure to give our Kia Niro review a look for more information.
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