Compare the best hybrid SUVs

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Last updated April 24, 2024 by Neil Briscoe

Best hybrid SUVs of 2024

We all want an SUV these days, but we’re probably all equally aware that the weight, height, and general bulk of most SUV models means that they use more fuel than a hatchback or estate.

A decade ago, you’d have squared that circle by choosing a diesel engine option, but these days that’s more than a little unfashionable. Thankfully, for those who want a big car without too many big bills, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models have swept in to fill the diesel gap. 

There’s been an explosion in the choice of hybrid SUVs recently, so you can now choose from as big and beefy as you like, to as small and compact as you might need, as well as choosing between conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and even more exotic parallel hybrids.

Carwow’s expert reviews team has picked the 10 best hybrid or plug-in hybrid SUVs you can buy right now.

Land Rover Defender 110

1. Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender 110 review
Audi Q5

2. Audi Q5

Audi Q5 review
Battery range up to 32 miles

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Volvo XC60

3. Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60 review
Battery range up to 28 miles
Volkswagen Tiguan

4. Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan review
Lexus NX Hybrid

5. Lexus NX

Lexus NX Hybrid review
Cupra Formentor

6. Cupra Formentor

Cupra Formentor review
Kia Sorento

7. Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento review
Toyota C-HR

8. Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR review
Mercedes-Benz GLC

9. Mercedes-Benz GLC

Mercedes-Benz GLC review
Ford Kuga

10. Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga review
Battery range up to 35 miles

Browse all hybrid SUVs

Advice about hybrid SUV cars

Hybrid SUVs FAQs

A hybrid SUV is a tall, practical car with the style (if not always the capability) of a 4x4, and which uses a combination of petrol and electric power to drive. The electric half of the system can either save fuel by running on battery alone, or can help by adding extra power when you need it.

Hybrid SUVs come with an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine. That motor is fed power from a small battery (or in the case of a plug-in hybrid, quite a big battery). The idea is that the petrol engine can be tuned to run a more fuel-efficient setting, allowing the electric motor to add extra power when needed for acceleration. The electric motor can also power the car by itself for short bursts, and if you add up lots of those short bursts (such as when driving around town) you can see some very impressive fuel savings. Plug-in hybrid SUVs can charge up their larger batteries from mains power and drive for short commuting-style distances on electric power, saving their petrol engines and fuel tanks for longer drives.

To find out more about how hybrid SUVs work, check out our guide on what is a hybrid car?

Well you won’t be short of choice, that’s for sure. There are currently more than 50 hybrid models to choose from, and that number will only continue to grow over the coming months and years.

A self-charging hybrid SUV will only manage around a mile or so on electric power, as their batteries are quite small. Of course, the idea is that the battery charges up again quickly (from both the engine and from regenerative braking) so you get lots of those short hops in one journey, saving you quite a lot of fuel. A plug-in hybrid SUV gets a bigger battery and can charge from mains electricity, so can go a lot further on electric power - as much as 70 miles if you’re looking at a new Range Rover plug-in hybrid - but around 30-40 miles is more common.

In terms of plug-in hybrids, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e claims 565mpg on paper. Now, that’s a semi-fictional figure, as you’ll struggle to match it unless you plug in every day and only do short regular journeys. Worth remembering that on longer motorway runs, with a flat battery, fuel economy is closer to 35-40mpg. If it’s a regular self-charging hybrid you want, then Toyota’s C-HR will do a claimed 61mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle and will get pretty close to that in real world conditions.

The biggest hybrid SUV is the new Range Rover, which comes in two plug-in versions called P440e and P510e. Both models get a massive battery which gives them a claimed 70-mile electric-only range.

It may only be small, but the most affordable hybrid SUV is the little Toyota Yaris Cross, which has a basic price of just over £20,000.

With so much choice on the market, and cars so competent these days, picking a 'best' is tricky, not least because small hybrid SUVs come from almost every manufacturer offering a range of prices. The Toyota Yaris Cross is a great option, because it's just so economical and comes with an excellent warranty.

Well, if you really want the best of the best, the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover plug-in hybrids are right up there, though these are six-figure cars.

First, decide if a plug-in or self-charging hybrid is right for you; company car drivers, and those who can charge at home may favour the PHEV option. Next, hybrids are so commonplace, and offered as an option with so many cars, that you should decide in general what cars you would consider, then find out if they come with hybrid power; decide the car first, not the powertrain.

Hybrid SUVs tend to be more expensive than their petrol and diesel counterparts, but the trade-off is that they also tend to be more efficient, not least when diesel has fallen out of favour in recent years, and SUVs tend to use a little more fuel than equivalent hatchbacks. It’s worth remembering that most hybrids are designed to deliver their best fuel economy at low speed, around town so if your regular driving involves endless motorway miles, a hybrid may not be the best bet for you. Equally, plug-in hybrids, once they’ve used up all their battery charge, are essentially lugging around the dead weight of a battery (although some newer models can fast-charge so you can actually top them up en route) and usually have smaller boot space than their petrol or diesel equivalents.

There are no overtly bad hybrid SUVs on the market, but be sure to make the right choice between plug-in and self-charging hybridisation: if you don't have off-street parking you're less likely to keep the batteries of a PHEV charged up, negating the efficiency gains the extra cost of a hybrid typically brings. Oh, and don't go thinking a mild hybrid is a proper hybrid; this term effectively means the car has a sophisticated stop-start system, and can switch off its engine when going down hill, for example; mild hybrids can't power themselves by electricity alone.