Top 9 Best Hybrid SUV Cars
SUVs have been all the rage for a good few years now. They offer improved visibility compared to your traditional saloon or estate car, have big, tough looks, are robust enough to go off the beaten track as well as carry your family and all their luggage with ease. But what about hybrid SUVs? Read on…
SUVs have become so sought after that you can now find mid-sized SUVs in crossover form, all the way down to hatchbacks that are trying to cash in on the SUV boom. That means there’s an SUV of sorts to suit every need.
But what most people want is decent MPG. That means hybrids are key. Hybrid SUVs often give a healthy boost in the miles per gallon department thanks to large batteries and fuel-saving technology, like stop and start.
In this guide we’ll take you through 9 of the best hybrid SUVs to buy on the UK market today, we’ll also cover some smaller crossovers, in case you don’t need a huge seven-seater in your life.
Our top 9 best hybrid SUVs to buy are:
- Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
- Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
- Toyota RAV4
- Range Rover Sport PHEV
- KIA Niro PHEV
- Lexus RX 450h
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Range Rover Evoque PHEV
- Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
Volvo have been on a design winning streak over the last few years. Model after model has looked stunning and offers something different to other manufacturers, the XC90 is one of those.
Dubbed the T8 Twin Engine, this XC90 gives you the best of both worlds, a powerful 2.0-litre turbo, supercharged petrol engine yet enough battery power to get you 22 miles at motorway speeds without using a drop of liquid fuel.
That means you can easily commute to and from work on volts alone but also go on longer jaunts at the weekend. This bridges the gap that many EVs fall down on – range.
Most ‘hybrid’ systems work to aid the conventional combustion engine, but the T8 allows full driving on battery power alone.
You also get a rapid 0-62 time of 5.8 seconds, that’s hot hatch territory. Total power output is 385 BHP, but that performance comes at a cost. Weight is also against you, which can impact MPG; the XC90 is lugging around 2.2 tons without passengers.
Expect to get around 35-40 MPG on longer journeys, but all those around town miles are effectively free if you keep it charged.
Price: T8 starts at £66,645.
- Can drive on EV power alone
- Recharges itself if need be
- T8 engine can only be specced on mid-range trim
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
A few years back you wouldn’t have had Porsche pinned as hybrid enthusiasts, but the brand have realised they need to move with the market and offer SUV’s people want, the Cayenne E-Hybrid was born.
New for this year is the latest generation of their most popular hybrid, they’ve ditched the old V6 engine and are now using a 3.0-litre turbocharged unit mated to an electric motor that’s 30% more powerful. This bumps the power to 456 BHP.
It also means the fully electric range has been increased to 27 miles, and it only takes two hours to charge from a fast-charging wall box.
As you’d expect with that sort of power 0-62 is rapid at 5.0 seconds flat. Unlike most hybrids you can even tow with the Cayenne thanks to its torque converter setup, this makes the E-Hybrid a bit of a Swiss army knife when it comes to abilities and all-around user-friendliness.
It costs roughly £12,000 more than the entry-level V6 Cayenne; ultimately, it will probably appeal to company car buyers due to the offset thanks to the lower tax.
Price: From £67,128
- Performance to beat a Boxster
- Decent EV only range
- Can tow
- Least dynamic Porsche on the market
- Inconsistent brake feel
Toyota are all about hybridisation, pretty much every car in their line-up can either be had as a hybrid or is a hybrid already. The all-new RAV4 is no different.
Powered by a rather beefy 2.5-litre hybrid petrol engine, Toyota reckon the lowest WLTP MPG rating is 48.7. Not bad considering the size of the engine. Total horsepower is 218, and the 0-62 sprint comes in at 8.4 seconds, nippy enough for most people.
You can also option 2WD or AWD if you go AWD the rear wheels will be powered by an electric motor.
Unlike most manufacturers the hybrid system is standard. However it only aids the petrol engine, you can’t drive on fully electric as with plug-in hybrids.
You also have to make do with a CVT automatic gearbox, these work on a band that constantly changes size to give you the peak torque when you need it.
It does mean that the engine can often rev unnaturally as you accelerate, or it takes a little while to respond when you need to make an overtake.
Price: From £39,940
- Hybrid as standard
- Chunky, modern looks
- AWD optional
- No pure EV power
- Large petrol engine
Range Rover Sport PHEV
Last year saw Land Rover release their second ever PHEV, the Range Rover Sport. The P400e combines petrol and electric to give you a smidge under 400 BHP.
Up front there’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine making 296 BHP coupled with an 85kW electric motor, that means you get a fully electric range of around 31 miles but expect the real world to be around 25.
Charging up takes just under three hours from a fast charger, or seven if you’re plugged in at home.
The extra weight of that hybrid system does hamper the performance of the petrol engine though; it’s a little strained and overall isn’t the most refined engine JLR offer. Under load, you end up with a lot of engine whine, which is juxtaposed with the luxurious interior.
Going hybrid will mean nearly a £6,000 premium compared to the equivalent 2.0-litre diesel V6, again those needing a new company car will benefit most from the tax incentives that the Sport PHEV brings to the table.
Price: Starting at £72,785
- 6.3 seconds 0-60 time
- Gorgeous interior
- Loud engine
- Don’t expect MPG miracles
KIA Niro PHEV
KIA’s Niro is one of the unsung PHEV’s on the market, starting at £31,195 this crossover is around the size of a Nissan Qashqai but boasts an all-electric range of up to 36 miles, take that as a real world 30.
Combining a punchy 1.6 GDi petrol turbo engine with 139 BHP and a 59 kW battery the Niro only manages a 0-60 time of 10.4 seconds, rather lackadaisical compared to the competition.
You do get a proper six speed DCT automatic gearbox though, as opposed to the commonly used CVT in hybrids.
Build quality inside is high as you’d expect with a KIA, all the touchy-feely bits are suitably premium, although there are many buttons making things a little confusing. Minimalism isn’t quite there with Kia just yet.
Real world MPG will be around the 60 mark, which is impressive, and the Niro offers company car drivers a cheap to run family vehicle with some crossover inspired looks.
Charge time is roughly two hours for the dinky 8.9 kWh battery, and even when you’re out of volts, the Niro will revert to being a mild hybrid so you’ll still get some benefit.
Price: Starting at £31,195
- Great MPG
- Uninspiring looks
- Average driving dynamics
Lexus RX 450h
Voted the best premium large SUV of 2019 it was hard not to include the Lexus RX. Only available as a hybrid, the RX 450h starts at £49,705, but for that money, it packs as much build quality and bang for your buck as any Range Rover can.
There’s also the RX 450h L which adds two more seats if you need a full seven-seater.
Powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol driving the front wheels via a CVT gearbox there are also a pair of electric motors, one up front, one at the rear. This gives the RX four-wheel drive along with extra traction. Due to the hybrid heft, the 0-60 time is a woeful 7.9 seconds
Ride comfort is where the RX performs well though; you can waft along mile after mile feeling as if you’re sitting in your living room.
This thing will get you to where you need to be leaving you feeling relaxed and fresh. Inside you find sumptuous leather and nicely finished plastics throughout, it may not be as spartan as an Audi, but it has a style only the Japanese can carry off.
Price: From £49,705
- Superbly comfy
- Modern looks
- Only the 450h available in the UK
- Woeful performance considering engine size
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
One of the most prolific hybrid SUV’s over the past few years has been the Outlander PHEV from Mitsubishi.
It was one of the first plug-in hybrid SUV’s to market and has maintained it’s place as one of the best, in fact, it’s Britain’s most successful plug-in hybrid EV.
Starting at £36,755, the Outlander can manage over 400 miles on a single tank. It uses a 2.4-litre petrol engine and a larger than average 13.8 kWh battery meaning it can run for 28 miles on EV power alone.
Your daily commute could well be within its reach. It’s congestion charge exempt, and as with the rest of our hybrids, it will save you a fortune in benefit in kind tax.
Now this sort of money on a Mitsubishi may have you cringing, especially when you see the interior. This bit of the Outlander hasn’t been revised since 2016, and it’s feeling its age now.
None of the plastics are particularly high quality, and the whole thing feels rather utilitarian…which is a turn off at this price point.
That being said it sells by the bucketload so it must be doing something right.
Price: From £36,755
- Affordable in the grand scheme of the segment
- Seats five with ease
- Dated interior
- Low quality plastics
Range Rover Evoque PHEV
Now this one hasn’t yet hit the market, but we thought it’s worth including as it’s going to bring PHEV’s (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) to the style conscious masses.
Although the ‘new’ Evoque looks a lot like the old one, in fact, you could mistake it for a facelift, it’s all new. It’s also been engineered from the ground up for electrification; there will most likely be a full EV Evoque in years to come.
For now, we’re going to make do with a plug-in hybrid version though. It will probably be fitted with a new three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, combined with electric motors so the power output should be around 300 BHP making the baby Range Rover no slouch.
JLR have said that one in two Evoque’s sold within the M25 will be a plug-in hybrid, which makes total sense in London as the majority of journeys can be completed on EV power alone.
We can expect a fully electric Evoque when the third generation goes on sale in around 2025.
- Premium interior
- Latest PHEV to market
- No on-sale date as yet
- Looks only slightly updated over the old model
Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine
Much like the XC90, only smaller, the XC60 T8 Twin Engine is just as potent. Underneath its Swedish skin sits a 2.0-litre turbo, supercharged engine. Combine these with the electric motors and you have a total output of 390 BHP.
A 0-62 time of 5.3 seconds sees this mid-sized SUV capable of the same things most hot hatches are.
In terms of handling the T8 doesn’t disappoint, when you enter into it’s all power, fire breathing mode, the XC60 lowers itself to aid handling. The dampers also become stiffer, and the whole car becomes a rocket ship.
If you opt for the Intellisafe Pro pack, you also get Pilot Assist, which is near as dammit to self-driving. You do have to keep your hands on the wheel loosely. Otherwise it nags you until it eventually switches the system off.
But the system actively reads the road ahead, set the adaptive cruise control and it will keep pace with the car in front, turn you through corners and even slow you down to a complete stop before then setting off again when the car in front moves.
It feels sci-fi and takes a lot of the effort out of driving, ideal for long journeys.
Price: From £55,005
- Superb build quality
- Incredible tech
- Great EV only range
- Expensive for a mid-sized SUV
- Harsher ride on bad surfaces
Looking for alternative options to hybrid SUVs?
As you can see, hybrid SUV cars are still rather expensive, they’re ideal if you’re after a tax efficient company car, but can be a costly option for a family vehicle. So why not take a look at our other ‘best of cars’ guide below. We’re sure you’ll find your perfect car.