Best Hybrid SUVs on the Market: Reviewed & Ranked

What’s not to like about a utility vehicle that saves money at the pump, has room for family and friends, and cargo space to haul everything you need? For many, hybrid SUVs are the perfect mix of environmentally friendly without the sacrifice of power. But, as more and more companies begin their foray into the hybrid market, the waters begin to muddy significantly when it comes to choosing a new electric-gas crossover.

This list will pull together the research and testing from various outlets to highlight the best hybrid SUVs on the market based on price, cargo space, comfort, engine specs, and fuel economy so buyers can make a choice that fits for them, their family, and the environment they are a part of.

10. Acura MDX Hybrid

The Positives

As an entry in the mid-size luxury class, the hybrid MDX has now lack of flash and excitement. However, it is not aesthetic that packs the biggest punch for the MDX. No, it is the unparalleled fuel economy in the midsize class that sets the MDX apart. Additionally, the Acura handling and acceleration that makes their vehicles such a joy to drive remains present in their hybrid effort. Finally, the technology and infotainment offerings from Acura are top of the line, intuitive and innovative.

The Negatives

While being a luxury offering may be a positive for some, for others it prices them out quite quickly – the MDX certainly fits in this category as it comes in at the higher end of the hybrid market. On top of that, according to Cars.USnews.com the very luxury that is doted on for the MDX is lacking in comparison to competitors – meaning that buyers may be getting less features for more money. When it comes to cargo space – a necessity for many in search of an SUV – the MDX also falls short as the storage behind the rear seats and throughout the vehicle leave testers wanting more.

9. Nissan Rogue Hybrid

The Positives

The Rogue has come to feel extremely at-home when it comes to ‘top-10’ lists, usually somewhere near the top. While the hybrid is not necessarily at the top of this list, it is still nothing to scoff at. The Rogue hybrid offers above average comfort and ride quality with a quiet and smooth cabin and extremely accommodating seating in all areas. The Rogue also upholds the idea that an SUV should not forget about cargo space and utility – there is plenty of storage space. Finally, the Rogue hybrid is very affordable – aside from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (more on that later) it is the most affordable offering on this list. Of note, the 2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid was chosen as one of Edmunds’ Best Gas Mileage SUVs for 2019.

The Negatives

The Rogue hybrid suffers in testing when it comes to evaluating its acceleration which is sluggish and uninspired. This is a big fear for many exercising the idea of purchasing a hybrid for the first time. Inside the vehicle, the infotainment system and technological features are described as “dated-looking” and outward visibility is poor. Overall though, it is the performance that hurts the SUV as the power output places it well-below average in the category.

8. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

The Positives

The brand new Crosstrek Hybrid is Subaru’s first plug-in vehicle. As is the same with the gas model and many Subaru offerings, the hybrid gets great fuel economy. Inside the cabin the design is high-class, easy-to-use and innovative without being too flashy. There’s also a long list of standard infotainment and active safety features that Subaru has long excelled at. The Crosstrek has also been marketed as a very off-road capable vehicle and the hybrid version of the compact SUV is no exception and outperforms its competitors in this category.

The Negatives

For as many excellent features the Crosstrek offers, the cost outweighs many of them. For a compact SUV that is slightly closer to the hatchback class, the price is much higher for what buyers get. The power is decent but there is less cargo space and the overall performance does not do it any favours. Comparing with its competitors is one thing but when comparing with the same gas-only Crosstrek, the high price seems even more astounding.

7. Lexus RX 450H

The Positives

Lexus has certainly produced a quality hybrid in the luxury when it comes to the RX 450H. Lexus is meticulous with their in-cabin design and the result is impeccable and attractive. Performance-wise the fuel economy is unmatched by many, especially in the luxury class, and there is a more than respectable horsepower. The ride is quiet and calm and the handling in the F Sport package is also a significant strength. At an estimated 30 mpg combined highway and city driving, the RX450H is an excellent choice in the hybrid SUV market.

The Negatives

The RX 450H falls short in a few areas – most notably the cargo space offerings. There is a larger three-row version, the RX 450hL, but its third-row seats are barely suitable for children. The infotainment system is confusing and out-dated – Edmunds suggested the system was one of the worst in its class. Finally, the acceleration in the RX 450H does not keep up with its sportier competitors such as the Acura MDX.

6. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid

The Positives

Coming in at #1 in luxury hybrid rankings, the Cayenne hybrid is an excellent combination of luxury and performance. As is the case with the non-hybrid version, Porsche’s handling is largely unmatched by competitors making it a fun, responsive, and in-control ride. The interior is high-class and impressive as expected. In terms of power, even in the hybrid version, the Cayenne is not lacking at all. This hybrid offering from Porsche is certainly more than just speed, agility and luxury – it is dynamic and lives up to anything thrown at it.

The Negatives

As many may expect when seeing the maker of the Cayenne Hybrid, the starting price from Porsche is amongst the highest in the class and one of the highest on this list which may deter buyers. The sleek and aerodynamic nature of the Cayenne hybrid comes at the detriment of the cargo space and passenger legroom and overall comfort. If buyers have the means, the Cayenne is an excellent – if not the best- offering. However, there are cheaper options out on the hybrid SUV market that are more cost-conscious.

 

5. Kia Niro

The Positives

The Niro, like the Subaru Crosstrek, is unique to this list in that its ground clearance and size make it closer to a large hatchback than an SUV. Nonetheless, it holds its own and then some. Despite its size, it has excellent cargo and storage space as Kia’s unique engineering has found space throughout. One of the Niro’s biggest perks come from the more-than-respectable all-electric range, setting apart from competitors. Less gas equals more money saved. Additionally, the Niro gets excellent fuel-economy when using gas. Kia offers plenty of standard and advanced features as well. Overall though, the Niro’s biggest positive is the very affordable price offered by Kia. Kia does a remarkable job of offering quality vehicles for everyone.

The Negatives

As mentioned, the smaller stature of the Niro hurts its overall score slightly but even that is bias as it is punching out of its class. Despite its crossover styling, there is no all-wheel-drive offered which is a large reason why many people step into a hybrid SUV rather than a sedan. Finally, the acceleration is somewhat lethargic, especially when the engine is not in use.

4. Mini Countryman Cooper S E Hybrid

The Positives

The Mini Countryman took a huge step forward with the S E Hybrid version and the result is impressive. Mini Cooper styling has always been unique and classy, and the hybrid Countryman keeps that going. The plug-in electric hybrid can cover plenty of city miles on a single charge and it has not sacrificed, for lack of a better term, fun. The quality materials in the cabin and the unique exterior make the Countryman a step above its class. The Countryman is also one of the only manual transmissions in this class.

The Negatives

Edmunds describes the braking as “grabby” and uninspired. As expected, the Countryman has significantly less cargo space, and space in general, than competitors. Additionally, and more importantly the mileage is behind the curve as well, which means when the vehicle is ran in hybrid mode, drivers will be stopping at the pumps more often. Finally, the price is slightly higher than its direct competitors such as the Kia Niro.

3. Lexus NX 300h

The Positives

As the smaller version of the RX 450H mentioned in this this list, Lexus nailed it with the NX 300h. The NX is top of the class in fuel economy due to the 4-cylinder gas-electric engine and AWD system. While it may not be the fastest option out there for hybrid SUVs on the market, its handling in city driving and when at cruising highway speeds, it does not disappoint. The interior is equally as impressive with a super quiet and spacious cabin and top of the line safety features.

The Negatives

Like the RX 450H, the infotainment system offered by Lexus are unintelligent, dated and confusing. While the system connects via Bluetooth it is well behind competitors. The below-average cargo spacing is also concerning when weighing everything as the price of the NX is higher than those in its class.

2. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Positives

There is tons to like about the Highlander Hybrid. Toyota has been a leader in the hybrid game for a long time now and the Highlander is definitely a leader in the midsize SUV class – awarded the #1 position in that category by cars.com. The highlander has a posh looking cabin made with premium materials and, as is the case with many Toyota vehicles, has a wide range of standard safety features. The power-train provides potent acceleration and power all while giving the driver a smooth and quiet ride. Perhaps most importantly, the Highlander has excellent fuel economy and top of the line predicted reliability rating. An excellent choice for anyone in search of a hybrid SUV.

The Negatives

It may be tough to find a lot of content for this section, but we will try. On the driving side of things, research and testing found the brakes on the Highlander to be a bit touchy but certainly not anything to worry about – more just a matter of getting used to them. Same can be said for the infotainment system – it is technologically advanced and can do everything drivers need it to do but it takes some time and experience to figure out all the innovative functions. Lastly, simply because the Highlander is a mid-size, it is a bit pricier than some of its competitors on this list, but it is still affordable in the grand scheme.

1. Toyota RAV4

The Positives

How many times has the RAV4 topped a list ranking SUVs? The exact answer is a lot. Starting with price, the RAV4 is one of, if not the best, priced SUVs on this list. Interestingly though, the hybrid version of the RAV4 is only slightly more expensive than the regular RAV4 – which is much more than others can say about their hybrid offerings. The interior is comfortable, and the cargo space is vast and cavernous -not forgetting the utility aspect of the SUV class. Finally, the fully redesigned 2019 version and the fifth generation of the RAV4 has excellent fuel economy – EPA-estimated fuel economy is up to 39 mpg combined this year, which is a 6 mpg improvement over the 2018 model.

The Negatives

Of the few negatives the biggest once might be the tech issues that some experienced. The interface is just slightly dated-looking when compared to luxury offerings but most importantly, Android Auto is not supported which isolates many potential buyers. Finally, some testing suggested that the passenger seat is not as comfortable than the rest of the cabin. Overall though, the RAV4 is an excellent choice, the best choice, as a hybrid SUV.

Conclusion

 So much of searching for a new vehicle is personal and situational preference. Even when things are narrowed down to the hybrid class, there are more and more filters that get applied to buyer’s choices. This list covers a wide range of hybrid SUVs on the market that will, hopefully, give people options for size, price, power, and fuel economy. In the end, buyers will choose what fits them best.

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