Best hybrid SUVs 2021
Sales of SUVs and hybrids are booming, making hybrid SUVs some of the most desirable cars around. But which of them are worth a place on your shortlist and which are best avoided?...
Not so long ago, if you wanted an SUV, it was almost always best to go for a diesel engine. However, changes to the tax system, combined with improvements in hybrid technology, mean these cars which mix petrol and electric power are now great for your wallet as well as your conscience.
In addition, the number of hybrid SUVs available has exploded in the last couple of years. But this increased choice can be a negative as well as a positive, making it harder to decide what to go for. So, here we count down our current top 10 – and reveal the model that's best avoided.
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Top 10 hybrid SUVs
10. Toyota RAV4 2.5 VVT-i Hybrid
Its ride and handling may be ordinary, but the RAV4 is a large and practical SUV that comes very well equipped and benefits from Toyota's stellar reliability record. What's more, it makes a cheap company car, thanks to its low CO2 emissions, and costs a lot less to buy than most of the other cars on this list.
The rival Volvo XC60 T8 may be more practical than the Q5, but the Q5 compensates by being quieter and sharper to drive, with a more compliant ride. Factor in a similar electric-only range but faster charging, and it's the better all-rounder.
8. Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid
Honda's latest CR-V offers excellent space for both passengers and luggage, and the hybrid version – which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor – provides plenty of poke. It's also the most efficient and refined CR-V variant, so makes a fine family car.
7. BMW X3 xDrive30e
The X3 xDrive30e is a great choice if you're looking for a prestige SUV with five seats. Keen drivers will like its strong performance and top-notch handling, while passengers can enjoy the luxurious and spacious interior. Plus, the 30e can travel up to 34 miles purely on electric power.
6. Volvo XC90 Recharge T8
The XC90 T8 hides an ace up its sleeve: it's the only plug-in hybrid luxury SUV with seven seats. On top of that, it's the quickest XC90 by some margin, and has an impressive fully electric range, yet it doesn't compromise what made this big Volvo so appealing to begin with: its classy and family-friendly interior.
5. Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi PHEV
The Sorento's hybrid tech combines decent real-world fuel economy with comparatively low CO2 emission, while the ride is comfortable and the steering accurate. Throw in a nicely made and well equipped interior, a driving position that’s lofty enough to make HGV drivers jealous and Kia’s unmatched seven-year warranty, and the Sorento is a fine choice.
4. Ford Kuga 2.5 PHEV
In our tests, the plug-in hybrid version of the Kuga went almost 50% farther on electric power than similarly priced alternatives. Plus, it trounced them when petrol power took over, returning 52mpg. The Kuga also gives you a lofty view of the road ahead, while the supple suspension makes it very comfortable, both at speed and when trundling around town.
3. Range Rover Evoque P300e
It may well be the Evoque’s looks that first pique your interest, but it’s a fine car on more objective levels, too. It’s comfortable, really posh inside and is even reasonably practical by class standards, with this plug-in version losing no luggage space compared with its purely combustion-engined siblings, despite having a battery that's pig enough for 34 miles of electric driving.
2. Volvo XC40 T4
The Evoque and XC40 are very closely matched and offer similar strengths. However, it's the latter that has the edge for us, because it gives them to you for a significantly lower price.
1. BMW X5 xDrive45e
The plug-in hybrid X5 is every bit as comfortable and luxurious as the petrol and diesel versions, and you barely notice the extra weight of its batteries, even in corners. You can't have seven seats, but that's the only significant downside. Indeed, it has a much longer electric range than the rival XC90 T8, a far more user-friendly infotainment system and attracts significantly lower company car tax bills so, unless you need those extra seats, it's the better car and the best hybrid SUV on sale.
And the hybrid SUV to avoid...
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander was a plug-in hybrid pioneer, but it's feeling its age now. The ride is unsettled and the handling stodgy, plus interior quality is well off the pace.
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