Best used hybrid SUVs

They're still big and stylish, but hybrid SUVs have helped this popular market to maintain its mainstream appeal - these are the best

BuyaCar team
Mar 29, 2021

SUVs could never be considered particularly good for the environment. Their large size and weight makes them some of the least fuel-efficient cars you can buy, and where most models are best served with a diesel engine under the bonnet, they tend to produce the worst kinds of emissions as well.

So now we are seeing a huge influx of hybrid SUVs, making use of electrification technology to clean up their act and keep them right at the sharp end of consumer interest.

In basic terms, a hybrid car incorporates an electric motor and battery pack that works together with a standard combustion engine. The engine helps to charge the battery, which powers the motor to take some of the strain from the engine to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Plug-in hybrid SUVs, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), go one step further. These have bigger batteries that can be plugged in and charged up, allowing them to run for around 30 miles on electric power alone before the engine takes over.

There are pros and cons to this idea. While all-electric power allows a certain amount of zero-emission driving, once the battery has run out, fuel efficiency can often be worse than what it would be from a standard petrol engine. Hybrids are much more expensive to purchase than petrol or diesel alternatives thanks to their complicated technology, but a good value PCP finance deal can help to spread out that cost.

Used hybrid SUVs

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Best used hybrid SUV for low emissions

Our pick Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 PHEV GX 3H
Used deals from £13,000
Monthly finance from £257*

The car that did more than any other to raise the profile of hybrid SUVs has recently been updated. However, for sheer value for money, an older example remains the original and best.

It’s not the most accomplished SUVs to drive, and the quality is low in places, but it has tough mechanicals and is reliable. Add the prospect of up to 30 miles of electric-only running and it’s still hard to beat.


2. Lexus RX450h

Best used hybrid SUV for reliability

Our pick Ford Lexus RX 450h Luxury
Used deals from £27,995
Monthly finance from £419*

There’s little prospect of much electric-only running with this large SUV, but up to 47mpg bests any comparable diesel. It’s even more impressive when you consider the engine is a large 3.5-litre V6 petrol producing 313hp.

The way the hybrid system smoothly transitions from electric to petrol is impressive, as is the RX’s excellent reliability record, which has put it close to the top of dependability surveys for year after year.


3. Toyota C-HR

Best used hybrid SUV for good driving experience

Our pick Toyota C-HR 1.8 Icon
Used deals from £16,490
Monthly finance from £257*

Toyota has decades-worth of experience producing hybrid cars. The Prius hatchback was its first in 1997 and much of its technology has found way into the C-HR, including a rather annoying CVT automatic gearbox that can make the engine’s revs soar with little provocation.

There isn't much scope for electric-only running in the C-HR but that economy figure is still pretty impressive. Meanwhile, it feels sportier and more engaging to drive than other hybrid cars, qualities which match its racy looks perfectly.


4. Volvo XC90 T8

Best used hybrid SUV for safety

Our pick Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design
Used deals from £38,980
Monthly finance from £650*

The XC90 is a plug-in hybrid offering up to 25 miles of electric-only running. That alone is impressive, but add the big Volvo’s cool style, seven seats and plentiful safety features, and it’s one impressive SUV.

It’s only a 2.0-litre petrol engine under the bonnet but the addition of electric power boosts it to an almost unbelievable 390hp for strong overtaking performance.


5. Mini Countryman

Best used hybrid SUV for fun

Our pick Mini Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
Used deals from £20,995
Monthly finance from £339*

The Countryman S E catapults the historic Mini brand firmly into the modern age with a plug-in hybrid system that’s capable of 25 miles of electric-only running.

Its combined power output is 220hp, easily enough to justify the Cooper badge too. The chirpy three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine combines with the electric motor very well, while the system’s extra weight takes nothing away from the little car’s fun character.


6. Kia Niro

Best used hybrid SUV for value

Our pick Kia Niro 1.6 GDi 2
Used deals from £14,990
Monthly finance from £241*

If the Toyota CH-R is too self-consciously stylish for your tastes, take a look at the Niro. It’s much more conservatively styled. Underneath its bulbous body, though, it's more advanced, thanks to a fast-shifting dual-clutch gearbox that makes acceleration much smoother than in the Toyota.

The Niro’s economy (74.3mpg) is pretty impressive. Chose the more expensive plug-in version and 25 miles of electric-only running awaits.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cabriolet cars

  2. Best summer cars

  3. Cheap cars with nice interiors