Used hybrid SUVs

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

BuyaCar team
Dec 11, 2019

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.

In an age where environmental awareness is at a major peak in society, that kind of reputation is a sure fire way to kill off the sales boom that has dominated the car market for close to a decade, so manufacturers have had to act fast to address the issue.

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.

As new cars, hybrids are much more expensive than petrol or diesel alternatives. However, used hybrids can become much more affordable with the help of PCP finance deals.

 

Bear in mind, used hybrids that were on the road before April 2017 are typically very cheap to tax and plug-ins are generally exempt. More recent cars are taxed under a new system, which only brings minimal savings for hybrid owners. Business users can save even more, as the low CO2 emissions from hybrids bring reduced company car tax.

Read on for our pick of six of the best used deals for hybrid SUVs.

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 £11,558
Monthly finance from £194

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.

Mitsubishi Outlander buyers' guide

2. Lexus RX450h

Best used hybrid SUV for reliability

Our pick Ford Lexus RX 450h Luxury
Used deals from £28,950
Monthly finance from £388

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 308bhp.

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.

Lexus RX450h buyers' guide

3. Toyota C-HR

Best used hybrid SUV for good driving experience

Our pick Toyota C-HR 1.8 Icon
Used deals from £14,990
Monthly finance from £180

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.

Toyota C-HR buyers' guide

4. Volvo XC90 T8

Best used hybrid SUV for safety

Our pick Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design
Used deals from £34,980
Monthly finance from £519

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 395bhp for strong overtaking performance.

Volvo XC90 buyers' guide

5. Mini Countryman

Best used hybrid SUV for fun

Our pick Mini Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
Used deals from £17,059
Monthly finance from £263

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 221bhp, 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.

Mini Countryman buyers' guide

6. Kia Niro

Best used hybrid SUV for value

Our pick Kia Niro 1.6 GDi 2
Used deals from £12,670
Monthly finance from £172

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.

Kia Niro buyers' guide

 

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