Best hybrid SUVs 2024
The popularity of SUVs shows no signs of abating, but today’s models are generally cheaper than ever to run thanks to the popularity of hybrid power.
As car manufacturers scramble to meet ever tightening emissions targets, the move towards hybrid powertrains has been marked, with mild hybrids (which use electric motors to boost power), full hybrids (which have a degree of electric power and are often self-charging) and plug-in hybrids (which you can charge at home and have a fixed all-electric range) being the three main types.
Each of these combines either a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery to reduce the workload of the combustion engine and improve efficiency.
The market for hybrid SUVs is therefore growing all the time, and the fact they’re becoming readily available on the used car market means they can be picked up at far more affordable prices now than ever before.
In the case of hybrid SUVs, the plug-in hybrid variety is the most common, and while these do offer the chance to drive under electric power for around 20-30 miles, their improved efficiency relies on you being able to regularly charge and make use of that electricity.
If you spend too long driving with the petrol or diesel engine, you’ll find that the extra weight of the hybrid system actually reduces the car’s efficiency beyond the level of a non-hybrid car.
With that said, there are plenty of drivers on the road today that would perfectly suit the hybrid SUV lifestyle. If you think that includes you, read on for our list of the best hybrid SUVs.
Best hybrid SUVs
- Volvo XC60
- MINI Countryman
- Kia Sportage
- Lexus NX
- Audi Q7
- Volvo XC90
- Range Rover Sport
- Renault Arkana
- Toyota C-HR
- Range Rover
Best hybrid SUV for safety
Our pick: Volvo XC60 T8 R-Design
Read our full Volvo XC60 review
The family-friendly Volvo XC60 offers more than just frugal fuel economy. The T8 version is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor to produce 411PS, which is enough to accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds, about as quick as a Porsche 718 Boxster. There’s also a 345PS T6.
We imagine most drivers will be looking to drive the sophisticated Volvo XC60 with a more relaxed style, especially if they’re keen to make the best use of the 32-mile electric range before the petrol engine is required.
The official 117.7mpg is most achievable if your typical journey is around 30 miles; longer journeys will see fuel economy fall closer to 40mpg, similar to an economical diesel-powered SUV.
Best hybrid SUV for urban style
Our pick: MINI Countryman Cooper SE Sport
Read our full MINI Countryman review
The MINI Countryman is the largest car in the MINI range, and is available with a plug-in hybrid system that pairs a petrol engine with an electric motor. On a gentle 20-mile commute, you may never hear the petrol engine kick into life, but it will start up during hard acceleration, where it combines with the electric motor for fairly swift acceleration from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds.
Efficiency is less impressive when the battery runs out, as real-world fuel economy is only around the 35mpg mark, making it expensive for long motorway trips.
Older cars, badged Cooper S E, were in the lowest company car tax bracket, but be aware that the tests and tax bands have changed since the MINI Countryman was first introduced.
Best hybrid SUV for surpassing your expectations
Our pick: Kia Sportage
Read our full Kia Sportage review
The Kia Sportage SUV is available as both a full hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The full hybrid model uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor to generate 143PS, with an average fuel economy figure in the high 50s.
If you have the ability to charge one and a commute that suits, you could instead go for the plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The PHEV’s official electric-only range of up to 43 miles is ahead of most of its rivals, which could be a determining factor if your commute is within its range. The Kia Sportage is a great family car with decent passenger space, plus an impressive infotainment set-up and a well-finished cabin.
Best hybrid SUV for owner satisfaction
Our pick: Lexus NX 300h Takumi
Read our Lexus reviews
Despite the extra complexity of having a hybrid set-up underneath the bonnet, the Lexus NX has fared well in major satisfaction surveys, with very few owners reporting any sort of issue.
The Lexus NX is a mid-sized SUV with plenty of appeal. The on-board battery’s clever self-charging system can give it enough juice to cover an impressive 40 miles on electricity alone.
It’s the perfect compromise if you like the idea of a plug-in car but don’t have the facility to charge one, as the EV mode still allows you to drive in urban environments on electric power alone.
Best hybrid SUV for comfort and prestige
Our pick: Audi Q7 55 TFSI e S line
Read our full Audi Q7 review
The latest plug-in hybrid version of the Audi Q7 is badged TFSI e, but earlier models which were less efficient in the real world were called e-tron – not to be confused with the more modern electric models.
Opt for an Audi Q7 with air suspension and you’ll glide over bumps in virtual silence – for around 30 miles at least – which is typically the point at which the engine is needed to boost power before the batteries run out.
It suits smaller families best, as the extra hybrid equipment has forced the removal of the third row of seats offered in the rest of the Audi Q7 range, making this a car for five rather than seven.
Best hybrid SUV for seven seats and road presence
Our pick: Volvo XC90 T8 R-Design
Read our full Volvo XC90 review
The Volvo XC90 has an electric range of around 30 miles as well as three rows of seats, with even the rearmost row offering a reasonable amount of legroom.
Once you’ve used up the car’s electrical power and the petrol engine takes over, fuel economy takes a dip, and the 30mpg that you can expect is a firm incentive to keep it charged up as much as possible.
Early examples of the T8’s official CO2 emissions put it in the lowest company car tax bracket. But the new testing method has increased the figure of more recent models, making it more expensive to tax.
Best hybrid SUV for on- and off-road excellence
Our pick: Range Rover Sport P400e HSE Dynamic
Read our full Range Rover Sport review
A £5,000 annual company car tax saving over a standard diesel model is the headline figure that’s likely to make you consider this plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport, although the price premium over a diesel model is comparable.
The electric-only range of around 25 miles is roughly in line with competitors and its performance (when petrol engine and motor combine) is swift, if lagging behind the Porsche Cayenne hybrid model. However, a familiar problem looms when the electrical energy runs out and the burden of powering the 2.5-tonne car falls entirely on the petrol engine: fuel economy plummets to around 30mpg.
The extra batteries mean that there’s no seven-seat option, either, but the off-road pedigree you would expect is delivered in abundance.
Best hybrid SUV for day-to-day family motoring
Our pick Renault Arkana E-Tech 145 SE
Read our Renault reviews
When it came to predicting what car buyers in 2024 really want, Renault read the room perfectly. The Renault Arkana ticks all of the popular boxes – SUV chunkiness, coupé sleekness and impressive dynamics, coupled with a no-nonsense full hybrid powertrain - the same 1.6-litre petrol engine and battery pack used in the Renault Clio hybrid.
This offers enough performance for any family motorist, coupled with 50mph+ fuel economy and the ability to drive in urban environments with zero tailpipe emissions.
It’s a car that doesn’t stand out on paper in any particular area, but which comes together as a package beautifully. A convincing all-rounder and a very satisfying car to own.
Best hybrid SUV for quality and value for money
Our pick: Toyota C-HR 2.0 VVT-h Excel
Read our full Toyota C-HR review
After years of making forgettable cars that looked distinctly average, Toyota has produced the C-HR, which is distinctive at the very least, thanks to its bulging bodywork and curved roof.
Underneath that design is hybrid technology borrowed from the Toyota Prius, pairing a petrol engine with an electric motor for an official fuel economy figure of 56.4mpg, which is closer to 50mpg in real-world driving.
The Toyota is a little more expensive than some mild hybrid powered Nissan Qashqai models, and more comfortable than sporty with the heavy hybrid battery fitted. It’s best when you make smooth and calm progress: unless you’re very gentle on the accelerator, the engine revs noisily when you’re building up speed.
Best hybrid SUV for outright luxury
Our pick: Range Rover P400e Vogue SE
Read our Range Rover reviews
The plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover offers improved efficiency over its gas-guzzling predecessors. It’s still a brute, though, and the 410PS on offer means it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 137mph.
Despite that striking performance, the plug-in hybrid engine can still manage between 20 to 25 miles of electric-only driving. But when the batteries are exhausted the petrol engine has to work hard to keep the hefty SUV moving, despite its power. This dramatically cuts fuel economy to a lowly 25mpg.
Aside from the hybrid system, you’ll get all the luxury you can expect from a Range Rover – leather seats, lots of useful storage options (including an optional fridge), ambient lighting, the latest connectivity technology and two 10-inch touchscreens.