We pick the very best hybrid SUVs on the road today, with compact, family and luxury models all making the cut
4 September 2019

Hybrid powertrains combine the silent, emission-free driving of an EV with a traditional fuel tank that eliminates range anxiety. If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to an electric car, they are the perfect compromise.

The Government may not give you a grant to buy one any more, but the differences to your wallet still make a hybrid worth the investment, whether you opt for a traditional hybrid system that uses electric motors to assist the petrol engine, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that uses the engine exclusively to recharge its batteries.

They make particular financial sense in an SUV, where the equivalent diesel or petrol model can cost significantly more to keep on the road. Taller, larger SUVs have more room than hatchbacks, too, so the complex hybrid systems don’t eat into cabin or boot space.

We’ve driven every hybrid SUV on sale in the UK today, and have picked our favourites from the compact, family and luxury segments.

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid car can offer significant savings over the equivalent diesel family SUV. A significant facelift in 2018 added a new 2.4-litre engine and improved its ride, and also introduced a few exterior styling tweaks. Electric-only range is around 25 miles, and while it’s possible to drive at pace, it’s far happier to cruise in comfort.

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Our Verdict

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Top-selling plug-in SUV gets major revisions to styling and suspension as Mitsubishi bids to keep its market advantage

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2. Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

Genuinely usable seven-seat cabins are few and far between, and ones with hybrid powertrains even more so. Volvo’s largest SUV manages both, with a fantastic blend of spaciousness, styling, cabin ambience and engine efficiency, beyond what you’d expect from a vehicle of its size.

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3. Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

In?the absence of a diesel variant, the 3.0-litre hybrid is now the most economical Cayenne in Porsche’s line-up. It’ll do 25 miles purely on electric power when required, while the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 provides the grunt for five-second 0-62mph times and a near 160mph top speed. Driven with more restraint, it’s every bit as comfortable and luxurious?as you’d expect from the marque.

And for those who aren’t quite as concerned about out and out economy, there’s the new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid too. It’s the fastest, most powerful Cayenne ever produced, with a 671bhp twin-turbo V8 and electric motor combo that enables it to hit 62mph from a standstill in 3.8sec. It’ll cover 25 miles on electric power only, too.

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4. Lexus RX 450h

As relaxing and easy to drive as any of its premium rivals, the RX also delivers respectable economy from its self-charging hybrid system. The V6 petrol engine sounds better than some traditional hybrids when sat at high RPMs, although it is still best suited to more relaxed cruising. It’s now available as a seven-seater for the first time, too. Compared to its German competition, it also seems like good value for money.

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3 star Lexus RX

5. Kia Niro PHEV

Comfortably Kia’s most fuel-efficient car (that still uses a combustion engine in some capacity, at any rate), the Niro compact crossover claims an economy figure in the region of 217mpg, and low CO2 emissions of 29g/km, albeit on the old NEDC cycle.

It has an electric-only range of 36 miles and is based on the well-equipped “3” trim level of the standard car. That means an 8in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay support, wireless smartphone charging, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. You can expect clever packaging and lots of cabin space, and Kia’s typically keen pricing.

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6. Toyota C-HR?

A real departure from the norm, Toyota’s eye-catching crossover SUV stands out with coupe-like styling - and it has the handling to back up its looks. The sloping roofline does limit rear headroom, and Toyota’s basic infotainment system isn’t a patch on some rivals’. Its powertrain can feel a little gutless, but it still fulfils its brief as a sporty-looking, family-friendly hybrid.

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Toyota C-HR

7. Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV?

Such was the demand for a plug-in version of Land Rover’s sportier Range Rover that by the time we’d driven one on UK roads, a 2019 model with more powerful electric motor had already been confirmed. That’s good news, as even with a lesser motor the P400e proved itself a capable steer. As with its larger range mate, it is best suited to shorter-range drivers and urbanites that can keep the battery charged, but however you drive it, you’ll be travelling in luxury.

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8. Toyota RAV4

In fifth-generation guise, the RAV4 is now only available as a hybrid in the UK. This sharply styled SUV blends commendable practicality and rolling refinement with safe, secure handling and a solidly built cabin. Its smooth and hushed around town, though the petrol motor can become a touch coarse under full throttle. As a spacious, comfortable urban cruiser, though, it makes a strong case for itself.

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9. Honda CR-V Hybrid

While the new CR-V might not be quite as appealing on the eye as its key rival - the Toyota RAV4 - it remains a highly appealing, practical wagon for city-dwelling families. The hybrid powertrain is smooth and refined around town, while it rides in a comfortable enough manner so as to avoid any great complaint. There’s loads of space inside, and while the infotainment graphics might appear a touch dated, Honda has done an excellent job of isolating the CR-V’s occupants from external road and wind noise.

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10. Lexus NX?

Tried and tested hybrid tech means the NX knows where it stands. It’s a handsome, well-equipped and efficient mid-size SUV that delivers a smooth and refined drive around town. Push it harder and the engine is all too eager to make itself heard, and struggles to deliver the kind of economy you’d expect from a hybrid. For urban driving in relative comfort, however, the NX still succeeds.

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Lexus NX

Read more

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10 Best Electric Hatchbacks 2019

10 Best Hybrid Hatchbacks 2019

Join the debate


8 November 2018

I had a Lexus NX 300h hybrid as a loan car while my Boxster was being serviced a couple of weeks ago and can't say I was much impressed.? The car first appeared?to be softly sprung, rolling quite a bit through roundabouts and bends, but the ride is still strangely brittle: you can feel every ridge and imperfection in the road surface through the seat and even the steering wheel.? Moreover, while smooth and relatively quiet at lower speeds, it sounded strained and gutless when pushed?and had little mid-range acceleration.? I had the car for two?days and covered about 180 miles of relaxed open road driving, but still used about 3/8ths of a tank of fuel (according to the gauge) suggesting the real-world fuel economy is nothing special either.? This was my first experience of driving a hybrid and I'm far from sold on the concept.

23 January 2019

This is should be in the "Hybrid Hatchbacks" category. Kia try to sell it as a "crossover", but basically it's a family hatchback with a slightly taller than average body style

4 September 2019
sierra wrote:

This is should be in the "Hybrid Hatchbacks" category. Kia try to sell it as a "crossover", but basically it's a family hatchback with a slightly taller than average body style


That, in essence, applies to all crossovers.?

1 June 2019

RR sport p440e is the best.

26 September 2019

No matter how I wanted these hybrids, still my pocket clings on 2nd hand crappy car back in my garage. Nice magazine though for some references and reviews, not bad to look forward in the future where my dream car lies beneath the curtains of my 2-storey luxury car garage.

retaining walls perth

23 December 2019


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