If you are ready to dip your toe into vehicle electrification to save some money at the pump, but you are also not quite ready to give up the range and space that your regular SUV provides, a hybrid SUV can get you the best of both worlds.
Hybrid vehicles arguably provide the best balance and most desirable traits that both an electric vehicle and gas-powered vehicle can provide. You get benefits like the extended range from the help of an electric motor, the lack of range anxiety from a fully electric car, and the same general feel of a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Even though there are different benefits that gasoline-powered vehicles, all-electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids can provide over regular hybrids, there are plenty of hybrids on the market that can fulfill your needs. And with SUVs being so popular now, you no longer have to compromise on space or sacrifice too much comfort that comes with buying a smaller hybrid car.
2022 Toyota Venza
The Toyota Venza is overshadowed by the smaller RAV4 Hybrid and larger Highlander Hybrid, but it comes with a host of standard tech and safety features. The Venza existed before as a sort of crossover SUV and minivan hybrid, but Toyota revamped it for 2021, bringing it back as a new hybrid for that model year. As such, there are no major changes for the 2022 model year.
It comes with a comparably high starting price and a little less cargo space than most similarly sized crossovers, but you do get what you pay for. A five-star safety rating, 40 MPG in the city, 37 MPG on the highway, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto – among many other features – all come standard.
All trim levels come with a 2.5-liter engine, two electric motors, a continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel-drive to help put its 219 horsepower to the pavement.
2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid
For as popular and usable as the Honda CR-V is, the CR-V hybrid has only been around since 2020. It does most things well, though. Hybrid vehicles can be quite different from their non-hybrid counterparts, but Honda has kept the hybrid and non-hybrid CR-V models quite similar.
The CR-V hybrid has 33.2 cubic feet of space behind its second row as opposed to the regular CR-V with 39.2, but it also has more than 20 horsepower and is more fuel-efficient. EPA estimates of 40 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway help the CR-V perform slightly better than average compared to other compact crossover hybrid SUVs.
Pricing starts at over $31,000, which is again, about average for the class. But the top-of-the-line Touring trim carries a comparably low MSRP of $37,400. Even though the CR-V Hybrid does nothing earth-shatteringly well, it is competent in just about every area, making it one of the better options in the segment.
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe brings quite a bit to the table. It boasts 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its second row, 72.1 cubic feet of cargo space with all rear seats folded, a turbocharged engine and electric motor that combine for 226 horsepower, all-wheel-drive, futuristic styling, plentiful standard tech features, a ton of standard safety features, and of course, Hyundai’s excellent 10 year/100,000-mile warranty.
Downsides to the Santa Fe Hybrid include its sluggish infotainment system and relatively low fuel economy ratings compared to others in the class: 36 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. These numbers are also only for the base trim level. Higher trim levels see these numbers drop by a few miles per gallon.
Despite its lower-than-average fuel economy numbers, Santa Fe is a good choice in the segment. The only major safety feature it lacks as standard is blind-spot monitoring as it also earned a Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS. If you like the Santa Fe but need slightly better fuel economy, a plug-in hybrid version with 30 miles of electric range and a more powerful hybrid powertrain has been added to Hyundai’s lineup for the 2022 model year.
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid
The Kia Sportage Hybrid is a new hybrid model for the 2023 model year and will help kick off a new generation for the compact crossover. It has a starting MSRP of under $30,000 and comes standard with front-wheel drive. Cargo space is equally impressive as its warranty, with 39.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Its roomy interior also helps passengers in both the front and rear seats travel in comfort.
Hyundai pairs a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with two electric motors and a six-speed automatic transmission to produce 226 horsepower and EPA estimates of 42 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway. Opting for AWD drops fuel economy to 38 MPG in both city and highway driving.
Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention monitor. There is not much to hate about the new addition to the hybrid crossover lineup.
2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota has the answer if you are an emission-conscious buyer who wants the fuel economy of a hybrid but who also needs the space that a three-row midsize SUV can provide. Even though the third row is small, you can fold it down to allow 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space. A second-row bench seat allows for up to eight passengers, but more comfortable second-row captain’s chairs are available for better rear-seat access and seven-passenger seating.
With a Top Safety Pick + score from the IIHS, top scores for its standard advanced safety features, towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds, and 243-horsepower hybrid powertrain, it has quite a bit to offer its buyers. With standard front-wheel drive, EPA estimates of 36 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway are comparable to its minivan counterpart, the Toyota Sienna. Equipping all-wheel-drive only drops fuel economy to 35 MPG across the board.
The only change from the 2021 model year Highlander Hybrid is the addition of the Bronze Edition trim level, adding only a couple of tech features to its primarily visual upgrades. With all of its features and added space, the Highlander remains one of the best true hybrid vehicles of its size.
2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid
The 2022 Kia Sorento is not necessarily a Toyota Highlander killer, but it is a Highlander fighter, offering some compelling reasons to go with it rather than its Japanese rival. It can seat up to six passengers as a three-row crossover, it has a starting price of under $34,000, and it has a better standard warranty. It also has less cargo space, fewer potential seats, and less standard horsepower.
Similar to the Highlander, the Sorento comes standard with front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel -drive – a new option for the 2022 model year. Fuel economy estimates are also similar with the Sorento achieving 39 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway for FWD models, and 36 MPG and 33 MPG for AWD models. New for 2022 is a much pricier plug-in hybrid model with 32 miles of all-electric range and 79 MPGe for those who need the extra fuel economy boost.
Adaptive cruise control is the only fairly common standard safety feature missing from Sorento’s long list. Features like parking sensors, highway driving assist, reverse automatic emergency braking, and intersection turning assist bolster its optional additions. A standard 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight USB ports, heated front seats, and navigation round out its appealing features list.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the most well-known, well-respected, popular, and well-rounded hybrid crossovers on the market. It offers a few downsides with a huge standard tech features list, an extensive standard safety features list, a sub-$30,000 MSRP, a roomy interior, modern styling inside and out, standard all-wheel drive, and over 40 MPG in the city.
Its close sibling, the RAV4 Prime offers lower emissions as a PHEV, and the Venza offers more streamlined hatchback styling, but the RAV4 hybrid is more well-rounded than both. Not much has changed from 2021 beyond newly restyled headlights and the addition of an additional trim level – the SE. It uses a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to produce 219 horsepower.
37.6 cubic feet of cargo space and a maximum of 1,750 pounds of towing capacity are both good for its size. If we must criticize, it would be for the relatively small standard 7-inch touchscreen display, standard manual liftgate, and standard manually adjustable front seats.
2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid
Though it is overshadowed by the Toyota Highlander and Kia Sorento, the Ford Explorer is a viable option if you need a ton of cargo space, superior towing capability, and some off-road capability that most other hybrid crossovers do not have. It features third-row seating for up to six passengers, an impressive standard 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system, and 318 horsepower from its beefy hybrid powertrain.
All that power comes via a 3.3-liter V6 engine, an electric motor, and a 10-speed automatic transmission. 5,000 pounds of maximum towing capacity also has other hybrids beat, and available drive modes, including hill descent, add to its capability. Optional four-wheel drive, rather than all-wheel drive, make it stand out from other hybrids as well. The sacrifice for the extra capability and performance is much lower than average fuel economy estimates of 27 MPG in the city and 28 on the highway, even in its base rear-wheel-drive layout.
A tremendously high starting price of over $50,000 and cheap cabin materials really hurt its value, but at least buyers get several nice standard features like wireless device charging, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera system, a hands-free power liftgate, power-adjustable front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and remote start.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid’s combination of futuristic design, relatively affordable sub-$30,00 starting price, high safety ratings, and roomy interior make it one of the best hybrid SUVs available on the market. It is brand new for the 2022 model year, and it is also offered as a plug-in hybrid for those who want to stretch their fuel mileage even farther.
Even though it is not as fuel-efficient as the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, it still gets 37 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, it has comparable standard tech equipment to both, comparable standard safety features to both, and more cargo space than both of its top competitors. It can also tow up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped - 500 pounds more than the CR-V and 250 more than the RAV4.
With 226 horsepower from its turbo engine and electric motor, it also has the RAV4 and CR-V beat. The icing on the cake is Hyundai’s stellar warranty and excellent build quality. The only real issue with Tucson is its use of buttons instead of physical knobs to control some aspects of its infotainment system, a frustration more than a true issue.
2022 Ford Escape Hybrid
Like the Explorer, the smaller Ford Escape Hybrid is often overlooked for models like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and even the Kia Niro. But even with no notable changes from 2021 to 2022, the Escape has a low MSRP of just over $28,000, stellar fuel economy ratings, and high safety ratings, all good reasons to consider the Escape Hybrid as your next hybrid SUV.
Standard front-wheel drive models return EPA estimates of 44 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. Opting for all-wheel-drive only drops the city estimate by 1 MPG. A PHEV model is available with 37 miles of all-electric driving range. The standard hybrid Escape produces a total of 200 horsepower from its gas engine and electric motor.
Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is user-friendly and utilizes a standard 8-inch touchscreen. It is accompanied by standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a WiFi hotspot. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and the automatic emergency braking are also standard. Even though all of this sounds good, the Escape does have a few drawbacks, namely a smaller than average cargo capacity and cheap cabin materials.
2022 Lexus UX Hybrid
The last three entries on our list encompass a large portion of the Lexus SUV lineup. The smallest of which is the subcompact Lexus UX 250h. Being so small, its starting MSRP comes in at $35,200, it has 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and its hybrid powertrain only produces 181 horsepower. But the UX 250h also gets stellar fuel economy with up to 41 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway.
Lexus is known for their quality and excellent use of materials, and the UX 250h is no exception. Its build quality is excellent, and its interior feels more luxurious than its price point suggests. With a 7-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a WiFi hotspot, and Lexus Remote Touch system as standard, the UX is well-equipped.
Standard safety features include forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control have helped the UX earn some of the highest safety ratings by both the NHTSA and IIHS.
2022 Lexus NX Hybrid
Although the UX 250h is roomy enough for its small size, you might want to step up to the larger Lexus NX 350h. It is just as nicely appointed, with excellent cabin materials, just as many standard safety features, 240 horsepower from its engine and three electric motors, and more cargo and passenger space all around.
Fuel economy estimates are similar to that of its smaller sibling: 41 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. Like the UX 250h, the NX 350h comes standard with all-wheel-drive, but unlike the UX, the NX 350h has been entirely redesigned for the 2022 model year. It follows the design language of Lexus’ sporty sedans and SUVs with its large grille, sharp headlights, and edgy lines, though some have been softened to create a slightly less aggressive look.
Even though it is larger than the UX, cargo space is only slightly improved with 22.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Ride comfort is also good, but the handling is sloppy compared to its competitors. With an MSRP of just over $41,050, the NX 350h undercuts competitors like the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60.
2022 Lexus RX Hybrid
The largest of the three Lexus hybrid SUVs, the Lexus RX Hybrid borrows elements from its smaller siblings and its cousin, the Toyota Highlander. Its overall design is very Lexus-like with its huge, angular grille, sharp body lines, and aggressive love-it or hate-it styling. It is also available as the RX 450h with two rows or the RX450hL with third-row seating and space for six passengers.
Its standard tech and safety features follow closely with that of both the UX and NX, but it still has the Lexus Remote Touch controller used in the UX, a cause of frustration for many. It features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, paired with three electric motors and a continuously variable transmission to put 308 horsepower to the pavement. Naturally, its lower fuel economy ratings of 31 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway are a consequence of its larger gas engine.
Like the Highlander, it can tow up to 3,500 pounds, but third-row seating is cramped and is only truly appropriate for smaller passengers. Still, for around $48,000, you can get a midsize luxury SUV with good fuel economy for its size, luxurious interior, plentiful safety features, and legendary Lexus dependability.