As the automotive landscape moves towards electric vehicles, some consumers are not ready to make the switch or are unable to find an electric car that fits their exact demands. For those buyers, a compromise exists in the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
PHEVs have batteries that can be charged via an external power source, enabling all-electric driving for shorter trips, but with a gas engine to provide power when the battery is drained, or combine with the electric powertrain when more power is needed. With a limited number of all-electric SUVs on the market, it is a great category to consider a PHEV.
We've compiled a list of the fifteen best plug-in hybrid SUVs for the 2023 model-year to make finding the right one a little easier. Though you will pay a premium above normal hybrid models, some plug-in hybrid cars are eligible for state and federal tax credits or other incentives that lower the true purchase cost significantly.
1. BMW X5 xDrive45e
The BMW X5 xDrive45e is a BMW first and a PHEV second, offering exciting handling, a refined ride, and the luxurious interior buyers of the brand expect. The BMW X5 xDrive45e is powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, and electric motor pushing out a combined 389 total horsepower. The estimated all-electric range for BMW’s midsize PHEV SUV is 31 miles, and EPA estimated hybrid fuel economy is 20 MPG in combined driving.
The X5 PHEV has a starting price of $66,695. That price gets you expected luxuries like wood and leatherette-trimmed interior, multi-zoned climate control, and heated front seats. Tech features include a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a premium 10-speaker sound system, and voice-controlled navigation. Active safety tech like lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring help keep drivers safe.
2. Ford Escape
The 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid received a redesign for 2023, bringing the compact SUV a more aggressive and premium look to match other offerings in the manufacturer’s truck and SUV lineup.
All PHEV Escapes are powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine making 163 horsepower. The total system output for the hybrid powertrain is 210 horsepower. The Escape has an estimated all-electric driving range of 37 miles and should return fuel economy of about 40 MPG when gas is needed. All PHEV Escapes are front-wheel drive only.
In PHEV trim the Escape starts at a base price of $39,995, and is sold in only one trim level. Included equipment is generous for the segment, but the interior quality may not feel up to par for the price. Some reviewers noted cheap plastic components and inconsistent panel gaps around the cabin.
Tech highlights include a 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, featuring Ford’s highly praised Sync 4 operating system, as well as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Escape also includes an array of safety features with automated emergency braking, lane keeping assist, evasive steering assist, and adaptive cruise control all standard.
3. Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV
The Santa Fe’s Plug-in hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.6-liter, 178-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine combined with a 90-hp electric motor. A 13.8 kWh battery pack provides an EPA-estimated 30 miles of all-electric range when the battery is fully charged. The EPA also estimates the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV delivers 33 MPG on the combined cycle fuel efficiency test.
Though the fuel economy numbers aren't class-leading, they are quite good for an all-wheel drive crossover of this size. According to the US Department of Transportation the average American drives about 35 miles per day, so the all-electric range may mean that many shorter trips are completed using no gas at all. One consistent complaint among reviewers is the lack of adjustment for the Santa Fe’s regenerative braking.
In its most economical trim, the Hyundai Santa Fe Convenience PHEV starts at an MSRP of $43,455 including destination fees. For that price, you get a pretty well-equipped SUV.
Standard tech features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, heated front seats, a hands-free liftgate, and a fully digital gauge cluster.
The Santa Fe also includes a plethora of safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. Hyundai’s midsize Santa Fe is a compelling option in the PHEV SUV category.
4. Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid is the smaller sibling to the Santa Fe PHEV. Offering many of the same features in a slightly smaller, more economical package. Though the Tucson features the same powertrain as its larger stablemate, the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated at 180 horsepower, combined with the electric motor’s 90 horsepower.
The lithium-ion battery pack also matches the Santa Fe in size at 13.8 kWh, however, the EPA estimates the Tucson can cover 33 miles on all electric power from a full charge. This is very close to the average mileage driven, and could nearly eliminate the need for gas for shorter trips.
All PHEV Tucsons include HTRAC AWD. Charging the batter is estimated to take less than two hours when using a Level 2 charger.
The base price for a PHEV Tucson is $38,635, but that includes a number of high-end features like LED headlights and taillights, heated mirrors with turn-signal indicators, and 19-inch wheels. Inside the Tucson includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a proximity key with a push button start, and heated front seats.
The Tucson is packed with safety features. Rear occupant alert, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision avoidance, driver-attention warning, and smart cruise control with stop-and-go tech are all standard features.
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
The Grand Cherokee 4xe’s powertrain is largely the same as in the Wrangler 4xe, matching the horsepower and torque figures. The more aerodynamic shape of the Cherokee allows it to eke out slightly better efficiency than its brick-shaped sibling, with 26 miles of all-electric range and an estimated overall 56 MPGe. When in hybrid mode expect about 23 MPG.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe can also tow 3,500 pounds in base trim and up to 6,000 in higher trim levels.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe has a base MSRP of $63,890 including destination fees. Included in the base price are luxury items like a heated steering wheel, heated front, and rear seats, and a large sunroof.
Overall the 4xe offers a slight edge in both power and efficiency compared to either available gas-powered counterparts, but some reviewers were unimpressed by the hybrid model’s clunky operation.
6. Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Those looking for a PHEV that has real off-road capability are in luck. The Wrangler 4xe offers up to 21 miles of all-electric driving. When in hybrid mode the 4xe gets an EPA estimated 49MPGe, or about 20 MPG without the electric range. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motors combined for a total of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.
The Wrangler 4xe starts at $56,560 including destination fees. The PHEV powertrain separates the Wrangler 4xe from its only true competition, the Ford Bronco, which does not offer a hybrid currently.
Jeep did not sacrifice any off-road prowess in the name of efficiency, the 4xe still comes standard with solid front and rear axles, four-wheel drive, and tons of trail-oriented features in the optional Rubicon trim. Though the Jeep is light on luxury, features like 7-inch touchscreen infotainment including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
7. Kia Niro
The Kia Niro PHEV is a stylish small SUV that delivers both decent performance and great fuel economy. In all-electric drive mode, the Niro offers up to 33 miles of gas-free driving, and an estimated 108 MPGe when using both gas and electron engines.
The gas motor is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 104 horsepower, while the electric motors put out a combined 180 horsepower. All Niro PHEVs are front-wheel drive.
The Niro PHEV starts at $35,035 in base EX trim. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control with rear seat vents, and heated front seats. A 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also standard.
Kia also includes a suite of driver assistance features. Automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, rear parking sensors, and lane-keeping assist are all standard. Aside from all of these features, reviewers were impressed with rear-seat legroom and overall cargo space for the class.
8. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento PHEV offers an EPA-estimated 79 MPGe, as well as 32 miles of emission-free, all-electric driving. With a fully charged battery and a full tank of gas, the Sorento can cover an impressive 460 miles between fill-ups at the gas station or visits to a charging station.
The combined power from the electric motor and turbo engine is adequate, with 261 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, but we wouldn’t call the acceleration exciting. AWD is standard, including a locking center differential.
Pricing for the 2023 Kia Sorento starts at $51,185 including destination fees, as it is only offered in one trim. This high entry point may be difficult to stomach for many buyers, but it can actually be considered a bargain for a three-row SUV combining a high level of luxury and features and a highly efficient powertrain.
Inside, the Sorento claims the title for most passenger rooms as well as offering the most second-row legroom in the class, though-third row seating is tight. Luxury features include heated and ventilated front seats, a Bose premium sound system, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, as well as a bevy of competitive safety features. The Sorento is backed by Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
9. Lexus NX Hybrid 450h+
The Lexus NX Hybrid 450h+ is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with electric motors to produce 304 horsepower. An 18.1 kWh battery allows up to 37 miles of electric travel before the gas engine is required. When gas and electric motors are working together, expect an EPA-estimated 36 MPG. AWD is standard equipment and the rear wheels are electronically driven.
The NX Hybrid 450h+ starts at $58,655. The vehicle backs up that price tag with attention-grabbing looks, quality interior materials, and Toyota-like expected reliability.
Luxury items include a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, perforated leather upholstery, and open-pore wood trim. A 10-inch head-up display, 10-speaker sound system, and 14.0-inch touchscreen including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto round out the included technology.
Lexus does not skimp on safety features either with dynamic cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking all standard.
10. Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The Lincoln Aviator Grant Touring is powered by a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 engine and electric motor combining for a whopping 493 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. The 13.6-kWh battery pack also allows for up to 18 miles of all-electric driving.
The EPA rates the Aviator Grand Touring at 56 MPGe, or 27 MPG on the combined cycle. It can also accelerate to 60 miles per hour in around five seconds flat. All Grand Touring trim Aviators are AWD.
Lincoln pushes the power and luxury of the Aviator far more than its efficiency and environmental friendliness. Starting at a base price of $70,585 that luxury is also reflected in the price.
Standard interior features include leather seats, heated front seats, a quad-zone climate control system, and a panoramic sunroof. Standard tech includes a 10-1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 14-speaker audio system, and voice-activated navigation.
Safety technology includes front and rear parking systems, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree camera, and a post-crash alert system.
11. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV is fully redesigned for the 2023 model year, but it continues to be a great value proposition thanks to a relatively low entry point in the three-row PHEV SUV category.
Power comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, combined with two electric making 248 horsepower and 332 lb-ft f torque. When operating solely on electric power, the Outlander PHEV can travel up to 38 miles.
Fuel efficiency numbers are estimated at 64 MPGe including electric range and 27 MPG when operating in hybrid mode. All Outlander PHEV models come standard with AWD.
Starting at $41,190 in base ES trim the Outlander PHEV undercuts other seven-seat PHEV SUVs significantly. Reviewers were impressed with the Outlander’s relatively refined operation, with the smooth engagement of both gas and electric power.
Standard equipment includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking, and LED head and taillights. Higher trim models offer surprisingly luxurious interior appointments, impressing many.
12. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
The Subaru Crosstrek has been a hit with outdoorsy types, and the Hyrbid adds a little more love for the environment. Though branded as Hybrid, the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek hybrid is a PHEV.
With an 8.8-kWh battery pack, Crosstrek Hybrid can cover up to 17 miles of EV range. Total power output from the 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine and electric motor is 148 horsepower, and all Crosstreks come standard with AWD. The estimated fuel economy is 90MPGe or 35 MPG on the highway in hybrid mode.
Pricing for the Crosstrek hybrid starts at $38,070. That price includes advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Leather upholstery and heated seats up the luxury, but buyers won’t confuse the Crosstrek for an S-CLass. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
13. Toyota RAV4 Prime
The RAV4 Prime delivers the numbers. Toyota’s compact SUV has a combined 302 horsepower, paired with AWD which rockets the RAV4 to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds. This makes it one of the fastest vehicles currently sold by the manufacturer. The impressive numbers don’t stop there, the RAV4 Prime can cover up to 42 miles of all-electric driving when fully charged, and gets an estimated 94 MPGe in hybrid mode.
One number may be difficult to stomach, a base MSRP of $43,675. This pricing encroaches on decently equipped examples of two of Toyota’s larger SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner and Highlander.
Pricing also puts the RAV4 Prims in competition with some Luxury SUVs, particularly with current dealer markups due to low supply. For the money, you do get an impressive set of safety features, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and heated front seats.
14. Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge
The Volvo XC60T8 Recharge is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motors combining to make 455 total horsepower. A 14.9-kWh battery allows for up to 35 miles of all-electric range. The EPA estimates fuel efficiency of 63 MPGe or 28 MPG when in hybrid mode.
Starting at $58,495 in base Core trim, the XC60 Recharge is far from stripped out. A panoramic moonroof and simple interior design give the cabin an airy upscale feel. Electric heat and AC allow for the interior, including heated seats, to be preconditioned without starting the engine via a cell phone app.
This is a Volvo, so a suite of safety features is standard. Automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and parking sensors are all standard. A 9.0-inch touchscreen including Apple CarPlay and Google Assistant is included but is oriented vertically, which some reviewers found awkward.