Hybrid SUV

Lexus RX Hybrid
Lexus RX Hybrid

Whether you need a roomy vehicle with all-wheel or four-wheel drive, or you're simply looking for an SUV to suit your lifestyle, you have many hybrid models to choose from. Domestic and international car manufacturers are filling this important market niche with offerings in all sizes and with all kinds of features. A few stand out in industry reviews for their reliability, fuel economy, and performance.

Lexus RX Hybrid

In its annual ranking of cars and trucks, US News ranked the Lexus RX Hybrid at the top of the list for hybrid SUVs. It also listed the RX Hybrid as the best luxury midsize SUV on the market. This pricey model, which retails for about $46,000, gets 28 miles per gallon (MPG).

Advantages of the Lexus RX Hybrid

This model has the following advantages:

  • Great ratings for reliability
  • Luxurious and comfortable interior
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Smooth ride
  • Great safety ratings

Disadvantages of the Lexus RX Hybrid

The Lexus RX Hybrid has the following disadvantages:

  • Expensive price tag
  • Less-than-impressive performance
  • Soft suspension

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

According to HybridCars, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid boasts the best fuel economy of all large SUVs. This seven-passenger SUV retails for about $38,000 and gets about 28 MPG. It's a popular choice for large families who are concerned about the environment.

Advantages of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This popular model has the following great features:

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Great reliability ratings
  • Great fuel economy
  • Third-row seating to accommodate up to seven people
  • Great handling
  • Impressive safety features and ratings

Disadvantages of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This model has the following disadvantages:

  • Expensive compared to other vehicles in its class
  • Fuel economy less impressive than smaller hybrid SUVs

Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid

Touareg Hybrid

US News praises the Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid for its efficiency and quality. With a price of around $61,000, however, this is one of the most expensive SUVs on the market. The Toureg gets about 24 miles per gallon.

Advantages of the Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid

The Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid has the following great features:

  • Excellent safety features and ratings
  • Exceptional performance and power
  • Great towing capacity
  • Attractive and luxurious interior

Disadvantages of the Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid

This model has these disadvantages:

  • Heavier body than other SUVs
  • Extremely high price

Audi Q5 Hybrid

Audi Q5 hybrid

In its review, Car and Driver magazine praised the Audi Q5 Hybrid for its impressive power and updated styling. This luxury SUV gets about 27 MPG and costs around $37,000. This car goes on sale in 2013.

Advantages of the Audi Q5 Hybrid

This model has the following advantages:

  • Direct fuel-injection to boost performance
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Lots of luxury features standard
  • Excellent acceleration

Disadvantages of the Audi Q5 Hybrid

This vehicle also has a few disadvantages:

  • Attractive but not exceptional exterior
  • Limited rear legroom
  • Higher price tag than some other models
  • Limited data on reliability

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

2010 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

HybridCars describes the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid as a good alternative to a giant, gas-guzzling SUV. Although this model doesn't boast the best fuel economy among hybrid SUVs, it does offer a significant improvement over non-hybrid models. This large SUV gets about 20-23 MPG and retails for about $52,000.

Advantages of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

This model has the following advantages:

  • Offers a V8 engine for towing
  • Attractive truck-based exterior
  • Plenty of cargo room
  • Seating for up to eight people

Disadvantages of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

This model also has a few drawbacks:

  • Unimpressive interior
  • Comparatively low fuel economy
  • High price tag
  • Truck-like ride

Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

According to Left Lane News, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid offers a great combination of luxury and practicality. This very large luxury SUV gets about 20-23 MPG and sells for around $73,000.

Advantages of the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

This model has a few advantages:

  • Impressive eight-person passenger capacity
  • Luxury features
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Ability to tow
  • Smooth ride
  • Good safety features

Disadvantages of the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid also has a few disadvantages:

  • Unimpressive cargo room for size
  • Low fuel economy
  • High price tag

Pros and Cons of Buying a Hybrid SUV

Hybrid SUVs aren't the perfect vehicle for every family. It's important to determine whether this type of car will meet your needs before you buy. If you aren't sure whether a hybrid SUV is for you, consider these pros and cons.

Pros

  • Four-wheel drive models help with safe winter driving.
  • Cargo capacity and passenger capacity can make these vehicles practical for large families.
  • The ability to tow a load is useful if you have a boat, RV, or trailer.
  • Hybrid SUVs are available in a range of sizes.

Cons

  • Generally, fuel economy isn't as impressive as in hybrid cars.
  • Hybrid SUVs tend to be very expensive, compared to non-hybrid models or hybrid cars.
  • Efficient gas-only SUVs may actually get better fuel economy than some hybrids.

Shopping Tips

If you're considering a hybrid SUV, keep these shopping tips in mind:

  • For the best deal, shop right before the new model is released. This is usually in the fall.
  • Take the time to test drive multiple models to find the one that's best for you.
  • Make a list of the features that are important to you. These will dictate which model is right for your needs.
  • Keep your budget in mind, and consider a used model if appropriate.

Do Your Homework

When it comes to buying a hybrid vehicle, doing your homework is very important. Research the reliability, performance, and fuel economy of the models that interest you in order to find the SUV you'll enjoy driving for years to come.

Hybrid SUV