Top 9 best hybrid SUVs and hybrid 4x4s 2022
SUVs and 4x4s traditionally used a lot of fuel, but there are now many efficient hybrid options in this class. These are the best ones to buy right now
SUVs have become hugely popular in recent years, but as environmental concerns grew, these traditionally highly polluting models started to seem out of place. However, electrification has allowed them keep up with the times: the latest hybrid SUVs and 4x4s combine low CO2 with the style and practicality buyers want.
Regular hybrids (sometimes called 'self-charging' hybrids) are one thing, but you should also consider plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). These can be plugged in and charged up like an electric SUV, but still have an engine on board, which can power the car once the battery has been used up.
You can read about the best plug-in hybrid SUVs elsewhere on the site if that's a better option for you. If not, check out our list below of the best hybrid SUVs and 4x4s you can buy right now – and follow DrivingElectric on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for the latest news on all types of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Ford Kuga Hybrid
The Ford Kuga comes in full hybrid (FHEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) forms We’re looking at the former here – but both are great choices. The Kuga is roomy inside and has lots of standard equipment, plus a big boot that should work well for family trips and holidays. The Kuga shares parts with the excellent Ford Focus family hatchback, so it’s great to drive. The steering is well weighted and responsive, plus it’s comfortable on bumpy country roads, so you can drive with plenty of confidence. The petrol engine is combined with an electric motor for low-speed quiet running and around 50mpg claimed fuel economy. Read our review here.
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Like its Japanese rival Toyota, Honda has a long history of petrol-electric hybrid technology. Its latest setup is known as i-MMD, for 'Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive' and it features in the fourth-generation version of the the popular CR-V family SUV, where it makes 184bhp for a circa-nine-second 0-62mph time. All the traits that have made the CR-V a favourite in previous generations are present here: it's spacious inside, comfortable on a long journey and boasts characteristic reliability. On the downside, the hybrid system rules out the option of seven seats. The hybrid CR-V is also not quite as efficient as you'd hope: claimed fuel economy only just breaks 40mpg and CO2 emissions are above 120g/km for all models. Read our full review here.
Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
Before this generation, Hyundai's Tucson was a competent but conservative family SUV, offering lots of space, anonymous looks and traditional petrol or diesel engines. The latest version, introduced at the end of 2020, upends all that, bringing a striking design and the latest drivetrain technology. A plug-in hybrid version is available and even the cheaper models employ mild-hybrid technology, but the full hybrid version is most relevant to this list. It has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor and a small battery. There's 227bhp on tap, along with a six-speed gearbox feeding power to all four wheels. Read our full review here.
Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
The Santa Fe sits a class above the Tucson, offering a choice of diesel, full-hybrid or plug-in hybrid power, but with the additional versatility of a seven-seat layout and more interior space in general. Fuel economy of the regular hybrid version won’t touch that of the plug-in, but it won’t break the bank, either, at around 40mpg in town and closer to 30mpg on the motorway. Because of the size and weight of the Santa Fe, you don’t expect it to be fun to drive, but it does feel planted and grips the road well. Read our full review here.
Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Sorento has always offered buyers a good-value mix of space, engine power and practicality, but the latest version has stepped up to become a genuine threat to premium German SUVs. A plug-in hybrid version is available, and Kia still offers diesel for those who prefer it, but the majority of sales are expected to be of the impressive full-hybrid. As Hyundai and Kia are sister brands, the Sorento Hybrid's drivetrain is similar to the Santa Fe's above: a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 1.49kWh battery. Together the engine and motor produce a maximum of 227bhp and 350Nm of torque, so performance is strong despite the car's weight. Four-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox are standard. Read our full review here.
Lexus RX 450h
The RX comes in two forms: the standard five-seat model and the seven-seat RX L, but they use the same 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor. Performance is swift enough – 0-62mph takes 7.7 seconds – but you’d never describe this as a fast car. Fuel economy is 35mpg: not great in the grand scheme of things, but not bad for a large and luxurious SUV. Quality is a given for any Lexus, and the RX is no different, while there’s plenty of advanced safety technology. The interior is loaded with standard equipment and beautifully built, but the RX’s strongest trait is its refinement and comfort on the motorway. Read our full review here.
Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid
If you’re after a hybrid SUV with a more stylish look than the norm, the Arkana is an interesting option. It’s largely based on the Renault Captur E-TECH, using the same 1.6-litre petrol engine for around 56mpg. The Arkana certainly has a smart design, but it also boasts an upmarket interior considering the affordable price, and lots of standard equipment. It’s not as sharp to drive as it looks, nor is it particularly fast, but if you just want a hybrid SUV that looks smart and is good value, the Arkana is worth a look. Read our full review here.
Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid
The latest Toyota Yaris is a solid and well engineered hybrid supermini, so it wasn't surprising to see Toyota roll out a jacked-up SUV version to cater for changing customer tastes. It runs the same powertrain as the regular Yaris, comprising a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, as well as Toyota's 'e-CVT' automatic transmission. Unlike the hatchback, all-wheel drive is available on higher specs. Overall, the Yaris Cross delivers what you'd expect from a compact SUV, plus efficient hybrid power. Read our full review.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The RAV4 is a longtime rival for the Honda CR-V across several generations, and is now hybrid-only in the UK. As is the case with the Honda, the presence of the hybrid system rules out a seven-seat layout, so the RAV4 seats five only (although Toyota now offers a seven-seater Highlander hybrid SUV, too). It's also more efficient around town than it is on the motorway, so will likely work out more cost-effective for lower-mileage drivers. Elsewhere, the latest RAV4 looks more distinctive than its predecessors. Read our full review here.
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