The best hybrid SUVs 2021

  • 2021's top hybrid SUVs in the UK rated
  • Self-charging and plug-in hybrids covered
  • Combining economy and desirable styling

Hybrid cars and SUVs are both enjoying immense popularity among motorists – the former for their green credentials and low running costs, the latter for their rugged appearance, high driving position and good practicality. Surely then, combining the two is practically a licence for car manufacturers to print money?

Needless to say, many automotive firms are cottoning on to this, and a great many now offer a hybrid SUV in their range. These range from mild-hybrids, through self-charging hybrids, right up to plug-in hybrids, which are capable of doing an average daily mileage without ever resorting to their combustion engines.

Of course, some hybrid SUVs are better than others, with a range of important factors to consider. Does it drive well? Is the interior practical? Would a non-hybrid model be better value?

Scroll down to read our top hybrid SUV choices. You can click on the links below to jump to your favourite, or click further down to read the comprehensive Parkers reviews.

Best hybrid SUVs for 2021

Volvo XC90 

Blue 2021 Volvo XC90 front three-quarter driving

We rate the Volvo XC90 highly in so many areas that it appears in our other features, such as best seven-seater SUVs. It really is a great hybrid SUV for larger families and all their belongings, plus it has one of the best interiors of any SUV, blending Scandi style with sumptuous comfort. And it’s incredibly safe – Volvo has a long and storied history of building safe cars, and this is no exception.

All new XC90 petrol and diesels feature mild-hybrid tech, but the most efficient - and powerful - are the plug-in models, formerly known as TwinEngine, but more recently rebadged Recharge T8. Here a 2.0-litre petrol engine is paired an electric motor. The combination delivers speeds that would shame many a hot hatchback – a healthy 395hp combined sees to that.

It’s capable of around 25 miles on electric power alone, and if you heavily rely on this and can charge at home you could save hundreds of pounds on fuelling costs. The trade off? You’ll struggle to beat 30mpg on longer trips when you've exhausted the batteries' reserves.

Price new: from £55,095
Lease this car: from £576 per month
Search for a used Volvo XC90 on Parkers: price range £17,990-£56,460

Toyota RAV4 

Red 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in front three-quarter driving

After years of installing petrol and diesel engines, the latest generation of Toyota RAV4 is exclusively hybrid, with a choice of self-charging and, from early 2021, plug-in varieties. The PHEV version is particularly impressive, with an electric-only claimed range of 46 miles, making it one of the most economical hybrid SUVs to run, although it is pricey to buy.

Over two decades' experience of producing hybrids shows: a relatively large, unstressed 2.5-litre engine is paired up to either one electric motor in front-wheel drive versions, or two in four-wheel drive models. Easy, refined and comfortable to drive, the current RAV4 is the largest yet, making it even more practical for family use, althogh it is a five-seater.

Toyota has also ensured that it's good to drive, as well, giving it greater appeal for keener enthusiasts. If you fancy something with all of these virtues but with a slight twist, try the Suzuki Across - it's little more than a plug-in RAV4 with a different grille design. 

Price new: from £31,090
Lease this car: from £311 per month
Search for a used Toyota RAV4 on Parkers: price range £21,015-£36,080

Honda CR-V 

Grey 2021 Honda CR-V front three-quarter driving

Honda’s decision to drop diesel engines from its CR-V line became justified when it launched this excellent hybrid model. The CR-V Hybrid maintains the benefits of its incredibly practical combustion-engined sister – a cavernous boot, loads of space for passengers and lots of clever interior touches – and adds a refined and efficient hybrid powertrain. In fact, since 2020, the hybrid is now the only version of the CR-V on sale.

Unusually, the CR-V’s engine doesn’t engage with the wheels at all at low speeds – rather, it provides charge for the batteries and electric motor. Once on a faster road, such as a motorway, a single-speed gearbox engages and the engine directly drives the wheels. In practice, you’ll never notice the two power sources shifting around.

Honda’s legendary engineering reputation ensures that the CR-V is one of the most reliable hybrid SUVs to own. Ownership should be painless, and overall the CR-V should prove a thoroughly pleasant car to own.

Price new: from £30,810
Lease this car: from £372 per month
Search for a used Honda CR-V on Parkers: price range £12,650-£34,210

Porsche Cayenne 

Gold 2021 Porsche Cayenne front three-quarter

Okay, maybe opting for the Turbo S-E-Hybrid with its six-figure price tag is a bit of an indulgence when the still excellent 'standard' E-Hybrid can be had for less than £70,000, but this is the fastest hybrid SUV, so why not go the whole hog if budget permits?

Cayennes are a cut above other large SUVs when it comes to its driving dynamics. We’d expect no less from Porsche, of course, but it really is impressive how well this huge, heavy SUV takes corners.

Porsche hasn’t forgotten about the rest of the car’s features, either. It’s good for 20 miles on a full charge, will seat four in comfort or five at a slight squeeze, and – provided you spend enough on the extensive options list – can be had with as much up-to-date technology as you like.

Then, of course, there’s the bragging rights earned by driving a Porsche. And the smugness points earned as you set off silently on pure electric power, or the intoxication of allowing the 3.0-litre V6 to fire up and catapult you towards the horizon at a frightening pace. This is an expensive car, but it’s a very good one.

Price new: from £69,980
Lease this car: from per month
Search for a used Porsche Cayenne on Parkers: price range £36,845-£113,410


White 2021 BMW X5 front three-quarter

BMW's X5 has just been boosted by a plug-in hybrid for the fourth-generation range, badged xDrive45e. Thankfully, this remains an extremely polished all-rounder, meaning it's comfortable, refined and drives really well - except now, you can silently waft under electric power for approximately 45 miles with a fully-charged battery (claimed figure is 50-54 miles).

Under the bonnet lies a 286hp six-cylinder petrol engine, and while we're big fans of the 3.0-litre diesel, the added smoothness and hushed performance is a bonus here. Paired up with a 113hp electric motor, the xDrive45e has a combined power output of 394hp, which, despite the car's heft, is plenty.

Official claims of up to 201.8-235.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 27-32g/km will doubtless impress, considering the X5's brutish looks. Speaking of which, the X5's dimensions and imposing front grille might be intimidating at first, but spend some time with it and you'll discover this is simply one big friendly giant.

Price new: from £66,415
Lease this car: from £763 per month
Search for a used BMW X5 on Parkers: price range £35,360-£116,550

Vauxhall Grandland X 

2021 Vauxhall Grandland X front three-quarter

Vauxhall now shares technology with a number of other brands - in this instance the Grandland X's plug-in hybrid system - including the closely related Citroen C5 Aircross, DS 7 Crossback and Peugeot 3008.

Combining a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with battery power produces two versions of the PHEV Grandland X - the Hybrid with 225hp is front-wheel drive, while the Hybrid4 has 300hp and sends its power to all four wheels.

Both can be driven at up to 84mph in electric-only mode, but you'll soon erode the claimed ranges of 34 miles for the Hybrid, 35 for the Hybrid4. Not only do these SUVs appeal because of their low running costs with claims up 204mpg and CO2 emissions of 26g/km for the Hybrid4, they're not slow either. A 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds is impressive enough for the 225hp Hybrid, but this is reduced to just 5.9 seconds for the 300hp Hybrid4 - enough to easily outrun many a sports car.

However, in more practical terms, they share other virtues with conventional petrol- and diesel-only Grandland Xs, such as a roomy, comfortable interior and high levels of standard equipment. 

Better deals may be available later in 2021 when the facelifted Grandland appears.

Price new: from £32,390
Lease this car: from per month
Search for a used Vauxhall Grandland X on Parkers: price range £9,425-£35,185

Kia Niro 

Red 2019 Kia Niro front three-quarter

Kia was one of the first brands to combine the joint appeals of an SUV body and a hybrid engine when it launched the Niro back in 2016, but it's gone further than most. That orginal self-charging hybrid was later joined not only by a Plug-in Hybrid version, but also a fully electric e-Niro. Still no other brand offers that breadth of choice in an SUV package.

Both the Hybrid and Plug-in have a 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor producing 141hp, paired to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but they differ significantly in battery size. Whereas the Hybrid has a modest 1.56kWh pack under the rear seat, the Plug-in's is 8.9kWh and is fitted under the boot floor as well as the rear seat. For reference, the electric e-Niro's battery pack has a capacity of 64kWh.

Unsurprisingly, they also differ in terms of efficiency. While the Hybrid averages 58.9mpg and has CO emissions of 110g/km, the Plug-in is rated at 201.8mpg and 31g/km of CO2. Additionally, the Plug-in's larger battery will allow it to run in fully electric mode for up to 36 miles.

Less tall than many other SUVs, the Niro is nevertheless roomy and has modern, well-built interior that's packed with standard equipment. And, with a seven-year manufacturer's warranty, there's significant peace of mind, too. Not only that, they make for great value used hybrid SUVs with the cheapest now costing less than £9,000

Price new: from £25,150
Lease this car: from £280 per month
Search for a used Kia Niro on Parkers: price range £8,545-£25,030

Audi Q5 

Green 2020 Audi Q5 TFSI e front three-quarter

Back in the earlier days of plug-in hybrid technology, Audi applied the E-Tron name to such models, but now that badge is exclusively used by its fully electric cars. Instead, the less catchy TFSI e monicker is used, as evidenced by the pair of Q5 PHEVs available.

Both use a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with an electric motor, giving four-wheel drive - Quattro in Audispeak. There's a choice of two power outputs: the 50 TFSI e produces 299hp, while the 55 TFSI e has 367hp on tap. For the latter, it has enough urgency to complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.3 seconds. 

Of course, it's not primarily the performance that's the main attraction of these kind of cars, but the potential for low running costs, and in that regard neither disappoints. The 50 TFSI e is the more fruagl of the two with claims of up to 117.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 55g/km, but the 55 TFSI e isn't far behind at 104.6mpg and 59g/km. The battery pack is sufficient for an electric-only range of 26 miles.

The icing on the Q5's cake is that it's well-built, stylish, it handles well while remaining comfortable and there's strong demand for used ones, so it shouldn't prove difficult to sell it on when the time comes.

Price new: from £51,660
Lease this car: from £513 per month
Search for a used Audi Q5 on Parkers: price range £15,625-£54,945

Ford Puma 

Blue 2021 Ford Puma front three-quarter

It may be the smallest hybrid SUV we've featured here - and the least expensive to buy - but there's no denying the fun factor that's intrinsic to the Ford Puma's appeal. In fact, we rate it so highly we voted it our 2021 Parkers Car of the Year.

Based on the excellent Ford Fiesta, the Puma is taller, more spacious and offers greater practicality, but it remains an enjoyable small SUV to drive.

There are no diesel engines to choose from, just Ford's popular 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, now with mild-hybrid technology. Depending on which version you go for you have either 125hp or 155hp at your right foot's disposal, yet both have official fuel consumption claims of 49.6-50.4mpg.

Proof that the best things come in small packages, the Puma is the best hybrid SUV currently on sale. 

Price new: from £22,040
Lease this car: from £239 per month
Search for a used Ford Puma on Parkers: price range £13,995-£25,245

Further reading:

>> Best hybrid cars 2021

>> Best electric SUVs 2021

>> What is a hybrid?

>> Best SUVs 2021