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Chances are that if you're looking to buy or lease a new family car in 2021, SUVs are probably close to the top of your list. Imposing, spacious and practical they may be, but many now also offer low running costs thanks to the availability of hybrid powertrains.
Boasting many of the benefits of a BEV, hybrid SUVs can deliver inexpensive and silent running in town, but without the range restrictions of an electric-only alternative.
Hybridisation brings other benefits, too: some models below deliver cheaper running costs than their ICE-only counterparts, while others use their electric power specifically for a boost in performance. See, SUVs can be fun too.
Further hybrid reading:
So, which are the best hybrid SUVs you can buy in 2021? Below you’ll find a list of our favourites, but scroll down for a more detailed breakdown of the best partly-electrified SUVs you can buy.
The best hybrid SUVs for 2021
10. Volvo XC40 Recharge
- New price: from £37,345
- Fuel economy: 117.7-134.5mpg (T4 & T5)
- CO2: 47-55g/km (T4 & T5)
Volvo used to be known for its class-leading estates, but in 2021 the brand is equally known for its impressive SUVs with the XC40 Recharge a great example. Not only does it have an attractive exterior and a plush interior, there’s no impact on boot space unlike the vast majority of plug-in hybrids.
Two versions of the XC40 Recharge are available. The T4 packs 208bhp and has a 0-62mph time of 8.5sec, while the T5 has 258bhp and can squirt from 0-62mph in 7.3sec. Both are front-wheel drive and have a maximum electric-only range of 28 miles. That puts it in a higher tax bracket than most rivals, yet it’s still well below a petrol powered equivalent. Being a Volvo, they’re full of the latest safety kit, too, including an electronically capped top speed of just 112mph.
Read our Volvo XC40 Recharge review
View Volvo XC40 lease deals
9.Toyota C-HR Hybrid
- New price: from £27,440
- Fuel economy: 53.2-57.6mpg
- CO2: 110-120g/km
The C-HR packs the Prius’s hybrid powertrain into a more zeitgeisty crossover bodyshell that feels like it made a break from the concept car paddock at Toyota HQ. The C-HR is far from a dull old Toyota, with interesting styling inside and out, plus the lure of impressive efficiency. Not for nothing was it named as 2018 Parkers New Car of the Year.
Originally a petrol-only CH-R was available, but now it's exclusively self-charging hybrids. There's an economy-minded 1.8-litre with 120bhp, but the brawnier 2.0-litre packs a 181bhp punch for easier overtakes and more B-road fun.
Read our Toyota CH-R Hybrid review
View Toyota CH-R lease deals
8. Audi Q7 TFSIe
- New price: from £66,305
- Fuel economy: 97.4-113.0mpg
- CO2: 57-66g/km
It’s pricey, but the £66k Q7 TFSIe packs a lot of clever plug-in hybrid gubbins into its huge footprint: there are five seats (you lose the rear-most row in favour of batteries) and it uses active engine mounts to further refine its 3.0-litre petrol power. Previously, the Q7 plug-in hybrid wore e-Tron badges and featured a diesel motor.
Audi quotes 0-62mph in 5.9sec and as low as 57g/km of CO2 for the 55 TFSI e (an even punchier but thirstier 60 TFSI e is available), so it’s quick and impressively parsimonious - on paper. That big battery needs two-and-a-half hours to charge on a fast charge - and more like eight on a three-point plug at home, so make sure you have the correct charging facilities is our advice.
Read our Audi Q7 TFSIe review
View Audi Q7 lease deals
7. Honda CR-V Hybrid
- New price: from £30,810
- Fuel economy: 42.2-42.8mpg (front-wheel drive versions)
- CO2: 151g/km (front-wheel drive versions)
The focus might be on its all-new and all-electric Honda E, but Honda’s CR-V hybrid is a serious contender in the hybrid arena. The CR-V uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine along with a pair of electric motors delivering decent economy and performance. It comes with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, with efficiency dropping to 39.2-39.8mpg and 161-163g/km of CO2 for the latter.
It’s not the most exciting SUV, but improvements such as a larger interior mean the CR-V is even better suited for family life this time around.
Read our long-term Honda CR-V Hybrid review
View Honda CR-V lease deals
6. Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e
- New price: from £48,185
- Fuel economy: 143.1mpg
- CO2: 44g/km
Despite only having a diddy 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, the addition of a chunky electric motor for the rears gives the P300e a total of 305bhp. That makes this the quickest model in the range as well as the cleanest, whilst helping it retain the off-road ability you’d expect from a Land Rover.
Yes, you do lose out on the option of a third row of seats – you’ll need to scroll down for our pick of seven-seat hybrid SUVs – and it’s certainly not cheap to buy, but the 34 mile electric only range and sub-50g/km CO2 emissions give competitive CO2 emissions. Decent space inside and a comfortable ride make it well worth a look.
Read our Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e review
View Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e lease deals
5. Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid
- New price: from £129,210
- Fuel economy: 68.9-74.3mpg
- CO2: 86-92g/km
The Porsche portfolio has grown massively in recent years, and this Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is a case in point. Who’d have foreseen this 30 years ago? And who'd have baulked at it if they had foreseen it?
Either way, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is marketed by Stuttgart as a sports SUV, and it does have the specs to match, as well as the alternative five-door Coupe bodystyle option. It uses a 671bhp PHEV powertrain delivering impressive performance: 0-62mph takes 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 183mph.
If that's too much, the 'regular' Cayenne E-Hybrid weighs in at just £69,980, boasting 76.3-91.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 71-83g/km. Slower, yes, but slow, no - 0-62mph is over in five seconds flat.
Read our Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid review
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4. Land Rover Range Rover P400e
- New price: from £89,390
- Fuel economy: 73.6-84.9mpg
- CO2: 75-86g/km
One of the most desirable SUVs has a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Also available in Range Rover Sport guise, the P400e has impressive fuel economy and emissions figures for its size. Sure, it’s in a higher BIK company car tax band than most of the other SUVs here, but it’s still astonishingly good for something this chunky.
There’s still good performance in the P400e as it produces 398bhp – though the 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine and electric motor doesn’t have the same presence as the V8’s classic growl. If you’d rather run on volts, the official electric range is up to 25 miles.
Crucially, it retains that gorgeous interior and the star quality associated with Land Rover's flagship model.
Read our Range Rover P400e review
View Range Rover lease deals
3. Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de
- New price: from £65,710
- Fuel economy: 313.9-353.1 mpg
- CO2: 20-23g/km
Mercedes’ GLE 350de features a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel and combines it with an electric motor mounted to a nine-speed ‘box. That puts 315bhp and 516lb ft below your right foot and 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds. In EV mode, top speed is capped to 100mph.
It’s the GLE’s astonishing electric only range that really sets it apart, though. Thanks to a giant battery pack, official figures states it should travel up to 58 miles before the engine fires, although like all the SUVs here you’ll probably only see that around town if you’re very careful
It has a luxurious interior that’s rammed with technology and driver aids, but like others of its ilk, no seven-seater package due to the battery location.
Read Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de review
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2. Ford Kuga PHEV
- New price: from £36,555
- Fuel economy: 201.8mpg
- CO2: 32g/km
Ford's third-generation Kuga SUV is finding even more fans thanks to a flurry of hybrid options. There's a mild-hybrid diesel and a self-charging petrol, but it's the plug-in version of the latter that gets out vote.
Nimble handling and plenty of flexible space will appeal to family car buyers who enjoy driving, but the 35-mile range of electric driving will appeal to the thrifty among us. Even better, it’s seriously frugal with a flat battery – no guarantee from a plug-in hybrid.
Read our Ford Kuga PHEV review
View Ford Kuga lease deals
1. BMW X5 xDrive45e
- New price: from £65,510
- Fuel economy: 201.8-235.4mpg
- CO2: 27-32g/km
The X5’s gas-guzzling days are over – sort of. You can still buy high-performance versions of the SUV such as the X5 M, but a more eco-friendly version is now available. Known as the xDrive 45e, it’s a luxury SUV with serious performance, but no seven-seat option as the batteries take up to much room.
It’ll do an impressive 50-54 miles range on the batteries alone, but can still push out 389bhp for 0-62mph sprint times of 5.6sec. It’s in a similarly low tax bracket to the GLE above, yet is even better to drive giving it the nod.
Read our BMW X5 xDrive45e review
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Best seven-seat hybrid SUVs
3. Hyundai Santa Fe
- New price: from £40,255
- Fuel economy: 40.4-173.7mpg
- CO2: 37-159g/km
Regardless of whether you go for the regular hybrid or plug-in, the Santa Fe comes with seven usable seats as standard. The former gives you the option of front or four-wheel drive while the latter comes with four-wheel drive only.
The Santa Fe only comes in two very well equipped trims and although performance isn’t particularly strong, we saw an easy 40mpg out of the regular hybrid. Given that the plug-in is capable of over 30 miles of electric only running according to official figures, fuel stops will be an infrequent thing if you’re able to top the battery up regularly.
Read our Hyundai Santa Fe review
View Hyundai Santa Fe lease deals
- New price: from £65,540
- Fuel economy: 83.1-100.9mpg
- CO2: 63-76g/km
Even after a good few years on sale, the XC90 is still the only plug-in hybrid SUV to combine a premium badge and luxurious interior with seven seat versatility. With the third row folded away, there’s a vast amount of boot space, too.
It also has a mighty 385bhp under the bonnet to give 0-62mph in just 5.5sec. This does make up for the relatively poor electric only range and CO2 emissions higher than many five-seat rivals.
Read our Volvo XC90 review
View Volvo XC90 lease deals
1. Kia Sorento
- New price: from £39,900
- Fuel economy: 38.2-176.6mpg
- CO2: 158-38g/km
The Kia Sorento is closely related to the Hyundai Santa Fe, but proves a bit more spacious and has a cheaper starting price. Like the Hyundai, it’s powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with either a normal or plug-in hybrid system.
Unlike the Hyundai, all models are four-wheel drive which does push CO2 up slightly. Seven seats are standard on all models.
Read our Kia Sorento review
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Further electric reading