Top 10 Hybrid SUVs in the USA
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UPDATED: Aug 14, 2019
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The hybrid SUV market in the U.S. has been growing consistently over the past few years, with most major car manufacturers throwing their hats into the ring.
Still, hybrid vehicles only accounted for approximately three percent of the total U.S. automobile market as of late 2010, so consumers who want a hybrid SUV have fewer options available to them than many would like.
Despite the limited choice, consumers willing to pay the price can get a high-quality SUV with hybrid technology.
Top 10 Hybrid SUVs in America
#1: 2011 Lexus RX 450h
According to U.S. News and World Report, the 2011 Lexus RX 450h is the top-ranked hybrid SUV, with an overall rating of 8.6 out of 10. This vehicle also ranks fifth in the luxury midsize SUV category, beating out gasoline-powered rivals like the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne.
The Lexus RX 450h has an EPA fuel economy rating of 32 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway, which makes it very competitive in its class.
However, since the RX 450h starts at $43,953, reviewers point out that it will be more economical for some drivers to save money upfront by purchasing the gas-powered Lexus RX 350 for about $5,000 less.
If you have your heart set on a luxury hybrid SUV, though, the Lexus RX 450h is an excellent choice. Edmunds reports that it offers a high-tech, upscale interior, as well as adequate power and a smooth ride.
The vehicle is available in only one trim type, but buyers can choose either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive.
#2: 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML450
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 is the only other hybrid SUV that offers interior luxury comparable to what you’ll find in the Lexus RX 450h. The Mercedes ML450 doesn’t compete in areas like price and fuel economy, though. Its MSRP is $55,790, which is over $10,000 more than the RX 450h’s base price.
The RX 450h also gets better gas mileage compared to the ML450′s, which is 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The ML450 does best the RX 450h in terms of power, though, getting 335 horsepower to the RX 450h’s 295. If you are willing to pay for slightly more power and the cache of the Mercedes brand, the ML450 will serve you well.
If you’re looking for a more practical choice, though, the Lexus RX 450h offers better value for the price.
#3: 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
If your main concern in choosing a hybrid SUV is power, not luxury, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a good option for you. At 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, the Tahoe Hybrid isn’t winning any prizes for fuel economy, but this is because it is designed as a “no-compromise” hybrid.
The Tahoe features a 6.0 liter V8 that produces 332 horsepower, compared to just 320 horsepower for the gasoline-powered Tahoe.
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#4: 2011 GMC Yukon Hybrid
As with other SUV hybrids on this list, the GMC Yukon offers significant improvements in fuel economy over the base model (20 mpg city/23 mpg highway). Reviewers complain that the Yukon hybrid’s value is questionable, though, given its price premium of nearly $13,000 over the base model.
On the plus side, reviewers like Consumer Guide and Motor Trend applaud the vehicle’s power and acceleration. The Yukon hybrid’s engine generates 332 horsepower, which is a bit higher than what the base model offers.
#5: 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
At 28 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers one of the best fuel economy ratings in the hybrid class. Critics complain that this does not justify its high price compared to the base model, though.
The Highlander’s starting MSRP of $37,490 is one of the lowest among hybrid SUVs. However, this lower price comes with a few sacrifices. The 3.5 liter V6 engine produces 280 horsepower, which makes this hybrid SUV less powerful than the higher-ranked vehicles on this list.
Another drawback is the Highlander’s interior. While reviewers like Edmunds agree that the cabin is spacious and quiet, the materials are not as luxurious as those in the Lexus or Mercedes SUVs.
#6: 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid
Like the Toyota Highlander, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid is a budget choice in the hybrid SUV category, with a starting MSRP of $31,685. At 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, the front-wheel drive Escape’s gas mileage is the best in its class.
The all-wheel-drive option also delivers respectable fuel economy at 30 city mpg and 27 highway mpg.
As with other hybrid SUVs, though, reviewers point out that consumers can get a much more affordable gasoline-powered SUV without sacrificing much highway fuel efficiency.
#7: 2010 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
The 2010 Mercury Mariner achieves best-in-class fuel economy of 34 city mpg and 31 highway mpg, putting it on par with the Ford Escape Hybrid. As with the Escape and the Highlander, though, reviewers question whether the improved fuel efficiency is worth the extra cost.
Buyers of these vehicles will make their purchase because of their commitment to hybrid technology, not because these hybrid SUVs will save them money.
#8: 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Like the Lexus and Mercedes hybrid SUVs, the Cadillac leans more towards luxury and power than fuel economy. Getting 21 city miles per gallon and 20 highway miles per gallon, the Escalade Hybrid doesn’t exactly shine in the fuel economy category.
If you want to buy a hybrid without sacrificing exterior styling and interior comfort, though, the Escalade Hybrid is a good bet. The Escalade is also as powerful as its gas-powered counterpart, delivering 322 horsepower.
#9: 2009 Saturn Vue Hybrid
The 2009 Saturn Vue Hybrid is one of the most economical vehicles in the hybrid SUV category, with a starting price of around $23,000. While it offers solid EPA fuel economy ratings of 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, it is not as fuel efficient as the Escape or the Mariner.
According to U.S. News and World Report, many reviewers were unsatisfied with the vehicle’s handling and acceleration.
#10: 2011 Mazda Tribute Hybrid-CA Only
The 2011 Mazda Tribute Hybrid is a smaller, budget hybrid SUV like the Escape and the Vue. It is only available to consumers in California. According to the EPA, this vehicle gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Aside from its respectable fuel economy, though, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid doesn’t have much to offer. Consumer Guide says the vehicle’s interior is “disappointing overall,” and U.S. News and World Report finds the vehicle “underpowered” compared to its rivals.
Which Hybrid SUV Is Right for You?
If your top priority is luxury, the Lexus RX 450h, the Mercedes-Benz ML450 and the 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid should be at the top of your list. For those who want a hybrid, but don’t want to sacrifice power, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and the GMC Yukon Hybrid are top picks.
The Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid are standouts for drivers primarily concerned with fuel economy, and the Lexus RX 450h is also a good choice if you have more money to spend.
Budget choices in the hybrid SUV category include the Saturn Vue Hybrid and the Mazda Tribute Hybrid for California drivers. The Ford Escape Hybrid is a good midrange choice if you want a bit more fuel efficiency for your money.