3 of the Best Compact Plug-in Hybrid SUVs to Buy According to MotorTrend

In 2015 SUVs outsold sedans for the first time in the United States. By 2019 SUVs accounted for more than twice the number of sedan sales. As such, it shouldn’t be surprising that more and more car manufacturers are abandoning sedans in favor of SUVs.

The compact plug-in hybrid SUV subsegment is one of the many in which manufacturers have opted to increase production. It has also seen an uptick in sales with buyers looking to have the benefits of an SUV, and excellent fuel economy. If you’re one of these buyers, here are the three best compact plug-in hybrid SUVs to buy, according to MotorTrend.

1. 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime

According to CNN, despite being outsold by the Jeep Wrangler for the first half of 2022, MotorTrend still ranks the Toyota RAV4 prime at the top of the compact plug-in hybrid SUV segment. One of its major perks is the excellent all-electric driving range at an EPA-estimated 42 miles.

Tech is another of its strong suits, with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 now included as standard. With it, drivers get features like automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, road sign assist, pre-collision assist, rear cross-traffic alert, etc.

Considering the 2022 variant was on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list without some of these standard features, this improvement could mean even better safety ratings for the 2023 model year.

On the exterior, it offers a charming design, and although the car is relatively compact, you still get enough cargo space for most of your needs. All these should make the high base price worth overlooking.

2. 2022 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid

The Ford Escape PHEV gets the second-highest MotorTrend rating despite the cheap feeling interior and lack of an AWD option. This is thanks to high fuel efficiency ratings, impressive tech, and value for money.

Regarding fuel efficiency, buyers can get up to 117 MPGe in the city. On the highway, they get 93 MPGe for a combined 105 MPGe putting it on par with some fully electric vehicles. The electric-only range is 37 miles.

As for the tech, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 collection of safety tech is standard with features such as lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. The top-of-the-line Titanium trim adds some extras, like semi-autonomous park assist.

Add the low starting price, and potential buyers have an extra reason to consider it.

3. 2023 Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid

A red 2023 Hyundai Tucson headlight, which is one of the best compact plug-in hybrid SUVs.
2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai Motor Company
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The Best SUV for 2023 According to MotorTrend

For a Plug-in Hybrid, the Hyundai Tucson PHEV doesn’t offer the best fuel efficiency, but buyers get great tech alongside impressive performance figures in its place. That said, you still get far better fuel economy than with a gas-only SUV at 80 MPGe, not to mention the 33-mile all-electric range.

The standard AWD certainly helps with performance, with the powertrain in the car capable of producing 261 hp. It can also put out 258 lb-ft of torque, making it fairly peppy on the road.

As for the tech, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking are all standard. That said, by picking the more expensive Limited trim, you could get extras like highway driving assist, surround view monitor, parking sensors, etc..

The Tucson PHEV could climb higher on MotorTrend’s rankings with just a bit more fuel efficiency.

Overall, these three options make a case for why it’s the compact plug-in hybrid SUV to buy. Toyota’s offering is an easy choice if you have more of a budget to work with and desire both performance and fuel efficiency.

If your budget is limited, but you still want performance, you can pick the Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid. However, you will have to sacrifice some efficiency. Lastly, the Ford Escape PHEV may not be the quickest of the lot, but it is affordable, has lots of standard tech, and has impressive fuel economy figures.