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This increased demand for SUVs has led to some manufacturers reducing or wholly eliminating their sedan fleet. Ford produced its last domestic sedan in 2020 with the end of the Fusion model, leaving just the Mustang as the only non-truck or SUV to buy in its lineup. This comes as the Bronco SUV model expands its options. Volkswagen eliminated the Passat and will discontinue the Arteon in 2024, taking out two of the brand’s sedan models and leaving just the Jetta and Golf hatchback as the sole non-SUV options.  

This rise in popularity also means segments of SUVs are popping up in the market. Manufacturers are offering models in subcompact, compact, midsize, and full-size SUVs formats. There are also luxury options for each part of the segment, similar to the sedan market. Hybrid and electrification are coming to the segment as well. It’s easy to find a good hybrid SUV to buy in each segment that will give you great mileage, cargo space, and utility.

But which models are the best? MotorTrend broke down each segment to give three top options, including the luxury compact hybrid SUV segment. Here are the top three.

1. Audi Q5

A great SUV to buy, the Audi Q5, sitting outside a building.
Audi Q5 | Audi Media Center

MSRP: starting at $57,400

The Audi Q5 is the best-selling model in Audi’s fleet in the U.S. market. The German automaker first brought the compact SUV to the U.S. market in 2009. Now Audi’s expanded the trims to offer a plug-in hybrid Q5.

The Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid has a 2.0-iter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired to a 17.9-kWh battery. These combine for a total of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Those power figures are on par with the performance trim of the Q5 and the SQ5. On electric power alone, it goes 23 miles.

MotorTrend touts the Q5’s combination of style, technology, and all-wheel drive performance. It’ll go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds while offering you a quiet, comfortable interior. MotorTrend reviewers note the upscale features inside like heated rear seats, a 19-speaker audio system, and multi-color ambient interior lighting. All models have a 10.1-inch infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and remote monitoring and control via a smartphone app. It’s very safe, too. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+ in 2022.

If you’re looking for a safe, efficient, and luxurious SUV to buy, the Audi Q5 fits the bill very well. It lacks the cargo space of some competitors but offers you plenty of standard features in return.

2. Lexus NX

  • MSRP: starting at $43,805

Lexus released the newest generation of the NX SUV in 2022. There are two options for hybrid powertrains: the 350h hybrid and the 450h+ plug-in hybrid. The 350h trim comes with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine paired with a hybrid powertrain to produce 239 hp. The 450h+ takes the same 2.5-liter inline four but pairs it with a 18.1-kWh battery to generate 304 hp. It’ll go up to 37 miles on electric power only, one of the best figures in the segment.

MotorTrend reviewers say the NX is stylish and the suspension offers a comfortable ride. The IIHS also named the Lexus NX a Top Safety Pick+. Infotainment touchscreens are large: the 350h comes with a 9.8-inch screen, and the 450h+ includes a 14-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-speaker audio system, and voice controls are all standard. The 450h+ has more features, including a Wi-Fi hotspot, connected navigation, and ambient cabin lighting, but that comes at a higher price point.

Though it’s safe and stylish, reviewers feel it performs poorly. They say braking is poor for the 350h, and steering feels light across the NX lineup. When it comes to cargo space, the NX is behind the Q5 with just 22.7 cubic feet of space with the seats up (compared to the Q5’s 25.8). But overall, the Lexus NX is a reliable, safe, and efficient SUV to buy.

3. Lincoln Corsair

  • MSRP: starting at $53,385

The 2023 Lincoln Corsair maintains the first generation released in 2020. The plug-in hybrid option is only available on one trim, the Grand Touring. The Grand Touring comes with a 2.5-liter inline-four paired with a hybrid powertrain to produce 266 hp. You can also go 28 miles on electric power only.

Though it is the smallest SUV in Lincoln’s lineup, MotorTrend notes the interior remains high-quality. The second row is roomy for passengers, and the soft-touch materials provide a comfortable environment. The 2023 model sees a larger digital gauge cluster screen and the new Auto Air Refresh feature, which purifies the cabin air constantly. The 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment pairs with a 10-speaker sound system and connects with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Remote engine start and a panoramic sunroof are included as well.

The adaptive suspension on the Grand Touring trim allows you to go off-road while providing a quiet, absorbent ride, per reviewers. There are also multiple packages on offer to add even more features. The IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick, and the Corsair gives you the most cargo space of the three, with 26.9 cubic feet with all seats in place. Though it may not have the pedigree of a Volvo, Audi, or Lexus, the Corsair’s a great SUV to buy.

Which luxury compact hybrid is the best SUV to buy?

It depends on what you’re looking for. The Audi Q5 is the best all-around. It offers great styling, powerful engines, safety, and a comfortable and luxurious cabin. But it is more expensive than the others and is lacking when it comes to electric range and cargo space. The Lexus NX has a reputation of safety, reliability, and range at a low price, but also lacks cargo space. The Lincoln Corsair has the most space of the bunch, lots of technology, and a very luxurious cabin. But it only comes with one trim option and is a bit down on power compared to the others.


Best 2023 SUV to Buy According to MotorTrend