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Hybrid technology has evolved at a miraculous rate. Two decades ago, hybrids were considered feeble and impractical. Today, the narrative has drastically changed. Some of the most popular vehicles on American roads are powered by hybrid powertrains. Furthermore, many hybrid SUVs provide more value for the money than internal combustion engine SUVs. Who doesn’t want to save money, right? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to choose a great hybrid SUV in 2023.

1. What are the different hybrid SUV types?

A blue 2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small hybrid SUV is driving.
The 2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

So, you’re interested in hybrid SUVs. What makes an SUV a hybrid, and is there more than one classification of a hybrid SUV?

Hybrid SUV types

  • Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)

Today, there are two main types of hybrids. The most popular of the two are hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs. These HEVs are simply referred to as hybrids. Why? They don’t completely rely on an internal combustion engine or an electric motor to transfer power to the wheels of the vehicle; they rely on a combination of both. Popular examples of HEVs are the Toyota Prius and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUVs are much newer to the industry than the former. These PHEVs take things up a notch thanks to their capability to store power via charging stations and batteries. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use an internal combustion engine, electric motor(s), and a battery to transfer power to the wheels. PHEVs also have limited electric-only driving ranges, allowing a vehicle to operate like a fully electric vehicle for a limited distance.

As you can guess, PHEVs tend to be considerably more expensive than HEVs because of their ability to store and use power. That said, PHEVs are usually also more powerful and can replicate the EV ownership experience to a degree.

2. Finding a hybrid SUV that fits your budget

A white Kia Sportage Hybrid is driving on the road.
The Kia Sportage Hybrid | Kia

Understanding the types of hybrid SUVs is one thing, but how does that help you refine your search for the optimal vehicle? The simplest technique is to start with a price range you’re comfortable with. Since the small SUV vehicle segment is the most popular segment in America, most drivers are likely to search for small hybrid SUVs like the Kia Sportage Hybrid or Honda CR-V Hybrid.

Establishing a budget quickly helps narrow down the search. Additionally, since PHEVs tend to be so much more expensive, they haven’t become as popular as HEVs yet. So, if you’re searching for a hybrid SUV in 2023, there’s a high likelihood that you either want a small hybrid SUV or a midsize hybrid SUV. This would make your budget between around $27K-$50K. Deciding on a specific vehicle size will help drill down on a more specific price range.

Small hybrid SUVs go for $27,000-$40,000. Midsize hybrid SUVs tend to be closer to the $35,000-$50,000 range. After establishing a budget, consider how much you drive and how much you value efficiency. Some hybrid SUVs sacrifice power for efficiency. Others have higher starting prices to make up for their stellar fuel economy.

3. What are the most popular hybrid SUVs in 2023?

Now that you have a general understanding of what hybrid SUVs are and how to narrow down your search, a few specific nameplates will catch your attention. The table below lists some of the most notable hybrid SUVs in the small, midsize, and full-size vehicle segments:

Notable Small Hybrid SUVsNotable Midsize Hybrid SUVs Notable Full-Size Hybrid SUVs
Kia Sportage Hybrid Hyundai Santa Fe HybridToyota Sequoia
Toyota RAV4 HybridToyota Highlander Hybrid Land Rover Range Rover
Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid BMW XM
Notable hybrid SUVs for 2023.

There are plenty of other noteworthy hybrid SUVs like the subcompact Kia Niro or Lexus UX. Since there are so many models to compare, the wisest choice is one that fits your needs in terms of pricing and size.


This Hybrid SUV’s Surprising Driving Range May Win You Over

After choosing a size, consider the affordability, gas mileage, and average driving range on a full tank of gas. These guidelines will help you choose a hybrid SUV that provides great value for the money and is efficient in 2023. MotorBiscuit produces plenty of informative lists like this to help you make an informed decision on an affordable hybrid SUV.

If you’re interested in learning more about the inner workings of a hybrid electric vehicle, the U.S. Department of Energy provides plenty of useful insights.