If you are shopping for an SUV with both a 3rd row of seating and a hybrid powertrain, you know you don’t have many options to choose from. In this series, I lay out all eight for sale and a few more 3rd-row hybrids on the horizon. In Part One I went over Toyota and Ford’s 3rd row hybrid SUV chassis as well as the Lexus and Lincoln vehicles that share them. Now, I am going to compare their three competitors from Kia, Volvo, and Range Rover.
The latest Kia Sorento is a full three-row crossover SUV. Its 3rd row only has room for two passengers, so it has seven seat belts total. Its hybrid powertrain option includes a 1.6-liter gasoline I4 and an electric motor that make a combined 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Its most efficient configuration is the FWD version which gets 39 city/35 highway mpg (37 combined). Ordering an AWD drops these numbers to a respectable 36 city/33 highway mpg (35 combined).
The Kia Sorento hybrid’s impressive fuel efficiency, combined with its $34,090 starting price, makes it a major Toyota Highlander competitor.
RELATED: Nascar Is Going Hybrid
Volvo’s XC90 first shook up the mid-size luxury SUV segment in 2002. Volvo has always prided itself in its engineering-forward approach. It’s no surprise that this Swedish automaker is one of the leaders in hybrid and plug-in hybrid production. While the little XC60 has hybrid drivetrains, you’ll need to upsize to the XC90 to get a 3rd row of seats, for seven seatbelts total.
You can order a gasoline-powered XC90 with a mild hybrid system–a similar technology to Ram’s eTorque system. You can also get a full plug-in hybrid XC90. The PHEV version even retains its 3rd row of seating, while making room for a battery providing 18 miles of all-electric range. This makes it relatively rare in its segment. When the batteries run out, and its 2.0-liter I4 takes over, the XC90 gets 27 mpg (combined city/highway). The PHEV version starts at $63,800.
You can order the new Range Rover with a fully plug-in hybrid powertrain. But this option only comes in standard wheelbase versions with five seats. If you need a long-wheelbase Range Rover with seven seats, you can choose from three drivetrains. One of these is the P400 AWD Automatic mild hybrid.
What makes this SUV a mild hybrid is that its electric motor is actually a combined starter/generator connected to the traditional gasoline engine by a belt. It is engineered more to smooth out the automatic start/stop function than for extreme fuel-saving regenerative braking. But with this Land Rover’s $110,500 MSRP, its buyers likely won’t be pinching pennies at the gas pump.
Next, learn about upcoming full-frame hybrid SUVs or watch a review of the new Range Rover in the video below: