Only 1 Full-Size SUV is A Fuel Efficient Hybrid
Several automakers offer unibody crossovers with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. Some of these crossovers even come with a third row of seating. But the only full-size, full-frame, truck-based SUV available with a hybrid engine is the Toyota Sequoia.
Which crossover cars offer hybrid engines?
If you are in the market for a car-based crossover vehicle with a hybrid engine, you have many choices. Your hybrid options include several compact crossovers, such as the Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Niro, Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Hyundai Tucson.
If you want a larger hybrid SUV, you still have several crossovers to choose from. These include the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer, and the Toyota Highlander. You can configure many of these with a third row of seating, and some boast SUV-like tow ratings.
So what is the difference between a full-size SUV and a crossover car with a third row of seats? This definition comes down to how the vehicle is manufactured: A true full-size SUV’s body is installed on a ladder frame, similar to a pickup truck. A crossover car, even a large one, is built around a combined body/frame unit called the “unibody.”
Some SUV fans prefer the durability and tradition of body-on-frame construction. But other drivers prefer the lightweight construction of unibody vehicles. Until now, full-frame SUVs with hybrid engines have been relatively rare.
Every new 2023 Toyota Sequoia is a hybrid
Through the 2022 model year, the Toyota Sequoia actually trails its segment with an outdated 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission. But Toyota shocked the automotive world when it announced that every single third-generation Sequoia would feature a hybrid powertrain.
Toyota completely reengineered the Tundra/Sequoia for the vehicle’s third generation. It ditched the old V8 and incorporated a 3.44-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 from Lexus sports cars. But the automaker didn’t stop there: Toyota also designed a premium, hybrid powertrain similar to Ford’s PowerBoost.
The i-FORCE MAX drivetrain makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. That’s more torque than a Ford F-150 Raptor. What’s more, in a 2WD Toyota Tundra, this hybrid engine gets 20 city and 24 highway mpg (22 combined)–according to the EPA.
With the Tunda/Sequoia’s fully boxed frame and solid rear axle, this 2023 SUV will be an efficient and powerful tow vehicle. It offers off-road driver aids and rear coil springs that promise to make it relatively capable on the trail. And of course, you can configure your 2023 Sequoia with a third row of seats.
The Jeep Wrangler offers a plug-in hybrid
If you don’t need a third row of seats, the Toyota Sequoia is not your only full-frame hybrid SUV option. The midsize Jeep Wrangler is a full-frame SUV, and now Jeep offers it with a powerful hybrid powertrain.
The Jeep Wrangler is, and has always been, an exception in its segment. It is a full-frame 4×4, but not based on any specific pickup truck. Instead, it evolved over time from the Willys Jeep that was instrumental in winning WWII. For decades its part-time 4WD and solid axles have made it America’s favorite convertible 4×4.
Today, Stellantis offers four-door Jeep Wranglers with a factory hard top. These Jeeps are competitive mid-size SUVs, relatively comfortable on the highway, yet still very capable off-road. For the 2021 model year, Jeep unveiled a plug-in hybrid Wrangler: the 4xe.
The 2021 Jeep 4xe offers a 21-mile electric-only range. It makes an impressive 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque that can propel it to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. If you configure your 4xe with Jeep’s off-road package, it is also ready to tear up the trail.
Check out our review of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe or see a review of the all-new Sequoia in the video below: