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More automakers are offering hybrid powertrains due to rising gas prices and the need to transition from gas-powered vehicles to electric to help the environment. While all-electric cars are still considered expensive, hybrids are beginning to be more affordable, and there are plenty to choose from. Some, like the Ford Explorer Hybrid SUV, might not be as inexpensive as others.

 So, which ones can you afford, and why is the Explorer hybrid model have a starting MSRP over $50,000? Let’s take a look. 

Affordable hybrid SUVs

A white Ford Explorer, which is a great hybrid SUV.
Ford Explorer | Getty Images

While hybrids help save some money at the fuel pump, it also saves you some moola when buying one. There are a handful of SUVs that you can get for under $30,000. 

According to U.S. News, the Kia Niro is one of the most inexpensive available, with a starting price tag of $24,690. With this model, you can get up to 50 mpg overall. Kia has another hybrid SUV that won’t break the bank, the Kia Sportage, with a starting price of $27,290 and offers a range of 38 to 44 mpg on highway roads. 

Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and the Hyundai Tucson hybrid offer models under the $30,000 range as well. The RAV4 starts at $29,075 and offers 41 mpg on city roads and 28 mpg when traveling on the highway. Ford’s Escape hybrid SUV begins at $29,170 and gets you about 44 mpg in the city

The last hybrid on the U.S. News list that offers a price tag under $30,000 is the Hyundai Tucson, which begins at $29,350. Regarding fuel economy ratings, you can expect to get 37 mpg on city roads and 36 mpg when on the highway. 

Why is the 2022 Ford Explorer so expensive despite being a non-luxury vehicle?

When you think of an SUV with a higher price tag, you think of a luxury one offering premium features. However, the 2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid doesn’t quite fit that bill. There’s not much luxury to this model, but it does come with a surprising $54,595 starting price. What exactly makes this hybrid SUV so expensive? 

According to MotorTrend, the Explorer hybrid model only comes in two trim levels for 2022, which include the Limited and Platinum. Each trim comes with a 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 paired with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing 318 hp total. 

As for fuel economy, you won’t get anything too impressive since it gets 28 mpg on the highway for the RWD version. For an all-wheel drivetrain, you get 26 highway mpg, which isn’t too bad when compared to some other models. 

Regarding safety features, you can expect automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and rear-cross traffic alert, to name a few. 

You’ll also get an 8-inch touchscreen on the Limited trim, while the Platinum gets a 10.1-inch display. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

What other non-luxury competitors come close to the Explorer?

Two other models come close in size to the Explorer, as all are three-row SUVs. The Toyota Highlander and the Kia Sorento hybrid vehicles have better fuel economy ratings. Toyota offers 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Kia’s Sorento offers 39 on city roads and 35 mpg when traveling on the highway. 

The Highlander and the Sorento offer more refined interior spaces. Both models are also comfortable to ride in. When you compare both vehicles to the Explorer hybrid, you’re left disappointed in the Ford. It has plenty of plastic throughout the interior, making it feel pretty cheap.

However, when you factor cargo space, the Explorer leads the pack with its 87.8 cu-ft total after the second and third-row seats are folded down. With the Sorento, you get 75.5 overall. The Highlander comes closer with its 84.3 cu-ft of space behind the second and third rows. 

Hybrid vehicles offer a decent amount of fuel economy ratings, and you can choose from a wide variety of inexpensive models. However, be sure to do your research before taking the plunge and buying the Explorer Limited, since it does come with a much higher price tag than most, and it doesn’t offer a whole lot to justify what you would pay for it. 


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