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Plug-in hybrid SUVs, or PHEVs, fit the middle point for those that want some of the benefits of an electric SUV, but also don’t want to worry about not being able to find a charger in the wild. With a PHEV, you can, but you don’t have to, charge it but you can also run it on gasoline. Because they prioritize the EV side, they get excellent fuel mileage. These are the only two SUVs to break the 100 MPGe barrier.

But, only these two SUVs get more than 100 MPGe.

What does MPGe mean?

EPA.GOV mileage estimates | EPA

Most people see the “e” and assume it means “electricity.” But, it really stands for “equivalent,” so MPGe means miles per gallon equivalent. It measures the efficiency of electric cars. However, instead of just measuring how much gasoline your car uses, MPGe can measure any fuel, weather that’s hydrogen, electricity, diesel, pixie dust, or any combination of those, like in a PHEV. Basically, the US government wants you to know how efficient your vehicle is, so the new system converts it.

A gallon of gas generates 33.7 kWh or electricity. So, the simple math means that if a vehicle can go 100 miles and only use 33.7 kWh of juice, then it gets 100 MPGe. It also works on a PHEV using gas and electric power if you use 0.5 gallons of gas and 16.9 kWh of electricity to go 100 miles, you get the same 100 MPGe.

The Ford Escape PHEV breaks the 100 MPGe Barrier with 105 MPGe

2023 Ford Escape PHEV is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs.
2023 Ford Escape PHEV | Ford

According to the EPA, the 2022 Ford Escape FWD PHEV earns 105 MPGe combined. If you use regular gas, you get 40 “regular” MPG combined. It has a 37-mile all-electric range. There is a new 2023 PHEV Escape on the way, but the EPA hasn’t rated it.

The Ford Escape isn’t particularly exciting to drive, but you don’t drive this car for the thrills. It does, however, seat five comfortably, hold plenty of cargo and with Ford’s Sync system, it’s easy to access the diver’s aids and navigation. The 2022 Ford Escape PHEV starts at $35,455, but, again, there is a new one on the way soon.

Kia Niro PHEV is all new for 2023, too

The new Kia Niro PHEV is one of the most fuel efficient SUVs you can buy.
2023 Niro EV

The 2022 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid gets 105 MPGe, too, but it manages it different way. It has a smaller gas motor, a 1.6-liter, and gets 46 mpg on gasoline. It has an all-electric range of 26 miles. The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid starts at $33,740.

The Niro is all-new for 2023, as well, but unlike the Ford, they’re starting to show up at dealer lots now. The new Niro has interesting side “blades” behind the rear doors that are painted in a contrasting color. It also comes well equipped with dual-zone climate control, CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as smart cruise, and a suite of driver’s aids.


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