Years ago, it wasn't all that hard to make the list of best hybrid SUVs because there were not very many to choose from. Today, thanks to a great demand for them, consumers have an abundance to choose from. These vehicles return good gas mileage and are better for the environment because their gas engine is thoughtfully complemented by an electric motor. Therefore, at low speeds when less power is needed, the vehicle runs on electric power, rather than gasoline. Then, the regenerative brakin... (full review continues below)
Years ago, it wasn't all that hard to make the list of best hybrid SUVs because there were not very many to choose from. Today, thanks to a great demand for them, consumers have an abundance to choose from. These vehicles return good gas mileage and are better for the environment because their gas engine is thoughtfully complemented by an electric motor. Therefore, at low speeds when less power is needed, the vehicle runs on electric power, rather than gasoline. Then, the regenerative braking system captures kinetic energy and puts it to use as needed. It is a very complex process, but these vehicles have come a long way in recent years.
It is hard to believe that a vehicle can deliver 332 horsepower, tow 6,200 pounds, seat eight passengers and get better fuel economy than some small SUVs with a V6 engine, but that is what Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid has to offer. Its 6.0-liter V8 is complemented by two 60-kilowatt electric motors and uniquely, the transmission housing these motors also holds four traditional clutches and three different planetary gear sets.
Next on the list of best hybrid SUVs is the GMC Yukon Hybrid, which happens to be a cousin to the Tahoe. It gets the same great combination of gasoline and electric motors as well as the unique housing that is equivalent to having two transmissions in one unit. A four-speed fixed gear variety is handy for high load conditions while light load conditions are handled by a continuously variable drive unit. Fuel economy ratings are a combined 21 mpg.
The Mercedes-Benz ML450 falls next on the list of best hybrid SUVs. It features a dual-mode transmission that marries a pair of electric motors to a 3.5-liter V6 for combined horsepower of 335 and an impressive 381 pound-feet of torque. It can drive as far as 2 miles under 34 mph strictly on electric juice and returns a combined 22 mpg. The Lexus RX Hybrid and Lexus RX 450h are worthy of a mention in this segment as well.
Another one of the best hybrid SUVs is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. With three rows of roomy seats and combined fuel-economy of 28 mpg, it is easy to see why this vehicle is such a popular pick. A trio of electric motors works with the 3.5-liter V6 engine to accelerate zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. This is faster than many conventional crossovers. If you are not looking to spend quite so much, the regular Toyota Highlander is worthy of a glance, offering all the same great features and surprisingly good fuel economy.
With its stunning exterior styling, one might think BMW ActiveHybrid X6 makes the list by appearance alone, but it doesn't. A pair of electric motors are housed in the transmission to work with a turbocharged V8 to scream 480 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. Not quite the power you would expect from a hybrid, right? Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 5.5 seconds!
Another great hybrid SUV is the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid. The vehicle gets a supercharged V6 hybrid that offers V6 fuel economy with V8 power. It can accelerate zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and return 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
Finishing off the list of best hybrid SUVs is the Ford Escape Hybrid. It returns an unbelievable 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and battery-powered electric motor. All-wheel drive mode even comes with an extra electric motor so additional power can be sent to the rear wheels when traction or increased acceleration is demanded.