Best Hybrid SUVs for 2020: An Extensive Guide

As electric and hybrid vehicles become more affordable—and more commonplace—automotive manufacturers continue to expand their offerings to meet consumer demand. Given the unrelenting popularity of sport utility vehicles in the United States, it was only a matter of time before hybrid SUVs began to flood the market. 

As such, 2020 is shaping up to be a watershed year for this growing segment of the automotive market. From high-end luxury SUVs to compact crossovers, our list of the best hybrid SUVs for 2020 includes a vehicle to fit every budget and taste.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Lauded by the manufacturer as the “world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV,” the Mitsubishi Outlander not only gets an impressive 74 MPGe, but it also sports an affordable price tag. Base models start at around $36,000. The Outlander delivers impressive 4×4 off-road capabilities on either electric or gas power. It has a range of 22 miles in EV mode and just over 300 miles in hybrid mode. 

Charging is relatively quick, thanks to its DC Fast Charging feature. This speedy feature achieves an 80 percent charge in less than 30 minutes. You can fully charge it overnight with a standard 120V household plug. Conversely, you can use a 240V charger to reach full power in about 3.5 hours.

Inside, the Outlander seats five adults and offers a wealth of creature comforts. This includes touchscreen and voice-activated connectivity, the rich tones of the Mitsubishi Power Sound System and a smartphone app that lets you monitor your charging schedule, interior climate settings and more, from anywhere. The customizable cargo space can be configured to provide up to 66 cubic feet of storage. Finally, the GT trim package allows passengers access to 1500 watts of plug-in power from the main drive battery.

2020 Volvo XC60 Momentum T8 eAWD Plug-in Hybrid

This sleek hybrid SUV from Volvo starts at around $55,000. Twin engines allow the driver to use gas and electric power individually or combined for the most efficient driving experience. Its robust battery delivers a range of 18 to 22 miles. This battery can be charged at home or at a charging station. Like most hybrids, it also charges whenever the driver brakes or slows down.

Over the decades, Volvo has established a solid reputation as an industry leader in safety and quality. As such, this eco-friendly model is no exception. Its long list of safety features includes power child locks, front and rear collision mitigation support, lane-keeping assistance, park assist side and rear cameras and Volvo’s proprietary WHIPS Whiplash Protection System.

Volvo’s drive mode control allows drivers to fine-tune powertrain and steering settings based on conditions and personal preferences. There are four modes available: Eco, dynamic, off-road, and individual.

  • Eco mode adjusts the powertrain and climate systems to maximize fuel efficiency. 
  • Dynamic mode delivers highly responsive, sporty driving. 
  • Off-road mode maintains stability in challenging conditions, while comfort mode delivers the smoothest ride possible. 
  • In individual mode, drivers can customize all settings to create their ideal personal driving experience.

The XC60 Momentum Hybrid’s interior is all practical luxury. It comes with standard features like two-zone automatic climate control, power front seats with memory, and power lumbar support. There are also heated front seats, manual folding second row rear seat, 12V power outlet and two USB connections.

2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

With room for up to seven adults, the 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is a roomy luxury SUV that strikes a good balance between performance and efficiency. Modeled after the NSX supercar, the MDX gets its muscle from the innovative three-motor hybrid powertrain. The powertrain delivers around 321 total system horsepower and averages 27 mpg.

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Starting at around $53,000, the MDX Sport Hybrid is designed for maximum comfort. It achieves this with a three-zone automatic climate control system that allows each row of seating to set its own temperature and fan settings. Both front seats offer three heating levels. Also, buyers can even add ventilation settings that cool seats by drawing air into micro-perforations in the leather. Safety features include road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, surround-view cameras and a rear cross traffic monitor.

2020 Audi Q5 PHEV

The Audi Q5 is the company’s original hybrid plug-in model, and it has continued to evolve into one of the best PHEV offerings in the luxury SUV category. If you can manage the $60,000 price tag, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck: 

  • A 26-mile electric range
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • A turbocharged powertrain and electric motor that push the Q5 PHEV to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds

Even with all that power under the hood, the Q5 delivers an incredibly smooth driving experience. The onboard navigation system incorporates information about the upcoming route’s conditions, topography and other factors when determining whether to use gas power, electric power or a combination of the two for the most efficient operation. 

The vehicle also offers the luxurious details buyers expect from Audi. This includes three-zone climate control, heat-insulated glass, smartphone interface and integrated Homelink technology. It is no surprise that the Q5 is on our list of the best hybrid SUVs for 2020.

2020 Lexus RX 450h

Starting at just under $47,000, the 2020 Lexus RX 450h offers affordable luxury paired with eco-friendly efficiency. Powered by a sturdy 3.5-liter V6 engine and robust self-charging electric motor, this new entry into the hybrid SUV market boasts 308 net system horsepower. It also goes from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds—all while delivering a combined 30 mpg.

The RX 450h hits all the right notes when it comes to performance. This is thanks to innovative features designed to enhance both stability and safety. An optimized suspension and innovative dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence system provide precise handling while reducing emissions. Active Torque Control all-wheel drive adjusts to real-time road conditions by automatically shifting engine power between the front and rear axles. The intuitive Active Cornering Assist feature applies the brakes on the inside wheel to prevent oversteering and keep the vehicle in its lane.

The RX 450h doesn’t just get the major features right; it also delivers the little details that make driving a Lexus such a pleasure. The power rear door that opens with a quick kick under the rear bumper. Responsive ambient lighting. Height-adjustable, self-gripping cupholders. Heated and ventilated front seats. This is just scratching the surface.

2020 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid

With a base price around $30,000, the RAV4 XLE Hybrid offers Toyota’s legendary quality alongside truly impressive fuel efficiency: 41 mpg on the highway and 38 mpg in the city. But its greatest value shines through in the multitude of standard advanced safety features that typically cost extra in other hybrid SUV models, including electronic on-demand all-wheel drive, active cornering assist, hill start assist control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and a camera-based digital rearview mirror that expands the driver’s field of vision.

For even more value-add, the RAV4 XLE Hybrid includes many of the same convenience- and comfort-based features as Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand, such as the innovative hands-free power liftgate that opens with a kick, heated and ventilated front seats and even heated rear seats.

As icing on the cake, in all of its 2020 hybrid models, Toyota has upped its commitment to electric battery life with an extended warranty of 10 years or 150,000 miles.

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

If you need a rugged SUV with plenty of towing power and off-road capability, the Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid is your answer. This eco-friendly workhorse achieves a range of around 450 miles per tank and 25 combined mpg alongside intelligent 4-wheel drive and 5,000 pounds of towing power. 

A trailer sway control feature comes standard, and you can also opt to add hill descent control and the versatile Terrain Management System. This system offers seven drive modes accessible via an easy-to-control dial in the center console. Select from normal, trail, deep snow/sand, slippery, sport, tow/haul and eco mode. These modes work to ensure maximum stability, safety and performance in any conditions.

The Explorer Limited Hybrid is also a proven people-hauler, with plenty of room for seven adults to sit comfortably in two second-row captain’s chairs and a spacious third row. If you’ve got more stuff than people, the second- and third-row seats can be quickly reconfigured. The reconfiguration provides access for up to 87.8 cubic feet of cargo volume.

The hybrid Explorer also includes plenty of nice extras, such as: 

  • Tri-zone electronic temperature control
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Integrated key fob
  • Dual second-row smart charging USB ports
  • Bang & Olufsen sound system
  • FordPass Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot

Starting at just under $50,000, it may just be the perfect hybrid vehicle for both work and play. It is no surprise that the Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid makes our list of the best hybrid SUVs.

2020 Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid

Starting at just over $28,000, the completely redesigned 2020 Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine with an 88-kilowatt electric motor for a net system output of 200 horsepower. For a smaller SUV, the hybrid Escape delivers substantial power. It has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, and still manages a respectable fuel efficiency around 35 mpg. The five-seat vehicle also offers substantial maximum cargo space of more than 60 cubic feet.

Smooth handling is a mainstay of the Escape. It does this with nimble cornering, responsive regenerative brakes and a suspension that largely cushions passengers from irregular road conditions. In situations that call for quick accelerations, shift from Normal to Sport mode for added zippiness. Advanced safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist and post-collision braking.

Inside the cabin, driver and passengers can enjoy the high-tech Sync 3 system. It packages an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple, Android, Alexa and Waze integration and a Wi-Fi hotspot capable of powering up to 10 devices simultaneously.

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is distinctive in its class thanks to its responsive 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT), which replaces the continuous variable transmission commonly found in hybrid vehicles. Its parallel hybrid powertrain combines a powerful Atkinson cycle engine, highly efficient electric motor and lithium-ion polymer battery, resulting in an eye-popping combined fuel efficiency of 105 MPGe. Standard Sport Mode provides smooth steering and enhanced acceleration for outstanding overall performance.

Safety is a key driver of the Niro Hybrid’s appeal, with cutting-edge features like blind-spot collision warning, which delivers an alert when your turn signal is on and a vehicle is detected in your blind spot; forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, which activates a similar alert when it identifies a potential hazard in the vehicle’s path; and park-distance warning, which sounds an audible warning when the onboard sonar senses the vehicle getting too close to other cars or objects.

Comfort and convenience figure heavily into the interior design, with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat for flexibility in the cargo space and available heated and ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel. The Kia Access mobile app syncs seamlessly with Amazon Alexa and Google Home and includes the essential “Find My Car” feature, so you’ll never find yourself endlessly wandering a parking lot trying to remember where you parked.

Best of all, the Niro offers the incredible value that has spurred Kia’s growing popularity in the U.S. Starting at $28,500, this versatile hybrid is backed by the company’s industry-leading 10-year/100,000 mile warranty.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

2020 Jeep Wrangler Plug-in Hybrid

Fiat Chrysler Automotive has been teasing Jeep fans with the promise of a hybrid Wrangler for several years now, and it appears 2020 will be the year it finally materializes (although a date more specific than “late 2020” hasn’t yet been announced). 

This popular off-roading vehicle is set to receive a green makeover, with a muscular 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine bolstered by a Power Electronic Module (PEM) that’s expected to increase its horsepower as well as enhance its fuel economy. The PHEV Wrangler will retain the brand’s ability to navigate rugged terrain with ease, including up to 30 inches of water.

Final Thoughts

With the climate crisis looming and technology constantly evolving, hybrid vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular and affordable choice for new car buyers. With 10 or more models offering a range of sizes, price points and features, 2020 looks to be the best year yet for hybrid SUV buyers.

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