The Top 5 Hybrid Vehicles for 2023. In recent years, hybrid SUVs have begun to capture an increasing share of the market. A decade ago, your alternatives were rather restricted; now, you have dozens of possibilities from a variety of manufacturers. When compared to non-hybrids, hybrids use a standard internal combustion engine augmented by electric motor-generators, and they are both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Today, we’ll take a look at the top hybrid SUVs available in 2023. We’ll evaluate their specifications, price, fuel economy, comfort, visual appeal, interior, and performance to see who comes out on top.
The several kinds of best hybrid SUV power trains
The term hybrid SUV vehicle refers to a vehicle that is powered by both a regular internal combustion engine (ICE) and one or more electric motor-generators (MGs). There are various hybrid car power train options that affect how the electric and internal combustion motors work together. Let’s take a look at the three most typical hybrid power trains, remembering that each manufacturer has their own little proprietary adjustments on each design to make it unique.
But first, let’s clear the air with some language. A battery, an electric motor-generator, and an internal combustion engine are the three main components of a hybrid. Because the electric motor-generator may function as both a generator (which transforms mechanical power to electrical power) and a motor (which generates power), it is better to refer to it as a single motor-generator (MG). Internal combustion engines (ICE) are classic four-stroke gasoline engines, while battery packs are typically lithium-ion and built specifically to power the MG (s).
Vehicles in the Series Hybrid
A series or extended-range hybrid drive train is the first form of hybrid drive train. An internal combustion engine (ICE), often known as a range extender, is connected to the first of two electric motor-generators in these hybrids (MG). The MG charges the battery while also powering a second MG, which drives the wheels. The battery stores energy and is utilized to provide additional power to the second MG when necessary.
The term series refers to how the ICE and MGs work “in series,” with the ICE working first to power the MGs. The engine does not and cannot power the wheels in a series hybrid. The gas engine (range extender) in series hybrids only powers the MGs and never drives the wheels. In general, series hybrids perform best at slower speeds, like as stop-and-go traffic. The Cadillac ELR and Chevy Volt are two popular examples.
Vehicles with Parallel Hybrid Powertrains
Following that are parallel hybrid drive trains. Parallel hybrids use both an ICE and an electric MG to deliver power to the wheels. The ICE is linked to a conventional gearbox, which is linked to a reduction gear. A battery powers the MG, which is also linked to the reduction gear. The ICE and MG can then be utilized in tandem to drive the wheels.
On some parallel hybrids, the ICE can be unplugged, allowing the MG to drive the wheels entirely on electricity. The term “parallel” refers to the fact that both the ICE and the MG operate at the same time, in parallel.
In general, parallel hybrids are more efficient when traveling at higher speeds, like as on the highway. The Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord are two of the most frequent parallel hybrids.
Vehicles with Series-Parallel or Power-Split Hybrid Powertrains
The series-parallel or power-split hybrid is the third type of hybrid drive train. There is no traditional transmission in a series-parallel hybrid. Instead, the ICE and MG are linked to a power-split device that functions as a three-way transmission. The power-split gadget can either combine the ICE and MG or allow each to power the wheels on its own.
Series-parallel hybrid drive trains combine the benefits and drawbacks of both series and parallel hybrids. The power-split device functions essentially as a continuously variable transmission, always striving for maximum efficiency. The Toyota Prius is the most common series-parallel hybrid.
The word regenerative braking is one of the most commonly used for hybrid SUVs, but what does it mean? Regenerative braking is a hybrid braking technology that replaces or supplements the typical disc or drum brakes seen on SUVs. Electric motors, rather than friction, are used to stop automobiles with regenerative brakes. This enables them to capture the kinetic energy generated by stopping and use it to recharge the battery. They are typically utilized on all of the hybrid drive trains listed above.
The various types of hybrid SUVs
Now that we’ve discussed the various drive trains for the best hybrid SUVs, let’s look at the many types of hybrid SUVs available. These hybrids employ a combination of the aforementioned powertrains.
Hybrids with a mild flavor (MHEV)
Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEV) are hybrid SUVs that cannot be powered exclusively by the MG and must be driven by an ICE. These hybrids utilise parallel hybrid drive systems that lack a large enough battery to power the MG alone. When the Vehicle is stopped, braking, or coasting gently, the MG is activated, allowing the ICE to be shut off for fuel savings. They can also be used to complement the ICE’s output for extra horsepower.
The MG can power all of the vehicle’s electrical components, letting the car to function regularly even when the ICE is turned off. The ICE restarts as soon as the driver presses the accelerator to resume driving.
Complete Hybrids (HEV)
HEVs (full hybrid electric vehicles) are hybrid SUVs with either parallel or series-parallel drive systems. The term “full” denotes that the SUV may power the wheels with either the ICE, the MG, or both. The battery pack on a full hybrid non-PHEV is typically insufficient to power the MG in pure electric mode, causing them to function essentially as mild hybrids.
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV)
Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are complete hybrids with a larger battery that can be charged by an external power source and is large enough to power an all-electric range. Unlike full hybrids, which use regenerative braking and sometimes the ICE to charge the battery, PHEVs charge the battery using an external power source that may be plugged into the car. PHEVs typically have a 25+ mile all-electric range, allowing them to drive without using the ICE.
Because of the larger battery, they also offer significantly greater gas mileage and horsepower than typical HEVs. However, they have more sophisticated systems and are heavier due to the greater battery. PHEV drive trains can be series, parallel, or series-parallel hybrid.
The Top 5 Hybrid Vehicles for 2023
The following are the top five best hybrid SUVs for 2023:
- Vehicle Honda CR-V Hybrid
- Vehicle Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- SUV KIA Sportage Hybrid
- SUV Volvo XC60 Hybrid
- Vehicle BMW X5 xDrive45e Hybrid
We have a mix of mild, full, and plug-in hybrid SUVs on our list. We made our selections based on a combination of aesthetic appeal, performance, interior design, and pricing.
1) Hybrid Honda CR-V SUV
The 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid SUV is first on the list. For many years, Honda has made the CR-V one of the most reliable SUVs on the market, and in 2017, they released a hybrid version. Honda offers two hybrid models for 2023: the Sport Hybrid and the Sport Touring Hybrid. They both have a 2.0 liter direct injected Atkinson four-cylinder engine, an electric MG, and an electronic continuously variable gearbox (e-CVT).
Honda CR-V hybrids are classified as mild hybrids since they use parallel hybrid drive systems. They do not have an all-electric range, and the MG serves to augment the 2.0 liter ICE. They provide a maximum output of 204 horsepower when combined. This enables the Sport Touring Hybrid to go from 0 to 60 mph in slightly under 8 seconds. They are both relatively fuel efficient for SUVs, with a combined fuel efficiency of 37 mpg. Honda charges $33,695 for the Sport Hybrid, while the Sport Touring costs just under $40,000. (MSRP).
Customers prefer the inside of the CR-V hybrid, which boasts a 7-inch touchscreen in the Sport and a 9-inch screen in the Sport Touring. Both models now have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless connectivity. The Honda CR-V is one of the most tried and true SUVs on the market today, and the latest hybrids provide an excellent blend of performance and design.
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2) SUVs Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Prime Hybrid
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV, which, like the CR-V, has long been a fixture of the small SUV market, is next on our list. Toyota first released the hybrid model for the 2019 model year. Toyota has two hybrid RAV4 models for 2023: the RAV4 Hybrid and the RAV4 Prime. The RAV4 is a moderate hybrid, whereas the Prime is a plug-in hybrid. The RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime are powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and two electric MGs. The front wheels are powered by the ICE and the first MG, while the rear wheels are powered by the second MG.
Toyota claims 219 horsepower for the RAV4 Hybrid and 302 horsepower for the RAV4 Prime. The RAV4 Prime has a faster five-to-60-mph time than the four-cylinder Toyota Supra GR. As previously stated, the RAV4 Hybrid is a mild hybrid, but the Prime is a PHEV. The RAV4 hybrid does not offer an all-electric range, but the RAV4 Prime does, at 42 miles. The basic Hybrid has a parallel hybrid drive train, whereas the Prime has a series-parallel hybrid drive train from Toyota. In terms of fuel economy, the ordinary hybrid gets 40 mpg combined, while the Prime gets 94 mpg combined.
RAV4 Interior and Price
Toyota priced the Prime significantly higher than the basic Hybrid. The LE variant of the RAV4 Hybrid has the lowest MSRP of $32,000. Price increases to $37,720 for the XSE. Toyota starts at $43,675 for the Prime SE and $47,545 for the Prime XSE. All trim levels below the XLE (including the SE) have an 8-inch infotainment system. The 10.5-inch infotainment system is standard on the XSE and Limited grades. The rest of the cabin is functional and attractive, which is appropriate for this price point and makes both the RAV4 and Prime hybrids ideal choices.
3) SUV KIA Sportage Hybrid
The third vehicle on our list is the KIA Sportage Hybrid SUV, which will be available for the first time in 2023. KIA’s Sportage Hybrid, like the RAV4, comes in two flavors: mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid. KIA employs a parallel hybrid power train that combines a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine with an electric MG. The mild hybrid Sportage produces 226 horsepower, while the PHEV produces 261 horsepower.
The KIA Sportage PHEV has a 31-mile all-electric range and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. The Hybrid has a combined fuel economy of 38 mpg, whereas the PHEV has a combined fuel economy of 84 mpg. KIA’s Sportage Hybrid starts at slightly under $28,000, while the Sportage PHEV starts at $38,480. (MSRP). As a result, the Sportage is the least expensive hybrid SUV on our list.
Customers rate the KIA Sportage’s interior as large and polished. KIA includes an 8-inch touch screen as standard, but a 12.3-inch touchscreen is available as an option. Both come equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as an optional Harmon/Kardon audio system. Despite it is the cheapest at first, it does not feel that way. We’d gladly drive a KIA Sportage Hybrid or PHEV any day of the week.
4) Hybrid Volvo XC60 SUV
The Volvo XC60 is ranked fourth on our list. Volvo, like the previous two entries, the RAV4 and Sportage, provides both a mild hybrid and a PHEV version of the XC60. Volvo provides two powertrain options for its mild hybrid, but we’d go with the twin-charged 295 horsepower and 310 lb-ft AWD B6. Both powertrains use regenerative braking to charge a 48V battery, which lowers emissions and increases fuel economy. The same twin-charged four-cylinder engine powers Volvo’s PHEV hybrid, known as the XC60 Recharge T8 AWD. It does, however, include a “e-boost” via dual electric motors, which produces 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque.
The base XC60 mild hybrid gets 25 combined mpg, which is low when compared to the other vehicles on our list. The XC60 Recharge PHEV, on the other hand, achieves a more reasonable 63 mpg and has an all-electric range of 35 miles. Both models use a parallel hybrid drive train. The XC60 is not cheap in terms of price. The mild hybrid starts at $44,545 and goes up to $54,595, while the PHEV starts at $58,295 and goes up to $75,245 in total (MSRP).
The XC60’s interior is extremely stunning. It’s really luxurious, and the 9-inch touchscreen with Volvo’s unique Google-based interface is fantastic. Several people are put off by the XC60’s high price, as well as the mild hybrid’s poor fuel economy. The XC60 costs more for performance and luxury and less for the hybrid drivetrain. It provides a thrilling ride, but you will undoubtedly pay a premium for it.
5) Hybrid BMW X5 xDrive45e SUV
The BMW X5 xDrive45e Hybrid SUV is the final entry on our list; it is the electrified hybrid PHEV version of the ordinary X5, and it comes with a lot of extras. When paired with its integrated single electric MG, the X5 hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 3 liter inline-six engine that produces 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The X5 xDrive45e accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds thanks to a parallel hybrid AWD propulsion unit.
The PHEV X5 has an all-electric range of 31 miles and a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg. While they aren’t spectacular figures, they represent significant gains over previous versions. The X5 can reach 84 mph on electric power alone, allowing it to do short highway excursions without using the ICE. The xDrive45e starts at $66,695 MSRP, which puts it squarely around the XC60 in terms of value.
The BMW, like the XC60, has an amazing interior. It is quite large and comfortable, but the options are also highly pricey, despite the fact that they can transform the X5 into a true luxury SUV. As with the XC60, you pay more for luxury and performance than for the hybrid drive train.
Summary of the Top Hybrid Vehicles
While we did not cover every option available now, we are confident in our choices for the finest hybrid SUVs for 2023. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and their pricing and performance undoubtedly vary. We looked at three entry-level hybrid SUV possibilities, as well as two lower-end luxury hybrid SUVs.
We examined the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and KIA Sportage at the lower end of the hybrid SUV market. Even in the mild hybrid, the KIA Sportage is the least expensive of the lot and yet delivers good performance and fuel economy. The RAV4 Prime is Toyota’s true treasure, but the basic hybrid is also a terrific option – and considerably less expensive. Our top selection is still the Honda CR-V, which provides an excellent blend of features, performance, and pricing.
We compared the Volvo XC60 against the BMW X5 xDrive45e at the low end of the luxury hybrid SUV market. You are obviously paying for performance and comfort over the hybrid drive train with both of vehicles, but they are both excellent drives. The interiors are vastly enhanced over the previous three entrants, and they also provide significantly greater performance. Yet, for PHEV hybrids, they provide mediocre gas mileage, making Honda, Toyota, and KIA the genuine options for those looking for true fuel efficiency from their hybrid SUV.