Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
Are you eagerly anticipating the 2021 Acura MDX? Forget it bud, there will be no 2021 MDX. Instead Honda’s snooty-like division will skip into the far-off future with an all-new 2022 MDX arriving in showrooms soon. And it’s an all-new MDX with a new basic platform, new engine options, and fresh-as-artisan-sourdough-just-out-of-the-oven styling.Here’s what we know about the surely soon-to-be-announced hybrid model: nothing. But it’s a good bet there will be one. So, watch this space for updates when we know anything
Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
Base price: $45,396Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 27 mpgCargo capacity: 15 cu ft
With a supplementary 12-volt electric motor aboard, the Audi Q5 is barely a hybrid. But it is very much an Audi. Most of the power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and, with that slight boost, total output is 261 horsepower. The EPA rates this mid-size crossover at 25 mpg in combined city and highway driving. So, it’s so-so. But at least it’s a nice Audi.
Base price: $44,395 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 25 mpgCargo capacity: 25 cu ft
Audi Q7 and Q8
These are sibling luxury sport-utilities that share most everything under the skin, including its hybrid system. The Q7 is more practical, and the Q8 has a sportier roofline. The 48-volt electrical system powers a starter motor/generator that takes some of the burden off the V-6 engine in certain situations, like accelerating at low speeds; the rest of the time, the motor acts as a generator, replenishing the Audi’s battery. With 335 horsepower aboard, acceleration is solid, but the EPA rating of 20 mpg combined … meh. But they’re a good looking duo.
Base price: $69,890 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 20 mpgCargo capacity: 30 cu ft
BMW X5 and X6
Diving down into the minutiae of mild hybridism, here are the BMW X5 and X6. Siblings under the skin, they’re a lot like the Audis earlier in our list: the X5 is more practical and the X6 has a sexy roofline. But in 2021, so far, only the X5 is available with the new plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Power comes from a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six that’s rated at 282 horsepower. Combine that with the 111-hp electric motor and a little alchemy and the result is a total of 389 horsepower. And BMW claims that’s good enough for a 5.3-second 0-to-60 mph blast with 50 mpg fuel economy (EPA numbers are pending). All-wheel drive is also part of the deal.
Base price: $65,400 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 23 mpgCargo capacity: 26 cu ft
Ford Escape Hybrid
With compact crossovers supplanting sedans as the heart of the American car market, no manufacturer can afford not to match the others model for model. So, of course, Ford builds an Escape Hybrid, and has for decades now, too. Combining a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine with an 88-kilowatt electric engine, the Ford Hybrid system has been proven over time. At the moment, the available inventory of Escape Hybrids are 2020 models. Front drive and all-wheel drive are available.
Base price: $27,155 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 41 mpgCargo capacity: 33 cu ft
Ford Explorer Hybrid
When Ford redesigned the Explorer for 2020, it added a hybrid model for the first time. This new hybrid SUV combines a 3.3-liter V-6 with an electric motor for a combined output of 318 horsepower. Not shabby. The setup also helps the Ford maintain a respectable 5000-pound tow rating. The tradeoff is mileage that isn’t that much better than most gas-powered SUVs of the Explorer’s size–the EPA rates it at a combined 27 mpg when equipped with rear-wheel drive. That number drops to 25 mpg with all-wheel drive. The Explorer handles well, but the hybrid drivetrain needs refinement. The transitions between electric power and the gas engine are abrupt, and the spongy brake pedal only adds to an unnatural feel. Still, it wears environmental virtue in its name and that will impress a few of your neighbors. Probably. Depends where you live.
Base price: $51,745 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 27 mpgCargo capacity: 18 cu ft
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Thoroughly refreshed for 2020, the 2021 Honda CR-V carries over pretty much intact. The hybrid drivetrain that pairs a 2.0-liter inline-four with two electric motors that combine for 212 horsepower. That’s 22 horses beyond the standard 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that now comes standard on all non-hybrid CR-Vs. All-wheel drive is also standard, as the rear wheels are driven by the electric motor when slippage is sensed up front. Fuel economy, no surprise, is dang good. The EPA rates the CR-V Hybrid at 40 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 38 mpg combined.
Base price: $31,680 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 38 mpgCargo capacity: 39 cu ft
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with eTorque
A fully electric Jeep would be great for tricky trails, but the Jeep Wrangler eTorque is not that sophisticated. It uses a 48-volt hybrid system to help deliver a little extra fuel efficiency. It’s a simple system that consists of an alternator that also delivers power to the engine’s accessory drive belt to help provide an extra push during slow speed acceleration. It also serves to start the engine after the stop/start system shuts it down at a stoplight, another feature that boosts mileage. For 2021, the Wrangler’s eTorque system is only available as a $1500 option on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited in Sahara trim with the 3.6-liter V-6.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with eTorque
Base price: $42,140 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 20 mpgCargo capacity: 31 cu ft
Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Kia Sorento is all-new for 2021 and for the first time it’s offered as a hybrid. At the heart of the hybrid system is a 177-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine which combines with a 59-horsepower electric motor for a total of 227-horsepower and 258-pound feet of torque driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. We look forward to driving this one. It’s promising and the EPA rates it at 37 mpg in combined driving.
Base price: $27,155 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 37 mpgCargo capacity: 16 cu ft
Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport
Land Rover has added new powertrains to their engine lineup for 2020 and newer models. The Discovery and smaller Discovery Sport both get hybridized power from a 48-volt belt-driven motor. The gas engine shuts off at speeds under 11 mph, and the energy stored during deceleration is then used to power both Discos. The Discovery’s hybridization is available from a 355-hp turbocharged inline-six, while the more compact Discovery Sport gets powered from a 246-hp version. Both offer a luxurious-based off-road experience with more towing capacity than the Jeep Wrangler.
Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport
Base price: $42,950 for Discovery Sport and $55,250 for DiscoveryFuel economy, EPA Combined: Not yet ratedCargo capacity: 26 cu ft for Discovery Sport 43 cu ft for Discovery
Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender is a luxury off-roader that’s capable on and off pavement. The Defender 90 and extended-wheelbase 110 is offered with two engines. A 296-hp four-cylinder and an optional 395-hp supercharged and turbocharged inline-six engine with an eight-speed automatic. The V-6 engine options comes with a 48-volt hybrid-assist feature that stores energy generated under deceleration, and then produced as extra torque during stop/start driving. For fuel economy, the EPA has rated both engines pretty close, with the V-6 and it’s hybrid tech getting a combined 19 mpg, and 18 mpg from the non-hybrid four-cylinder.
Base price: $47,450 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 19 mpgCargo capacity: 15 cu ft for Defender 90 and 34 cu ft for Defender 110
Land Rover Range Rover and Range Rover Sport
The Land Rover Range Rover and smaller Range Rover Sport use the same tricks as the Defender with hybrid assist features. The mild-hybrid setup is available on its supercharged and turbocharged inline-six gas, and turbocharged diesel engines. Despite weighing over 2.5 tons, the full-size Range Rover has a higher EPA-estimated combined mileage than smaller luxury crossovers and SUVs. If you want real efficiency, we’d suggest checking out the plug-in hybrid Range Rover that gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg combined.
Base price: $70,850 for Range Rover Sport and $93,350 for Range RoverFuel economy, EPA Combined: 21 mpg Range Rover Sport 24 mpg for Range RoverCargo capacity: 32 cu ft for Range Rover and 28 cu ft for Range Rover Sport
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
The Land Rover Range Rover Velar gets new powertrain options for 2021, which adds hybridization to the models available engines. A 335 or 395 turbocharged inline-six use Land Rover’s 48-volt hybrid system and come standard with all-wheel drive and air suspension. The EPA hasn’t tested the Range Rover Velar with this new powertrain yet, but we expect it to an improvement over the EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined achieved in the 247-hp turbocharged inline-four models.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Base price: $58,050Fuel economy, EPA Combined: Not yet ratedCargo capacity: 26 cu ft
The Lexus NX300h continues almost unchanged for 2021. “Almost” being the operative word here because it will now be offered in Nouri Green Pearl paint and there’s a new blind spot monitor and cross-traffic alert system. It’s still saddled with a frustrating user interface and middling performance, but now you can get HomeLink integrated into the Navigation option. Whoopee. With an EPA rating of 31 mpg, it delivers on the promise of hybrid efficiency and it’s available with the F Sport package, which doesn’t make it any more fun to drive, but it looks sporty-isih. A full array of standard active-safety features is appreciated, and CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity makes the user interface easier to deal with. If the RX feels too old and the smaller UX is simply too tight inside, the Lexus NX300h is a good compromise between the two in terms of price, features, and performance.
Base price: $41,510 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 31 mpgCargo capacity: 18 cu ft
This is one of those hybrid crossovers where the hybrid part is a much bigger piece of the equation than the crossover aspect. The Lexus UX250h is a subcompact with minimal back-seat space and not much cargo room either. But it’s EPA rated up to 42 mpg combined, making it the most fuel-efficient hybrid SUVs on the list. On most models of the UX hybrid, that number sticks at 39 mpg. It comes with a full breadth of active-safety features as standard equipment, which is rare in this price range. The Lexus UX drives well with quick steering and a nicely sorted suspension. The cabin features a few interesting trim options that give it an unusual look and feel, while the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity helps overcome the somewhat pesky Lexus interface.
Base price: $37,575 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 42 mpgCargo capacity: 17 cu ft
Lexus RX450h and 450hL
The Lexus RX created the luxury crossover class when it was introduced during the 1999 model year. And it was one of the first luxury hybrid vehicles. It’s still one of the most popular. For 2021, there’s a new Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (standard), and the side mirrors auto dim when reversing. The two electric motors pair with the 3.5-liter V-6 in the hybrid for a total of 308 horsepower, but this is no performance SUV. The Lexus RX is built to eat up miles with minimal fuss and, in the case of the 450h, return solid mileage along the way. The 450h is rated by the EPA to deliver 30 mpg combined while the 450hL is at 29 mpg.
Base price: $49,1700 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 30 mpg for 450h and 29 mpg for 450hLCargo capacity: 18 cu ft for 450h and 7 cu ft for 450hL
Mercedes-Benz GLE450 and GLE580
The latest Mercedes-Benz GLE is available in two hybrid flavors. The Mercedes GLE450 hybrid combines a 3.0-liter inline-six gas engine with a 48-volt electrical system to deliver 362 horsepower and an EPA combined rating of 21 mpg. Mercedes says it’s good for a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds. The range-topping Mercedes GLE580 couples the same mild 48-volt hybrid system with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that’s good for 504 horsepower, making it the most powerful non-AMG model in the Mercedes lineup. The EPA rates it at a combined 18 mpg. That’s not bad for a hugely powerful vehicle that weighs more than two tons and has standard 4Matic all-wheel drive, but it’s no fuel sipper either. Both GLE models offer luxurious interiors and the latest gizmatic technology – and they aren’t cheap.
Base price: $63,495Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 21 mpg for GLE450, 18 MPG for GLE580 Cargo capacity: 33 cu ft
Mercedes-Benz GLS450 and GLS580
It’s really a three-row Mercedes-Benz S-class, but it’s better known as the GLS-class. It’s the upper-crust of big, all-wheel drive SUVs, and both the 362-hp turbocharged inline-six and 483-hp twin-turbo V-8 come with a 48-volt hybrid system known as EQ Boost. Mercedes-Benz says the system can add up to 21 horsepower for short periods of time, but its start/stop technology minimizes fuel waste. Although, worrying about fuel economy in an SUV this expensive and this big is a little like ordering water with a Wagyu steak.
Base price: $76,945 for GLS450 and $99,795 for GLS580Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 21 mpg for GLS450 and 18 mpg for GLS580Cargo capacity: 42 cu ft
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Carrying over almost unchanged into 2021 after a full-blown redesign for 2020, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses Toyota’s now well-proven hybrid drivetrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors. It’s a big step forward from the previous unit that barely managed to out-mpg the standard model. Official EPA numbers have the two-wheel drive Highlander Hybrid delivering 36 mpg in the city, 35 on the highway and 36 combined. The standard Highlander, powered by Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V-6, can only manage 21 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway, and 24 combined. So, essentially, the Hybrid gets 50-percent better mileage. A full array of Toyota’s active-safety equipment is standard with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and even road sign assist so drivers immediately recognize local speed limits. As a licensed driver, you’re expected to recognize those speed limits even without that help.
Base price: $39,585 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 36 mpgCargo capacity: 16 cu ft
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The standard 203-hp internal combustion engine Toyota RAV4 is a slug. But add the hybrid system to create the RAV4 Hybrid and total output rises to 219 horsepower with much better low-end torque. That improves that the zero-to-60-mph time by 0.7 second to a respectable 7.4 seconds. Add in its EPA rating of 40 mpg combined, and the RAV4 hybrid is easily the best model in the lineup. As hybrid SUVs go, this is a solid combination of performance, fuel efficiency, and a practical size that is likely to fit the needs of a wide variety of buyers. No wonder that in April of 2020 Toyota sold its 10 millionth RAV4 around the globe. And no wonder that the RAV4 is currently the best-selling non-pickup truck vehicle for sale in America.
Base price: $29,675 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 40 mpgCargo capacity: 37 cu ft
Remember the Toyota Venza? Well forget that Venza, here’s a new one for 2021 and it’s only available as a hybrid. And a relatively large hybrid at that, with electronic on-demand all-wheel drive, EPA rated at 39 mpg in combined driving. The trick here is Toyota’s well-proven combination of its 2.5-liter engine and hybrid drivetrain rated at 219 horsepower. It’s a sweet machine. Much better than the old Venza.
Base price: $33,645 Fuel economy, EPA Combined: 39 mpgCargo capacity: 28 cu ft
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