The best hybrid SUVs you can buy in 2020

You're looking for an SUV, but you want something more fuel efficient, or maybe even higher performance. Fortunately, we've got answers.

CNET Cars staff
6 min read
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited
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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has become one of America's best-selling gas-electric vehicles.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

We get it -- you're looking for lots of space, but you want to drive something eco-friendly, too. Sounds like you might need a hybrid SUV. Fortunately, after years of slim pickings, there are a ton of good options on the market these days. Heck, some even offer more exhilirating performance than their gas counterparts.

Scroll below to see a list of our favorite electrified SUVs . You'll find options for just about every purse and personality. However, if you're looking for something a little more traditional, be sure to check out our lists of the best cars under $30,000 and under $40,000, as well.

Honda finally hybridizes its CR-V crossover

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Honda CR-V Hybrid

New for 2020, after selling over 5 million copies, Honda has finally brought out a hybridized version of its ubiquitous CR-V compact crossover. Based on our early first drive, electrifying this heart-of-the-market SUV has resulted in an even more efficient and friendlier vehicle. 

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid relies on a version of the 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder found in the Accord Hybrid. That engine is tied to a two-motor hybrid system backed by a small, 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is quoted as 212 horsepower (a gas-only CR-V gets 190), and torque peaks at 232 pound-feet, a nice increase over the standard car's 179. Unlike its Ford Escape Hybrid rival, all-wheel drive is mandatory.

Priced from $28,870 (including $1,120 in freight), the electrified CR-V is estimated to deliver 40 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined, putting the Honda slightly behind its previously mentioned competition from Ford, as well as the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Even so, thanks to the CR-V's other blend of virtues, we think it may just be the pick of the litter in this affordable, family-minded segment.

Click here to read our Honda CR-V Hybrid review.

2020 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid prioritizes performance over efficiency

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Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

is making many of its top-performing cars into plug-in hybrids, and the Cayenne is no exception. With 455 horsepower and a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.7 seconds, this is a legit performance machine -- that weighs 5,000 pounds.

The Cayenne's new, 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery pack offers about 20 miles of all-electric driving when you want to go stealthily, and should offer a substantial boost over the outgoing Cayenne S E-Hybrid's 46 MPGe.

The latest Cayenne inherits a revised version of the Panamera's slick, capacitive-touch interior interface. It looks fresh and clean yet still has enough knobs and buttons to satisfy the touchscreen-averse.

Click here to read our Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid review.

Bentayga Hybrid electrifies the Bentley lineup

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Bentley Bentayga Hybrid

It's a Bentley Bentayga, meaning this SUV is beautifully built, comfortable and surprisingly capable off road. For 2020, the plug-in hybrid Bentayga is estimated to offer about 30 miles of all-electric driving range.

The Bentayga is luxurious as hell, but also somewhat green thanks to its Porsche-derived hybrid drivetrain (see the Cayenne Hybrid above). There's nothing else quite like it on sale today.

Plus, it's got a badge on the front, which means you can flex your green cred and your tax-bracket status at the same time in places like Los Angeles.

Click here to read our Bentley Bentayga Hybrid review.

Acura MDX Sport Hybrid: The sleek sleeper SUV

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Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Hybrid all-wheel-drive hardware shared with the NSX supercar? That makes the Acura MDX hybrid pretty freaking cool in our book.

With drivetrain net system output of 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, there's more power in the MDX Sport Hybrid than the standard model. And its 26 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings bests the all-gas Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive version's 19 city and 26 highway rating.

The Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system helps the big MDX handle remarkably well, all things considered. And with no shortage of luxury or tech features inside, the electrified MDX is a car we'd be happy to drive for the long haul.

Click here to read our Acura MDX Sport Hybrid review.

2020 Range Rover HSE P400e promises 31 miles of electric range

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Land Rover Range Rover P400e

With a 13.1-kilowatt-hour battery and a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, the plug-in hybrid Range Rover produces a healthy 398 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque.  Land Rover says you can drive for about 19 miles on electric power alone, making it great for short commutes.

But the best part? It's still a Range Rover. You can climb a mountain, ford a river or just cruise on the highway, all the while enveloped in luxurious accommodations.

Click here to read our Land Rover Range Rover P400e review.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: A tougher looking electrified crossover

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Now in its fifth generation, Toyota is really pouring it on with its latest RAV4. The Japanese automaker has increased the number of variants of its incredibly popular compact crossover, including adding dedicated TRD Off-Road and luxury-minded Limited trims. The SUV's most important variant, however, is arguably this Hybrid model.

The 2020 RAV4 Hybrid, which lines up nicely against the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid, brandishes a (relatively large) 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor assist and a continuously variable transmission. Combined system output is quoted at 219 horsepower, compared to 203 hp from the base gasoline-only model.

Even with mandatory all-wheel drive, the RAV4 Hybrid makes a strong case for itself on the efficiency front, with fantastic EPA estimates of 41 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined -- that's a big increase over the gas-only RAV4 AWD's milquetoast 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined figures.

Starting at $29,470 (including $1,120 for destination), the RAV4 Hybrid is packed with active safety features, making it a well-rounded family truckster with appealing pricing. 

Oh, and if that's not efficient enough for you, for 2021, Toyota has promised the RAV4 Prime, a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant. Not only will it deliver an estimated 90 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), it's the second-quickest vehicle in Toyota's entire lineup, zapping to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. It's expected this summer.

Click here to read our Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review.

2020 Audi Q8 doesn't sacrifice in the name of fashion

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Audi Q8

Admittedly, its 48-volt electrical system only makes the Q8 a mild hybrid, but with a turbocharged V6 delivering 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, this luxury SUV doesn't need much help.

The Q8 has a face that not everyone will love, but there should be no quibbles about the new flagship SUV's interior, which is top-notch in every regard, from its fit, finish and materials to its class-leading cabin tech.

The Q8 is surprisingly nimble, too, with good handling and a supple ride despite its oversized wheels.

Click here to read our Audi Q8 review.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 is a luxury SUV like no other

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Mercedes-Benz GLE450

Much like the Audi Q8, the Mercedes-Benz GLE450 uses a mild-hybrid powertrain setup. The new is powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-liter I6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and then adds Mercedes' EQ Boost 48-volt motor-generator, which can provide an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for short bursts.

The EQ Boost 48-volt system also powers the GLE450's E-Active Body Control system, which works with the air suspension and dampers at each wheel to make for a smooth, composed ride.

Click here to read our Mercedes-Benz GLE450 review.

2020 Volvo XC60 keeps it sleek and sexy

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Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is a right-sized SUV for most, with decent ride quality and cargo capacity. Not only does the plug-in hybrid version let you coast on battery alone, it's the most powerful XC60 in the lineup, offering 400 horsepower.

It might be a little complex, but Sensus Connect infotainment system is one of the most capable, packing hotspot capabilities, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a whole lot more. It's one of many features that make us love living with the XC60 day to day.

Click here to read our Volvo XC60 T8 review.

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First published May 19, 2019.