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The best hybrid cars and SUVs available in America

From mild-hybrid electrification to plug-in vehicles with usable EV range, these are Roadshow's picks for the best hybrid cars and SUVs available today.

CNET Cars staff

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
1 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The best hybrid cars and SUVs available in America

With more and more cars adopting electric powertrains these days, it's easier than ever to find a hybrid vehicle that'll fit into your lifestyle. From mild-hybrid cars that pack 48-volt technology to plug-ins that offer usable EV range in addition to their gas engines, hybrid vehicles run the gamut of the automotive space. Frugal compacts, luxury performers and even rugged SUVs can all be had with electric boost. Here are Roadshow's picks for the best ones available in America today.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo E-Hybrid
2 of 28 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Steven Ewing's pick: Porsche Panamera

Porsche doesn't just offer one plug-in Panamera, there are six versions to choose from. Whether you get the most basic Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, stretch out in one of the Executive models, or go big on the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, every electrified Panamera offers tons of tech, great driving dynamics and seriously luxurious accommodations.

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
3 of 28 Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Steven Ewing's pick: Porsche Panamera

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid models pair a 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V6 with a 14.1-kilowatt-hour electric motor, which results in a total system output of 457 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque -- plus about 30 miles of electric driving range.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
4 of 28 Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Steven Ewing's pick: Porsche Panamera

The Turbo S E-Hybrid, on the other hand, uses the same battery but swaps out the V6 engine for a 4.0-liter V8, meaning total output is raised to a whopping 677 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. A plug-in hybrid that can accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds? Yes, please.

Acura NSX
5 of 28 Acura

Jon Wong's pick: Acura NSX

When the second-generation NSX finally arrived, like many fans of the original car, I had my doubts about how much I would like the modern version. After all, a whiz-bang hybrid drivetrain, dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive were a far cry from the simplicity of the naturally aspirated, six-cylinder predecessor. But then I got to drive it on winding mountain roads outside Palm Springs, California, and it won me over mainly because of the hybrid hardware.

Acura NSX
6 of 28 Acura

Jon Wong's pick: Acura NSX

For starters, the battery and electric motors help bump up power. By itself, the blown engine makes 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. When you throw in the NSX's three electric motors, net output jumps to 575 horses and 476 pound-feet for plenty of giddy-up for a top speed of 191 mph.

Acura NSX
7 of 28 Acura

Jon Wong's pick: Acura NSX

The hybrid setup also helps up handling prowess. While one electric motor works with the engine to drive the rear wheels, the other two are located on the front axle. Each is responsible for driving one of the wheels enabling for on-the-fly torque adjustments. Through a corner, the tire with the most stick will receive more torque and help the coupe power through in a more efficient manner. The beauty is that all the work the complex hybrid system does mostly disappears into the background, allowing for an undeniably fun and pure feeling drive experience with right-now steering response and loads of grip.

Honda Insight
8 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Andrew Krok's pick: Honda Insight

The spiritual successor to the now-dead Honda Civic Hybrid is a competent, efficient sedan that manages to leave some money in your wallet. What's not to like?

Honda Insight
9 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Andrew Krok's pick: Honda Insight

If you're not a fan of the Prius' wild styling, the Insight should be your choice. It's far more stately on the outside, and the interior has a great mix of materials with an interesting dashboard layout and a sensible, straightforward infotainment system.

Honda Insight
10 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Andrew Krok's pick: Honda Insight

Best of all, though, is the efficiency. When I reviewed the Insight Touring, I was able to meet and beat the base Insight's EPA estimates of 55 city and 49 highway miles per gallon. If you're not ready to make the leap to EVs just yet, this is a good middle ground.

Lexus ES 300h
11 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Manuel Carrillo III's pick: Lexus ES 300h

The Lexus ES 300h is one of the best cars I've tested in recent memory. It's a paragon of luxury and efficiency, and if that's what you're looking for in your next new car, definitely give this sedan a look.

Lexus ES 300h
12 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Manuel Carrillo III's pick: Lexus ES 300h

The hybrid ES offers a relaxing ride rivaling that of a Bentley or Rolls-Royce, and some of the most comfortable seats in the business, too. If you're in the mood for sportier driving, the ES 300h can alter its disposition in a snap, almost to the point where it feels like a sport sedan.

Lexus ES 300h
13 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Manuel Carrillo III's pick: Lexus ES 300h

A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and a nickel-metal hydride battery combine to make 215 horsepower, which is channeled to the front wheels by a continuously variable transmission. The EPA rates the ES 300h at 43/45 city/highway mpg. Prices start at $41,560 before destination.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid
14 of 28 Toyota

Chris Paukert's pick: Toyota Avalon

Like my colleague Manuel Carrillo, I know a good thing when I drive it. The Toyota Avalon is just such a vehicle, whether in hybrid guise or not. Carrillo went with the Avalon's hoity-toity cousin, the Lexus ES 300h, for his pick, and while his car is a solid choice, my tack is slightly different.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid
15 of 28 Toyota

Chris Paukert's pick: Toyota Avalon

I prefer the Lexus' Toyota cousin for a number of reasons, and not just because it's less expensive, starting at $36,650 (plus $930 delivery). I also prefer it because it has an infinitely simpler infotainment interface (no idiotic touchpad!) and folding rear seats for added flexibility.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid
16 of 28 Toyota

Chris Paukert's pick: Toyota Avalon

With 215 total system horsepower, the Avalon Hybrid isn't going to set your synapses afire, but it is an extremely comfortable and quiet cocoon, offering a top-shelf interior (especially on the high-end Limited trim) and a soothing ride. Like its Lexus counterpart, the Avalon's front-end looks won't be for everyone, but once you slip behind the wheel, you'll forget all about that grille.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
17 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Kyle Hyatt's pick: Toyota RAV4

Toyota has been the undisputed king of hybrids since it debuted the Prius around the turn of the millennium. Since then, the tech has only gotten better, and that shows in the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid model. It's smooth, torquey, quiet and efficient. In short, it's great.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
18 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Kyle Hyatt's pick: Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 Hybrid is new for 2019 and, in addition to getting the latest version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, it also got a comprehensive redesign both inside and out. The exterior design makes this RAV4 arguably the best-looking one in years and inside, the cabin feels like it moved upmarket.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
19 of 28 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Kyle Hyatt's pick: Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 Hybrid has always been the secret hot rod of the family, thanks to its extra torque. While this one won't exactly put the fear of God into a Macan, it is surprisingly spry for something with its design brief. It gets up and out of its own way with aplomb and you feel every one of its 219 horsepower once you mash its not-that-loud pedal.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
20 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Antuan Goodwin's pick: Hyundai Ioniq

It's a bit smaller, but Hyundai's little Prius-fighting Ioniq Hybrid punches above its weight with a 139-horsepower, 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain delivering up to 58 mpg in its most efficient incarnation. The compact hatchback is also pretty good looking, with a more conventional design than the oddly angular Toyota.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
21 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Antuan Goodwin's pick: Hyundai Ioniq

Featuring a dual-clutch automatic transmission -- rather than the hybrid-staple, continuously variable unit -- and a combined 195 pound-feet of torque, the Ioniq's performance is slightly more engaging than your average eco-car. Aiding driving joy is the compact chassis, which is fairly nimble and reasonably comfortable.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
22 of 28 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Antuan Goodwin's pick: Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai's cabin feels a bit spartan at lower trim levels, but it's loaded up with some of the best cabin tech in the compact hybrid class and a solid suite of available driver aid features. It's also fairly affordable with a starting price around $22,400 before destination. For even more eco-efficiency, check out the plug-in hybrid and fully electric Ioniq variants.

Jeep Wrangler
23 of 28 Jake Holmes/Roadshow

Emme Hall's pick: Jeep Wrangler

Yes, Jeep makes a hybrid -- well, a mild hybrid, anyway. The Wrangler's 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine comes with a 48-volt system dubbed eTorque. All told the mill puts out 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That's more twist than the V6, and when it comes to off-roading, torque is your friend.

Jeep Wrangler
24 of 28 Jake Holmes/Roadshow

Emme Hall's pick: Jeep Wrangler

The hybrid motor acts like a starter and generator so throttle response is immediate and the Wrangler's stop-start system is very smooth. Plus, these added electrons help the Wrangler get 24 mpg combined.

Jeep Wrangler
25 of 28 Jake Holmes/Roadshow

Emme Hall's pick: Jeep Wrangler

The best part about the eTorque system is you don't sacrifice any off-road prowess. The mild-hybrid Wrangler can still be had in Rubicon trim with all the benefits therein. The only bummer is that it's a $3,000 upcharge: $1,000 for the engine and $2,000 for the required eight-speed automatic to go with it.

2019 Volvo S60
26 of 28 Volvo

Tim Stevens' pick: Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered

OK, so I'm freshly back from driving the preproduction Polestar 1 and that may be skewing my takes slightly. But given there's no way I can dream of affording that $155,000 matte silver rocketship, I hope you'll forgive me for looking for a more budget-minded alternative. Thankfully, there's a Volvo for that.

2019 Volvo S60
27 of 28 Volvo

Tim Stevens' pick: Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered

The S60 T8 Polestar Engineered takes the standard T8 plug-in powertrain and adds a little more power, but more importantly, slaps on a set of Öhlins dampers and fiddles with the dynamics software to create a machine far more poised than the base S60 -- which, to be clear, is no slouch.

2019 Volvo S60
28 of 28 Volvo

Tim Stevens' pick: Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered

Twenty-one miles of electric range may not be record-breaking, and I'll be honest that the T8 powertrain isn't the smoothest hybrid on the block, but there aren't too many 415-horsepower performance sedans that offer a shot at a combined 30 mpg.

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