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Functional and Frugal: 12 Hybrid Crossovers

Family Haulers With Above Average Fuel Economy

Family Haulers With Above Average Fuel Economy

When a growing family makes stepping up to a larger vehicle a necessity, SUVs and crossovers offer an alternative for those who want to avoid the stigma of a minivan. Still, not all crossovers are created equal when it comes to fuel consumption, so take a look at several hybrid crossovers that return better fuel mileage than their standard counterparts.

Volvo XC90 T8 AWD PHEV

The 2016 Volvo XC90 impressed us so much we awarded it the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year award before a T8 plug-in hybrid model was ready for testing. Power for the Volvo XC90 T8 AWD PHEV comes from a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine rated 313 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. The rear wheels are powered by an electric motor rated at 87 hp and 177 lb-ft. Total system output is rated 400 hp. Thanks to a 13-mile (21-km) all-electric range, the 2016 XC90 T8 PHEV is EPA-rated 53 mpge combined and 25 mpg (9.4 L/100km) on gasoline only. That’s impressive fuel economy for a seven-passenger, all-wheel-drive crossover.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Although the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid makes less power than it does in the standard gas-only RAV4 , a pair of electric motors more than makes up for the power deficit and increase fuel economy. The RAV4 Hybrid uses a CVT and a 141-hp electric motor to drive the front wheels and a 67-hp electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Total system output is rated 194 hp. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is EPA-rated 34/31 mpg (6.9/7.6 L/100km) city/highway, which is an increase of 12/2 mpg (19.6/117.6 L/100km) over a gas-only all-wheel-drive RAV4.

Lexus NX 300h

Although the standard Lexus NX 200t is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine making 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the Lexus NX 300h uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, CVT, and electric motors, like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. With 194 combined-system hp, the Lexus NX 300h makes less power than the NX 200t, but the fuel economy improvements are significant. The 2016 NX 300h is EPA-rated 33-35/30-31 mpg (7.1-6.2/6.7-7.6 L/100km) with front- or all-wheel-drive, and the non F-Sport 2016 NX 200t is EPA-rated 22/28 mpg (10.7/8.4 L/100km).

Lexus RX 450h

Power for the Lexus RX 450h comes from a combination of a 3.5-liter V-6 and a pair of electric motors. The gas engine is rated 259 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, while the front and rear electric motors are rated 165 hp and 67 hp, respectively. Total system output is rated 308 hp. That’s a few more ponies than the standard Lexus RX 350 crossover’s 3.5-liter V-6, which is rated 295 hp and 267 lb-ft. The hybrid variant is EPA-rated 30-31/28-30 mpg (7.8-7.6/8.4-7.8 L/100km) increases of 19-20/26-28 mpg (12.4-11.8/9-8.4 L/100km) for the RX 350.

BMW X5 xDrive40e

Although the BMW X5 xDrive40e is the only X5 variant powered by a four-cylinder engine, the electric motor brings total system power above that of the six-cylinder powered X5 sDrive35i and X5 xDrive35i models. The turbocharged 2.0-liter is rated 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor is rated 111 hp and 184 lb-ft. BMW says the total system output is rated 308 hp and 332 lb-ft or 8 hp and 32 lb-ft more than the X5 xDrive35i. The plug-in hybrid is EPA-rated 56 mpge combined with its 14-mile (22 km) electric range and 24 mpg (9.8 L/100km) combined in other driving. In comparison the X5 xDrive35i is EPA-rated 18/24 mpg (13.1/9.8 L/100km) city/highway.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The three-row Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers seating for up to seven occupants as well as better fuel economy than the standard model. The crossover is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 rated 231 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque mated to a CVT and a pair of electric motors rated 167 hp for the front motor and 68 hp for the rear motor. Total system output is rated 280 hp. The 3.5-liter V-6 in the non-hybrid model is rated 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The Highlander Hybrid is EPA-rated 27-28/28 mpg (8.7-8.4/8.4 L/100km) city/highway/combined. In comparison, models with V-6 gas engine are EPA-rated 18-19/24-25 mpg (13.1-12.4/9.8-9.4 L/100km), while the front-drive 185-hp four-cylinder model is rated 20/25 mpg (11.8/9.4 L/100km).

Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

Power for the seven-passenger Infiniti QX60 Hybrid comes from a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor combo. The gas engine is rated 230 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor is rated 20 hp and 29 lb-ft. Total system output is rated 250 hp and 243 lb-ft. Despite making less power than the standard QX60 SUV’s 3.5-liter V-6 (265 hp and 248 lb-ft), the hybrid powertrain than makes up for it in fuel economy. The 2016 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is EPA-rated 25-26/28 mpg (9.4-9/8.4 L/100km) city/highway/combined, while the standard model (pictured) is rated 19-21/26-27 mpg (12.4-11.2/9/8.7 L/100km).

Audi Q5 Hybrid

The Audi Q5 Hybrid combines a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 with an electric motor. Total system output is rated 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the standard Q5’s turbo 2.0-liter engine makes 220 hp and 258 lb-ft and the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is rated 272 hp and 295 lb-ft. The Audi Q5 Hybrid is EPA-rated 24/30 mpg (9.8/7.8 L/100km), which is noticeably better than the non-hybrid 2.0-liter (20/28 mpg (11.8/8.4 L/100km)) and the 3.0-liter engine (18/26 mpg (13.1/9 L/100km)).

Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid

While many associate Porsche with sports cars, the German automaker has been building the Cayenne SUV for quite some time. The latest iteration of the Porsche SUV (now one of two including the Macan) has a hybrid option. Power for the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid comes from a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, rated 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, mated to an electric motor making 95 hp and 229 lb-ft. Total system output is rated 416 hp and 435 lb-ft. With a 14-mile (22-km) range on pure electric power, the plug-in Cayenne S e-Hybrid is EPA-rated 47 mpge or 22 mpg (10.7 L/100km) combined.

Nissan Murano Hybrid

As with the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, the Nissan Murano Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder (230 hp, 243 lb-ft of torque) and an electric motor (20 hp, 118 lb-ft). Combined system output is rated 250 hp and 243 lb-ft. The standard powertrain is a 3.5-liter V-6 rated 260 hp and 240 lb-ft. The 2016 Murano Hybrid is EPA-rated 26-28/30-31 mpg (9-8.4/7.8-7.6 L/100km) city/highway. In comparison, the standard Murano (pictured) is EPA-rated 21/28 mpg (11.2/8.4 L/100km).

Mercedes-Benz GLE550e PHEV

The Mercedes-Benz GLE550e PHEV is powered by the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 as the GLE400 4Matic, but adds an electric motor rated 114 hp and 251 lb-ft. Combined output is rated 436 hp and 479 lb-ft making it the fastest non AMG GLE in the lineup. With an 18-mile (29-km) electric range, the Mercedes-Benz GLE550e PHEV is EPA-rated 43 mpge and 21 mpg (11.2 L/100km) in combined driving. In comparison, the GLE400 4Matic is EPA-rated 18/22 mpg (13.1/10.7 L/100km) city/highway, while the base GLE350 and GLE350 4Matic with the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 (302 hp, 273 lb-ft) are rated 17-18/22-24 mpg (13.8-13.1/10.7-9.8 L/100km).

2017 Acura MDX Hybrid

For 2017, Acura has added a hybrid variant to its flagship three-row crossover. The 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid features the automaker’s three-motor SH-AWD powertrainsimilar to the ones used by the RLX sedan and upcoming Acura NSX. The hybridized MDX replaces the standard 290-hp, 267 lb-ft of torque 3.5-liter V-6 with a 3.0-liter V-6 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with an integrated electric motor for the front wheels, and two electric motors for the rear axle. Acura hasn’t revealed the power output of the engine or motors, but says the combined output provides 325 hp. Although official EPA ratings haven’t been revealed, Acura anticipates the 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid with the three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will return 25/26 mpg (9.4/9 L/100km). In comparison, the 2017 Acura MDX with the 3.5-liter V-6 is anticipated to be EPA-rated at 18-20/26-27 mpg (13.1-11.8/9-8.7 L/100km).