With the surging popularity of Crossovers (or CUVs), finicky shoppers have voiced one primary concern: fuel efficiency. To help alleviate this, manufacturers have developed Hybrid Crossovers that are heavily based on their conventional variants while integrating hybrid powertrains.
Shoppers choose Crossovers for a few main reasons, namely, car-like ride quality, utility and price. With the bevy of features and added equipment, these Crossovers feature an exceptional value because they addressed several common issues found in older Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). At the top of the list was a rough, truck-like ride. Since older SUVs were truck-based, they shared the same driving characteristics.
The natural marriage between Crossovers and Hybrids has spawned a new segment that’s receiving its fair share of attention from shoppers, and for good reason. These Hybrid Crossovers feature all of the attributes found on their conventional models, but have the added advantage of better fuel economy and a 50% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, in states like California, these Hybrid Crossovers are exempt from the state’s Smog Check Program, saving the owner time and money during registration renewal. Replacement components like brake pads and brake discs last longer because the Hybrid systems regenerative braking help to slow the vehicle down. Lastly, those who take long road trips will love the extended cruising range of these Hybrid Crossovers. Fewer stops for fuel mean quicker commutes.
However, Hybrid Crossovers do carry a significant price premium when compared to conventional Crossovers. To help navigate the burgeoning Hybrid Crossover field, we’ve listed the best models currently available for 2013.
For the 2013 Highlander Hybrid, the emphasis is on “Highlander.” In other words, all the things that make the regular Highlander such a great mid-size family Crossover are here. Roomy interior? Check. Flexible seating arrangements? Check. Safety features? Excellent reliability? Check and check. To that, add Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive and the result is a 7-passenger Hybrid Crossover that has the same combined fuel economy rating as a Mazda 3. Outside, the Highlander Hybrid has subtly unique exterior trim, including the fog lamps, badging and some chrome. Inside and out, Highlander Hybrid makes a strong case for being among the best family Hybrid Crossovers available.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 28 city/28 highway/28 combined mpg.
The Yukon Hybrid is an interesting blend of old and new tech. It’s more SUV than Crossover, however, and justifiably combines an old-school 332-horspower, 6.0-liter pushrod V8 with two electric motors good for a combined 369 horsepower. The motors share space with a 4-speed gearset inside the transmission housing. Electronic wizardry decides what power source operates when. Some low speed operation can be electric-only, high- load can be gas-only, and sometimes both systems share the load. The important thing is that from the driver's seat, it all feels like a normal full-sized 8-passenger Crossover while getting class-leading fuel economy.
EPA-rated fuel economy: EPA-rated fuel economy: 20 city/23 highway/21 combined mpg.
The perfectly-sized RX450h is both the best-selling Hybrid Crossover and the least SUV-like vehicle featured here. The RX450h upholds the Lexus banner with a comfort-biased chassis that offers strong acceleration, and it has luxury features including maple or walnut interior trim. However, many features you might expect to be standard in this class (such as leather-trimmed seats or rear armrest storage) are actually optional, so the RX450h requires careful shopping. The Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain produces dramatic improvements in city mpg ratings, though highway mpg ratings are up only modestly.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 30 city/28 highway/29 combined mpg.