What Are the Best AWD Plug-In Hybrids in 2023?
Plug-in hybrid cars offer the best of both worlds. If you buy a plug-in hybrid you get the ability to drive zero-emissions on your commute or around town, without giving up any of the flexibility and range of gasoline powers for long trips.
In that sense, plug-in hybrids offer even more than hybrid cars, which have limited electric-only range; much of your daily driving can be done on electricity and you may only need to fill up once or twice a month.
On the other hand, plug-ins have the same advantages as hybrid cars, in that electric motors are small and easy to package – a great way to add all-wheel drive capability without the complexity of additional drive shafts, differentials, and other complex mechanical pieces.
All-wheel drive plug-in hybrids offer the best of everything: you get zero-emissions commuting, long range, and the traction advantage of four wheels for bad weather. If you’re looking for a plug-in hybrid in America, you’re likely looking at an SUV – and we’ve collected six of the best models in our roundup below.
All mileage and electric ranges shown are EPA estimates.
BMW X5 xDrive 45e
The BMW X5 is one of our favorite luxury SUVs. It has a fantastic mix of space, versatility, performance, and handling wrapped up in a good-looking package with intuitive technology. Beautifully designed and finished, the X5 is not an inexpensive vehicle, but it does offer impressive value for money for a luxury SUV, and the cabin is one of the roomiest in its class. It’s also one of the most innovative luxury SUVs, available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines BMW’s smooth, powerful turbocharged inline-six with electric motor. 389 total horsepower is on tap, along with 30 miles of all-electric range. Standard all-wheel drive and BMW dynamics make it one of the best BUVs to drive along with being one of the most economical. Despite the high price, this is the number-three best-selling plug-in hybrid in the USA – which says a lot about its credentials.
Starting MSRP: $65,700
EPA MPGe: 50
Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid
Ford’s Escape is perennially a top-selling compact SUV, and it’s not hard to see why thanks to its style, versatility, and excellent economy. The Escape has great standard equipment, roominess, and tech in an attractive package at a very reasonable price. The plug-in hybrid has a claimed all-electric range of 37 miles thanks to its 14-kWh battery. The electric motor combines with a powerful but fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, delivering a total range of 520 miles, according to Ford. Standard tech features include Ford’s CoPilot 360 advanced driver assistance suite with pre-collision assist, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and more. The Sync 3 operating system gives drivers a digital instrument cluster, user-friendly touch screen, voice control, and Amazon Alexa to boot.
Starting MSRP: $37,455
EPA MPGe: 100
Lexus NX 350H/450H
Lexus’ popular NX luxury crossover was reimagined for 2022 and is available in two different hybrid formats: the conventional hybrid NX350h, with 239 total horsepower, or the plug-in hybrid NX450h. The all-wheel drive NX450h is the most powerful version of the NX, and it’s also the most efficient. Full-electric driving range is an exceptional 43 miles, and if you’re able to charge up overnight, you will likely do most of your commuting without ever using gasoline. Plus you get all of the usual Lexus goodies: a gorgeous, luxurious interior, edgy styling, and a great suite of safety systems to keep you and your family safe.
Starting MSRP: $57,300
EPA MPGe: 84
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi isn’t a brand you think about much, but the Outlander is actually one of the best plug-in hybrids available. It’s also one of the top-selling models in Mitsubishi’s lineup, and no wonder. This is an efficient, appealing, and economical package, with an MSRP starting under $40,000, lots of room, great hybrid stats, and impressive technology. Combining a 2.4-liter gasoline engine with twin electric motors, the Outlander has five drive modes and an all-electric range of 24 miles. You can DC fast charge the 13.8-kWh battery as well as use a conventional level 2 charger. Safety features are numerous and include forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and much more. Plus, the Mitsubishi’s hybrid components come with a 10-year warranty.
Starting MSRP: $39,845
EPA MPGe: 74
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Subaru has built its brand on its excellent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and rugged, adventure-friendly vehicles like the Crosstrek; it joins the Forester and Outback as some of the most sought-after AWD crossovers in North America. The Crosstrek Hybrid gives you an amazingly car-like ride in a package that is built to take you anywhere. And it does so very frugally: the EPA rates it at an astounding 90 MPGe, and you can drive up to 17 miles on electric power alone. Other great features include a surprisingly large and versatile cargo area, Subaru’s excellent EyeSight driver assistance system, StarLink infotainment, and a touch-screen navigation system. It is also perennially a top pick for safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Starting MSRP: $36,845
EPA MPGe: 90
Toyota RAV4 Prime
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is actually the best-selling hybrid vehicle in the U.S. For good reason: the latest-generation RAV4 boasts appealing, outdoorsy exterior styling and a spacious, practical interior perfect for growing families. The RAV4 Prime builds on the excellent RAV4 Hybrid package with standard all-wheel drive, and an exceptional electric-only range of 42 miles – far more than the average American drives in a day. Toyota’s Safety Sense driver assist features are standard, including blind spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and more.
Starting MSRP: $42,340
EPA MPGe: 94