Our Favorite Family-Friendly Hybrids
If you have a growing family and you want your next car, van, or SUV to be hybrid, there are plenty of choices at all price points and sizes to meet your needs. While the default family car for American families seems to be an SUV these days, we’ve included a sedan and a minivan in our list of best family hybrids as well. These more traditional formats still offer amazing bang for the buck, and are more efficient and versatile if you’re never going to venture off-road. Lower to the ground and lighter, sedans and minivans are more fun to drive than SUVs, and they offer substantially better fuel economy than SUVs. Listed below are our five favorite family hybrids.
Family Sedan: Honda Accord Hybrid
Perennially one of the top-selling sedans in the U.S., the Honda Accord has traded the sales crown over decades with the similarly-sized and similarly-capable Toyota Camry. So why do we like the Accord best? Because it combines frugality with luxury as well as a sharp, involving driving experience that gives it a sporty edge. We also really enjoy the Accord’s luxurious cabin. It is beautifully-designed and finished, with the perfect combination of analog controls and digital screens, and even though the roof is low and sleek, there’s plenty of room in the rear even for tall family members.
In hybrid form, the Accord posts staggering fuel economy numbers (almost 50 MPG for both city and highway), without sacrificing any of the fun-to-drive nature that made it a best-seller. Power from the 2.0-liter engine and twin electric motors totals 212 hp, and 17-inch wheels and fantastic suspension tuning make the Accord Hybrid a great car to drive as well as a great car for hauling the family. The standard Honda Sensing safety suite includes blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, automatic pre-collision braking, and more.
- Starting MSRP: $27,720
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 48/47
Compact SUV: Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape is one of the best-selling SUVs in America, and it’s not hard to see why. It looks good inside and out, is roomy and versatile, and offers excellent value for money. Starting at just over $30,000, the Escape Hybrid is a very appealing package. It combines a powerful 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a 96-kW electric motor to produce enough power and performance to haul the whole family while delivering 44 MPG in the city. All-wheel drive remains an option.
The Escape Hybrid also lets you and your family hit the road in style and comfort. There’s plenty of room inside for five passengers, and more legroom than the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V. Ford’s available Co-Pilot 350 system includes the latest driver assistance technology. The Sync infotainment system can be operated with a convenient dash-mounted touch screen or even with voice controls, and features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
- Starting MSRP: $30,185
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 44/37
Midsize SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
The Hyundai brand has made incredible strides in design, quality, and technology in the last few years, and the midsize Santa Fe SUV shows off the best of what the brand is capable of. It is one of the best-packaged SUVs on the market, and offers three rows of space and a generous cargo area on a relatively compact footprint. The Santa Fe Hybrid’s powertrain is a standout, as well. Instead of a naturally aspirated engine with electric motors, it uses a tiny 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine – fortified both by turbocharging as well as an electric motor to deliver 226 horsepower as well as 36 MPG in the city. All-wheel drive is standard.
Inside, the Santa Fe has gorgeous, high-end styling, and it’s packed with premium finishes and flowing, organic design. Standard equipment is comprehensive, including a fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, a large central touchscreen, standard wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and a full suite of safety systems. Plus, Hyundai also includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first three years of ownership and an industry-leading 10-year battery warranty, for additional peace of mind. See dealer for limited warranty details.
- Starting MSRP: $34,300
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 36/31
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
In the rush to SUVs, many American consumers seem to have forgotten about minivans, which were a much more common sight on our roads, and which are still the best, most practical package for larger families. While they may not be the sexiest vehicles on the market, minivans are brilliant at balancing space, features, and economical running costs. Most offer seven or eight seats and huge cargo room in the same footprint as a five-seater SUV, while also using significantly less fuel and offering similar if not better technology.
The Toyota Sienna was refreshed for 2022, and it is one of the most economical minivans on the market. The standard hybrid powertrain combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to produce a powerful 245 hp – and all-wheel drive is available as an option. The rest of the Sienna’s package is also very appealing, with standard dual power sliding doors, three-zone automatic climate control, seven USB ports, a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa, and much more. For family hauling, this is one of the best-value, most spacious, most comfortable vehicles available full-stop.
- Starting MSRP: $35,285
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 35/36
Luxury SUV: Volvo XC90 Mild Hybrid
Nothing matters more in a vehicle than keeping your family safe, and there’s no brand that’s better at safety than Volvo. As you would expect, the XC90, the brand’s large SUV, is absolutely packed with safety gear, including blind spot monitoring, steering assist, pre-collision warning and braking, and even rear cross-traffic alert and braking. More impressively, it also has strong environmental credentials. Volvo is on a push to become a zero-emissions brand, and every vehicle in its lineup has hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full-electric power.
The XC90 Mild Hybrid is a spacious three-row SUV with plenty of room for your family and their stuff – and it’s actually great to drive as well. The powertrain includes a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 48-volt battery that recovers energy produced while braking, giving 295 hp. All-wheel drive is standard, providing safety and security in all driving conditions. We also really love the XC90’s distinctive styling and its gorgeous, high-end interior – this is one of the best cabins available at any price. The materials are beautiful, with a selection of trim materials that includes matte-finish wood, textured leather, brushed aluminum, and jewel-like details such as an available crystal gearshift. All this, along with a very easy-to-use vertical touchscreen and digital instrument cluster powered by Google – which seamlessly integrate maps, a virtual assistant, Google Play, and more.
- Starting MSRP: $56,000
- EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 22/28