Finding the right SUV can be a daunting task but finding the right one with hybrid technology takes the challenge to a whole new level. The rugged good looks and off-roading abilities of SUVs have never been synonymous with new-age technology, yet the less-than-economical value of these famous petrol-guzzlers have forced car manufacturers to rethink going old-school.
While purists of hardcore off-roaders will find this marriage of electricity and petrol quite distasteful, many have embraced the new age, especially when these hybrid SUVs have proven to be just as performance-driven. Like regular hybrids, their systems can work together to provide maximum acceleration, but also run independently when the need calls for it, ensuring not only the most efficiency, but also silent fuel-free drives whenever desired.
If you’re the type who fancies a shot of adventure while being kind to the environment, here are the best hybrid SUVs you need to climb into, pronto.
Range Rover Sport P400e Plug-in Hybrid
The Range Rover has managed to stay on the roads long enough to become a celebrated automotive icon, but in keeping with the times, the quintessential off-roader can’t avoid getting electrified. The new hybrid will join a tiny handful of SUVs that can actually rough it out in the wild — at least for a bit. The sixth member to join the Range Rover Sport’s expansive powertrain portfolio is a combination of the 269hp-Ingenium turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four and a 114hp electric motor that gives a respectable combined output of 398hp and and 640Nm of torque. Expect to power through the outbacks with a 0-100kph time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 220kph.
Two driving modes define the Range Rover Sport P400e. The default Parallel Hybrid mode sees the battery and engine kicking in with power whenever needed, while the EV mode gives full electric power for up to 50km at speeds of up to 136kph when fully charged. The former sees a Save function that allows a certain amount of battery power to be preserved for use later, such as when you want to navigate the woods quietly at night.
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
You’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference between this earth-loving offshoot and the regular Cayenne on which it’s based on, mostly because it still provides all the grunt you’re looking for in an ultra-luxurious workhorse. To achieve the holy grail of maximum performance and low fuel consumption, the Stuttgart marque paired a 340hp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with an electric 136hp motor, bringing total power output to 462hp and 700Nm. 0-100kph happens in a zippy 5.0 seconds, and the car maxes out at 253kph, which is mighty fast considering the Cayenne is a hefty brute on wheels. When driving green, the S E-Hybrid has between 23 to 44km of of all-electric range.
Of course if your wallet permits, Porsche will indulge you with souped-up options like a 100kW electric motor, or even snazzy brakes callipers in an Acid Green finish.
Volvo XC60 T8
Horsepower has never been Volvo’s greatest selling point, but if you insist, its XC60 T8 has got your back. Within sits the same complex plug-in hybrid powertrain as its larger seven-seater XC90 T8, giving the burly ride a 400hp push with 640Nm, decent figures considering it’s much lighter.
While the Volvos of yesteryear were festooned with “dad aesthetics”, the new Volvo design language is considerably more stylish — especially on the inside, where the Inscription trim package unsubtly alludes to modern, minimalist vibes the Scandinavians are known for. Expect ‘Drift Wood’ inlays, brushed metal accents, an Orrefors crystal gearshift knob and the brilliant Sensus infotainment system within— optional Bowers and Wilkins sound system sold separately.
BMW X5 xDrive40e Plug-in Hybrid
BMW may have conquered the world of regular motoring but it’s not stopping there. Its electrification strategy has seen a few of the most cutting-edge rides for city driving, and now it’s looking to challenge its fellow off-roaders too. Alongside the most powerful four-cylinder petrol engine in BMW’s range — a 242hp TwinPower turbocharged powertrain found in the 328i — is a 111hp electric motor that gives a total system output of 309hp and 450Nm.
The BMW X5 xDrive40e is big on sophistication inside but so is its ride. The noiseless vessel gracefully glides on roads despite being quite sizeable, making it the perfect vessel for environmentally-obsessed new age families. Millenials, we’re looking at you.