12 Best Hybrid SUVs for City Driving
Hybrid vehicles typically perform better at city driving and stop-and-go traffic because the constant braking allows the batteries to recharge more.
Not all hybrid SUVs are created the same though, and some are better suited for in-town driving than others.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best hybrid SUVs for city driving and check out what features make them stand out.
Table of Contents
1. Kia Niro Hybrid
The Kia Niro Hybrid is an affordable subcompact crossover that’s currently in its second generation.
In terms of price and gas mileage, it compares very favorably to the Toyota Prius which is not only the most popular hybrid vehicle in history, but also has some of the best fuel economy numbers among all hybrids.
Like the Prius, the Niro is available with either a regular hybrid or a plug-in hybrid powertrain, but it also has an all-electric EV model.
Compared to a regular sedan or hatchback, the Niro has a slightly higher ride height and seating position which makes it easier to see your surroundings and the traffic up ahead.
In the city, the Kia Niro Hybrid gets an estimated 53 mpg. The plug-in hybrid does slightly worse at 49 mpg city because it’s a bit heavier, but it adds approximately 33 miles of EV range.
The redesigned second generation Niro also has lots of modern driver aids that are normally only found in more expensive vehicles such as adaptive smart cruise control with stop and go capability, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, automatic braking and driver attention warning.
2. Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
The Corolla Cross is the subcompact crossover version of the ever-popular Toyota Corolla.
It was first introduced as a 2022 model as a replacement for the Toyota CH-R and it eventually got a hybrid powertrain option for the 2023 model year.
Despite its larger body and higher ground clearance, the Corolla Cross Hybrid is basically the same as the Corolla Hybrid under all the sheet metal and even their interiors look almost the same.
The Corolla Cross Hybrid’s 8 inches of ground clearance is not that far off from the more off-road capable RAV4, so it can easily handle potholes and well-worn urban roads.
It’s also actually a bit shorter than the Corolla sedan, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
Its fuel economy in the city is also quite impressive at an estimated 45 mpg. On the highway, it can get up to 38 mpg, and in mixed use it can get up to 42 mpg combined.
All trim levels of the Corolla Cross Hybrid come with Toyota Safety Sense which includes modern driver aids like dynamic cruise control, lane assist and road sign assist.
The higher trim levels also come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as standard, while the top of the line Hybrid XSE is the only one that has front and rear parking assist.
3. Lexus UX 250h Hybrid
The UX 250h is the most affordable model in the Lexus lineup and it uses the same platform and engine as the Corolla Cross Hybrid.
It has a significantly more luxurious interior compared to the Corolla Cross, resulting to a more comfortable and quiet driving experience.
Front wheel drive is standard on all trim levels which returns an estimated 43 mpg in the city. The optional all-wheel drive lowers fuel economy to 41 mpg city and 39 mpg combined.
Typical of any Lexus, the UX is also loaded with modern tech and creature comforts.
An 8-inch infotainment screen is standard on most models, but there’s also a larger 12.3-inch screen as well as a 10-speaker premium sound system available in the more expensive trim levels.
Also standard is Lexus’ Safety System+ which includes advanced driver aids like automatic braking, lane assist, dynamic cruise control, blind spot monitoring and road sign assist.
The intuitive parking assist which adds front and rear parking sensors is also optional on all models.
4. Toyota Venza Hybrid
The Toyota Venza is a sleek and sophisticated crossover that has better on-road manners than the extremely popular RAV4.
It uses the same platform and hybrid powertrain as the RAV4 Hybrid, but wraps it in more upscale looking bodywork and uses more luxurious materials for the interior.
This gives it a more car-like driving experience compared to the RAV4 which is more rugged and truck-like.
The Venza’s cabin is much more insulated from outside noises and approaches Lexus levels of luxury without that extra upcharge.
It also gets really good fuel economy at an estimated 40 mpg city and up to 39 mpg combined.
This makes it an excellent all-rounder for daily errands, commuting and long road trips.
All trim levels of the Venza come with Toyota Safety Sense which includes driver aids like automatic braking, lane assist, dynamic cruise control and road sign assist.
The top of the line Limited model also adds a 360 camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors, which makes maneuvering in cramped city centers less of a chore.
5. Honda CR-V Hybrid
The Honda CR-V was one of the first and still is one of the most popular compact SUVs in history.
It’s known for being very reliable and having low maintenance costs, which makes it an ideal choice for a daily driver.
Its Honda Civic roots also give it better handling and driving dynamics compared to many of its rivals.
Its first hybrid variant was introduced during the last few years of the fifth generation model’s production run.
In 2023, Honda released the sixth generation CR-V and retained the same hybrid powertrain from the older model but gave it a couple of tweaks to make it more responsive.
The front-wheel drive models have the best fuel economy in the city at an estimated 43 mpg and up to 40 mpg combined.
With the top-of-the-line Sport Touring Hybrid, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, fuel economy is a bit lower at 40 mpg city and 37 mpg combined.
All trim levels also come with Honda Sensing which includes driver aids like automatic braking, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and traffic sign recognition.
The more expensive Sport-L and Sport Touring Hybrid models also come with parking sensors which help you avoid fender benders when driving in the city.
6. Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
Hyundai’s best selling Tucson got its first hybrid variants when the fourth generation was released for the 2022 model year.
In addition to a regular gas-sipping hybrid, the Tucson also got a plug-in hybrid powertrain that has up to 33 miles of electric-only range.
The fourth generation redesign also gave the Tucson a bold and modern look that makes it stand out from its rivals.
Reviewers have also praised the Tucson Hybrid’s cabin, which not only looks more modern and upscale than its rivals but also provides more room, comfort, and good noise isolation.
All-wheel drive is standard on the Tucson Hybrid and its fuel economy is estimated at 38 mpg city and 38 mpg combined.
The Tucson’s smaller size also makes it easier to drive in the city compared to its larger brother like the Santa Fe and Palisade.
It’s also loaded with modern driver assists like automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane assist, driver attention warning, smart cruise control with stop and go, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The top-of-the-line Limited trim level also adds front and rear parking sensors, remote smart parking, and a 360 camera to make maneuvering in tight spaces much easier.
7. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the most popular hybrid SUVs on the market.
This is largely due to Toyota’s excellent track record for reliability and its extensive experience with hybrid vehicles.
The RAV4 has had a hybrid model since 2016, and the current fifth generation RAV4 has been around since 2019.
Although the current RAV4’s design looks more rugged and outdoorsy than many of its rivals, it has no problem spending most of its time on city streets and urban environments.
Even with its standard all-wheel drive, the RAV4 Hybrid still manages to achieve better fuel economy than its rivals at 41 mpg in the city and 40 mpg combined.
There’s also the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid that has up to 42 miles of EV range and can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds.
Aside from the typical driver aids that come with Toyota Safety Sense, the top trim levels also feature a blind spot monitor, front and rear parking sensors, as well as an optional 360 camera.
8. Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape has the distinction of being one of the first hybrid SUVs in history but the hybrid was briefly discontinued for its third generation model.
Aside from the regular hybrid, a plug-in hybrid has also been added to the Escape lineup.
Compared to some of its compact SUV rivals that look and drive like a small truck, the Escape has more car-like driving characteristics and better handling overall.
In stop-and-go city traffic, the front-wheel drive Escape Hybrid gets as much as 42 mpg, which is extremely good for a daily driver.
Highway fuel economy is a little lower at 36 mpg, but in mixed use, one can expect around 39 mpg combined.
All-wheel drive is available as an option for those who have to deal with harsh winter driving, but this lowers overall fuel economy by 3 to 4 mpg.
The Escape PHEV has an impressive 37 miles of EV range which is just about as long as most people’s average round-trip commute.
Standard driving assists include automatic braking, lane assist, and blind spot monitoring.
The more expensive trim levels also come with Ford’s Co-Pilot Assist which adds adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, advanced navigation features, a rear parking sensor and a digital rear view camera.
9. Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid
The Q5 is Audi’s best selling model in the US because it combines versatility, refinement and luxury in a sophisticated looking package.
It has had a plug-in hybrid model since 2020 which, in its current iteration, adds up to 23 miles of electric-only range and is more than adequate for daily errands and in-town driving.
Its smaller size is much more manageable in the city and its excellent build quality means you’ll be very well insulated from all the outside noise of the urban environment.
Its traditional SUV shape also gives it excellent visibility all around, which makes it easier to drive in heavy traffic and when navigating tight parking spaces.
All trim levels of the Q5 55 PHEV come with front and rear parking sensors, lane assist, automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist.
The more expensive models also add Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus, a 360 camera, a navigation package, a head-up display and park assist.
10. Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
The Volvo XC60 is a slick-looking luxury crossover that just oozes with sophistication.
Its plug-in hybrid model uses the same powertrain found in the larger flagship XC90, so it packs a lot of punch under the hood with a combined output of 455 hp.
The XC60 T8 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid also has a very usable 32 miles of electric-only range, which is good enough for short commutes and daily errands around town.
Its compact size also makes it easier to live with everyday and is much easier to park compared to its bigger brother, the XC90, as well as other popular luxury SUVs.
The XC60’s interior is also very good looking and the seats are very ergonomic with lots of bolstering. An optional massage function is also available to keep you relaxed even if you’re stuck in really bad traffic.
Standard driver assists include lande assist, road sign alerts, and blind spot monitoring. The Plus and Ultimate models add Volvo’s Pilot Assist, adaptive cruise control, as well as front and rear parking sensors.
11. Mazda CX-90 Plug-in Hybrid
The CX-90 is the long awaited replacement for Mazda’s flagship CX-9 midsize SUV.
Compared to other three-row SUVs, the CX-90 benefits from Mazda’s excellent handling and driving dynamics, so it’s much more enjoyable to drive on a daily basis.
It’s also Mazda’s first real hybrid powertrain and features up to 26 miles of EV range coupled with a combined output of 323 hp with the help of its electric motors.
The standard bench seats allows it to carry up to eight people, but there’s also the optional second-row captain’s chairs that brings down the seating capacity to seven, which is still very good for a family hauler.
Its interior is also very luxurious and approaches that of a luxury vehicle so it’s a very nice place to be in even if you’re stuck in traffic for long stretches.
Some of the CX-90’s standard driving assists include automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane assist and a driver attention monitor.
The more expensive models add a 360 camera, front and rear parking sensors, and blind spot assistance with active steering assist.
12. Lexus NX Hybrid
The Lexus NX is a luxury compact crossover that uses the platform and powertrain as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Venza.
It’s more similar to the Venza in terms of design, but there’s no mistaking that it’s a more upscale Lexus product.
The NX comes in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid flavors, with the hybrid achieving similar numbers as the RAV4 at 41 mpg in the city and 39 mpg combined.
What sets the NX apart from the Venza is its interior, with the Lexus having better cabin materials and more tech all throughout.
On top of the typical driver aids like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and lane assist the NX also has standalone options like a 360 camera, remote parking, and a large 10-inch head up display.