Hybrid SUVs are great commuter vehicles because they’re very cheap to run and have loads of space for passengers and cargo.
The higher ground clearance and availability of all-wheel drive also make them great year-round vehicles that can easily handle bad weather conditions like heavy snow.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best hybrid SUVs you can get for commuting and daily driving.
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1. Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
The subcompact crossover version of the Corolla, aptly named the Corolla Cross, was introduced in 2022 and replaced the CH-R in Toyota’s lineup.
Underneath the bodywork, it is mechanically the same as the regular Corolla and even has the same dash and interior, so long-term reliability should be very similar.
The Corolla Cross is more versatile and practical than the sedan or hatchback versions because it offers more cargo space, higher ground clearance and all-wheel drive, while remaining relatively affordable.
A hybrid version of the Corolla Cross was added for the 2023 model year boasting more power and better fuel economy at 42 mpg combined, around 10 mpg more than the gas-powered model.
Aside from the fuel savings, it also has a higher driving position which makes it easier to see your surroundings and the traffic ahead.
The Corolla Cross also received a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), which is especially important if you spend a lot of time on the road since your chances of getting into an accident are higher.
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is standard on all models which includes driving assists like automatic emergency braking, lane assist, radar cruise control, road sign assist, and a blind spot monitor.
All trim levels also have hill start assist but only the top of the line Hybrid XSE has front and rear parking sensors, as well as nicer upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone climate controls, a digital gauge cluster, and a sunroof.
2. Kia Niro Hybrid
If gas consumption is your number one priority in a commuter vehicle, the subcompact Kia Niro Hybrid should be on top of your list.
It’s been around since 2017 and the second generation model was just introduced for the 2023 model year.
The first generation Kia Niro Hybrid already had great fuel economy at 50 mpg combined, but the latest model improves this to an estimated 53 mpg.
The only other hybrid that does similar fuel economy numbers is the legendary Toyota Prius, which is only available in a liftback body style.
The Niro also has a Plug-in Hybrid version that offers up to 33 miles of EV range, as well as a fully electric Niro EV model.
Although the Kia Niro’s crossover body looks bigger than the Prius, cargo capacity between the two is pretty similar.
However, some might prefer the Niro’s more traditional liftgate configuration compared to the Prius’ liftback trunk.
Despite its budget-friendly price point, all trim levels of the Niro come with an array of driver assists and safety tech which includes automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane assist, speed limit assist, hill start assist, and downhill brake control.
A driver attention warning, which helps drivers stay focused on the road, is also standard on all models.
The EX and SX models also come with parking sensors, highway driving assist, and navigation based smart cruise control which makes the car very easier to drive at low speeds and for longer distances.
Kia also has an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, so owners don’t really have to worry about repair costs for a very long time.
3. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 has had a hybrid option since 2016 and is still one of the most sought after hybrid SUV in the market today.
As a daily driver and commuter vehicle, the RAV4 Hybrid is extremely reliable and versatile with its large cargo capacity, high ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive.
It gets very good fuel economy at 40 mpg combined which is what most smaller and lighter hatchbacks can achieve.
There’s also the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid that can go up to 42 miles in electric-only mode, so you’ll rarely have to fill up the gas tank if you have an average commute.
Aside from getting better fuel economy, both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models are also quicker than the gas version with the RAV4 Prime able to go from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive 5.6 seconds.
Standard safety features include automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist and road sign assist. All models except the base Hybrid LE come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited model also comes standard with front and rear parking assist.
If you want more comfortable seats, you’ll need to start looking at the Hybrid SE and higher trim levels which come with 8-way power-adjustable seats and lumbar support. Go up to the range topping Limited model and you get ventilated front seats.
4. Honda CR-V Hybrid
Honda introduced the first hybrid version of its very popular CR-V compact SUV in 2020.
This was eventually replaced by the sixth generation CR-V in 2023 which now sports a more aggressive and truck-like exterior.
Like most Honda models, the CR-V is known for its excellent reliability and low maintenance costs making it an excellent commuter vehicle that you can drive for hundreds of thousand miles for years and years.
The CR-V’s hybrid powertrain is also very fuel efficient with the front-wheel drive models returning up to 40 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, this drops down a bit 37 mpg.
Compared to other compact SUVs in its class, the CR-V typically has better handling and is less boring to drive.
Comfort wise, all trim levels come with heated seats, a power driver’s seat and dual-zone climate controls.
The Sport models come standard with leather seats, a larger screen, wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and front/rear parking sensors.
All CR-V’s also come standard with modern driver assists courtesy of Honda Sensing which includes automatic braking, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition and a driver attention monitor.
5. Kia Sportage Hybrid
The Kia Sportage Hybrid is a great choice if your commute requires a lot of highway driving because the base front-wheel drive model gets up to 44 mpg on the highway.
Most hybrids get better fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic, but the Sportage’s hybrid powertrain does slightly better on the highway.
The higher trim levels get all-wheel drive as standard which drops fuel economy to 38 mpg combined.
This is the same fuel economy you can expect from the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid which is mechanically the same as the Sportage Hybrid, but comes with all-wheel drive as standard on all hybrid models.
The base model Sportage Hybrid is also much cheaper than the Hyundai Tucson’s starting price, and is priced closer to a subcompact crossover.
It doesn’t skimp on features either as the base model still gets lots of advanced driving assists like automatic braking, driver attention warning, lane assist and rear parking sensors.
Some features like blind spot monitoring and Highway Driving Assist are only available on the higher trim levels.
The fifth generation Sportage’s interior also has a very upscale look aside from being very spacious and comfortable.
The top of the line SX Prestige model has all the bells and whistles you’ll often only find in more expensive cars like, navigation based smart cruise control, a 360 camera, blind-spot view monitor, as well as heated and ventilated seats.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid model that can go up to 34 miles in EV mode and offers a bit more power on tap compared to the regular hybrid.
It also comes with Kia’s industry leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty so you don’t have to worry about expensive repairs for a very long time.
6. Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Kia Sorento is the smallest and most affordable three-row SUV that has a hybrid option.
The Sorento Hybrid was first introduced in 2021 and a plug-in hybrid version was added to the lineup in the following year.
It’s a great commuter for growing families or anyone who has to regularly carpool or shuttle more passengers than a typical small SUV can carry.
All hybrid models come standard with second-row captain’s chairs that make accessing the third row easier, and can take up to 6 passengers in total.
It’s also very good on gas with an estimated 39 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined.
Higher trim levels have all-wheel drive as standard which lowers fuel economy to 34 mpg combined, but improves traction on unpaved roads and snow.
The plug-in hybrid models add around 32 miles of EV range which means you’ll barely have to fill up the tank if you’re only using it for shorter commutes or errands.
Its cabin is very well appointed and modern with its minimalist design and large screens for the infotainment and instrument cluster.
It’s also loaded with modern driver aids like automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, lane assist, highway driving assist, and driver attention warning.
7. Toyota Venza Hybrid
The Toyota Venza uses the same platform and powertrain as the RAV4 Hybrid, but has more sophisticated styling.
Its interior is more upscale and much quieter when cruising so it’s less tiring to drive overall for daily commutes or long road trips.
Like the RAV4 Hybrid, all trim levels of the Toyota Venza come standard with all-wheel drive so you can drive all-year round even when there’s lots of snow.
Its fuel economy is on par with other compact SUV hybrids and is estimated at 40 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 39 mpg combined. In real world tests, it can easily go over 40 mpg.
One of its standout features is the optional electrochromic panoramic sunroof, which is often only found in more expensive luxury models, that turns the glass from clear to opaque with the push of a button.
The Venza is also loaded with safety features and driver assists like automatic braking, lane assist, radar cruise control, road sign assist and blind spot monitoring, All models except the LE have front and rear parking sensors.
8. Lexus RX Hybrid
The RX is Lexus’ best selling model and it’s had a hybrid variant since 2010.
When the fifth generation Lexus RX was introduced for the 2023 model year, the hybrid model ditched the old V6 engine for the same powertrain used in the RAV4 Hybrid.
Now known as the RX 350h, its fuel economy has improved to 36 mpg combined compared to the older RX 450h models which only got around 30 mpg.
Aside from now having the same fuel economy as a compact sedan, the RX has always been known for its outstanding comfort, ride quality and noise isolation, making it an excellent daily commuter.
Heated and ventilated front seats are standard starting with the Premium trim level if you want to remain comfortable after driving for several hours.
It’s also loaded with a long list of advanced driver aids which includes radar cruise control and traffic sign recognition. A new feature called Driver Monitor Alert also helps keep you focused even after long stints on the road.
9. Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo’s XC60 T8 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid was first introduced in 2018 with a combined output of 400 hp and around 18 miles of EV range.
It’s had a few updates throughout the years and now boasts 455 hp and up to 35 miles of range, making the EV mode more practical for everyday use.
The XC60 Recharge uses the same turbocharged and supercharged engine and hybrid powertrain used in the flagship XC90, but it’s smaller size makes it more ideal for city driving and commuting.
The IIHS also gave the XC60 its Top Safety Pick+ award, which is not surprising since safety is one of Volvo’s primary strengths.
Its infotainment system runs off Google’s Android Automotive software which offers a superior user experience compared to most systems used by other manufacturers.
The XC60’s interior looks clean and modern and the ergonomic seats have lots of bolstering making it one of the most comfortable vehicles in its class.
The Ultimate trim level comes standard with ventilated seats, as well as an optional massage feature for the front seats which help keep you revitalized while you’re on the road.
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.
10. Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford brought back the hybrid version of the Escape for the 2020 model year after being discontinued for its third generation model.
Aside from the regular hybrid, there’s now also a plug-in hybrid that’s been added to the mix.
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 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.