As its name implies, all-wheel drive systems automatically transfer power to all four wheels whenever necessary to give you more grip in the snow and when venturing off the beaten path.
Although AWD tech has come a long way in the last few years and are starting to rival ‘real’ 4WD systems, they’re still primarily designed for paved roads and some light off-road use.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the more popular hybrid SUVs and crossovers that come with all-wheel drive.
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1. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
The best-selling Toyota RAV4 got its first hybrid powertrain in 2016. In 2021, the RAV4 Prime PHEV was added to the hybrid lineup.
All of the RAV4’s hybrid models come with all-wheel drive as standard.
One of the RAV4’s three electric motors drives the rear wheels exclusively and there’s no driveshaft connecting the front and rear axles like in a traditional all-wheel drive system.
Ground clearance for both Hybrid and PHEV models is 8.6 inches, and they also have a dedicated Trail mode for off-road use.
EPA estimates for the RAV4 Hybrid are 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The RAV4 Prime can also go up to 42 miles in electric-only mode.
2. Honda CR-V Hybrid
The first Honda CR-V Hybrid was introduced in 2020 when the fourth generation model was refreshed. These hybrid models came with all-wheel drive as standard.
With the arrival of the fifth generation CR-V in 2023, all-wheel drive is standard in the top-of-the-line Sport Touring Hybrid model. It is available as a $1,500 option on the lower trim levels.
The all-wheel drive CR-V Hybrid gets an estimated 40 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. It also has around 8 inches of ground clearance.
Compared to the older model, the new CR-V Hybrid has a more refined interior and has better handling.
3. Hyundai Tucson Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
The Tucson compact crossover is Hyundai’s best selling model in the U.S. With the release of the fourth generation model in 2022, a hybrid and plug-in powertrain was added to its lineup.
All hybrid variants of the Tucson come standard with Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel Drive system.
The Tucson Hybrid gets an estimated 37 mpg combined which is on the lower end. The Tucson Plug-in Hybrid gets an even lower 35 mpg combined, but also has an additional 33 miles of range in all-electric mode.
Ground clearance for the Tucson Hybrid is 8.3 inches. Its AWD system also has a lock mode which ensures that the center differential constantly sends power to the rear wheels.
4. Kia Sportage Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
The Kia Sportage is basically the same as the Hyundai Tucson with different body panels, interiors and features.
The Sportage Hybrid and PHEV models were introduced for the 2023 model year — a year later after the Tucson hybrids were released.
Like the Tucson, the Sportage Hybrid gets 37 mpg combined while the plug-in hybrid has 34 miles of all-electric range. It also has the same 8.3 inches of ground clearance and a lock mode for the center differential which tries to emulate the functionality of a 4WD locking diff.
All trim levels of the Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid come with all-wheel drive as standard, except for the base model LX Hybrid.
5. Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape Hybrid made a comeback in 2020 after it was discontinued in 2012.
From 2020 to 2022, all-wheel drive was an option on all trim levels of the Escape Hybrid. Starting in 2023, AWD became standard in the ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite and Platinum trim levels. It’s available as an $800 option in the lower ST-Line Hybrid.
The Escape Plug-in Hybrid, which was added to the lineup in 2021, is only available with front-wheel drive.
Although the Escape Hybrid gets pretty good gas mileage at 42 city and 36 highway, it only has 6.8 inches of ground clearance which is only slightly higher than most sedans.
6. Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid
The popular subcompact Subaru Crosstrek crossover was updated with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2019.
The Crosstrek PHEV gets 17 miles of electric-only range and the 2.0-liter engine can get up to 35 mpg combined.
Like other Subarus, the Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with Symmetrical AWD, which is often considered one of the best AWD systems in the business.
Despite its smaller size, the Crosstrek has an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance, as well as X-Mode and hill descent control to help you tackle rougher terrain.
7. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The midsize Toyota Highlander SUV has had a hybrid powertrain option since 2005.
It was redesigned for the 2020 model year and now uses the same 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain as the RAV4 Hybrid, giving it an impressive 35 mpg combined.
All trim levels of the Toyota Highlander, except the base model, can be configured with the hybrid powertrain. Adding all-wheel drive entails a $1,200 upcharge.
Maximum ground clearance stands at 8 inches which is quite good for a three-row family hauler.
8. Kia Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
When the three-row Kia Sorento was completely updated for the 2021 model year, it also received a new hybrid powertrain option. A plug-in hybrid model was added in 2022.
It uses the same 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain found in the smaller Sportage, but since it’s bigger, fuel economy is reduced to 34 mpg combined. The plug-in hybrid model also boasts 32 miles of all-electric range.
All-wheel drive is standard in the SX Prestige trim level of the hybrid and PHEV models. It’s also available as a $2,300 option on the EX trim level.
Both the hybrid and PHEV variants have 8.3 inches of ground clearance. The Sorento’s AWD system also features torque vectoring which uses the brakes to transfer power from side to side when it detects that one wheel is spinning too much.
9. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
The Hyundai Santa Fe got a new hybrid powertrain the same year the new Kia Sorento was released.
The Santa Fe and Sorento share the same platform and mechanical underpinnings, but with different body styles, interiors and features. However, the Santa Fe doesn’t have third-row seats.
The Santa Fe Hybrid also gets 34 mpg combined while the PHEV gets up to 30 miles of range in all-electric mode.
All-wheel drive is also standard in all trim levels of the Santa Fe Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid.
10. Ford Explorer Hybrid
When Ford introduced the sixth generation Explorer in 2020, it also added a hybrid powertrain as one of the engine options.
All Explorer Hybrids are rear-wheel drive as standard. Intelligent 4WD is available on the Limited and Platinum trim levels for an extra $2,000. Ground clearance stands at an acceptable 8.2 inches.
Despite being labeled as 4WD, all new Explorers actually have all-wheel drive systems. Only older Ford Explorers from the 1990s up to the 2010 model had true 4×4 drivetrains with low-range mode.
Explorer Hybrids with all-wheel drive get an estimated 20 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. The rear-wheel drive models have slightly better fuel economy.
If you’re looking for a plug-in hybrid model, take a look at the new Lincoln Aviator which uses the same platform but has different styling and is significantly more luxurious.
11. Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
The three-row Mitsubishi Outlander has had a plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. since 2018.
In 2022, the Outlander received a much needed update and has been redesigned from the ground up.
The new Outlander PHEV boasts up to 38 miles in all-electric mode compared to the older generation’s 24 miles. Its 2.4-liter engine is also rated for an estimated 25 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
All trim levels of the Outlander PHEV get AWD as standard. One of its two electric motors is dedicated to the rear wheels. Ground clearance is also a respectable 7.8 inches.
Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) all-wheel drive system also uses brake torque vectoring to transfer power from side to side in case one of the wheels spins excessively.
12. Lexus RX Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
The midsize Lexus RX luxury SUV has had a hybrid powertrain since 2005.
With the introduction of the fifth generation model in 2023, a plug-in hybrid variant called the RX450h+ will be added to its lineup.
All-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels of the Lexus RX Hybrid.
The RX350h is the most efficient model and gets an estimated 37 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The performance oriented RX500h F Sport model gets 28 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. Both models have the same ground clearance of 8.1 inches.
13. BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid
The iconic BMW X5 got its first plug-in hybrid model in 2016.
It was eventually replaced by the fifth generation X5’s xDrive45e model in late 2020 which boasts 30 miles of all-electric range and 389 hp. Fuel economy, however, is not its strong suit, as it only gets 23 mpg combined.
Nonetheless, the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid has a rare mix of handling, style, luxury, refinement and technology that few can match.
All trim levels of the X5, except for the base sDrive40i, come standard with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.
The xDrive45e also has pretty good ground clearance of 8.4 inches, which allows it to easily take on light trails and deeper snow.
14. Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid
The Audi Q5 PHEV was introduced to the market in 2020. This replaced the Q5 Hybrid which was only available from 2013 to 2015.
The latest Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro plug-in hybrid offers up to 23 miles of all-electric range, 362 hp and 27 mpg combined, which is pretty well rounded for its class.
All Q5’s are equipped with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system which can constantly send power to the front and rear axles.
It also has around 7.8 inches of ground clearance which is on the lower end compared to its rivals.
15. Porsche Cayenne Plug-in Hybrid
The Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid has been available since 2015 and was the first PHEV in the luxury SUV segment at the time.
It was eventually replaced by the latest generation Cayenne E-Hybrid in 2019.
The Cayenne is known for its class-leading handling, refinement and overall build quality, and the hybrid versions are no different.
All Cayennes have all-wheel drive as standard and the E-Hybrid has around 8.4 inches of ground clearance.
The latest E-Hybrid model has up to 17 miles of all-electric range and gets an estimated 21 mpg combined. It also has an impressive 455 hp and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
16. Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
The current generation Volvo XC60 is widely praised for its elegant interiors and sophisticated styling.
All trim levels of the XC60, except for the base model, are equipped with all-wheel drive.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid, formerly known as the T8, has an electric motor driving the rear wheels and uses a 2.0-liter inline-4 that’s both supercharged and turbocharged.
With its combined output of 455 hp, the XC60 Recharge can go from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds.
In electric-only mode, it can go up 35 miles, while the gas engine’s fuel economy is estimated at 28 mpg in the city and on the highway.