best plug in hybrid suv canada
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Best Plug-in Hybrid SUVs in Canada: Our 7 Top Picks

SUVs are all the talk these days, but with climbing gas prices, the idea of a thirsty utility vehicle is suddenly less appealing. Fear not, as there are interesting plug-in hybrid SUVs out there that could help you lower your gas bills while still carrying your family.

First, what exactly is a plug-in hybrid?

PHEVs have far less electric-only range than a fully-electric vehicle, which leads some to think, “Why bother?” But the daily commute for many is close to or even within a PHEV’s all-electric range, and if they top up the battery regularly, they could end up driving almost exclusively on electricity. 

To learn more, here’s our resource: Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV): What Are They & How Do They Work?

Now, here are 7 plug-in hybrid SUVs we feel are the best – from compact to mid-size, luxury to value-based. 

7) BMW X5 xDrive45e – mid-size SUV

Photo: BMW 

Who is this for? High-income families who look for a clean, fuel-efficient vehicle but don’t want to lose on performance, comfort and luxury.

Why we like it

  • All the luxury and performance from a BMW but with lower gas bills
  • Longest EV range in the segment
  • Stays AWD in electric mode

The BMW X5 is a serious overachiever. Not only did we rank it among our favourite midsize luxury SUVs, but we also feel it’s equally capable in xDrive45e plug-in hybrid form. Sure, this is an expensive vehicle due to the BMW nameplate. 

Expect higher than average maintenance costs as well. But it’s hard to argue against 50 km of full electric range – the highest in the category – an all-wheel drive system that stays on, even when no fuel is being burned, and a combined system output of nearly 400 horsepower.

6) Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe – mid-size SUV

Photo: Jeep 

Who is this for? Medium to high income families looking for the off-road capability of a Jeep but that also need something practical and highly comfortable.

Why we like it:

  • Premium fit and finish, like a true luxury vehicle
  • Just as capable as a standard Grand Cherokee
  • Will tow up to 6,000 pounds

The BMX X5 xDrive45e’s main rival is not another luxury German model. It’s this, the Grand Cherokee 4xe. This SUV has often been dubbed the American Range Rover and for this fifth generation, that statement couldn’t be truer. 

The new Grand Cherokee is massively updated inside and out. In its more expensive Summit and Summit reserve versions, it’s just as, if not more, luxurious than the European models. 

Yet, it’s still capable enough to bring the entire family off-roading. And get this: none of these qualities are lost with the 4xe plug-in hybrid model that’ll drive up to 40 km on a single charge.

Check out our full 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe first drive review here.

5) Volvo XC60 Recharge – compact SUV

Photo: Volvo 

Who is this for? High income families who prefer a smaller, sportier luxury plug-in hybrid SUV.

Why we like it

  • The expected fit and finish and styling of Volvo vehicles
  • Highly efficient drivetrain
  • Highest EV range in its class

If you’re shopping for a luxury plug-in hybrid SUV, but you’re finding an X5 or a Grand Cherokee are too big, then the more compact Volvo XC60 Recharge is what you need. 

Essentially the XC90’s smaller brother, the XC60 is a stylish Scandinavian luxury SUV that’ll run-on pure electricity for up to 56 km, the highest range in its class. 

But perhaps even more impressive is the combined 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque of this drivetrain that, somehow, still manages to pull a 7L/100 km fuel consumption average when its battery dies out.

4) Jeep Wrangler 4xe – mid-size, off-road SUV

Photo: Jeep 

Who is this for? Adventure-seeking couples who love the go anywhere promise of a Wrangler but look for something more efficient.

Why we like it

  • The full Jeep experience with a planet-friendly drivetrain
  • Just as capable as a normal Jeep Wrangler
  • Will run in 4x4 Low in full electric

What if it was possible to do Jeep things without burning any gasoline? That’s precisely the promise behind the Wrangler 4xe. Using essentially the same drivetrain as the Grand Cherokee 4xe, the Wrangler can drive in 4x4 low, with its doors and roof off, without burning fuel, up to 40 kilometers. 

That may not seem like a lot, but it’s enough to do the entire Rubicon train without releasing any harmful emissions. How cool is that?

3) Ford Escape PHEV – compact SUV

Photo: Ford 

Who is this for? Budget-minded families looking for the most range and the best fuel economy for their hard-earned dollar.

Why we like it

  • Most affordable PHEV in its class 
  • Competitive EV range
  • Stellar fuel economy

Ford may not offer all-wheel drive on the PHEV Ford Escape, but it did this to drop its price as low as possible and offer the most electric range. This Ford is only second to the 71-km RAV4 Prime but sells for about $5,000 less. 

It’ll also pull an easy 5.8L/100 km fuel consumption average when not running on electricity. Add to that heavy incentives in some Canadian provinces, and you end up with a seriously affordable plug-in hybrid SUV.

Read our full 2021 Escape Plug-in Hybrid first drive review here.

3) Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – mid-size SUV

Photo: Mitsubishi 

Who is this for? Small to medium budget families looking for a dependable plug-in hybrid SUV that won’t cost them an arm and a leg in maintenance.

Why we like it: 

  • Tried and tested drivetrain with more horsepower for 2023
  • Still competitive EV range with even more range for 2023
  • Witty all-wheel drive system as standard

When the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV first went on sale in Canada it was seen as a plug-in hybrid trailblazer in the mid-size SUV segment. As the second generation arrives for 2023 with better performance and lots more style, electrification is rapidly becoming the norm. 

Add to that Mitsubishi’s famed 10-year warranty program and a drivetrain that has proven itself many times over from a reliability standpoint, and it’s fair to say this Mitsu is a sturdy workhorse built to serve middle-class families for many years to come.

Read our full 2023 Outlander PHEV first drive review here.

2) Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage PHEV – compact SUV

Photo: Kia 

Who is this for? Budget-minded families who look for a bit more styling and technology from their plug-in hybrid SUV.

Why we like it

  • Competitive EV range
  • Loaded with technology and content at a decent price
  • Massive cargo space and rear passenger area

The Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage PHEV twins are not on this list because they’re the most fuel efficient nor offer the best EV range. While 50 km is a decent number, it’s nowhere near what you’ll get from a Toyota or even a Ford. Where these south-Korean twins shine above the rest, is in their total package. 

They both look out of this world. They’re built like an expensive, German vehicle. And they offer a ton of technology and content at a reasonable price. Add to that a reliability rating that’s constantly on the rise, and there isn’t much we can say against these two Asian juggernauts.

1) Toyota RAV4 Prime – compact SUV

Photo: Toyota 

Who is this for? Families who look for a tried and tested plug-in hybrid vehicle that they’ll keep for many years and expect to resell at good value.

Why we like it

  • Highest range in its class
  • Expected Toyota reliability and resale value
  • 302 combined horsepower makes it one of the quickest Toyotas on sale

In all its forms, the Toyota RAV4 is a no-brainer vehicle. It’s well priced, well packaged, available in a multitude of variants and it’s reliable. Oh, and did we mention the Prime plug-in hybrid model offers 70 km of electric range, the highest in its class? 

The RAV4 Prime is not only the king of PHEV compact SUVs, but also the fastest. Thanks to 302 combined horsepower, it’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds flat, or the same speed as a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Another Toyota hybrid option is the all-new 2023 Corolla Cross.

This list is all PHEV sport utilities only. For other types of vehicles, here is our list including the best hybrid cars

The Easiest Way to Buy or Sell a Car