Welcome back to motopickers.com! This time, we’re tackling the intriguing intersection of sustainability and versatility with our roundup of the ‘Best Hybrid SUVs for 2023’. This year, automakers are pushing the envelope, offering a rich variety of SUVs that blend size, comfort, performance, and ecological responsibility. We’ll assess each model’s specs, efficiency, and overall value, simplifying your search for the ultimate hybrid SUV. Whether you’re a fan of off-roading adventures, crave ample cargo space, or desire the elevated viewpoint of an SUV coupled with eco-friendliness, stay tuned. Our guide will help steer you towards your ideal hybrid SUV.
2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 7.6/10
In the fiercely competitive compact SUV arena, automakers are vying for your attention like never before. Among the challengers is the 2023 Hyundai Tucson, positioned between the smaller Kona and larger Santa Fe, and going head-to-head with heavy hitters like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan Rogue. The Tucson boasts excellent comfort, an attractive warranty, and undeniable value for money. Furthermore, it’s available as a hybrid or even a plug-in hybrid, allowing for fuel savings.
Redesigned last year, the Tucson now flaunts a distinctive look, revamped cabin, and cutting-edge tech features. This year, Hyundai has tweaked the feature lineup and introduced a rugged XRT trim level. Though the 2023 Tucson isn’t without its flaws, it remains a compelling option in its class.
We hope that our rating will help you determine if the Tucson is the top compact SUV for your needs. With an eye-catching design, the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid delivers solid fuel efficiency, a smooth ride, and an abundance of standard tech. The hybrid powertrain is sophisticated and demonstrated remarkable acceleration in our tests. Offering more than anticipated for its price point, the Tucson Hybrid outshines its rivals by a significant margin.
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 7.6/10
For the 2023 model year, Kia has completely revamped the Sportage, introducing a hybrid variant for the first time. This eco-friendly model sits between the smaller Niro Hybrid and the larger Sorento Hybrid in the brand’s SUV lineup. One glance at the redesigned Sportage and it’s clear it has undergone a radical transformation, with a vastly improved interior, as well. The compact SUV now offers increased passenger space and cargo capacity, even surpassing rivals like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Honda CR-V Hybrid.
Beneath the bonnet lies an efficient hybrid powertrain, coupling a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, a hybrid battery pack, and a six-speed automatic gearbox. The system kicks out a total of 227 horsepower, nudging ahead of the CR-V Hybrid’s 204 hp and RAV4 Hybrid’s 219 hp. Boasting an impressive EPA-estimated 43 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive variant and 38 mpg for the all-wheel-drive version, the Kia Sportage Hybrid ticks nearly every box. With superb ride quality, a roomy interior, and a cavernous cargo hold, this electrified compact crossover is a well-rounded package. Add in handy interior storage, an extensive range of in-car tech, and a comprehensive suite of driver assistance features, and the Sportage Hybrid’s slightly underwhelming fuel economy is easily forgiven.
2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV
MotoPickers Rating: 7.7/10
Mazda’s CX-9 captured our hearts as a top three-row midsize SUV when it was revamped back in 2016. However, as competitors like the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas emerged, the CX-9’s restricted interior and cargo space became increasingly apparent. Now, Mazda is ready to reclaim their position with the all-new 2024 CX-90. This impressive vehicle takes over as Mazda’s flagship, boasting a 7.5-inch longer wheelbase than the CX-9, which augments passenger and cargo areas.
Not only does the CX-90 exude elegance – rivalling even entry-level luxury SUVs – its turbocharged inline-six engine ensures powerful, seamless acceleration. With all-wheel drive as standard and an optional plug-in hybrid variant delivering an estimated 26 miles of pure electric range, the Mazda CX-90 is a force to be reckoned with. While its third-row space and cargo capacity could be improved, the impressive CX-90 remains a top-tier choice for a three-row SUV.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 7.8/10
Ever since its debut in 1997, Honda’s compact crossover CR-V has remained an unwavering frontrunner in the segment. The CR-V consistently earns our recommendation due to its spaciousness, superior handling, user-friendliness, and fuel efficiency that saves you from feeling the burn at the filling station. As we welcome the revamped 2023 model, we notice a host of novel features: from refreshed bodywork and interior design to an increased size. Now sporting a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase, the latest CR-V iteration boasts even more rear legroom than its predecessor while maintaining a similar cargo capacity.
Notably, the hybrid variant no longer lags behind its conventional counterpart, as both offer an impressive 39.3 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats, which expands to 76.5 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. The Honda CR-V has justifiably earned its reputation as the quintessential small family SUV, continuing to deliver a smooth ride, smart tech, and ample storage, even as competitors continue to up their game. Though once the undisputed champion in its class, the CR-V remains a solid choice while facing stiffer competition.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 7.9/10
Although classified as a small SUV, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe takes an intriguing leap towards midsize SUVs with its slightly larger dimensions. However, some of its compact competitors outshine it in terms of passenger and cargo space, affordability, agility, and fuel efficiency. Notwithstanding, the Santa Fe Hybrid stands as a viable choice over conventional non-hybrid SUVs, boasting up to 34 mpg combined, a 9 mpg advantage over the standard model, and, somewhat surprisingly, only a marginal price hike. When you factor in Hyundai’s renowned reputation for delivering a plethora of features and an exceptionally generous warranty, the case for the Santa Fe Hybrid only grows stronger.
Car enthusiasts should definitely consider the 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid, but our pick of the bunch remains the Kia Sportage Hybrid. Additionally, the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape hybrids are worth exploring for their intelligent designs, boosted fuel economy, and potential long-term savings.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.0/10
Though the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is technically categorized as a compact SUV, it skews slightly larger than its counterparts, tiptoeing towards the midsize SUV realm. However, some smaller competitors outshine it in terms of passenger and cargo space, affordability, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency. Nevertheless, the Santa Fe Hybrid holds its own against conventional non-hybrid SUVs, boasting a commendable 34 mpg combined—a 9 mpg advantage over the standard Santa Fe—at a minimal extra cost. Coupled with Hyundai’s penchant for feature-rich offerings and its generous warranty, the Santa Fe Hybrid presents a compelling argument. We also recommend exploring the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage Hybrid and Ford Escape hybrids, which offer cleverer designs, enhanced fuel economy, and potential savings—both upfront and over time.
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.1/10
In the realm of compact SUVs, numerous fuel-efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid options exist. However, for those requiring a more spacious option, midsize three-row SUV hybrids are harder to come by. Look no further than the outstanding 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Surpassing the smaller Kia Sorento Hybrid and the pricier Ford Explorer Hybrid, the Highlander Hybrid is expected to deliver up to 36 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Wisely priced in relation to the non-hybrid Highlander, this hybrid model can potentially recoup its additional upfront expense within a nine-month period, followed by annual fuel savings of around $900.
Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid shines in the limited midsize three-row hybrid SUV market. This impressive vehicle retains the core strengths of the standard Highlander, whilst enhancing its fuel efficiency. It’s swift, agile, and maintains the same passenger and cargo capacity. Although its third-row seat is somewhat smaller compared to other midsize SUVs, this minor drawback is easily outweighed by its numerous strengths.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime
MotoPickers Rating: 8.2/10
Introducing the RAV4 Prime, a versatile compact crossover SUV adept at fulfilling diverse roles that typically require multiple vehicles. Boasting zero-emission electric range, hybrid efficiency for extended journeys, and ample space for both cargo and passengers, it’s ideal for family use. The RAV4 Prime also delivers impressive power, with 302 combined horsepower generated by its gasoline engine and two electric motors. Clocking a 0-60 mph time of just 5.9 seconds, it’s only outpaced in Toyota’s lineup by the GR Supra. Consider the RAV4 Prime a souped-up rendition of the RAV4 Hybrid, equipped with a heftier battery and stronger electric motors, enabling an impressive EPA-estimated 42-mile electric range, followed by a combined 38 mpg.
In our tests, the RAV4 Prime exceeded expectations, covering 48 miles on battery power alone, easily outperforming rival plug-in SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson PHEV, Kia Sportage PHEV, and even the Volvo XC60 T8 Extended Range. When it comes to fuel economy, power, acceleration, comfort, interior quality, and technology, the RAV4 Prime is a true frontrunner.
2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.3/10
Positioned uniquely in the 2023 SUV lineup, the Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a distinctive blend of attributes. Sitting comfortably between the larger Telluride and the more compact Sportage, this hybrid marvel is one of the few three-row SUVs in the market. Besides the non-hybrid version, Kia also spoils us with a plug-in alternative. Equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, and complemented by an electric motor, the Sorento Hybrid packs an impressive 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, it boasts an EPA-estimated combined mileage of 37 mpg, outshining the non-hybrid model by 11 mpg and falling in line with the hybrid variants of the Honda CR-V and Toyota Highlander.
We’re thoroughly captivated by the Sorento Hybrid’s alluring concoction of luxury, spaciousness, and fuel efficiency, surpassing its hybrid SUV competitors, such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and Toyota Venza. Stay tuned for an in-depth review once we’ve had the pleasure of evaluating the Sorento Hybrid up-close.
2023 Kia Niro
MotoPickers Rating: 8.3/10
The Kia Niro cleverly bridges the gap between SUV and hatchback, offering a versatile compact vehicle in three electric variations: a standard hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric model. In this review, we’ll focus on the budget-friendly conventional hybrid. The 2023 Niro benefits from a comprehensive makeover, enhancing its size, interior, and technological capabilities while aligning its exterior aesthetics with its larger electric counterpart, the Kia EV6. Boasting a sleek futuristic design, the updated Niro enjoys an expanded overall length and wheelbase, translating to increased interior space for both passengers and their cargo, which accommodates a respectable 22.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
The revamped cabin also features an optional dual 10.25-inch instrument panel and central touchscreen display, mirroring the EV6’s setup. While acceleration may be underwhelming, the Kia Niro compensates through its practical driving aids, smooth ride, and excellent value for money, making it an ideal choice for those in search of an efficient compact crossover.
2023 Ford Escape Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.4/10
In the realm of compact crossover SUVs, the 2023 Ford Escape truly stands out as a popular favorite among buyers with its remarkable sales performance. Not only competing with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, this stylish Ford model positions itself below its bigger sibling, the iconic Ford Edge. Boasting a diverse range of powertrain options from gasoline, hybrid to plug-in hybrid, the Escape is packed with cutting-edge in-car technology and driver assistance features. This hybrid SUV is known for its spacious cabin, comfortable ride, and outstanding fuel efficiency.
For 2023, the Escape undergoes a significant makeover, featuring a revamped exterior, the latest Sync 4 infotainment system, and an entirely restructured lineup with new trim levels and improved engine and feature availability. The refreshed design undoubtedly elevates the little SUV’s visual appeal, imbuing it with a bolder stance due to its more vertical and boxy front fascia. Inside, the enlarged infotainment display not only enhances the modern vibe, but it also simplifies user interactions. With the Escape Hybrid, expect minimal compromise on performance in exchange for superior fuel economy, ensuring drivers enjoy a seamless, high-tech, and roomy driving experience in a compact SUV package.
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.4/10
It’s been around five years since the present-gen Crosstrek came on the scene, making it the perfect moment for the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek to mark the beginning of a fresh chapter for this robust mini SUV. Car manufacturers usually shake things up between four to six years, with changes ranging from subtle design tweaks to extensive overhauls of the interior, exterior, and mechanical aspects. For the 2023 iteration, Subaru has chosen to keep alterations to a minimum, introducing a Special Edition trim as the sole update. Decked out in a Desert Khaki hue and adorned with black and red upholstery, this edition is built upon the Premium trim and adds an adventurous flair to the Crosstrek line.
While we had hoped for a follow-up to the elevated Forester Wilderness and Outback Wilderness models, that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Nevertheless, we previously endorsed the Crosstrek, albeit with the caveat that it was woefully sluggish. Now, with the optional 2.5-liter engine, it boasts nearly class-leading acceleration, complemented by its upscale interior, commendable off-road prowess, and a remarkable array of driver assistance features.
2023 Toyota Venza
MotoPickers Rating: 8.5/10
After a six-year hiatus, the Toyota Venza made a comeback in the fiercely contested midsize SUV arena. While not a top contender in its class, the Venza sets itself apart through a focus on aesthetics and fuel efficiency. Sharing the same platform as the well-liked RAV4, the Venza boasts an additional 5 inches in length and a polished silhouette attributable to its descending roofline and striking rear end design. Available exclusively as a hybrid, the Venza employs the same 219-horsepower gas-electric system used in the RAV4 Hybrid.
The interior features a sophisticated, technology-laden cabin with a touch of luxury. Taking design inspiration from Lexus and other high-end brands, the Venza sports a classy interior. However, it falls short when it comes to passenger and cargo space compared to its competitors and is not suitable for towing. Nevertheless, if comfort, modern tech, and superior fuel economy are your priorities, the Venza is a fantastic choice.
2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.5/10
For over three decades, the Ford Explorer has been a beloved stalwart in the SUV scene, kickstarting America’s infatuation with sport-utility vehicles. While the current generation impresses with its robust powertrains, ample cargo room, and comprehensive safety features, the interior materials leave a lot to be desired, especially at higher price points that encroach on luxury SUV territory. As the midsize SUV market has expanded, the Explorer no longer reigns supreme, with the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade now dominating our recommendations. Both boast greater comfort and a more upscale feel than the Explorer, with refreshed 2023 models hitting the streets alongside a redesigned Honda Pilot, which includes the off-road-focused TrailSport edition.
The Ford Explorer Hybrid shares its conventional counterpart’s nimble handling, striking aesthetics, and brisk acceleration while offering a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. However, it also inherits its weaknesses, such as average rear passenger and cargo space, underwhelming interior materials, and a sometimes jerky hybrid powertrain. Additionally, the hybrid’s limited availability in high-end trims makes it a costly proposition.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.6/10
Are you thinking about transitioning to an electric vehicle, but apprehensive due to range woes? Allow me to introduce you to the newest contender in the realm of plug-in hybrid SUVs – the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. This revolutionary machine may just cement Mitsubishi’s position in the U.S. market. Housing a traditional combustion engine, a battery pack snugly tucked underneath, and a pair of electric motors, the Outlander PHEV delivers an impressive 38 miles of pure electric driving on a single charge. Once the battery is spent, the gasoline engine effortlessly takes over, casting range anxiety aside. However, fuel efficiency drops to a modest 26 mpg, while competitors boast 35 to 40 mpg.
The Outlander PHEV’s commendable economy and plush interior make it a top contender if you’re hunting for a plug-in SUV. And with a third row that doesn’t compromise cargo space, it’s perfect for family escapades. Just be prepared to shell out extra for this hybrid variant, compared to its all-gas sibling offering a similar experience.
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating: 8.6/10
Toyota’s Corolla Cross SUV, initially launched last year, is the perfect middle ground between the larger RAV4 and the compact C-HR. Riding high on its connection to the Corolla sedan and hatchback, the Cross offers increased cargo capacity, a taller stance, and optional all-wheel drive. The 2023 lineup now welcomes a fresh contender: the Corolla Cross Hybrid. This eco-friendly addition delivers enhanced fuel efficiency alongside the usual hybrid benefits, which could make it a more enticing purchase than its petrol-powered counterparts.
All 2023 Corolla Cross variants, including the Hybrid, come with an upgraded center touchscreen interface, complete with Google-powered navigation, advanced voice command functionality (“Hey, Toyota”), and over-the-air updates. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity are also standard. Combining better performance, fuel economy, and cutting-edge tech, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is undeniably an alluring choice.