Best used hybrid SUVs

They're still big and stylish, but hybrid SUVs can help to ensure these popular cars remain relevant as we move towards an electric future

BuyaCar team
Jul 27, 2022

Big and heavy SUVs are not really what could reasonably be considered to be good for the environment. Their size and heft makes them some of the least fuel-efficient cars you can buy, and because larger cars tend to be best served with a diesel engine under the bonnet, they normally produce the worst kinds of emissions as well.

As the focus of all car manufacturers shifts towards efficiency and electrification, we are beginning to see an influx of hybrid SUVs arriving on the market. A hybrid car is powered by a combination of petrol or diesel fuel and electricity stored in a battery which works to reduce the engine's reliance on burning the fuel and results in better efficiency and lower levels of exhaust emissions.

Plug-in hybrid SUVs, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, are even more advanced. A plug-in hybrid car makes use of much larger batteries that can be plugged in and charged up like an electric car, which means it can run for around 30 miles on electric power alone before the engine has to take over - at which time it drives like a standard petrol or diesel car, albeit less efficiently because it has to lug around all of the extra weight of the batteries.

Because of all the clever technology involved, hybrid cars are much more expensive to purchase than traditional petrol or diesel alternatives. But a good value PCP finance deal can help to spread out that cost, and you will also be able to make small savings on things like fuel bills and car tax costs.

Used hybrid SUVs

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Best used hybrid SUV for low emissions

Our pick Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 PHEV 4h
Used deals from £18,495
Monthly finance from £288*

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can be regarded as the car that did more than any other to raise the profile of hybrid SUVs. There's a new version on sale now, but for sheer value for money the original model is still a worthy mention on this list.

It’s not among the most accomplished SUVs in terms of driving, and it lacks the quality of some its more recent and upmarket rivals, but it's built to be tough and dependable, and is more than capable of taking a detour off road. Add the prospect of up to 30 miles of electric running from the plug-in hybrid system and it’s still up there with much more modern alternatives.

The newer version of the Outlander PHEV is available as an equally good value option on BuyaCar, with updated styling and a more modern interior.


2. Lexus RX

Best used hybrid SUV for reliability

Our pick Lexus RX 450h Luxury
Used deals from £27,500
Monthly finance from £412*

There’s little prospect of much electric-only running with this large SUV, the RX 450h is not a plug-in hybrid like the Outlander PHEV, it's what's known as a self-charging hybrid and instead makes use of electricity to take some of the strain out of the petrol engine and improve efficiency. As a result Lexus claims the hybrid RX will manage up to 47mpg, which bests any comparable diesel SUV. It’s even more impressive when you consider the engine is a large 3.5-litre V6 petrol producing 313hp.

The way the hybrid system smoothly transitions from electric to petrol is impressive, as is the RX’s excellent reliability record, which has put it close to the top of dependability surveys for year after year.


3. Toyota C-HR

Best used hybrid SUV for good driving experience

Our pick Toyota C-HR 1.8 VVT-h Excel
Used deals from £17,500
Monthly finance from £250*

Toyota has decades-worth of experience producing hybrid cars. The Prius hatchback was its first in 1997 and much of its technology has found way into the C-HR, including a rather annoying CVT automatic gearbox that can make the engine’s revs soar with little provocation.

There isn't much scope for electric-only running in the C-HR but that economy figure is still pretty impressive. Meanwhile, it feels sportier and more engaging to drive than other hybrid cars, qualities which match its racy looks perfectly.

If you want a little more power, the 2.0-litre hybrid version is almost three seconds quicker to 62mph, and should be just as efficient in the real world. The only caveat is these tend to be more expensive to buy.


4. Volvo XC90

Best used hybrid SUV for safety

Our pick Volvo XC90 T8 R-Design
Used deals from £33,250
Monthly finance from £592*

The XC90 is a plug-in hybrid SUV offering up to 25 miles of electric-only running. That alone is impressive, but add the big Volvo’s cool style, seven seats and plentiful safety features, and it’s one impressive SUV.

It’s only a 2.0-litre petrol engine under the bonnet but the addition of electric power boosts it to an almost unbelievable 390hp for strong overtaking performance.

If you don't need all that space, the cheaper and smaller XC60 is a great alternative. You can get one with the same powerful T8 engine, or a more efficient T6 setup which is what we'd recommend. Because the T6 was only introduced in 2020, you may be able to find older XC60 T8 models for cheaper.


5. Mini Countryman

Best used hybrid SUV for fun

Our pick Mini Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
Used deals from £22,491
Monthly finance from £405*

The Countryman S E catapults the historic Mini brand firmly into the modern age with a plug-in hybrid system that’s capable of 25 miles of electric-only running.

Its combined power output is 220hp, easily enough to justify the Cooper badge too. The chirpy three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine combines with the electric motor very well, while the system’s extra weight takes nothing away from the little car’s fun character.


6. Kia Niro

Best used hybrid SUV for value

Our pick Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid '3'
Used deals from £15,595
Monthly finance from £302*

If the Toyota CH-R is too self-consciously stylish for your tastes, take a look at the Niro. It’s much more conservatively styled. Underneath its bulbous body, though, it's more advanced, thanks to a fast-shifting dual-clutch gearbox that makes acceleration much smoother than in the Toyota.

The Niro’s economy (74.3mpg) is pretty impressive, but expect closer to 50mpg in most conditions which is still better than you could get from a similarly sized petrol-powered crossover. Chose the more expensive plug-in version and 25 miles of electric-only running awaits.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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