Let's take a closer look at hybrid SUVs on sale in Ireland in 2020
Let’s take a closer look at hybrid SUVs on sale in Ireland in 2020

What are the best hybrid SUVs in 2020? In this article we are going to take a closer look at what’s available in Ireland right now. Hybrid SUVs combine two major trends for 2020. SUVs continue to grow their market share in Ireland, accounting for about 22% of new cars. Hybrids are another growth trend, increasing sales year on year. Manufacturers are bringing more hybrid SUVs to market every year. Many hybrid SUVs benefit from lower CO2 emissions, giving back more fuel economy and lower motor tax rates. However they are typically a few €1000 more expensive to buy than the same model powered by a petrol or diesel engine only. Still, there is VRT relief available for all hybrids and an SEAI grant off the purchase price for plug-in hybrids. They make particular good sense for urban drivers, and can contribute to cleaner air in cities, while meeting the transport needs of those needing a private car to get to school or work.

What is a hybrid?

Before we take a closer look at the best hybrid SUVs available, we need to understand what is a hybrid? Hybrid SUVs use two power sources, fuel and electricity. There are three types of hybrid car currently on sale in Ireland:

A standard hybrid is powered by a petrol/diesel engine but there is also a small capacity battery and an electric motor. Supporting a combustion engine with an electric motor helps reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption. At very low speeds, the car can run on electric power. But most of the time the car is intelligently using power from a mixture of engine and electric motion with a bias towards efficiency.

In 2020 we are seeing more and more mild hybrids coming to market. It’s important to note that this is a more basic hybrid set-up that cannot drive on electric power alone. This means that a mild hybrid is not as efficient as a standard hybrid. The electric motor is only used for assistance to increase engine power when needed and reduce emissions.

Also known as a PHEV, the plug-in hybrid has an engine and a larger capacity battery than the standard hybrid. The plug-in hybrid is most efficient when it is plugged in and charged after every journey, just like an electric car. It can be driven on electric power alone for typically a range between 40 and 60 km depending on model and driving conditions. There is no fear of range anxiety because when the electric power runs out, the car can draw power from the engine and get the benefits of a hybrid car.

Plug-in hybrids can be charged at home and driven on electric power for a limited range
Plug-in hybrids can be charged at home and driven on electric power for a limited range

What are the best hybrid SUVs available?

At Changing Lanes, we are lucky to test drive all the latest models and we have a good overview of the entire market. SUVs come in various shapes and sizes. Most manufacturers now offer small SUVs, compact SUVs, large family SUVs and 7 seater SUVs. Here’s what’s available in Ireland at the moment in the hybrid SUV space. To be fair, we have divided the list into plug-in hybrids and standard hybrids. Our best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information is accurate, however noting the fast pace of the motor industry, some information may change over time so do always check the manufacturer’s website.

Standard Hybrid

Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Available from €29,245

One of the smallest hybrid SUVs on the market, the Kona Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain. CO2 emissions are just 101 g while fuel consumption is quoted as 5.0 litres per 100 km. The Kona is a popular compact with trendy crossover looks and the fun and agility of a small car. It comes in a variety of funky colours with an exclusive interior colour pack included as standard.

Toyota C-HR

Available from €30,620

The Toyota C-HR has been a big success in Ireland and is a top 10 bestseller. It launched back in 2017 and was available as a hybrid or petrol only. A revamped C-HR arrived in Ireland just in time for 2020 and is now sold exclusively as a petrol-electric hybrid. CO2 emissions are as low as 86 g/km, while WLTP quotes fuel consumption from 4.8 litres/100 km. The C-HR has good looks and a top quality interior making it a great statement mid-size SUV, as well as being hybrid. The 1.8-litre hybrid (122hp) is joined by a higher powered 2.0-litre hybrid with 184hp.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Available from €36,900

Another new model from Toyota, the all-new RAV4 debuted in 2019 and is a dramatic new generation model. This is a proper large family SUV that’s comfortable for five with a big boot. All wheel drive models are available for extra capability. CO2 emissions from 100 g/km with fuel consumption from 5.6 litres/100 km.

The new Ford Kuga, available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time
The new Ford Kuga, available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time

Lexus UX

Available from €40,200

At the more luxury end of the market, Lexus has been building hybrids for years. Now the UX packages it in the brand’s first serious hybrid compact crossover. The UX has distinct looks, high quality cabin with the refinement and efficiency of a new 2.0-litre petrol electric powertrain.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Available from €41,650

The Honda CR-V Hybrid was a fresh new model in 2019. The CR-V Hybrid boasts top interior quality and comfort, along with all the traditional SUV values of a high seating position and rugged looks. It is huge inside with a big boot, ideal for families looking for a trendy large hybrid SUV. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain with impressive refinement. All wheel drive is available. Fuel consumption is as low as 5.3 litres/100 km.

Lexus NX

Available from €62,550

When launched, the Lexus NX was all angles in a segment marked by curves. Strikingly designed, this mid size premium SUV is placed in a very competitive segment but is an early hybrid pioneer of the segment.

Lexus RX/ RX L

Available from €78,580

This is the brand’s large family SUV, also available with 7 seats. Competing at the premium end of the market, the RX is well-built and luxurious, known for comfort and quality. It’s one of the few 7-seater SUVs available with a hybrid powertrain.

Hybrids combine a combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to reduce emissions and fuel consumption
Hybrids combine a combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to reduce emissions and fuel consumption

Plug-in Hybrid

Prices quoted below include VRT relief and SEAI grant amounting to €7500.

Kia XCeed PHEV

Available from €28,945

Technically, it’s more of a crossover but it is one of the few compact hybrids on the market right now so deserves inclusion on our list. Chunky SUV inspired looks are the order of the day, while plug-in hybrid technology means you can drive this car on pure electric power for a range of up to 58 km. Otherwise it works as a standard hybrid. CO2 emissions are just 29g per km.

Kia Niro PHEV

Available from €32,995

The Kia Niro PHEV is a slightly bigger crossover than the XCeed that can also be plugged in like an electric car and ran like a fuel sipping hybrid. When using electric power only, there is a range of up to 65 km. The Niro is also available as a battery electric vehicle (BEV) and has proven to be very popular in Ireland.

MINI Countryman PHEV

Available from €35,000

The Countryman is the closest thing to an SUV in the infamous MINI range. It retains much of the fun driving character beset upon the MINI brand. Yet there is more space inside and some funky, 4×4 looks. You pay a premium for the MINI brand, but the Countryman can behave like a decent family car, now also available as a plug-in hybrid with all wheel drive.

Ford Kuga PHEV

Available from €35,433

Not only is Ford welcoming an all-new Kuga to Ireland, but there’s also an exciting new plug-in hybrid that will go on sale alongside petrol, diesel and hybrid versions. A battery-powered electric motor with a 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine is combined in the new version of the popular Ford family SUV. Fully charged, the Kuga PHEV can drive up to 56 km on electric power alone.

Opel Grandland X Hybrid (PHEV)

Available from €36,645

Opel’s first plug-in hybrid debuts in Ireland in 2020 and joins the petrol and diesel Grandland X range. Opel’s mid-size SUV can now be plugged in at home and run on battery power for up to 59 km. Otherwise it runs as a hybrid using a 1.6-litre petrol electric powertrain. Also available in four wheel drive.

Caroline and the new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4!
Caroline and the new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 at the press launch in Germany in 2020

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid2 PHEV

Available from €37,995

Building on the success of the 3008 range in Ireland, Peugeot has just brought a new 3008 plug-in hybrid to Ireland. Featuring a stunning, high tech cabin, the 3008 can be plugged in and driven as a pure electric vehicle or as a hybrid drawing power from an electric motor, battery and 1.6-litre petrol engine. Four wheel drive available.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Available from €40,400

The Outlander PHEV was one of the first plug-in hybrid SUVs to reach Ireland. It combines extraordinary 4×4 ability with family SUV motoring. The hybrid powertrain is swift and smooth, with the Outlander at its best when driven on pure electric power. In fact it can do this for over 40 km. CO2 emissions for this five seat SUV are just 46g per km.

Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine

Available from €46,495

The Volvo XC40 is one of the best compact SUVs around and now the petrol and diesel range is joined by a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The XC40 stands out for a comfortable drive and simple, quality interior. Now the T5 Twin Engine combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to give 262 hp. It can be driven in silent electric mode around cities for about 46 km, otherwise it behaves like a hybrid drawing power from the petrol engine.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

Available from €57,500

Audi’s popular five seat family luxury SUV gets the hybrid treatment in 2020. Joining the petrol and diesel range, this plug-in hybrid model has 367 hp, four wheel drive and a pure electric range of at least 40 km. The powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine is paired to a battery and electric motors. The Q5 plug-in hybrid gets the same top quality Audi interior providing a spacious, yet fuel efficient option for urban drivers.

BMW X3 xDrive30e

Available from €61,605

The new generation of the X3 mid size SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid with an electric range up to 55 km. Pitched at the luxury end of the market, the xDrive30e has all wheel drive as standard. Emissions for this five seat family SUV are as low as 48 g CO2 per km, giving a greener image to the SUV.

Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine

Available from €66,074

Step up a dress size from the XC40, and you will find the larger XC60 SUV. The stylish Swede is comfortable and refined. There’s also a plug-in hybrid in the range, this time using a 2.0-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery to reduce CO2 emissions and offer more savings on fuel. To that end it can be plugged in, charged up and driven on electric power alone for a manufacturer quoted 35 km.

Volvo Cars' SUV line-up, now all available as plug-in hybrids
Volvo Cars’ SUV line-up, now all available as plug-in hybrids

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

Available from €80,647

With up to 7 seats available, the Volvo XC90 is one of the most stunning and desirable large luxury SUVs on the market in Ireland right now. The T8 Twin Engine is the plug in hybrid option that puts out an amazing 390 hp but has emissions as low as 66 g. These high end SUVs are not cheap but the XC90 offers green credentials for environmentally conscious city dwellers that need to bring the kids to school. The EV range on a full charge is 35 km.

BMW X5 xDrive45e

Available from €88,265

BMW’s original flagship X model. Now the new generation X5 gets plug-in hybrid power. This popular large five seat luxury SUV from the German brand can slip silently in electric mode for up to 97 km. It combines a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol engine an electric motor and a 20.9 kWh battery to do this, with an awesome 394 hp. With all this power and capability, amazingly the X5 plug-in hybrid has CO2 emissions as low as 39 g.

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

Available from €94,759

Even Porsche is getting in on the act. The brand’s Cayenne SUV is available with hybrid tech that pushes out 462 hp while keeping emissions to as little as 89 g. Pure electric range is quoted by the manufacturer as between 23 and 44 km.

Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV

Available from €95,805

The Range Rover Sport packs a performance punch with 404 hp, yet CO2 emissions are just 69 g! This is the beauty of a hybrid powertrain. It’s great PR for large SUVs. This luxury status symbol can now drive silently in electric mode for about 48 km, otherwise working as a hybrid using a 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Range Rover P400e PHEV

Available from €131,950

The king of Land Rover SUVs adopts hybrid tech for the first time! The Range Rover PHEV has emissions of 72 g proving that big can be efficient. When charged up, the Range Rover plug-in hybrid can drive like an electric vehicle in silent mode for 48 km.

Range Rover now offers customers the choice of hybrid powertrain
Range Rover now offers customers the choice of hybrid powertrain

COMING SOON

Ones to watch!

Compact

Renault Captur PHEV arriving later in 2020, based on the popular small SUV

Toyota Yaris Cross coming in 2021, will be hybrid only.

Jeep Renegade 4xe

Citroen C5 Aircross

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV

Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV

Luxury

BMW X1 xDrive25e Plug-in Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e and 300de

Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de

Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV

Range Rover Evoque PHEV

Large

Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid expected in Ireland before the end of the year.

SEAT Tarraco plug-in hybrid

CUPRA Formentor

The new Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid
Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid expected in Ireland before the end of the year

Read reviews of popular family hybrid SUVs

Now let’s take a closer look at three popular hybrid family SUVs. All three were either new on the market in 2019 or significantly revamped. Check out Changing Lanes’ reviews of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the Honda CR-V Hybrid. These SUVs are big inside with space for five and a large practical boot!

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

Honda CR-V Hybrid Review

By Caroline Kidd