The Audi Q3 TFSI e, now on sale in Ireland
The Audi Q3 TFSI e, now on sale in Ireland

What are the best hybrid SUVs in 2021? 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 2021. SUVs continue to grow their market share in Ireland, accounting for about 21% 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, better fuel economy and lower motor tax rates than conventional combustion engine powered cars. They can still be expensive to buy depending on the model, though up to €2,500 in VRT relief is available for plug-in hybrids.

What is a hybrid?

Before we take a closer look at the best hybrid SUVs available in Ireland, we need to understand what is a hybrid? Hybrid SUVs combine the benefits of a combustion engine and an electric motor. There are two 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 on board. 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.

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 30 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. In this article we take a look at the major models on display with a few of our own personal recommendations for ones to watch!

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

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. It’s also recently had a facelift to keep it fresh and relevant in the market.

Toyota C-HR – Changing Lanes’ one to watch!

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 in 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. Every time we drive the C-HR we are impressed with this car and it is a genuinely efficient hybrid – Toyota hybrid at its best!

Hyundai Tuscon Hybrid – also available as a plug-in hybrid for 2021

Ireland’s bestselling car returns in 2021 with an all-new look, improved quality and technology, as well as the launch of new hybrid powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid. The standard hybrid Tuscon uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor, and 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid

Renault has launched a new exciting SUV with the sporty design of a coupé. It’s available with the brand’s new E-TECH hybrid powertrain, which uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors, with a power output of 145 hp. It’s touted as the most efficient model of the new Arkana range, returning consumption as low as 4.9l/100 km (WLTP).

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – also available as a plug-in hybrid for 2021

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 RAV4 is also now available in Ireland as a plug-in hybrid.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

All wheel drive, 7-seat hybrid SUV as standard. A flagship for Toyota. The 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain has CO2 emissions quoted from 149 g/km and fuel consumption of 6.6 l/100 km.

The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!

Lexus UX

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

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

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

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

Kia XCeed PHEV

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.

Renault Captur – Changing Lanes’ one to watch!

Renault’s ever popular compact SUV gets hybrid power for the first time with the launch of the latest E-TECH model. The Captur is already a fantastic car with stylish looks, improved cabin quality and a practical and spacious interior for this class of vehicle. The hybrid adds even more power (160 hp) with the ability to plug in, charge and drive on electric power alone for up to 50 km.

CUPRA Formentor – Changing Lanes’ one to watch!

CUPRA debuts its first standalone model in the shape of the Formentor performance hybrid crossover! This is a super stylish model with great looks and image, a well-finished cabin and excellent on the road driving behaviour and refinement. It uses a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, electric motor and a 13 kWh capacity lithium-ion battery, with up to 54 km available in electric mode.

Kia Niro PHEV

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.

The 2021 Cupra Formentor has arrived in Ireland
The 2021 Cupra Formentor is now on sale in Ireland

DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE

DS is back in Ireland with a new distributor to give it a boost in the Irish market along with some new product. The new DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE plug-in hybrid combines a petrol engine, battery and electric motor. It has a combined 225 hp and can be driven on electric power alone for a range of up to 55 km (WLTP). The car is stylish and oh so French!

MINI Countryman PHEV

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.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e

The baby Benz SUV gets a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that allows it to be plugged in and charged before driving on electric power for up to 61 km.

BMW X1 xDrive25e Hybrid

A high quality and fun to drive small plug-in hybrid SUV from BMW.

BMW X2 xDrive25e Hybrid

The X1’s more stylish cousin. Now with the same plug-in hybrid powertrain and ability to drive on electric power for a limited range.

MG HS 

MG arrived in Ireland at the end of 2020 with a new range of electrified vehicles. The HS is MG’s new plug-in hybrid family SUV with a range of up to 52 km on electric power.

The new Jaguar F-PACE plug in hybrid
The new Jaguar F-PACE plug in hybrid

Jaguar E-PACE

The baby Jaguar SUV gets plug-in hybrid for the first time with a drive range of up to 68 km in electric mode.

Jaguar F-PACE

The beautiful F-PACE adds a fuel efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain to the mix with an EV range of up to 59 km. The latest F-PACE debuted in 2021 with an updated look.

Ford Kuga PHEV – also available as a standard hybrid

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.

Audi Q3 TFSI e

Audi’s popular mid-size SUV gets plug-in hybrid power for the first time. Also available as a stylish Sportback. This model is based on the new generation model that arrived in Ireland in 2020.

Opel Grandland X Hybrid

Opel’s first plug-in hybrid debuted 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.

The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!
The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid – Changing Lanes’ one to watch!

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. The 3008 received a revamp in 2021 so it’s still looking its best. It is the most expensive model of the 3008 range but it is a very refined and comfortable drive.

Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid

Citroen’s debut hybrid in the family-friendly C5 Aircross SUV. There’s up to 60 km of range in electric mode thanks to the battery on board.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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.

Audi Q5 TFSI e

Audi’s large family SUV recently got a revamp and the addition of plug-in hybrid to the Q5 range. Also available as a stylish Sportback model.

The Kia Sorento is available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time in 2021
The Kia Sorento is available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time in 2021

Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV

Volkswagen’s mighty Tiguan gets plug-in hybrid for the first time in 2021 with an electric range of up to 47 km from it’s 1.4-litre petrol electric powertrain, and 245 hp.

Volkswagen Touareg

The flagship Volkswagen SUV adds hybrid, also for the first time. The 3.0-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid can be plugged in, charged and driven on electric power for up to a claimed 47 km.

Audi Q7 TFSI e

Audi continues its move to electrification with the addition of a plug-in hybrid to the flagship Q7 range, Audi’s leading luxury SUV.

Audi Q8 TFSI e

Hybrid for the Q8 SUV coupe, now on sale in Ireland.

Hyundai Santa Fe

The popular Hyundai Santa Fe 7-seat SUV debuts a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time in 2021, with a pure electric range of up to 58 km.

Kia Sorento – Changing Lanes’ one to watch!

An all-new flagship Sorento arrived in Ireland for the Kia brand in late 2020. This 7 seat hybrid SUV proved to be a force to be reckoned with. An exceptionally stylish and spacious family SUV with a new hybrid powertrain for the very first time. Proving that big can be beautiful!

Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine

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.

The XC40 plug in hybrid can be driven on pure electric power up to about 46 km.
The XC40 plug in hybrid can be driven on pure electric power up to about 46 km.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

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

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

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 XC90 T8 Twin Engine

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.

Plug in hybrid power for the Mercedes-Benz GLE
Plug in hybrid power for the Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLC 

The popular GLC class gets the addition of two plug-in hybrids, a petrol electric (300 e) and diesel electric (300 de).

Mercedes-Benz GLE 

Mercedes’ large GLE SUV family of vehicles gets the addition of a new diesel plug-in hybrid in 2021 (350 de).

BMW X5 xDrive45e

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.

Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV

Land Rover adds a new hybrid powertrain to the Discovery Sport in 2021.

Land Rover Defender

The Defender made a stylish comeback in 2020 with an all-new generation model. Now you can spec it as a plug-in hybrid too.

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

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.

The 2021 Renault Captur now available as a plug-in hybrid
The 2021 Renault Captur now available as a plug-in hybrid

Range Rover Velar

This stylish model debuted in 2018 and now gets its first plug-in hybrid model in the range.

Range Rover Evoque

The classic and desirable Evoque SUV arrived in Ireland for a new generation model in 2019. Now plug-in hybrid joins the line-up in 2021.

Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV

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

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.

The new Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid!
The new Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid!

Caroline Kidd