Best plug-in hybrid SUVs launched in 2021

Looking for a family car that can deliver ultra-low running costs? The best plug-in hybrid SUVs of 2021 could be perfect

Joe Holding
Mar 7, 2022

If you need a spacious, practical car to deal with family life, but you’d also like to keep running costs to an absolute minimum, then the best plug-in hybrid SUVs of 2021 could serve you very well indeed. Regularly charge the car and you could slash your fuel bills dramatically.

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) is basically two cars in one; the first is a normal car that runs on a petrol or diesel engine, and the second is an electric car that’s powered by a battery that’s charged by plugging it in.

This allows you to complete most (or possibly all) of your short journeys using cheap electric power - provided you remember to charge up between journeys - but with a petrol or diesel engine to fall back on so you can still drive the kind of long distances that fully electric cars aren’t quite as prepared for just yet.

SUVs are some of the most suited cars to plug-in hybrid technology too, as their size means they can make room for a large enough battery without compromising luggage capacity and passenger space too much. In smaller cars like hatchbacks, the drop in practicality is far more noticeable.

There were some terrific new plug-in hybrid SUVs launched in 2021, and we’ve listed the best ones below. But if they grab your attention and you're on a tighter budget, fear not; BuyaCar has some amazing deals on used PHEVs that represent great value for money. Click on the button above to start your search.

Best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021

1. Volkswagen Touareg R

Used deals Limited stock

The new Volkswagen Touareg R was revealed early in 2020, and it arrived in the UK in 2021. The top-of-the-range model uses plug-in hybrid tech in order to generate a mighty 462hp from an electric motor and a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine.

It will use an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and four-wheel-drive is a permanent feature in both electric and standard driving modes. 0-62mph takes 5.1 seconds, and Volkswagen claims that the Touareg R will be capable of up to 87mph without needing to wake the engine. To achieve the 31-mile electric-only range though, you'll need to adopt a more leisurely driving style.

The 14.1kWh battery should be fully replenished from flat in a couple of hours when charging on a dedicated home wallbox. Assuming you have a cheap off-peak electricity tariff, a full top-up is likely to cost just over £1. Feasibly, you could go to the supermarket or do the school run without using any petrol at all.

VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG BUYERS’ GUIDE

2. Volvo XC40 T4/T5

Volvo XC40 front three quarters view

Used deals from £38,695
Monthly finance from £577*

Volvo has been offering powerful plug-in hybrid versions of its larger XC60 and XC90 SUVs for quite some time now, but it's only recently that the XC40 was given the option. There are two models to choose from, the 211hp 'T4' or the 262hp 'T5'. Both use a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor, and are capable of around 25 miles with little to no assistance from the petrol engine.

Despite the rugged styling, both plug-in models are front-wheel-drive, so it's best to go for a mild hybrid version with four-wheel drive if you like to venture off the beaten track.

Be aware that earlier versions of the XC40 have used the 'T4' and 'T5' badges, but are petrol-powered. These gained mild hybrid assistance and became 'B4' and 'B5' in 2021. Consequently, it's worth checking that the car you want is indeed a plug-in hybrid.

VOLVO XC40 BUYERS’ GUIDE

3. Renault Captur E-Tech

Used deals from £22,290
Monthly finance from £335*

The Renault Captur is one of the best-selling small SUVs on the market. The latest model now has a plug-in hybrid version as part of its lineup alongside petrol and diesel cars.

The Renault Captur Hybrid contains a 9.8kWh battery that gives it an electric range of just over 30 miles on a full charge. Under the bonnet there’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s assisted by two electric motors to generate 160hp, resulting in a 0-62mph time of a smidge over 10 seconds. The Captur can be charged in well under two hours using a 7kW home-charging unit, but it’ll take closer to four hours if you plug into an everyday three-pin socket.

On paper, the Captur Hybrid achieves over 200mpg, although in our experience you’re more likely to see 40-50mpg once the battery has run out of juice. The more you can plug in and charge up using the cable, the higher your average fuel economy figures will climb - as is the case with all plug-in hybrids.

RENAULT CAPTUR BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jaguar E-Pace P300e

Used deals from £44,995
Monthly finance from £686*

Think of Jaguar and you’ll probably imagine an exciting drive but with a luxurious, comfortable interior to go with it. The Jaguar E-Pace ticks both of these boxes, but it also falls victim to that other Jaguar trait of higher-than-average running costs.

Luckily there’s a plug-in hybrid version of Jag’s small SUV, called the P300e. It promises 141mpg, and while this figure is exceedingly difficult to meet in real life, at least regularly charging the battery gives you a fighting chance. The battery itself is a 15kWh unit that Jaguar claims will deliver 34 miles of zero-emission range in the E-Pace from a full charge.

The E-Pace’s 1.5-litre turbocharged engine joins forces with an electric motor to generate a substantial 309hp, allowing it to complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.5 seconds. That’s not far off from what some high-performance hot hatchbacks can achieve.

JAGUAR E-PACE BUYERS’ GUIDE

5. Cupra Formentor PHEV

Used deals from £33,490
Monthly finance from £445*

Cupra used to be the badge applied to fast Seats, but these days it’s a brand in its own right with its own lineup of vehicles. One of those is the Formentor SUV which hit our roads in 2020, although the first plug-in hybrid version arrived later in 2021.

The Formentor PHEV uses the same petrol-electric tech that drives the Volkswagen Golf GTE; it consists of a 1.4-litre petrol engine that works in tandem with an electric motor to produce 245hp. Meanwhile, the battery measures 13kWh, and in the Formentor that equates to a range of 31 miles or so from a full charge.

Much like the Golf, there's a more economical 204hp hybrid option. The fastest, though, manages 0-62mph in seven seconds.

MORE DETAILS ON THE CUPRA FORMENTOR

6. Hyundai Tucson PHEV

Used deals from £34,495
Monthly finance from £629*

The Hyundai Tucson lineup gained a plug-in option in 2021, with a 91hp electric motor and 1.6-litre petrol engine producing a combined 265hp. Acceleration isn't as fast as some other hybrids (0-62mph in 8.6 seconds) but the instant power delivery of the electric motor helps to convince you otherwise.

Underneath there’s a 13.8kWh battery which Hyundai says will give an electric-only range of more than 30 miles per charge. The company also says it’s gone to great lengths to make sure that boot space isn’t overly compromised in the plug-in hybrid model (most PHEVs suffer from a significant reduction in boot space thanks to the inclusion of a battery pack). In the Tucson, the boot measures 558 litres, down only slightly on the 620 litres provided by non-hybrid versions.

Hyundai has also introduced new technology inside to boost the Tucson’s appeal; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are supported for added convenience, and there are a pair of 10.3-inch screens that form the instrument display and the media system.

HYUNDAI TUCSON BUYERS’ GUIDE

7. Ford Kuga PHEV

Used deals from £25,495
Monthly finance from £353*

A new version of the popular Ford Kuga SUV went on sale early in 2020, and while some examples of the previous version left some buyers feeling short-changed, every version of the latest Kuga comes with all-round parking sensors, sliding rear seats, keyless go, cruise control and a heated windscreen.

Buyers looking for the plug-in hybrid need to fork out more for the ST-Line trims which add LED headlights, a powered boot lid, keyless entry and a reversing camera. Combining a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, the plug-in hybrid version produces 225hp, although there is a lesser-powered 190hp self-charging hybrid too.

Both hybrids are front-wheel drive and feature a CVT automatic gearbox, which is better suited to gentle driving because it can prove quite noisy if you accelerate hard. Ford reckons almost 300mpg is possible from the PHEV, but fail to keep the battery topped up and you can see this plummet below 50mpg.

READ MORE ABOUT THE FORD KUGA

8. Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

Used deals from £42,997
Monthly finance from £617*

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the most dependable SUVs on sale, and Toyota is consistently rated as one of the most trusted carmakers. That - along with the Japanese carmaker's industry-leading 10-year warranty - means you should be able to purchase a RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid safe in the knowledge that you’ve made a wise investment.

Its 18.1kWh battery is larger than you’ll find in most PHEVs of this size, and even larger than the earliest Smart EQ ForTwo electric cars. As a result, the electric range is an impressive 46 miles per charge on paper. A pair of electric motors combine with a 2.5-litre petrol engine for 306hp, with 0-62mph taken care of in only six seconds. This is by no means a sporty vehicle, but it's reassuring to know that you’ll never be short of speed when it comes to overtaking on the motorway.

Charging shouldn’t take much more than a couple of hours using a 7kW charger, while three-pin plug users should expect something more like seven hours. If that sounds like a lot, just remember that you can plug in when you get home in the evening and wake up to a full battery the next morning.

TOYOTA RAV4 BUYERS’ GUIDE

*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.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Most customisable cars

  2. Cars with suicide doors

  3. Best American cars