Fuel-Efficient Family Commuter
Many growing families are looking for a hybrid SUV as the choice for their next vehicle. It’s easy to see why. Moms and dads are interested in a car that is better for the environment, that gets great gas mileage and that offers the very best reliability and dependability, safety, and comfort for the whole family. They need enough room for the whole brood, including the family dog, and enough cargo space for camping trips, or carrying gear to soccer practice.
Our list of the best family-friendly SUVs tick all those boxes and more. These hybrids are powered by a gasoline engine as well as an electric motor and battery pack to offer much better fuel economy than their gas-only counterparts. Hybrids also accelerate quicker, don’t waste gas when idling, and include every bell and whistle when it comes to the latest infotainment for the kids and safety and driver assist features for parents.
Top Five Fuel-Efficient Household Haulers
What follows is GreenCars collection of the best five family hybrid SUVs available today that will save you at the pump thanks to their hybrid technology. If you’re not quite ready to take the leap into an all-electric future, these safe and dependable family-haulers might strike the perfect balance for you.
#5 – Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid
Safe and dependable, the Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid offers plenty of room, performance, and excellent handling. The NHTSA gave it a Five Star safety rating and the IIHS awarded it Top Safety Pick+. The Explorer offers seating for up to seven though the third row is a bit tight. However, this SUV offers more cargo space than many of its competitors with 18.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row and a whopping 87.8 cubic feet with the second and third row seats stowed away. A standard hands-free liftgate and power-folding third row are nice touches.
The easy-to-use Sync-3 infotainment system includes a 10.1-inch touchscreen. A full suite of driver assist features are also standard including evasive steering assist and the Explorer comes with heated leather front seats. Rear seat entertainment for the kids and a twin-panel moonroof are nice options.
Starting MSRP: $47,070
EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 27/28
#4 – Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
The Santa Fe offers excellent performance and reliability and comes in both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. The PHEV version will take you 30 miles on electric power only. It is a top safety pick by both the IIHS and NHTSA. The Santa Fe’s upscale cabin seats five comfortably and there is 36.4 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, up to 72.1 cubic feet available with those seats stowed. The 8-inch touchscreen offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto though a 10.25-inch screen is available.
Nice options include premium materials inside the high style cabin, leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo. HTRAC all-wheel drive is standard. Hyundai is known for its excellent warranty and the Santa Fe comes with three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Starting MSRP: $35,910
EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 36/31
#3 – Honda CR-V Hybrid
The faithful CR-V brings you an upscale interior, plenty of cargo space, and roomy, comfortable seats in a pleasing package. It is best for smaller families as it seats five. It offers a solid combo of quality, safety, reliability, and value. The cabin is high quality and stylish with little wind and road noise. Standard infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a wireless charging port. A moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and remote start are all standard features.
As for cargo space, the CR-V Hybrid has 33.2 cubic feet behind the back seat or a total of 68.7 cubic feet of storage with those seats stowed. The powertrain includes a 212-horsepower four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Its regenerative braking feels smooth and natural and all-wheel drive is standard.
Starting MSRP: $32,950
EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 43/40
#2 – Kia Sorento Hybrid
In second place on our list of best hybrid SUVs, Kia’s versatile Sorento hybrid is a great all-around SUV that is also available as a plug-in hybrid. Both offer excellent mileage and a surprising list of standard goodies for your family. It received four out of Five Stars from the NHTSA safety pros and such driver assist amenities as automated emergency braking with pedestrian assist, rear cross traffic and blind spot collision avoidance, lane keep assist, and highway driving assist come as standard. A 10.25-inch touchscreen is standard, bringing your family all the infotainment features as well as a wireless phone charger.
You’ll find room for six people though the third row is on the tight side for adults. When you fold down that third row, you’ll get a total of 75.5 cubic feet of cargo room. Extras include a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charging, and subtle leather seats.
Starting MSRP: $36,690
EPA estimated City/Highway MPG: 36/31
#1 – Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Rated as our best hybrid SUV for families, the intrepid Toyota Highlander Hybrid has an upscale look and feel and receives top safety rating from both the IIHS and NHTSA. Though spendy, you get a lot for your money. The suite of safety and driver assist features include Toyota’s Safety Sense+ 2.5 including its pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert and steering assist, lane tracing assist and more as standard. The Highlander seats eight so big families are no problem. Cargo space offers 16 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row, and a maximum volume of 84.3 cubic feet with the second and third row stowed away. A power liftgate comes standard.
Infotainment thrills for the whole family include an 8-inch touchscreen or optional 12.3-inch screen. Both are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatible. Other standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and five USB ports to make sure everyone in your family stays comfy and connected.
Starting MSRP: $40,220
EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 36/35