The power of hybrid technology
SUVs are among the most popular cars at the moment, and that's because they offer a bigger boot, a higher driving position and a more spacious cabin compared to smaller vehicles.
In the past, the increased size meant that SUVs weren't as efficient as their smaller counterparts, which wasn't ideal for keeping running costs down. However, the introduction of hybrid technology has made SUVs much cheaper to run on an annual basis.
Using hybrid technology, SUVs produce far lower emissions and improve fuel economy, paying dividends at the fuel station. Opting for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model can also allow you to drive on all-electric power for a short distance, making them ideal for school runs or short commutes.
The market for hybrid SUVs is constantly growing, so we've highlighted five of the best models available on the used car market.
The Kuga has been a favourite among families since it was introduced, and its popularity continues to increase thanks to the inclusion of hybrid technology.
Unlike some vehicles, which only offer one, sometimes two, of the different hybrid options, the Kuga is available as a mild hybrid (MHEV), full hybrid (HEV) and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). As a result, you don't have to compromise on anything when finding the right type of SUV for you.
Typical of a Ford, the interior is well made and loaded with modern safety equipment. General cabin space is very good thanks to the high roofline, while the 412-litre boot makes the Kuga more than ample for daily family duties, such as the school run.
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The Kia Niro doesn't get as much praise as it deserves, and this boils down to the fact that its SUV siblings include the excellent Sportage and the luxurious Sorento. However, it has all the hallmarks of a great SUV, with the added benefit of hybrid tech.
Unlike the Kuga, the Niro is only available as a self-charging hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. The latter is easy to recommend if you have a short commute, since it can travel up to 31 miles on battery power alone before needing more juice. Either way, you can expect excellent fuel economy from either of these options.
Despite being on the smaller end of the SUV spectrum, the Niro still offers a 427-litre boot in the majority of its models; except for the PHEV, which sacrifices a bit of space for the batteries (324 litres).
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The Tucson is Hyundai's best-selling SUV, and it has been for quite some time now. There's a number of reasons for that, but ultimately it boils down to the fact that the Tucson is an affordable all-rounder that looks good and is easy to drive.
Adding hybrid technology only enhances the appeal of the Tucson, which is available as a mild hybrid, full hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Regardless of which you go for, you'll get a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine working alongside the batteries. Power outputs range from 227 to 261bhp, making the Tucson pretty brisk.
Because the model you see here is wider, longer and taller than its predecessor, it's immensely spacious inside. Plus, it has up to 620 litres of boot space, which is more than enough for weekly supermarket trips and family days out.
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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV doesn't offer as many hybrid options as the other cars on this list, as it's only available as a plug-in hybrid. However, it's still an excellent choice if you primarily use your car for school runs or local commutes since the batteries allow you to drive up to 28 miles using electricity alone.
When it's working in tandem with the petrol engine, you can expect a combined range of over 400 miles. In addition to the excellent efficiency, the Outlander PHEV has an enormous 591-litre boot, which is enhanced by the large opening. Really then, if you need a family SUV for outdoor activities, this is a hybrid SUV worth considering.
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That technology has found its way into the excellent RAV4, which is a spacious family SUV with futuristic aesthetics and a host of useful driver assistance features. The RAV4 is available as a self-charging hybrid or plug-in hybrid, so it depends on what you want and need from a car. The PHEV has an all-electric range of up to 46 miles, which exceeds many rivals at the same price point.
The cabin of the RAV4 is full of quality touches that make it feel more premium than the badge would suggest. There's plenty of head and legroom in the back of the car, while the 580-litre boot is more than ample for anything family life can throw at it.
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Discover hybrid SUVs with Evans Halshaw
It's easy to see why SUVs have become so popular over the course of the last decade. They're spacious inside, have big boots and offer a great view over the road ahead. And thanks to the introduction of hybrid technology, they're a genuinely affordable choice for families who need the extra space.
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