Below are few relatively strong-selling PHEV choices, ranging from entry level to full-on luxury. We’ve sorted them by battery range. If you want a bridge vehicle to carry you toward the full-electric future, then you’ll want to do most of your daily driving without waking the gasoline engine, and battery range should be a big part of the buying decision.
Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, 48 EV Miles
The battery-only version of the Clarity (discontinued last year) was a range-challenged EV, but the PHEV has much to recommend it, including 48 electric miles from its 17-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The 1.5-liter four (which rarely drives the wheels) combines with a beefy electric motor to produce a combined 212 horsepower and decent 8.1-second zero to 60 times. Owners praise the comfort and ride quality, though the back seat could be larger. The $33,400 Clarity gets the full $7,500 credit.
Toyota RAV4 Prime, Toyota
This is what a plug-in should be: The $38,500 PHEV version of the RAV4, with an 18.1-kilowatt-hour battery, 42 miles of EV range, 600 miles total. It’s an impressive ride. Some reviewers say the real-world range is better than that. There’s also 302 combined horsepower on that RAV4, which makes it the fastest four-door Toyota. Only the Supra has faster acceleration. The RAV4 Prime gets the full $7,500 tax credit. The upmarket XSE model ($41,675) offers many useful features, including 19-inch wheels, paddle shifters and some safety equipment. There have also been some improvements to the $28,220 Prius Prime sedan, which now has 25 miles of EV range. But it’s a pokier beast, with a 121-horsepower powertrain. The $28,220 Prius Prime is eligible for a $4,502 federal income tax credit. If there’s one plug-in you shop, make it the RAV4 Prime.
Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, 37 Miles
Toyota produced the first hybrids that Americans could buy and Ford had the first American entry with the Escape in 2004. They subsequently proved themselves as taxis on the potholed streets of New York. The Escape PHEV ($34,755, with a $6,843 credit) uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to an electric motor for 221 total horsepower. Electric range is 37 miles (530 total) via a 14.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack. There’s no all-wheel drive version. It’s worth upgrading to the $38,000 SEL version, which adds heated simulated leather front seats with power adjustment for the driver, convenience and cold weather packages, parking sensors and fog lights. The Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package adds adaptive cruise.
Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Minivan, Chrysler
The $39,995 Pacifica is still America’s one PHEV minivan, though the Toyota Sienna is now only available as a hybrid. Electric range via a 16-kilowatt-hour battery is 32 miles (566 total). A drawback of the PHEV version is that the company’s famous Stow ‘n Go seats are not available in the second row (which is equipped with captain’s chairs. It’s a big vehicle, and needs the 260 horsepower it gets from a 3.6-liter V-6 (the same one that’s in the standard Pacifica) with two electric motors. For a grocery getter, the 7.4-second zero-to-60 time isn’t bad. Cargo space—critical in a minivan—is 87.5 cubic feet if the third row is down.
Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid, 30 Miles
Good news for Santa Fe buyers: The 2022 model has a 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack, giving it a $6,587 tax credit. Apply it, and that means the PHEV is actually cheaper than the hybrid version. The 2022 Santa Fe starts at $40,535, though discriminating buyers might want to spring for the Limited. The PHEV’s 177-horsepower 1.6-liter four is linked to a 90-horsepower electric motor for 260 horsepower combined. Electric range is 30 miles, 440 total. The Limited trim increases the price to $46,545, but adds such useful features as leather seats, a 360-degree camera, and an eight-inch infotainment screen with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
These are some of the best hybrid SUVs to try.