Many people looking to buy a compact SUV will probably have fuel economy on their minds when they shun larger midsize and full-size alternatives in favor of something smaller. However, even compact crossover SUVs can be pretty substantial vehicles, and that’s not good for spending less at the gas station. Therefore, the obvious answer has to be a hybrid, but what are the best hybrid compact SUVs you can buy in 2022?
Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t as many hybrid compact crossover SUVs as you might think right now, so this list of my best hybrid compact SUVs in 2022 includes mass-market and luxury models that cover a wide range of prices from the relatively affordable to the not-so-affordable. And if five seats aren’t enough for you, check out my other article about the best hybrid SUVs with third-row seating in 2022.
2022 Ford Escape Hybrid
The ever-popular Ford Escape is now available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, and you don’t have to settle for a single, high-specification trim level these days either. The most affordable model is the 2022 Ford Escape SE Hybrid which has a starting MSRP of $29,170, but you can also have the Escape Hybrid in SEL and top-of-the-line Titanium specifications.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Escape Hybrid is 44 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, but if that’s not frugal enough for you, there are also plug-in versions available in SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels too. The 2022 Escape SE Plug-In Hybrid costs $33,940, but the 37-mile electric-only capability helps deliver a combined fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe.
In all cases, the hybrid powertrain is based around a 2.5-liter inline-four gas engine that sends its power to the wheels through an eCVT transmission. Hybrid models are front-wheel drive with the option of AWD, but the Escape Plug-In Hybrid is not available with AWD. The total system output is 200 horsepower with the Hybrid or 221 horsepower with the Plug-In Hybrid.
The 2022 Ford Escape Hybrid and 2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid models are not particularly exciting vehicles, and they can be a bit noisy if you push them hard. The higher trim levels are not particularly convincing with the Titanium Plug-In Hybrid starting at just a touch under $40k, so the SE versions probably make the most sense if keeping costs down is high on your agenda.
2022 Audi Q5 TFSI e
If you’d like something a little more premium than the Ford and you have at least $55,400 to spend, how about the 2022 Audi Q5 TFSI e? I’m not a huge fan of Audi SUVs because I don’t think they are particularly stylish, especially compared to some Japanese luxury rivals. The interior of the Q5 TFSI e is also a little mundane for the money, although there’s no denying the quality of the build and materials used.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo-four combined with a 17.9 kWh battery that develops a combined 362 horsepower. That plentiful amount of power gets sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission, but this plug-in hybrid only offers a measly 19 miles of electric-only driving range. On the plus side, the Q5 TFSI e can get you from 0 to 60 mph in a perky 5.0 seconds.
The combined gas/electric fuel economy is 61 MPGe, which makes it sound like a bit of a gas-guzzler compared to the plug-in Ford Escape. The Audi does come with superb safety ratings, a sound infotainment system, and of course, that Audi badge that can mean so much to some prospective buyers.
2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid
If you can live with its questionable exterior styling, the 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a serious contender for the best hybrid compact SUV in 2022 crown. The regular CR-V is a serial winner with SUV buyers the world over, so if you’re looking for a solid hybrid, it will make sense to give the Honda serious consideration.
There’s no plug-in version of the CR-V Hybrid, but you do have the choice of EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels. The EX is pretty low on fancy features beyond lashings of safety stuff, but it does look like excellent value with a starting MSRP of just $31,610.
The Combined output is a very acceptable 212 horsepower, AWD is standard with hybrid versions of the CR-V, and the fuel economy ratings are 40 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 38 mpg combined. On paper, at least, the CR-V Hybrid is actually the most potent version of the current CR-V. If you’re looking for a hybrid compact SUV value for money, this is a hard one to beat.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper than the Honda, Hyundai offers its incredibly popular Tucson in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Although Hyundai quality is massively improved over the last decade or so, I’d still suggest that the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is still one rung down on the overall quality ladder from the CR-V Hybrid.
The Tucson Hybrid is good for 38 mpg in the city and on the highway, while the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid offers a respectable 80 MPGe and an electric-only driving range of 33 miles. Prices start from just $29,350 for the Tucson Hybrid or $34,900 for the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid.
Although the exterior styling of the all-new 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid might not be to everyone’s taste, at least it’s a lot less anonymous than its predecessor. However, if this one is anywhere near as successful as the previous Tucson, you’ll soon get used to the way they look as they’ll be everywhere!
2022 Lexus NX Hybrid
If I had to nail my colors to the mast of one model on this list, my vote will go to the 2022 Lexus NX Hybrid for several reasons. For a start, it’s a Lexus, which means quality, reliability, and luxury. Then we have the exterior styling, which I know some people will find polarizing, but I think it looks sensational.
And if that’s not already enough to grab your interest, the NX 350h AWD costs from just $42,125 and gets you up to 39 mpg from a hybrid system delivering 239 combined horsepower.
If your budget stretches to it, the NX450h is a plug-in hybrid that develops 304 total system horsepower for a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.0 seconds, but it will set you back a pretty steep $56,725, at least, or from $57,975 for the F Sport Handling version. The plug-in versions offer an electric-only driving range of up to 37 miles and a combined system fuel economy rating of 84 MPGe.
I’d buy the Lexus NX Hybrid just for how it looks; the rest is just icing on the cake for me. Suppose you were considering buying a Ford Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid. In that case, I’d suggest stretching that extra couple of thousand dollars for the 2022 Lexus NX 350h instead if you possibly can.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Any list that has the Honda CR-V on it has to also have the Toyota RAV4 on it too, and the only way that wouldn’t have happened here would have been if there wasn’t a hybrid version of the RAV4. In fact, unlike its biggest rival, as well as a 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, there’s also a plug-in hybrid version the company calls the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime.
What the RAV4 Hybrid does have in common with its Honda rival is it’s also more potent than the non-hybrid versions. The RAV4 Hybrid puts out 219 combined horsepower, which is 16 horsepower more than the standard RAV4. All-wheel drive is standard, the overall quality is excellent, and those who prioritize fuel economy over almost anything else will love the numbers associated with these two.
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can get you 41 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and a combined 40 mpg, and it costs from just $29,075. Spend extra for the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime, however, and then you can look forward to 94 MPGe and up to 42 miles of electric-only driving range. However, the RAV4 Prime does cost considerably more, with a starting MSRP of $39,800.
I considered a few other models for this list, such as the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but they didn’t offer anything more than the six I have chosen. As far as I’m concerned, the Lexus is an easy winner as long as your budget stretches that far. If not, the related RAV4 Hybrid is probably the next best option.
To give you an idea of how my six best hybrid compact SUVs in 2022 compare to each other, below is a table so you can see some of the main features at a glance.
|2022 Ford Escape Hybrid||$29,170||Available||200||155 lb-ft||Available||1,500 lbs|
|2022 Audi Q5 TFSI e||$55,400||Standard||362||369 lb-ft||Standard||2,000 lbs|
|2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid||$31,610||Standard||212||129 lb.-ft||No||1,500 lbs|
|2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid||$29,350||Standard||226||195 lb-ft||Available||1,650 lbs|
|2022 Lexus NX 350h||$41,050||Standard||240||167 lb-ft||Available||2,000 lbs|
|2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid||$29,075||Standard||219||163 lb-ft||Available||1,750 lbs|