The Pros and Cons of Owning a Hybrid SUV

Owning a hybrid SUV can save you money at the fuel pump, but it might offer less power and performance than a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Hybrid SUVs are better for the environment and can save you money at the fuel pump. While these are some great perks, they could come at the cost of engine performance and speed.
As the price of gas continues to climb, hybrid vehicles are more popular now than ever before. They get better mileage than their gasoline-powered counterparts and produce fewer emissions—making them a great choice for car buyers who want to protect the environment. 
If you’re thinking about trading in your gas-guzzler for a hybrid SUV, check out this guide from
super app
and car insurance expert
. We’ll go over all the reasons why we think hybrid SUVs are great—and a few reasons why they’re not.

What is a hybrid SUV?

For car buyers that need to transport more than five passengers but also want an eco-friendly alternative to a gas-powered vehicle, a hybrid SUV could be a great choice. The term hybrid refers to any vehicle that uses both an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors to power the car. There are two types of hybrid SUVs:
  • Standard hybrids are powered by a gasoline engine and electric drive system that work together. The battery gets recharged anytime you hit your brakes, so there’s no need to plug it in.
  • Plug-in hybrids have larger batteries than standard hybrids and can drive for longer periods on electric-only power. Plug-in hybrids must be manually recharged, just like a full-electric vehicle.  
While plug-in hybrids generally get better mileage than standard hybrids do, both options offer major savings at the fuel pump compared to gasoline-only powered vehicles.

Pros of hybrid SUVs

In addition to their excellent gas mileage, hybrid SUVs offer a lot of advantages—especially when compared to their gas-powered equivalents. Here are some of the best things about owning one of these fuel-efficient, family-friendly vehicles. 

You can save money on fuel

While owning a hybrid SUV won’t completely eliminate trips to the gas station, it can put a significant dent in how much you spend on fuel. In 2022, most hybrid SUVs earn between 30 and 50 miles per gallon. That’s pretty impressive—especially when compared to gasoline-powered models like the
Infiniti QX80
Nissan Armada
, both of which get less than 20 mpg. 

They’re “green”

If being environmentally friendly is important to you, a hybrid SUV can be a great choice. According to the
U.S. Department of Energy
, hybrid vehicles usually produce less carbon dioxide than gas-powered cars, making them cleaner and better for the environment.  

You could be eligible for a tax credit

Depending on the state you live in and the make and model of your hybrid SUV, you could be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Keep in mind that this tax break only applies if you purchase the vehicle. If you lease a hybrid SUV, the tax credit will go to the lessor—not you.

They’re quiet

Because of their electric motors and smaller combustion engines, hybrid cars are much quieter than gas-powered cars. In fact, most of the noise you hear while driving a hybrid vehicle comes from wind resistance or its tires, not its engine. If you take a lot of road trips or enjoy a quiet commute, owning an almost-silent car could be a major perk. 

You don’t have to stress over battery range

If you drove a
fully-electric car
and forgot to charge it, it would simply stop running—and you’d need to have it towed to the nearest charging station before you could get back on the road. Because hybrid SUVs have gasoline engines that support their electric motors, you’ll still be able to drive if the battery is depleted.

They might need less maintenance

If your car’s engine fails or has a mechanical malfunction, it could lead to major repair bills. Because a hybrid SUV has an electric motor to help reduce wear on the combustion engine, it might need less upkeep compared to a gasoline-only powered vehicle.

You can get a higher price when you sell your car

With fuel prices exceeding four or even five dollars in some areas, the demand for hybrid cars is higher than it's ever been. Between their reduced fuel costs, environmental benefits, and lower maintenance requirements, a hybrid SUV could command a high price on the used car market.
MORE:How to sell a car for the best price
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Cons of hybrid SUVs

While hybrid SUVs come with some fantastic benefits, there are a few drawbacks you should consider before buying one.

They have higher upfront costs

Not only do hybrid vehicles require more parts to manufacture, but they also have a higher market demand than gasoline-powered cars. Because of this, many hybrid SUVs have starting costs of at least several thousand dollars more than the non-hybrid versions of the same vehicle.

There aren’t many options if you want a full-size SUV

While there’s a seemingly endless selection of crossovers and midsize SUVs available with hybrid powertrains, that’s not the case when it comes to truck-based vehicles. If you’re looking for the fuel efficiency of a hybrid but need the towing capacity or cargo space of a full-size SUV, you’re limited to a single option—the 2023
Toyota Sequoia

They aren’t as powerful

Hybrid SUVs are usually manufactured with emissions standards and fuel economy in mind—not power and performance. So if you’re the type of driver who likes to hit the dragstrip or test the limits of your car’s engine, you might find yourself bored with a hybrid.

Some repairs can be costly

Most automakers include a generous warranty on their hybrid powertrains—but if something does go wrong, you could find yourself looking at some major repair bills. These eco-friendly vehicles are full of complicated tech and electrical parts that can be expensive to fix, and a
hybrid battery
alone could run upwards of $2,000 for some vehicles.

Should I buy a hybrid SUV?

Ultimately, whether or not a hybrid SUV is the right car for you depends on your preferences when it comes to fuel efficiency, performance, and starting costs.
For most car buyers, the advantages of owning a hybrid SUV outweigh the disadvantages. They make great commuter cars, and can lead to some serious savings in fuel costs. But for drivers on a budget, or drivers who prioritize engine specs and acceleration, a gasoline-powered car could be the better choice.

How to save money on car insurance for your hybrid SUV

Owning a hybrid vehicle is a great way to save money—fewer trips to the gas station means more cash in your pocket. But if you want to save even more, use the
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car insurance
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Reduced power. Because hybrids have smaller combustion engines than gasoline-only powered cars, they typically have less horsepower and can’t go as fast. 
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