It’s not 2004 anymore, so you have a range of options to consider when looking for the best eco-friendly SUV
The idea of an eco-friendly SUV is one a good number of people are yet to warm up to.
That’s because for many, SUVs are all about the rugged looks and off-road capabilities, and the general feeling is that the eco-friendly models are a dumbed-down version of the conventional type.
Global car market trends seem to reinforce this theory, with demand for the traditional SUV higher than ever, fueled by (no pun) rising incomes and a slump in diesel prices.
But that’s not to mean the green movement has hit a pothole.
Embracing a Changing World
A lot of eco-conscious consumers are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, primarily due to the desire to reduce their carbon footprint.
The traditional SUV non-purists are also keen to enjoy the many perks that come with an eco-friendly ride, including savings on fuel, overall reduced spend on maintenance, and government incentives like tax breaks.
What’s more, with close to a dozen countries set to ban diesel-powered cars from their roads by the year 2040, with more set to follow, some potential car owners do not see the logic in sinking substantial sums into a top-of-the-range vehicle that will be deemed obsolete in the not-too-distant future.
Which means moving forward, you will start to see more and more electric and hybrid cars on a road near you.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV 2020
Whatever your reason for investing in an eco-friendly SUV, the best news about it is that this space has rapidly evolved over the years so the market is not short of good SUVs to select from.
Whether you desire a hybrid or fancy pure electric (more expensive), there is now a plethora of choices on offer, with every auto giant trying to outdo the other.
To help you make a decision on the best eco-friendly SUV 2019 to go for, we put together a list of models that will appeal to even the most discriminating driver.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the best-selling plug-in hybrids.
That’s because for starters, the compact SUV comes with an affordable price range. Second, it promises significant savings over its diesel family counterpart.
It forfeited the third row present in the standard Outlander and while that means less room to accommodate what would have been 7 people, there is more space for cargo (66 cubic feet).
The Outlander PHEV can travel 22 miles on electric-only power when its lithium-ion battery pack is on a full charge, getting an estimated 74 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe).
It has no issue driving at pace, but it is happier when cruising in comfort.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Following a three-year hiatus, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid made a triumphant return in 2020
Unlike its predecessor which was a traditional hybrid, the latest model is a plug-in that can do up to 17 miles powered exclusively by its electric motors.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Crosstrek Hybrid has few equals. It boasts one of the highest EPA-rated MPGe (90 combined city/highway) among subcompact SUVs.
Juxtapose this with the Nissan Kicks, one of Subaru’s rivals in the category of most efficient gasoline-only.
After adding fuel and electricity costs, the EPA approximates the average driver stands to save about $250 each year with the Crosstrek Hybrid vs. the Kicks. Don’t forget the Kicks is famed for its stellar fuel economy.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: Kia Niro Plug-In
Unlike most other hybrids which swap out the gasoline-only powertrain of an existing SUV (or car) for an electrified version, the 2019 Kia Niro has never run solely on an internal combustion engine.
The subcompact SUV is only available in three distinct models: the Niro Hybrid, the Niro Plug-In Hybrid, and the full-electric Niro EV.
The Niro Plug-In Hybrid is an excellent illustration of the appealing middle ground that comes with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). It costs about $10,000 less than the Niro EV and $5,000 more than the hybrid.
But as you are bound to discover, the 5K USD would ultimately be well worth it considering it is less costly to run per year compared to the hybrid. It has a rating of 105 MPGe combined city/highway on a fully recharged battery.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: Toyota C-HR Hybrid
The radical styling of the Toyota C-HR marks it out from other hybrids, what with its eye-catching looks that are reminiscent of a coupe.
Think of it as the smaller sibling of the celebrated RAV4, and like most other smaller siblings, it can be a bit…raucous.
This model comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with an automatic gearless transmission.
Also worth noting is that the C-HR is strictly a front-drive vehicle, unlike most crossover SUVs.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: Honda CR-V Hybrid 2020
The CR-V has been a mainstay vehicle for millions of families over the years since the first model debuted in Japan in 1995.
But Honda has discontinued the diesel version as diesel sales continue to take a tumble, making the 2020 CR-V Hybrid the automaker’s first hybrid SUV.
This is a practical wagon for city-dwelling families, and it doesn’t disappoint on the looks department at all, something Honda isn’t particularly famous for.
It has a two-motor hybrid powertrain, pairing twin electric motors with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for 212 horsepower.
It is spacious on the inside and the Hybrid does a good job of keeping external road and wind noise at bay.
Best Eco-Friendly SUV: 2020 Volvo XC90
Fancy a midsize SUV that is both luxurious and engaging? Volvo has you covered.
It is not often that you come across a genuinely usable 7-seat cabin, double so in the case of hybrid powertrains.
But the Volvo 2020 XC90 T8 manages both, offering a perfect and rare mix of cabin ambience, styling, spaciousness, and engine efficiency – nothing like you would expect from a vehicle of this size.
But considering this is the largest SUV by Volvo, it should not be surprising as the Swedish luxury vehicle giant must have been keen to make a statement.
The XC90 can give you 18 miles on an all-electric power, and its estimated 55 MPGe combined stands to save you on average $450 a year in electrical and fuel expenses.