The Top 7 Hybrid AWD Vehicles to Buy in 2022
Depending on where you live and your driving habits, buying a car with all-wheel drive (AWD) may be a necessity. AWD is a must for drivers who live in regions with extreme weather conditions, such as snow, rain, and wind, but it’s also important for off-road enthusiasts and drivers who commute in hilly or mountainous terrain.
Since electric cars and hybrids have a different type of powertrain than conventional cars and trucks, you might be wondering whether they can still cope with off-road driving and winter weather. Fortunately, more and more hybrids are available with all-wheel drive, including hybrid SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks.
By choosing a hybrid AWD vehicle, you can get the benefits of all-wheel drive without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Here are our picks for the best hybrid SUVs and other AWD EVs, and what to keep in mind before buying one.
What Are Hybrid AWD Vehicles?
Hybrids are a type of electric vehicle that have both a gas engine and an electric motor. That means you can drive them longer distances without the range anxiety that comes with a fully electric car.
Some hybrids, called plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), have an onboard charger so you can plug it into a power outlet or charging station for even better fuel economy.
Front-Wheel Drive vs. All-Wheel Drive
Most hybrids — in fact, most passenger cars in general — use a front-wheel drive system, which means the motor turns the front wheels to power the car. The rear wheels don’t receive any power — they’re just along for the ride.
This is fine in most driving conditions, but if you’ve ever lost traction on a wet or windy road, you know how dangerous that can be.
With an all-wheel drive system, the motor can power all four wheels at once, providing more traction on challenging terrain. (AWD isn’t the same as four-wheel drive, which is similar, but uses an even more powerful system for off-road driving.)
AWD systems can be engaged full-time or part-time, in which case the system only turns on when it’s actually needed.
Top 7 Hybrid AWD Vehicles Available Now
AWD systems aren’t available in every hybrid vehicle, so if you want AWD, you’ll need to make sure it’s included with the model year and trim level that you choose.
You may also want to check the EPA’s fuel economy rating to see how many miles per gallon (MPG) or miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe) the car gets.
Here are our picks for the 7 best hybrid SUVs, hatchbacks, and other EVs that come with AWD as a standard feature or an optional upgrade.
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Toyota Prius LE AWD-e
Both the Toyota Prius and the Prius Prime (a PHEV) are available with all-wheel drive, but it doesn’t come standard. For that, you’ll need to choose the LE AWD-e trim, which costs $27,135 and comes with an “on-demand” all-wheel drive system.
This trim costs a little more than the base model, and has a slightly lower MPG estimate from the EPA of 50 MPG. A stylish “Nightshade Edition AWD-e” is also available.
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP): $27,135
MPG: 50 MPG
Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape Hybrid is available as both a standard hybrid and a plug-in, but AWD is only available on the standard hybrid. The Escape Titanium model has an MSRP of $33,040, and an EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 44 MPG in the city.
All-wheel drive is available as a system called AWD Disconnect, which stops supplying power to the rear wheels when AWD isn’t necessary.
MPG: 44 MPG
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a hybrid SUV that comes with AWD as a standard feature, making this a great choice for outdoorsy families. In addition to a roomy interior with 66 cubic feet of cargo space, you’ll get an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Plus, the Outlander has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, and can switch between multiple driving modes: Normal, Gravel, Snow, and S-AWC ECO.
MPGe: 74 MPGe
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is a PHEV that gets up to 90 MPGe and has an all-electric range of 17 miles. Once you factor in gas, the total driving range increases to 480 miles, making this a fuel-efficient crossover SUV for getaways and camping trips.
The base model comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, can produce up to 152 horsepower, and has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
MPGe: 90 MPGe
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
With a starting price of $28,900, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the most affordable hybrid AWD vehicles on our list. All trims come with Electronic-AWD, delivering up to 219 horsepower and 41 MPG.
Just like the Toyota Prius, the RAV4 is available as a plug-in hybrid called the RAV4 Prime, which also comes standard with AWD but starts at $38,350.
MPG: 41 MPG
The Kia Sorento Hybrid is a midsize SUV with a turbocharged hybrid drivetrain that can generate up to 227 horsepower. AWD isn’t standard, but is available as an add-on. Other features include blind spot assistance and Safe Exist Assist.
The Sorento Hybrid has a third row of seats for additional passenger volume and USB outlets in every row to keep all of your passengers connected.
MPG: 37 MPG
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander is the third Toyota on our list, demonstrating Toyota’s impressive range of hybrid AWD vehicles. This three-row SUV has a starting price of $38,855, but can fit up to eight passengers, making it a great choice for families.
The XLE trim features an 8-inch touchscreen and wireless charging, while the second- and third-row seats fold down for additional cargo space.
MPG: 36 MPG
Pros and Cons of Hybrid AWD Vehicles
The main advantage of an AWD system is safety. If you live in a place that gets a lot of rain or snow, then having AWD can be a literal lifesaver.
You’ll also be less likely to get stuck on a dirt road if you take your hybrid vehicle on a camping trip or off-road adventure.
The main downside to all-wheel drive is the cost. If you live in a temperate part of the country that doesn’t get much winter weather, or you only drive on paved roads in the city, then paying more for an AWD system may not be necessary.
Also, AWD uses more power, so you’ll get fewer miles per gallon (MPG) when all-wheel drive is engaged — but the hybrid powertrain may make up for this somewhat.
As for whether to choose a hybrid vs. a plug-in hybrid, that’s a separate question, since you can find AWD systems available on all types of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Where to Buy a Used Hybrid AWD Vehicle
All-wheel drive (AWD) is available as a standard feature on some hybrid vehicles, and is an optional upgrade on others. The combination of AWD with a hybrid drivetrain means you can improve your safety and driving experience while still getting great MPG.
AWD is available on midsize and compact SUVs, crossover SUVs, hatchbacks, luxury cars, and more — but vehicles with AWD tend to have a higher starting price.
If you want to find a hybrid AWD vehicle with a lower price tag, consider buying a used electric car from an earlier model year or leasing an electric vehicle. You can use this handy tool to search for used EVs near you.
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