While the Concept of a best luxury hybrid SUV might seem like an oxymoron, advances in hybrid powertrains have enabled manufacturers of these Alternative Fuel vehicles to offer relatively large and luxurious models with the economy of mid-sized sedans. Conversely, some provide the power output of some of the most highly respected performance cars, while delivering fuel economy in the 20-mpg range. It seems that manufacturers have figured out the hybrid powertrain can also be harnessed to improve performance. So now we’re getting models with 400+ horsepower and 400+ ft-lbs of torque occupying the alternative fuel space. Regardless of your priorities, if you’re looking for something in a luxury SUV, these are the best of the current hybrid choices.
Audi Q5 Hybrid
Definitively proving efficiency can be attractive, the Audi Q5 Hybrid melds elegance, sportiness, style, and fuel efficiency all into one solidly crafted package. As to be expected. creature comforts abound—after all this is an Audi. Features include adaptive headlights, a Bang &Olufsen sound system, blind spot monitoring, a rear view camera, and front and rear parking sensor arrays. The AWD hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, an electric motor, and a battery pack. Total system output is 245 horsepower and an amazing 354 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is estimated at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway and 26 combined. Pricing starts at $51,900.
BMW X5 e-Drive Plug-in Hybrid
When BMW’s innovative X5 SUV debuted back in 1999, an entirely new concept was introduced. Suddenly, here was a fun to drive SUV with tremendous roadholding, powerful engines, and the cachet of the blue and white roundel badging. BMW is poised to reinvent the segment once again with the upcoming X5 e-Drive Plug-in Hybrid. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. Total system output is 270 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is estimated to be in the 40-mpg range. On electric power alone, X5 e-Drive Plug-in is said to be capable of traveling up to 20 miles, or at speeds of up to 75 mph.
Infiniti QX60 Hybrid
Comfortably spacious with seating for up to seven, the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is a handsome family-oriented hybrid sport utility vehicle. Known for the elegance of its interior treatments, Infiniti’s hybrid SUV solidly toes the company line in this regard. Standard features include automatic xenon headlights, a power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats. The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a supercharged 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine teamed with a continuously variable transmission, front- or all-wheel drive, and an electric motor. Total system output is 250 horsepower and 243 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is rated 26-city, 28-highway, and 26 combined with front-drive. The AWD powertrain claims 25/28 and 26 combined. Pricing starts at $45,400.
Lexus NX 300h
Despite its compact exterior dimensions, the Lexus NX offers a passenger compartment outfitted in a wholly luxurious manner. Standard features include keyless entry and ignition, Siri-based voice controls, automatic LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated exterior mirrors. Further, its fuel economy numbers are among the best in the segment. A 2.5-liter four, electric motors, and a continuously variable transmission comprise the powertrains. Front-drive models get two motors. One actively drives the front wheels, while the other acts as a starter/generator. AWD models get a third motor for the rear wheels. Fuel economy is rated at 35-city, 31-highway and 33 combined for the front-driver. The AWD version is rated at 33-city, 30-highway, and 32 combined. Pricing starts at $39,720.
Lexus RX 450h
Elegant, smooth and quiet – these are the traditional hallmarks of Lexus automobiles. The marque’s RX 450h crossover SUV also boasts remarkable fuel economy and a generous slate of standard features. Among them are automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, and dual-zone automatic climate control. A 3.5-liter V6, electric motors, and a continuously variable transmission comprise the powertrains. Front-drive models get two motors. One actively drives the front wheels, while the other acts as a starter/generator. AWD models get a third motor for the rear wheels. Total system output is 295 horsepower. Fuel economy is rated at 32-city, 28-highway, and 30 combined with front drive. The AWD system is rated at 30-city, 28-highway, and 29 combined. Pricing starts at $47,620.
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
The styling update for Porsche’s bestselling model is an immediately discernable change for 2015, but there’s excitement under the skin too. Based on the Panamera S E Hybrid’s mechanicals, the new Porsche Cayenne S E Hybrid is capable of running at speeds of up to 78 miles per hour in electric mode. The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid powertrain is comprised of a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor boasting a total system output of 416 horsepower and 435 ft-lbs of torque. Porsche’s eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission routes the power output into the all-wheel drive system. Fuel economy has yet to be quoted. Standard features include automatic wipers, a heated steering wheel, and a cooled glovebox. Pricing starts at $76,400.
Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
Depending upon your perspective, the VW Touareg is either a great deal on a Porsche Cayenne, or a wickedly expensive Volkswagen. You see, the two were developed concurrently and are remarkably similar under the skin in many respects. Yes, the Porsche is faster and more luxurious, but the VW handles well and goes down the highway with considerable poise too. Touareg Hybrid’s powertrain consists of a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, an electric motor, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Total system output is 380 horsepower and 428 ft-lbs of torque. Those numbers suggest VW uses hybrid technology to boost performance more so than fuel efficiency. This is a reasonable supposition at 20-city, 24-highway, and 21 combined. Pricing starts at $66,995.