Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2024

mercedes benz glc 300e top 10
mercedes benz glc 300e top 10

The UK government has now done what amounts to a 180-degree U-turn on its stance on plug-in hybrid cars. Despite having had a benefit-in-kind company car tax system that has incentivised their adoption since 2021, it currently plans to treat PHEVs and regular HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) no differently from other combustion-engined vehicles in the longer term; they face a gradual phasing out as 'ZEV Mandate' legislation bites running up to and beyond 2030, followed by a total ban in 2035.

With the adoption of even more BIK-tax-efficient electric cars remaining problematic for a great many of us, however, a hybrid family SUV could well be the most sensible option on the menu for the medium term. And the good news is, for most people most of the time, the PHEV continues to makes a lot of sense. For commuting and most running around, they now offer very usable electric range, while any trips further afield can be made without having to rely on an EV charging network that’s still in its infancy.

And while these petrol-electric models are still expensive to buy, they continue to attract preferential Benefit-in-Kind taxation rates for company car drivers, which usually makes them a far more wallet-friendly alternative to a traditional company car. In fact, it's in the context of the corporate car park that these bi-fuel models make the most sense.


Funnily enough, plug-in powertrains also make a lot of sense when they’re installed in SUVs, where the bulk of the battery and extra electric motors can usually be accommodated without any loss in space and practicality. And because these higher-rising, convenience-first cars continue to be hugely popular with buyers, there’s a wide choice of contenders, from relatively affordable compact crossovers to higher-priced and higher-performance luxury machines.

These are our top 10 hybrid SUVs of 2024.

1. Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e

Pros: exceptional electric-only range, impressive digital cabin technology, lots of luxury cabin feel.

Cons: it rides and handles on country roads like the heavy SUV it is, and it's not cheap.

If it's the potential for lots of electric-only running that attracts you to the idea of a plug-in hybrid SUV - whether that be for what it saves you at the petrol pump or on your annual P11D form - there is currently one contender that stands out clearly from the field: the Mercedes GLC 300e.

Mercedes fitted a whacking great 31.2kWh drive battery to this car as part of its second-generation version: which would have been unusually large for a full-size luxury SUV, let along a mid-sized one. It makes the GLC 300e good for a claimed 83 miles of 'EAER' tax-qualifying electric range - and one of few cars in this list that'll get you a five-per-cent BIK qualification even if you lavish plenty of options on it.

The snag is, however, that this is a £65,000 SUV without options or any particularly lavish model trim. But it is a modern Mercedes SUV, which means it's not short of digital multimedia technology or luxury cabin feel.

The car's driven by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine working in tandem with a 134bhp electric drive motor. Weighing almost 2.3 tonnes, it's not the most dynamic drive in this list, struggling a little with vertical body control on country roads. But it's smooth and quiet whether running electrically or not; has decent electric-only oomph to match that electric range; and doesn't penalise owners with reduced boot volume, either.

Read our Mercedes GLC 300e review

2. BMW X5 xDrive50e

Pros: rides and handles really well, offers plenty of real-world electric range, has a smooth and powerful BMW straight six

Cons: there's no seven-seat option, and it trades a little bit of cargo space

A refreshed version of the BMW X5 landed in showrooms in 2023, and as before the star attraction of the plug-in version is its creamy smooth 3.0-litre straight-six, which works in tandem with an electric motor to give both a startling turn of speed and surprisingly low running costs. Given its head, this combination musters an impressive 485bhp, while the electric motor has enough urge to make the car feel brisk enough while mooching around. Speaking of which, thanks an enlarged 25.7kWh battery the X5 can travel on pure electricity for up to 66 miles, which is both nifty and allows the car to qualify for the UK government's 8% BIK tax bracket.

Inspite of the increase in kerbweight (this BMW causes the scales to creak under strain of 2495kg), the 50e drives as well as any BMW X5 there's ever been; and, for those who don't know, that's a high dynamic marker for a large SUV. It's polished, slick and refined, but also controls its mass well and handles neatly and with compelling poise for a big car.

Inside, cabin quality is good enough to compete with anything else on this list, and practicality is strong despite the fact that the packaging of the PHEV drive battery robs the car of its third-row seats, and a little of its cargo capacity.

Read our BMW X5 xDrive50e review

3. Kia Sportage PHEV

Pros: great value compared with other 8 per cent PHEVs, looks distinctive, impressive cabin quality

Cons: ride and handling are only okay

Cars with two engines rather than one, as well as enough drive battery for a significant amount of electric running, typically don't come cheap. It can also be tempting to look past the list price of a plug-in hybrid to its benefit in kind bracket, without realising the defining impact that former has on how much it may take out of your monthly pay packet.

And so, for PHEV to be really tax-efficient in 2024, it must offer a blend of electric range and value: which is precisely what the Kia Sportage PHEV does. You'll have to look long and hard for a family car as practical as this, that has more than 40 miles of lab-test-certified electric range and so qualifies for 8 per cent BIK, and that can also be snapped up for little more than £40,000.

The Sportage is a fairly compact SUV but offers adult-appropriate passenger accommodation in both rows of seats, and a robust and high-quality cabin. It can be bought with a 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain; as a 'HEV' full hybrid with only limited electric range and 'no plug'; or as a 1.6-litre PHEV with a certified 42 miles of electric range. The PHEV has the most power, and also better performance and drivability than the cheaper 'HEV'.

The Sportage's slightly anodyne handling is unlikely to excite you, but its styling remains really distinctive, and its ownership credentials are clear. If a fully electric mid-sized company car won't work for you, this might be the next best thing.

Read our Kia Sportage review

4Range Rover Sport P460e

Pros: low benefit-in-kind bracket, smooth six-cylinder petrol engine, enticingly luxurious cabin and ride

Cons: they start at £90k, and if you spend too much on options you might not end up in the wrong tax bracket

Now in its third generation, the most dynamic of all Range Rovers is, unsurprisingly, the best 'Sport' yet. At the heart of the car’s appeal is the brand’s latest plug-in hybrid drivetrain that combines a lusty turbocharged Ingenium 3.0-litre straight-six with a gearbox-mounted electric motor and very generous 38.2kWh battery.

The result is an impressive electric only range of up to 74 miles. That means, provided you don't put too many heavy options or big alloy wheels on your car, it could become the only other way in this top ten, along with the Mercedes GLC 300e, to get access to a five-per-cent BIK classification.

In terms of cosseting luxury there’s not a car on this list that can match the Range Rover, its spacious and opulent interior dripping in rich materials and the sort of slick tech that adds plenty of showroom appeal. On the move it’s nearly as quiet and comfy as its big brother, but the addition of four-wheel steering and active anti-roll adds an extra dimension of agility and driver engagement.

It’s not cheap, but the best things in life rarely are. A shoo-in for pride of place in the directors' car park, then.

Read our Range Rover Sport review

5. Porsche Cayenne

Pros: combines a low BIK rating with as much performance punch as you can afford, great cabin richness and digital tech

Cons: has the kind of pricing you might expect of a big Porsche, not quite as refined as some rivals

The Porsche Cayenne remains the segment's defining performance SUV. It has always offered knock-out performance powertrains, of course; but in this latest, 2024-mmodel-year, facelifted third-generation version, it puts at least as much emphasys on tax-savvy plug-in hybrid power, in order to keep the car relevant as a the high-powered business executive's status SUV of choice.