Tag Archives: hybrids

Toyota Prius lineup
Buying GuidesFeatures

Best PHEVs: The 7 top plug-in hybrid cars and SUVs of 2023

Plug-in hybrids make great transitional vehicles for people wanting to ditch gas without all of the potential hassles of living with an EV. They offer all-electric range and efficient hybrid operation when the battery power is exhausted, beautifully splitting the balance between green and serene urban commuting and gas-powered highway hauling. While they’re a bit more expensive than traditional hybrid vehicles, their electric range means that many people can own one without needing to stop for gas until the occasional Disney trip or day-long errand run says they should. Heck, the site’s founder even owns one!

That said, we’ve rounded up our favorite PHEVs for 2023 here. The models on this list offer great tech, upscale interiors, and solid performance. Care to take a look at the best plug-ins the market has to offer? Perfect. Then let’s get rolling.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Quarter View
Image: Chrysler
  • Starting price: $50,795
  • Horsepower: 260 hp
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 30 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 82 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 16 kWh
  • EV range: 32 miles 

Laugh all you want at minivans, but the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is genuinely one for the books. Interestingly, it used to be the only hybrid van on the block, but that changed when Toyota introduced the latest Sienna. But Chrysler beats it out with plug-in functionality and a surprisingly stout 32-mile range estimate. On top of that, it returns 82 MPGe and up to 30 mpg with its gas powertrain. The Pacifica Hybrid also brings comfortable minivan handling and confident-but-numb steering. 

Though aging, especially compared to its more recently updated rivals, the Pacifica Hybrid’s interior offers fantastic comfort and solid space for people and gear. Leather upholstery and heated front seats come standard, and the second-row captain’s chairs bring good padding and support. Chrysler uses Stellantis’ Uconnect infotainment system, which is easily one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces on the market. Even if it’s not the newest system to date, it rewards buyers with rapid touch response and a brainless-to-navigate layout that even our new editor-in-chief can attest to, having experienced many modern Stellantis/FCA vehicles. It runs flawlessly on the standard 10.1-inch touchscreen and brings wireless smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, USB inputs, and six speakers. 

Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV

Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in Front Quarter View
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl
  • Starting price: $42,410
  • Horsepower: 261 hp
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 33 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 76 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.8 kWh
  • EV range: 31 miles

The Hyundai Santa Fe was an all-new model in 2021 and gained a frugal plug-in hybrid powertrain last year. While not a performance vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, the Santa Fe Hybrid offers brisk acceleration and reasonably athletic handling. At the same time, it maintains easy-going ride quality and offers a quiet cabin. 

With the recent overhaul, Hyundai moved the Santa Fe in a more premium direction, giving it an upscale interior with excellent materials quality and handsome design. Hyundai’s infotainment tech is less complicated than many other brands’ systems, and it runs smoothly on the Santa Fe PHEV’s standard 10.25-inch touchscreen. Other standard tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, wireless charging, and HD radio.

Hyundai Tucson PHEV

Hyundai Tucson PHEV front quarter view
Image: Hyundai
  • Starting Price: $37,500
  • Horsepower: 261 hp
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 35 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 80 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.8 kWh
  • Range: 33 miles

The Hyundai Tucson was recently overhauled, which brought sharp style, updated hybrid functionality, and better tech. This SUV offers a smooth ride, solid acceleration, and a refined hybrid system that smoothly hands off between gas and electric components. All-wheel drive comes standard, and Hyundai opted for a six-speed automatic over a CVT here, which significantly improves drivability. At the same time, the SUV returns up to 80 MPGe combined and 38 mpg in gas mode. 

Regardless of trim, the Tucson offers a spacious, upscale interior with solid materials quality. There’s good head and legroom in both rows of seats, and passengers in the front enjoy comfortable buckets with good padding and support. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard, bringing wireless smartphone mirroring. Wireless charging, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth, and dual-zone automatic climate controls are also standard. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV front quarter view
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl
  • Starting Price: $60,360
  • Horsepower: 375 hp
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 23 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 56 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 17.3 kWh
  • Range: 26 miles

The Grand Cherokee 4xe was launched by Jeep following the success of the plug-in hybrid Wrangler. The SUV offers a decent all-electric range with energetic acceleration, though the transition between gas and electric powertrain elements can sometimes be awkward. Four-wheel drive is standard, and a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission helps the powertrain maintain smooth, quiet operation. And, okay, so it’s not the most efficient of this gathering at only 23 mpg and 56 mpge combined, but it sure packs a healthy wallop of power and torque, great for off-the-line jumps and highway passes.

The Grand Cherokee offers comfortable seating for up to five people. Jeep offers a range of upscale features, including leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, massaging seats, and a heated steering wheel. An 8.4-inch touchscreen comes standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six speakers, and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe PHEV on rocks
Image: Stellantis
  • Price: $60,360
  • Horsepower: 375 hp
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 20 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 49 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 17.3 kWh
  • Range: 22 miles

Surprised that this made it? Come on, now. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe has become America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid, and its powertrain delivers good acceleration with a reasonable all-electric range. However, like the Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain sometimes stumbles in the handoff between the electric motors and gas components. The Wrangler can also be a handful to manage on the highway, as its off-road suspension makes it feel busy and sometimes unsettled at higher speeds.

It must be noted that while the Wrangler 4xe is the least efficient member of this club, it may as well be a Prius among standard Wranglers, eking out a healthy 20 mpg and 49 mpge combined. Hey, after all, it’s still a big ol’ Wrangler, sculpted by a wind tunnel if the wind tunnel was out of service. But try going to Moab in a Corolla Cross.

The new Wrangler is much more luxurious and plusher than its predecessors, but this is still a rugged off-road SUV we’re talking about. Jeep did a good job at balancing materials quality throughout the Wrangler’s cabin, as there’s a mix of low-rent and upscale materials throughout. The SUV comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen running Uconnect infotainment software. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, along with eight speakers and Bluetooth. Higher trim levels get a larger 8.4-inch screen and navigation.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime XSE PHEV rolling shot
Image: Toyota
  • Price: $32,350
  • Horsepower: 220 hp
  • Torque: 139 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 48 to 52 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 114 to 127 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.6 kWh
  • Range: 39 to 44 miles

Toyota redesigned the Prius and its Prime plug-in variant for 2023, giving it a striking appearance overhaul that made it surprisingly attractive from a design standpoint. It doesn’t just look better, it’s also more engaging to drive, with more power and far better acceleration than the previous generation.

The plug-in powertrain provides solid acceleration and refined operation, and there are up to 44 miles of all-electric range on tap in the most efficient models (it varies on the wheel/tire package). Regardless of trim level and tires, Prius fans are in for one of the most efficient plug-ins by a vast margin and one of the most improved generations of Prius, period. And no better is that reflected than its cabin.

The Prius Prime’s interior feels more upscale and premium than in years past. Toyota implemented heavy updates to the infotainment system, making it easier to use and more intuitive. Front-seat space and comfort are both top-notch, but folks in the back seat may find a shortage of headroom because of the car’s sloping roof. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa functionality. 

Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 PHEV

Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV
Image: Volvo
  • Price: $58,495
  • Horsepower: 455 hp
  • Torque: 523 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 28 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 63 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 18.8kWh
  • Range: 36 miles

The Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 PHEV blends Volvo’s safety and luxury aesthetic with an advanced plug-in powertrain and great tech. The SUV delivers up to 36 miles of all-electric range, and acceleration isn’t wimpy by any measure. At the same time, the XC60 maintains a comfortable ride, though it’s not as athletic as some rivals. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends all that delicious, fiery power to all four wheels, and the stout powertrain operates smoothly in most situations.

Oh, did anyone mention this thing pushes 523 pound-feet? The Grand Cherokee 4xe sprints, but this is definitely a hard charger, with magazine-tested zero-to-60 runs in the low-four-second range and quarter-mile sprints in the high-twelves. For reference, that’s Mustang GT territory. But you’d never know from a mere glance at its opulent innards.

Volvo’s austere Scandinavian design gives the XC60 a calming, serene feel, and the materials are top-notch, no matter where you look. The front seats are supportive and generously padded, complementing a spacious back seating area that comfortably accommodates adults. Volvo moved to Google-based infotainment, which operates well on the 9-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

read more
Features

2023 Toyota Prius: Who’s laughing now?

“It’s not you, it’s me,” and “You’ve changed, Prius,” are phrases Toyota’s long-running fuel-saving car would hear if it could have human-like relationships. The car got a significant overhaul for 2023, which brought a striking styling update, improved powertrain and performance, and better tech across the board. Looking at the new and improved 2023 Prius, it’s a little frustrating that Toyota could have given us this car years ago, but we’ll have to settle for better late or never. 

Toyota offers the 2023 Prius as a traditional hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) or as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV variant, called the Prius Prime, has been a mainstay in the Prius lineup since it was first introduced in 2012. While it does have to be routinely connected to a charger, the 2023 Prius Prime delivers higher performance and up to 44 miles of purely electric range. In either case, depending on the configuration, the car brings up to 57 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway when the engine and electric motor are both in use.

The 2024 Prius hasn’t hit the streets yet, but we expect minor updates to the line, including a potential high-performance variant. Toyota made enough improvements to the car’s powertrain and styling that it’s reasonable to expect an enthusiast model with slightly more power and a more aggressive look, especially given its newfound popularity with modders.

2023 Toyota Prius interior

2023 Prius price, trim levels, mpg, and 0-60 performance

Toyota offers the Prius in several configurations and with all-wheel drive. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Prius Prime comes in sportier trims with a higher starting price and no all-wheel drive option. The tradeoff is that Prime buyers get up to 44 miles of all-electric range, meaning there could be extended periods without stops for gas, depending on the driver. 

Making up to 220 horsepower, we know the 2023 Prius is no slouch. But real-world performance is about more than just horsepower. Weight and torque also play an important role. Pushing 139 lb-ft of torque and a curb weight between 3097-3571 lbs, the Prius Prime can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 6.6 seconds while the regular Prius still manages a decent 7.

While those aren’t record-shattering numbers, the 2023 Prius’s 0-60 performance is a far cry from the 10.3 seconds of the 2012 model our Editor-in-Chief mentioned owning in his interview with Mag-X.

2023 Toyota Prius LE

  • $27,450 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 57 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius XLE

  • $30,895 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 52 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Limited

  • $34,465 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 52 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime SE

  • $32,350 
  • 127 MPGe
  • 44mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime XSE

  • $35,600 
  • 114 MPGe
  • 39mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

  • $39,170 
  • 114 MPGe
  • 39mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

The 2023 Prius is part of a sprawling car lineup from Toyota. The automaker also offers the Corolla as a sedan or hatchback with an optional hybrid powertrain. The Camry is also available as a gas or hybrid, and Toyota recently revived the Crown nameplate for use on a hybrid-only premium sedan. In terms of pricing, the Prius is more expensive than the Corolla and starts off a little below the Camry’s base price. 

Toyota has always done a decent job with value and offering a simple vehicle build process. With the 2023 Prius, buyers have a wide range of colors and options packages to choose from. Most popular features come with trim level selection, making the buying process much easier to navigate. The car also gets a load of standard safety equipment, including blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and much more. 

2023 Toyota Prius dashboard

Toyota hybrids: 2023 Toyota Prius vs 2023 Toyota Corolla hybrid

The Prius’ move upmarket with power and styling made it more compelling than the Corolla on paper, though neither car is remarkably exciting nor quick. The 2023 Prius delivers 194 horsepower, while the Corolla is limited to 138 ponies. Both cars get a continuously variable transmission and are available with all-wheel drive. 

Most versions of the Prius outperform the Corolla Hybrid on fuel economy. The most efficient front-drive Prius LE delivers 57 mpg in the city, while the Corolla Hybrid tops out at 50 mpg city. The Prius offers ten more cubic feet of cargo space than the Corolla, although both leave much to be desired in this department. 

Toyota has massively improved its technology offerings in recent years, and the new 2023 Prius gets the full benefit of the automaker’s latest interface. It comes standard with a standard 7-inch display or an optional 12.3-inch display, and the new infotainment system runs flawlessly on both. The Corolla also got a new interface for 2023, but its largest display is an 8-inch touchscreen. Both cars get upscale tech features that were considered luxuries just a few years ago. These include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital gauge cluster, and more. 

2023 Prius news

Toyota just got a new CEO after long-time leader Akio Toyoda stepped down from the position earlier this year. The company has been a public skeptic of the move to electric vehicles for many years. This has led Toyota to push forward with the development of hybrids and other fuel sources, such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The automaker’s first mass-market EV, the Toyota bZ4X, was plagued with delays and a recall early on but has reached the market with generally positive reviews.

The company has announced its plans to release ten new EV models by 2025 and said plug-in hybrids are the way forward with electrification. Toyota is working on new PHEV models with electric ranges of more than 124 miles, giving them several times the range of today’s most robust PHEVs. The automaker believes that PHEVs will be considered “practical BEVs” and hybrids will become the lower-cost alternatives while still saving fuel. 

At the same time, Toyota is in the middle of a modernization push with its truck and SUV line. The automaker overhauled its ancient Sequoia SUV and Tundra pickup truck last year and has begun releasing teaser images for the upcoming Tacoma refresh. 

read more