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Hybrid cars have been streaming freely through the streets for years, but finding a hybrid truck or SUV is a whole different story. Hybrid pickups, especially, are in limited supply and the two that did make the top 10 list feature fabulous fuel economy but remain lacking in other areas. Hybrid SUVs fare a bit better in overall performance than the trucks, but they also typically remain in a high price range. The best aspect of both types of hybrid vehicles is their amazing fuel economy, which far outpaces their traditional engine counterparts.
The two trucks that make the list are cousins, both manufactured by General Motors and both sharing the same features and overall performance. One is a GMC and the other a Chevrolet. Both have shown improvements over the years since their debut.
#1 – GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid
Truck on down the road with a remarkable 20 mpg through the city and 23 mpg on the highway in the GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid. This pickup is a true hybrid, with none of the earlier “mild” hybrid configurations. The GMC Sierra Hybrid packs a punch with its electric acceleration. The truck can speed up to 30 mph on its electric boost alone.
Features included with the GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid include a 6 liter, V8 hybrid engine, four wheel drive, automatic transmission and the standard side and front airbags. Stability control and traction control are part of the mix, as are a host of interior electronics. The truck comes with a satellite radio, Bluetooth input, navigation system and MP3 player. Despite this truck’s true hybrid technology and notable mileage, Edmunds still has issues with the weak towing capacity and limited options.
#2 – Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid
The other true hybrid pickup on the list is the Sierra’s cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid. Standard features, safety features and mileage are the same, with 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg trucking down the highway. Edmunds also has the same complaints about both hybrid trucks, although the fuel economy may be enough to override those concerns for some.
Sports utility vehicle hybrids come in a wider selection than the two lonely hybrid trucks on the list. Their mileage is even more impressive than the pickups and a few are noted by Edmunds for their ability to tow a decent load.
#3 – Ford Escape Hybrid SUV
Escape to the city with an impressive 34 mpg in the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, which earns a notable 31 mpg on the highway. The SUV hybrid comes with a 2.5 liter, 4 cylinder engine, variable transmission and all wheel drive. Jazzy extras such as satellite radio, iPod input and Bluetooth are included, and you also have the option of adding a DVD player and navigation system. Standard safety features include front and side airbags along with stability and traction control.
Edmunds was most impressed with the entertainment extras and a vehicle option that allows for automated parking. Less impressive is the rear drum brake performance. Edmunds also complained about the rear seat’s inability to recline or slide, adding the seat is also tough to fold.
#4 – Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV
The Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV cruises through the city with an average 34 mpg, which decreases slightly on the highway to 31 mpg. Edmunds was particularly impressed by the Mariner’s drivetrain and high tech features, although it also noted the vehicle was a bit loud during quick acceleration.
The base model of the Mercury Mariner Hybrid comes with a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder hybrid engine coupled with a variable transmission and all wheel drive. The high tech features include a Bluetooth, iPod input, satellite radio and optional navigation system and DVD player. Airbags for the sides and front are part of the standard safety package, as are traction and stability control.
#5 – Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV
The Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV matches the mileage of the Mercury Mariner, with 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg for highway driving. It also matches the power of the Mercury. Couple the power with ample space in the comfortable interior and the Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV can give you a roomy and efficient ride. As with the Mercury Mariner, Edmunds was disappointed with the noise of the vehicle during quick acceleration.
Perks in the basic Touring model include an MP3 player and satellite radio along with its safety features of side and front airbags and traction and stability control. The list of basic features is topped off with a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder hybrid engine, all wheel drive and variable transmission.
#7 – 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
A V6 hybrid engine and three rows of seats set the Toyota Highlander Hybrid apart from a number of its hybrid SUV counterparts, but you may pay the price with decreased fuel economy. The Highlander Hybrid still merits a notable 28 mpg in the city and on the highway, which is only slightly lower than some of its competitors. The Highlander can also pack a passel of passengers with space for a total of seven of them in the handsome cabin. Edmunds warns passengers in the third row may be a bit cramped, but the second row seat has an adaptable design.
Satellite radio, Bluetooth, iPod input and optional DVD player and navigation system kick off the list of features for this all wheel drive SUV. The Highlander Hybrid has a 3.5 liter, V6 engine, all wheel drive, variable transmission, stability control, traction control, and airbags in the front and sides.
#8 – 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
Luxury is one of the main selling points of the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, Edmunds says, with a high end feel not always common in an SUV. The 4 wheel drive vehicle nets 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, a bit lower than other hybrid SUVs but still higher than many traditional non-hybrid models. The 3.0 liter, V6 hybrid engine combines with an automatic transmission, standard airbags, and stability and traction control for a trusty ride.
Edmunds also gave a nod to the SUV’s towing capacity, another uncommon hybrid vehicle feature. Interior perks include satellite radio, Bluetooth and iPod input. Edmunds’ complaints about the Touareg were the sponginess felt from the brake pedal and the lack of a third row seat.
#8 – Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Room for eight passengers and a V8 engine are key features that push the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid to the front of the line. The 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway aren’t bad, either. The Escalade Hybrid features a 6 liter, V8 engine, automatic transmission and four wheel drive, Edmunds reports, along with the standard traction control, stability control and typical side and front airbags.
A navigation system is included with the base model, as is a DVD player, Bluetooth, iPod input and satellite radio. Edmunds had a beef with the powertrain, calling it quirky, and was none too fond of the vehicle’s overall power or capacity towing.
#9 – Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUV
Towing fairly hefty loads with the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUV is a possibility, as is taking advantage of three rows of seats to fit in a load of eight passengers. The four wheel drive SUV gets 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg highway. It comes with a navigation system, iPod input, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. A DVD player is optional for the base model, although a regular slew of safety features are included such as standard airbags, stability and traction control.
The Tahoe Hybrid SUV comes with a 6 liter, V8 hybrid engine, an automatic transmission, and a well designed interior, although Edmunds found fault with the third row seat. Rather than folding it down for convenience, it must be removed if you need extra room.
#10 – GMC Yukon Hybrid
Like the two trucks on the list, the Yukon and the Tahoe share a parent company that produces vehicles that don’t fall far from the family tree. Edmunds keeps up its beef with the rear third seat for the GMC Yukon Hybrid SUV, which makes sense since the vehicle shares the same features and design as its Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUV cousin.
The same slate of base options and safety features are found on both the Yukon and Tahoe hybrid SUVs, especially the impressive cargo space and sufficient towing capacity. The mileage is also the same, with 20 mpg on city streets and 23 mpg when you hit the highway.