17 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — PHEVs — for first time owners

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are a great way to get a taste of electrified motoring without the range anxiety. The ability to travel set distances strictly in EV mode lets you choose when to drive emissions-free while the gas engine retains a car’s long-distance driving capability. The thought of a new car that runs on gas that’s also pluggable may seem complex but in reality, it’s fairly straightforward. Luckily, most PHEVs are easy to operate and have ways to help you drive more efficiently without adding extra complications. Here are 17 PHEVs currently on sale that are great choices for first-time owners.

Toyota Prius Prime

2021 Prius Prime Red 002
Photo credit: Toyota

The Toyota Prius Prime is quite possibly the best version of the iconic hybrid. You get exceptional fuel economy and EV mode capability thanks to a larger battery. Just like the standard Prius, the Prius Prime is pleasant to drive, perfect for daily commuting and road trips. The only sacrifice here is a smaller cargo area.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

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Photo credit: Hyundai

Available in three flavors, the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV splits the difference between the standard and all-electric variants. You get a generous EV mode range (29 miles per charge), long-distance capability, and a full suite of driver assistance and multimedia technologies to help you drive as efficiently as possible.

BMW 530e

BMW 530e
Photo credit: BMW

Recently refreshed, the BMW 530e got a nice power bump thanks to a bigger, higher voltage battery. Now, the system is rated for 288 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Like the rest of the 5 Series lineup, the 530e is more of a cruiser than the sports sedan it used to be, offering a comfortable ride and a quiet interior for those long drives.

Volvo S60 T8 Recharge

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Photo credit: Volvo

Volvo’s approach to performance-oriented powertrains is to electrify it. The 400-hp S60 T8 takes the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 and adds an electric motor to the mix. That gives you blistering straight-line performance in a compact sedan with an interior that epitomizes Scandinavian minimalism.

Honda Clarity PHEV

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Photo credit: Honda

Some hybrids, regardless of whether they have a plug or not, drive more like an electric vehicle. The Honda Clarity PHEV is one of them thanks to the way its powertrain operates. For most driving situations, the car relies on the electric motor while the gas engine acts as a generator charging the battery.

Kia Niro PHEV

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Photo credit: Kia

Need a PHEV that flies under the radar? Check out the Kia Niro PHEV. Unlike the standard model, the plug-in Niro gets a more powerful electric motor and a larger battery, allowing it to travel up to 26 miles per charge. You get a spacious cabin, too, thanks to its upright greenhouse.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

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Photo credit: Subaru

Leave it to Subaru to make a subcompact crossover with a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable in any season. The Crosstrek Hybrid takes the same formula as the standard car and electrifies it. That gives you the ability to drive short distances in EV mode while still offering up to 480 miles of total range.

Toyota RAV4 Prime

2021 RAV4 Prime Exterior 06
Photo credit: Toyota

With 302 hp combined, 600 miles of total range, the ability to travel up to 42 miles in EV mode, AWD, and a spacious interior, the Toyota RAV4 Prime checks off a lot of boxes. This crossover proves that you don’t need to compromise by going to an electrified powertrain. However, with Toyota only making a small number of units per year, get ready to fight dealer markups.

BMW X3 xDrive30e

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Photo credit: BMW

BMW’s popular X3 recently got an electrified powertrain option. This variant gives you a nice blend of power, efficiency, and practicality wrapped in a premium compact crossover. AWD is standard, too, giving the plug-in X3 all-season traction to get you through harsh weather conditions.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

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Photo credit: Chrysler

The plug-in Chrysler Pacifica remains a solid family vehicle that blends efficiency, long-range, comfort, space, and enough power to haul your life around. Recent updates have added more luxury features like quilted leather upholstery and pillows.

Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge

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Photo credit: Volvo

If you’re looking for a compact luxury crossover that’s quick, luxurious, and electrified but aren’t ready to fully commit to an EV, check out the Volvo XC60 T8. With a total output of 400 hp, you’ve got speed covered. Combine that with a minimalist yet tastefully designed interior featuring little touches like a glass gear selector, and you’ve got a utility vehicle that has its own unique identity.

BMW X5 xDrive45e

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Photo credit: BMW

An electrified powertrain takes the already compelling BMW X5 and takes it up another notch. Not only do you get 31 miles of EV mode range, but you also get more power, too. With 389 hp and 443 lb-ft, the X5 becomes a well-rounded midsize crossover that does nearly everything well.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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Photo credit: Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was one of the first plug-in hybrid crossovers in the mainstream segment. Unlike most hybrids, the Outlander PHEV drives more like an EV, utilizing its two electric motors extensively for motivation. Unlike the standard Outlander, the PHEV is only available as a five-seater.

Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring

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Photo credit: Lincoln

Are you looking for a plug-in hybrid luxury crossover with three rows of seating? Take a look at the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring. With 21 miles of EV mode range and 494 hp on tap, the Aviator’s powertrain is powerful and flexible. The best part? Its finely crafted interior exudes a truly American vibe.

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge

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Photo credit: Volvo

Volvo’s flagship XC90 may be the oldest vehicle in its lineup but it remains highly competitive especially in the 400 hp T8 guise. With a full tank and fully charged battery, this three-row luxury crossover can travel up to 520 miles making it a great choice for road trips.

BMW 330e

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Photo credit: BMW

BMW’s legendary 3 Series sedan offers great road manners and more interior space than its predecessor. It’s now offered with an electrified powertrain and like the larger 530e, makes 288 hp and 310 lb-ft. The 330e can also travel between 20 to 23 miles in EV mode depending on the drivetrain configuration.

Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered

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Photo credit: Volvo

Are you searching for an electrified performance car that’s also practical? Then the Volvo V60 T8 Polestar should be on your list. This 415-hp wagon gets adjustable dampers, revised steering, and suspension, and stickier tires to help it carve corners better. It’ll also travel up to 510 miles in total or 22 miles in EV mode.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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