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Looking for a hybrid SUV: the choice is vast

November 18, 2022

SUV models as hybrids

The SUV market can be roughly divided into three segments: compact, medium and large. Also called a crossover, the compact SUV is essentially a small hatchback that stands higher on its wheels and has a tougher look. In this segment, you usually have less choice of hybrid models. On the contrary, a mid-size SUV is similar in size to a station wagon. This is where hybrid powertrains are more common.

Of all the SUV models, the large SUV lends itself best to a hybrid powertrain. That’s because a large SUV offers the most space to store batteries.

Types of hybrid SUVs

There are three types of hybrid powertrains: the mild hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid. A mild-hybrid has a small battery and an “Integrated Starter Generator” (ISG) that provides electric assistance. With a mild hybrid, it is not possible to drive fully electric due to the relatively weak engine, but the advantage is that the powertrain is relatively cheap and light. This makes the mild-hybrid powertrain ideally suited for compact SUVs.


The hybrid powertrain has a larger battery pack and a more powerful electric motor. You don’t need to charge it with a plug, as the car does that itself while driving and with the energy recovered during braking. This makes it possible to drive fully electric on small stretches, for example in the city.

Plug-in hybrid

The last category is the plug-in hybrid powertrain. This is the most versatile hybrid powertrain. In fact, a plug-in hybrid can charge itself while driving, but you can also charge the large battery pack with a plug. For an SUV, this is ideal because it allows you to further reduce consumption. In the case of the SEAT Tarraco PHEV – a large SUV with plug-in hybrid powertrain – you can drive up to 47 kilometers fully electric. That’s enough for many people to make the daily commute.

Which one should I have?

Which of the SUV models is right for you depends entirely on what you are looking for in a car. If you live in the city, you are best off with a compact SUV. If you often take the car on vacation, then again it may pay off to go for the medium or large SUV. It also depends on whether you can charge the car at home or at work. If you don’t have that option, then you’re best off with a mild hybrid or hybrid SUV.