Update and Correction: High-ridin’, all-wheelin’ hybrids
The recent blasts of icy and snowy weather, which seem to have already dumped more frozen precipitation on Kansas City than we received all last winter, may have you thinking about switching to a vehicle with a higher ground-clearance and all-wheel drive (AWD). If you decide you need that capability, you can still benefit from fuel-saving and pollution-preventing gasoline-electric hybrid technology with the introduction of a hybrid version of Toyota’s* popular RAV4 compact crossover as of the 2016 model year. With an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 34 City/30 Highway/32 Combined, it handily beats every other new model on the market that offers power to all four wheels and a taller ride-height. It even beats smaller vehicles like the new class of subcompact crossovers.
If the RAV4 Hybrid doesn’t offer sufficient passenger and cargo capacity for your frequent needs, Toyota also offers an AWD Hybrid version of its Highlander midsize crossover, which is rated at 29 City/27 Highway/28 Combined.
If your eye wanders to the more luxury vehicles, Toyota’s Lexus division offers AWD versions of its compact NX (33 City/30 Highway/31 Combined) and midsize RX (31 City/28 Highway/30 Combined) crossovers.
And, if a brand-new car is too pricey (or too prone to depreciation), Ford offered two generations of an AWD Hybrid version of its Escape compact crossover from model year 2005 through 2012. The 2012 version received a rating of 30 City/27 Highway/29 Combined. The Mercury Mariner Hybrid offered a premium version from 2006-2011 and Subaru offered the Crosstek Hybrid for model years 2014-16, with the 2016 model rated at 29 City/33 Highway/31 Combined.
Whatever your style or price preference, there is a vehicle option to help you get around the cold streets this winter.
*This post is not intended to promote Toyota but is merely intended for informational use. If any other automaker currently offered an AWD or 4WD hybrid, we would’ve included it here. BMW does offer a plug-in hybrid version of its X5 crossover but that’s a different category and price-range.
Updated 2017 Feb 9:
Nissan’s introduction in January of an AWD Hybrid version of its small Rogue crossover (rated at 31 City/34 Highway/33 Combined) requires us to update our earlier “High-Ridin’, All-Wheelin’ Hybrids” blog post. It also reminds your blogger that Nissan introduced an AWD Hybrid version of its midsize Pathfinder crossover (rated at 25/27/26) for the 2014 model year, but it was discontinued for the 2016 model year. In addition, Nissan offered an AWD Hybrid version of its sportier Murano crossover (rated at 26/29/27) for the 2016 model year, but apparently has discontinued it for 2017. Finally, the company’s luxury brand, Infiniti, introduced an AWD Hybrid version of its QX60 midsize crossover for 2014, and it is still in production; the 2017 model is rated at 25/27/26.