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In this report

Hybrid SUVs: Ratings of Sources

Total of 24 Sources
1. ConsumerReports.org
As of June 2011
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org purchases and tests vehicles, providing detailed information on the driving experience, ergonomics, reliability and owner satisfaction. The editors put hybrid SUVs in the same category as their gasoline-powered brethren, and therefore compare their fuel efficiency to more traditional alternatives. ConsumerReports.org accepts no advertising, which helps keep its ratings free from bias. You must be a subscriber to read most of these reports.
2. Edmunds.com
As of June 2011
2011 Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide
by Editors of Edmunds.com
Our AssessmentEdmunds.com has a wealth of information on all new models and has a reputation for being a reliable source for both information and first-hand reviews. The only hybrid SUV recommended in Edmunds.com's buying guide is the luxurious (and expensive) Porsche Cayenne. Editors note that the new Cayenne (standard and hybrid) has both improved performance and fuel economy.
3. Cars.com
As of June 2011
New SUVs
by Editors of Cars.com
Our AssessmentOnly three hybrid models make Cars.com's list of the best SUVs. The 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid, 2011 Lexus RX 450h and 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid are listed alongside gas-powered SUVs. Cars.com provides details and reviews on these and most other new models, making it a strong source for automotive information.
4. ConsumerGuide.com
As of June 2011
The Consumer Guide to 2011 Hybrid Vehicles
by Editors of ConsumerGuide.com
Our AssessmentThis article gives a brief overview of new hybrids available in 2011 and provides concise reviews that cover all aspects of each model. Editors test several hybrid SUVs alongside their gas-only counterparts, scoring each one against a class average on 11 criteria. No hybrid SUVs are given the highest Best Buy rating, but three models are given the slightly lower Recommended designation. These models include the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid, the 2011 Lexus RX 450h and the 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML 450 Hybrid.
5. IIHS.org
As of June 2011
Top Safety Picks 2011
by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Our AssessmentWhile in past years no hybrid SUVs earned a Top Safety Pick designation, this year three models make the cut for this insurance industry-backed nonprofit. The Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 450h earn the highest rating of Good in all tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety doesn't break out tests specifically for the hybrid variants of these models, but these hybrids are structurally the same as their gasoline counterparts.
6. SaferCar.gov
As of June 2011
5-Star Safety Ratings
by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Our AssessmentThis is the U.S. government agency concerned with vehicle safety and regulation, and it tests many new cars for crash protection. The agency overhauled its criteria for 2011, making tests more stringent, and fewer cars get top marks this year. No hybrid SUVs earn the full 5-star overall safety rating, though some fare better than others.
7. FuelEconomy.gov
As of June 2011
2011 Most and Least Fuel Efficient Trucks, Vans and SUVs
by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy
Our AssessmentThe Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy list the most (and least) fuel-efficient models every year and offer a specific list for trucks, vans and SUVs. The only model featured here is the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid, which posts the best fuel-economy numbers of any model in this list by a wide margin.
8. Car and Driver
As of June 2011
by Editors of Car and Driver
Our AssessmentCar and Driver has tested about half of the current crop of hybrid SUVs. Reviews are arranged by brand. Reviews from Car and Driver are generally comprehensive and offer valuable opinions on the overall experience, driving impressions and perspective on the competition. No hybrid SUVs made Car and Driver's yearly 10Best list.
9. Truck Trend
June 2011
Truck Trend's 2011 Best in Class
by Editors of Truck Trend
Our AssessmentIn their "Best in Class" ratings for 2011, Truck Trend editors name four models that also come with hybrid powertrains: the 2011 Toyota Highlander, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Volkswagen Touareg. The brief summaries of these vehicles offer a concise explanation of how they represent the top of their respective classes. Full and thorough reviews are available for these models as well, though not necessarily specific reviews of the hybrid powertrains
10. Automobile Magazine
As of June 2011
Green Car Reviews
by Editors of Automobile Magazine
Our AssessmentAutomobile Magazine provides full reviews of six current hybrid SUVs: the BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Lexus RX 450h and hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander, GMC Yukon Denali, Ford Escape and Volkswagen Touareg. Reviewers write in detail about each model, covering all aspects relevant to most shoppers. Automobile Magazine hasn't done any direct comparisons between hybrid SUVs, and therefore doesn't name any distinct favorites.
11. AutoblogGreen.com
As of June 2011
Autoblog Green
by Editors of Autoblog Green
Our AssessmentAutoblog Green, the alternative-energy focused version of Autoblog.com, has the current news and reviews related to hybrids, electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles and technology. Autoblog and Autoblog Green have tested several hybrid SUVs, including the 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid and the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6. Autoblog Green makes no overall top pick choices.
12. GreenerCars.com
As of June 2011
The Best Vehicles by Class
by American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Our AssessmentEditors pick the greenest choices in 2011 by vehicle class, including compact SUVs, midsize SUVs and large SUVs. The only hybrid SUVs to make the list fall in the large and midsize SUV categories. These include the General Motors triplets from Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, as well as the Lexus RX 450h. The Ford Escape Hybrid is notably absent. Scores are based on models with the highest fuel efficiency and lowest emissions.
13. CNET
May 12, 2011
Best Hybrid Cars
by Wayne Cunningham
Our AssessmentCNET is a technology-focused website that provides automotive reviews in addition to those for other electronic products. Unsurprisingly, these reviews have an emphasis on offered features and technology included in each vehicle. CNET lists the 2011 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid and the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid on its Best Hybrid Cars list.
14. TheTruthAboutCars.com
As of June 2011
Car Reviews
by Editors of TheTruthAboutCars.com
Our AssessmentThis website reviews cars expertly and thoroughly, but it has tackled only a few current hybrid SUVs. The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids both get full written reviews; testers say that their hybrid powertrains are superb, but that they're so overpriced nobody will buy them. The Lexus RX 450h gets only a short video overview, but the tester does recommend it. The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid gets a review as well, and the conclusion is that the diesel version is the smarter choice for those who want efficiency.
15. Kelley Blue Book
As of June 2011
Recommended Shopping Lists: Gas Mileage Champs
by Editors of Kelley Blue Book
Our AssessmentThe editors of Kelley Blue Book name three SUVs to their collection of "gas-mileage champs." The Ford Escape Hybrid, Lexus RX 450h and Toyota Highlander Hybrid make the list, and each receives a brief description of why it made the list. Each also gets a summary describing the model's entire line-up. These reviews include driving impressions, favorite features, and thoughts on the interior, exterior and standard equipment.
16. Autos.ca
As of June 2011
Test Drives
by Editors of Autos.ca
Our AssessmentThis Canadian website offers in-depth reviews of many models, including a handful of hybrid SUVs. While the models covered are for the Canadian market, they are nearly identical to their U.S. counterparts, so the reviews are still valuable. Reviews include the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid and more.
17. ConsumerReports.org
May 2011
Hybrids and Diesels: Do They Save Money?
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentThe editors of ConsumerReports.org address a question that many hybrid-car shoppers have asked themselves: In trying to save money, does purchasing a hybrid or diesel make sense? The editors analyze the costs associated with hybrid and diesel options -- most notably their higher base price -- as compared with the closest gasoline-powered equivalent. Depreciation, fuel costs, insurance, interest on financing, maintenance, repairs and sales tax are factored in as well. The conclusion is that while a few hybrids and diesels are likely to save the average consumer money, many will be more expensive to run than their gasoline equivalent. The only hybrid SUVs specifically covered with the data include the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid.
18. CarGurus.com
Sept. 10, 2010
Hybrid Cars: Not a Good Investment
by Editors of CarGurus.com blog
Our AssessmentCarGurus.com, an online automotive community that also operates a blog, concludes in this article that most hybrids don't save enough in fuel costs to overcome their higher base prices. Looking at the initial purchase price, lost value in terms of depreciation, and total gasoline costs, data show that on average, hybrids cost more than 25% more to own and operate than their nonhybrid counterparts. The article highlights that those interested in hybrids can maximize their savings by choosing a hybrid with a lower base price and larger difference in fuel efficiency when compared to the gasoline alternative. The article does specifically point out that the Ford Escape Hybrid makes a good choice, as it has much better fuel efficiency, lower ownership costs and moderate price differentials when compared with the gasoline version.
19. Edmunds.com
April 29, 2009
The Real Costs of Owning a Hybrid
by Editors of Edmunds.com
Our AssessmentThis article from Edmunds.com takes a detailed look at the cost differences between traditional cars and their hybrid counterparts. Editors discuss such potential costs as insurance, regular maintenance, fuel usage and price premiums. The conclusion is that some hybrids are capable of recouping their initial higher cost (particularly with the government tax incentives, which are unfortunately no longer available). The editors note that "much depends on the vehicle you choose, where you live, your insurer and your driving habits."
20. Motor Trend
April 2009
Rattle and Hum: Diesel and Hybrid SUV Comparison
by Edward Loh
Our AssessmentThis comparison takes a look at fuel-efficient luxury SUVs, one of which happens to be a hybrid (the Lexus RX 450h). The other vehicles are all diesel-engine models: the Mercedes-Benz ML 320 Bluetec, the BMW X5 xDrive 35D and the previous-generation Volkswagen Touareg TDI. While the Volkswagen Touareg TDI takes the first place slot in this comparison, the reviewer notes that if you're "spending weekdays in stop-and-go traffic and weekends roaming the urban jungle, than the value-laden Lexus may be for you."
21. Road & Track
June 8, 2009
Fuel-Efficient Cars -- 5 to Drive
by Jim Hall
Our AssessmentThe Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is the only SUV on Road & Track's list of five "intriguing" fuel-efficient vehicles. Reviewer Jim Hall likes that the Escalade Hybrid can tow nearly 3 tons, while pampering three rows of passengers and achieving city gas mileage "not far off that of a four-cylinder Toyota Camry."
22. About.com
Not dated
Research the Right Sport Utility Vehicle or Crossover Vehicle
by Jason Fogelson
Our AssessmentAbout.com reviewer Jason Fogelson tests drives SUVs and minivans, including a handful of models like the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. These models not from the 2011 model year are still very similar to their current versions, so the reviews are still relevant. The overall recommendation section is not up to date at About.com, so there are no top picks to speak of here.
23. Automobile Magazine
July 2009
Green: Comparison: 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2010 Chevrolet Equinox
by Rex Roy
Our AssessmentThis reviewer finds that there are many things to consider when looking at a hybrid SUV versus a relatively efficient gasoline-powered SUV. The reviewer tests a 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox back-to-back and compares the driving experiences, overall impressions and value. Though the test isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, the author says that even when considering just fuel economy, the Highlander Hybrid does no better than the slightly smaller and equally fuel-efficient Chevrolet.
24. PopularMechanics.com
Oct. 1, 2009
2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid Towing Test Drive: How Efficiently Do Hybrid Haulers Handle Big Loads?
by Larry Webster
Our AssessmentThis piece is a mix between a review and an informational article that describes what it's like doing heavy towing with a hybrid SUV. In this case, the hybrid SUV is the 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid, which is essentially the same as its current 2011 model. After a discussion of some of the hybrid's technical features and fuel-saving technology, the reviewer describes hooking up a heavy trailer and hauling it. The GMC Yukon Hybrid "performed as smoothly and comfortably as it did unladen" but returned only 14 mpg during the trip. That is 20 percent better than the 12 mpg efficient gas engines could get towing a similar load but certainly is nothing to write home about.

Hybrid SUVs and Crossovers Runners Up:

2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Base MSRP: $51,145 to $53,950

2 picks including: FuelEconomy.gov, Edmunds.com…

2011 GMC Yukon Hybrid Base MSRP: $51,610 to $61,770

2 picks including: FuelEconomy.gov, Edmunds.com…

2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Base MSRP: $67,700

1 pick including: FuelEconomy.gov, Car and Driver…

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