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Compact SUV Hybrids

I know there are several out there. While I’m not in the market for a new vehicle yet, when I am, it’ll probably be one of those. I currently drive a 2003 Chevy Tracker, and I’d want something similar in size to it. It’s a fun vehicle and I get about 22 mpg right now.

I don’t like cars, and the biggest SUV I’ve driven (my parents’ 1999 4Runner) is much too large for my taste.

So I was curious as to what people thought of the SUV hybrids out there right now, and if anyone knows what might be coming down the pike. It they’re really worth it yet.

I hope you like the Ford Escape. It is the only hybrid SUV that meets your criteria. OK, the Mariner and Tribute do, too but they are all the same truck. The Highlander is about the same size as the 4Runner and the GM trucks are way too large. That leaves the $40,000+ Lexus. Think Ford, or consider a non-hybrid truck.

In my opinion, the SUV hybrids’ fuel mileage advantage is so small that they are not worth it economically or environmentally. They’re typically more performance oriented than economy oriented-- for example the hybrid Highlander gets about the same mileage as the 4-cylinder version, but is high-powered like the V6 model. You’ll probably be better off with a little 4-cyl Rav4, CRV, Santa Fe or similar. Also, have you tried out any of the “crossover” vehicles out there like the Vibe/Matrix?

That’s what I was wondering about. It doesn’t sound worth it(mostly from a cost ratio), at least not until the gas mileage on them goes higher(gas prices are starting to hurt, but not enough to justify that kind of purchase just yet).

The crossovers do interest me a little, and I might check them out. I’ve also driven some kind of Pontiac crossover/small suv that had horrible visibility when checking your rear to the left. It was a rental car, and I was anything but impressed.

nods Okay, thanks!

I rented one of those recently also. Bad visibility is correct.

I absolute love small SUVs. From the Wrangler, to the Sidekick, to the RAV 4 I have now. I must admit, that they have their on road draw backs. I want my short wheelbase RAV 4 instead in a European diesel…they tested out great on line; lets beg Toyota for one. I would try a Jeep Diesel if I could trust them.

Toyota Hylander. But unless you do a lot of city driving you’d be better off getting the non-hybrid version.

Isn’t the Highlander about the same size as the 4Runner?

I’d suggest a stop at the local bookstore. There are numerous publications out there that compare and contrast new vehicles. My favorite is the Consumer Reports New Car Preview.

There are also numerous publications that review the new offerings and concept cars that the manufacturers are “showing”.

Not even close…Much SMALLER…The FJ is about the same size as the 4runner. Highlander is on the Camry platform.

The Escape will run up to 25 mph in full electric mode, according to ford’s website:

The electric motor is capable of propelling Escape Hybrid up to 25 mph on its own. But when extra power is needed - such as when accelerating or passing - it combines with the gasoline engine for maximum performance. The end result is V6-like acceleration and a sporty 155 horsepower.*

*For net hybrid system combined output of both gas engine and electric motor.

Right…my 4 Runner is mechanically similar to friends FJ which is enough shorter and stiffer to make the ride “crappy”. A good idea, but the FJ is POOR execution. I feel it will run it’s course unless they change the design and make it truely compact.

I have driven a 2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid for the past six months for work. Around 15,000 miles now. It’s a great car and the increased mileage is more than a gimmick.

Highway mileage isn’t spectacular, but it’s pretty darn good. I’ll get 27-33 at 70mph depending on wind and hills. At 75, that range falls to 24-27. At 60-65 on a flat road with little head wind, I regularly get 33. I’d say I average 29 on the highway depending on conditions.

City mileage is spectacular considering the utility and great high profile truck view of the road. If I’m in heavy stop and go traffic I can achieve 40 without the AC. I lve in a medium sized city where traffic moves pretty well most of the time, and I always run the AC in the summer. At 42mph with a traffic light or slow down every 0.5 to 1 mile, I get about 33.

I use my Mariner more on the highway than in town. I also use it heavily on 75 MPH highways ( hence, the 30k/yr usage pattern). My average combined mileage is around 28, and I don’t get as much advantage as a person who drives a lot in-town.

The little motor has plenty of power and an extraordinary amount of torque for accelerating and passing. I can pass on a two-lane at 70 mph in no time at all. The thing pulls at 70 as well as it does at 40. It passes and climbs better than a v6.

The lack of idle is peaceful and a great bonus. Waiting for a light to change is just a bit more pleasant.

It can’t haul a lot of heavy cargo like a truck. I’ve proven this by filling it with beer kegs and finding the handling safety to diminish. It drives and handles great with a medium to light load. It rides like or better than a car when it isn’t loaded with stuff. It is closer to a car than a truck when it comes to hauling a heavy load.

I love the comfort, the sync system, the power, the looks, the ride, and the ability to park. It parks like a medium sized car (only with a better view of the road). The mileage is better than a sub compact was five years ago.

It’s a great vehicle. I highly recommend it!