What all-wheel drive hybrid should I buy?

We are considering a hybrid and want all-wheel drive. Can you recommend three for us to choose from please?

Dick, Weston, Mo.

There aren’t too many hybrids with AWD to begin with, so we’ll give you the rundown of what’s out there. Available hybrids range from compact to full-size SUVs that fit different lifestyle and passenger-carrying requirements. You can’t really go wrong with any of them, unless you buy a compact hybrid SUV for a family of eight kids.

The Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute hybrids are all corporate siblings that share the same hybrid technology, as well as being very similar inside and out. All three are rated at 28 mpg combined mileage. These compact, five-passenger SUV hybrids have optional four-wheel-drive models that start at $28,225 for the Escape and $28,945 for the Mariner; the Tribute is only available in California, and it starts at $27,060.

Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid is a mid-to-full-size SUV with standard AWD. Starting at $33,700, the redesigned 2008 Highlander Hybrid is rated at a combined 26 mpg. There’s seating for five-passengers, with an optional third row that bumps capacity to seven. Much like the Ford hybrids, the Highlander has a corporate counterpart in the form of the upscale Lexus RX 400h ($42,680). The 2008 RX400h was not redesigned along with the new Highlander; it’s still based on the previous Highlander generation.

Last is a duo from General Motors: the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon eight-passenger hybrids, which are a step up in size and utility from the Highlander and RX 400h. The Tahoe and Yukon SUVs are full-size truck-based SUVs and have the towing capacity to match: 6,000 pounds. Mileage is a combined 20 mpg for the 4WD Yukon and Tahoe hybrids.

Also, check out our Top 10 2008 Hybrids article, in which Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder ranks hybrids by fuel savings compared to their non-hybrid counterparts; all of the above made it into the top 10.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on March 14, 2008 in Green/Hybrid Cars , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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