Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are shaping up to be the future of personal transportation, but that future hasn’t arrived quite yet. A relative lack of public charging infrastructure means that electrics aren’t ready for prime time, at least not for drivers in single-vehicle households who want one car they can use for both city driving and longer out-of-town trips.
If you count yourself as part of that group but are nonetheless keen on electric driving, you can find the best of both worlds in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV.
A PHEV has a smaller battery with less electric range than in a BEV, but it’s backed up with a gasoline engine that takes over when the plug-in charge runs out, turning the car into a gas-electric hybrid. You may be able to do most of your daily driving on battery, but also take road trips anywhere you can find a gas station.
If you’re considering a plug-in hybrid to get into electric driving while avoiding range anxiety, here are the top five PHEVs with the most electric driving range for the 2022 model year.
1. 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime – 68 km
Considering Toyota’s more than two decades of selling gas-electric hybrid cars in Canada, you might be surprised to learn the RAV4 Prime is only the brand’s second plug-in model, after the Prius Prime.
Introduced in 2021, the RAV4 Prime is similar to the non-plug-in RAV4 Hybrid, but adds a larger battery pack that provides up to 68 km of electric driving range. Toyota’s energy consumption ratings are 2.5 Le/100 km in electric mode and 6.0 L/100 km in combined city/highway hybrid driving.
Not for nothing, Toyota says the RAV4 Prime’s 302 hp lets it do 0-to-100 km/h in six seconds, making it the company’s second-quickest vehicle after the Supra sports car. Toyota’s entry price for the RAV4 Prime is $44,990 in SE trim.
2. 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ – 61 km
The Lexus NX is all-new for 2022, entering its second generation as the brand’s luxury compact crossover model. Key among its new options is an NX-first plug-in hybrid powertrain whose 61 km of driving range puts it in second place on our list.
Plug-in power comes in the NX 450h+, which matches a 2.5L engine with battery power. Energy consumption estimates are 2.8 Le/100 km on battery power, and 6.0 L/100 km (combined) in hybrid mode. Lexus’s price for the NX 450h+ is $59,950.
3. 2022 Ford Escape PHEV – 60 km
Ford has offered a hybrid version of its Escape compact crossover before, but the current fourth-generation model, introduced in 2020, is the first to offer plug-in capability. Taking advantage of that gets you a promised 60 km of all-electric driving range before the 2.5L four-cylinder engine fires up to keep you moving.
Ford’s combined energy consumption estimates for the Escape PHEV are 2.2 Le/100 km when running on electricity, and 5.8 L/100 km in gas-electric hybrid mode. Total power output is 221 hp. Ford’s prices for the Escape PHEV start at $37,849 in SE trim.
4. 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – 51 km
Chrysler was ahead of the curve in the hybrid minivan category when it introduced the Pacifica Hybrid in 2017, the first-ever gas-electric minivan. In fact, it remains the only plug-in offering in the minivan segment; Toyota turned its Sienna into an all-hybrid lineup (without plug-in capability) in 2021.
The stylish Pacifica Hybrid derives 260 hp from its combination of a 3.6L V6 gas engine and dual electric motors, and promises 51 km of driving range with a full charge of its battery. Chrysler says its plug-in minivan gets 2.9 Le/100 km on electric power, and 8.0 L/100 km when the charge runs out and the gas engine comes on.
Among the Pacifica Hybrid’s 2022 updates is the ability to stream Amazon Fire TV through the van’s infotainment system to keep passengers occupied on long drives. Prices start at $54,995 for Touring L trim.
5. TIE: 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV – 50 km
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group has pushed hard into the electrified vehicle marketplace and now offers one of the industry’s largest selections of hybrid, electric, and PHEV models, when you add up those available from its Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands.
Among those is the new-for-2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, a plug-in version of the fourth-generation Santa Fe that debuted in 2019 and one of two vehicles that qualifies for a fifth-place tie on our list.
The Santa Fe PHEV is the most powerful version of this popular crossover, with 260 hp from its electric motor and 1.6L turbo four-cylinder engine. It promises 50 km of electric range, plus energy consumption estimates of 3.1 Le/100 km on electricity and 7.2 L/100 km in hybrid mode. Pricing starts at $44,999 in Preferred trim.
5. TIE: 2022 BMW X5 xDrive45e – 50 km
If Goldilocks happened upon a BMW dealership, she might declare the $78,990 X5 xDrive45e the “just right” version of this mid-size luxury SUV. The X5’s PHEV model takes the 3.0L turbo six-cylinder from the base model and adds battery power for a bonus of 54 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque, for totals of 389 hp and 443 lb-ft. The result is performance that splits the difference between the entry-grade xDrive40i and V8-powered M50i, while promising 50 km of electric driving on a full charge of the battery.
BMW’s energy consumption estimates for the X5 xDrive45e are 4.7Le/100 km on electric power, and 11.5 L/100 km when running as a gas-electric hybrid.