Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, not to be confused with hybrid electric vehicles, have become increasingly popular in recent years as buyers look for more-efficient alternatives to conventional gasoline powered cars without having to make the jump to full electric vehicles. The problem is that with all the PHEVs on the market, it’s hard to know which ones to consider, so we’ve put together the list of the best plug-in hybrids for 2022 according to data from the EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov.
What Exactly Is a Plug-In Hybrid?
Similar to a hybrid electric vehicle (or HEV), a plug-in hybrid (or PHEV) features a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) that is paired with an electric drive system consisting of a battery pack and motor(s). For a PHEV, the battery pack is larger and more advanced than a standard hybrid, and likes its name suggests, the vehicle can be plugged into a charging station (either a Level 1 or Level 2 charger) to recharge the battery pack and provide an electric-only driving range; the battery pack in an HEV is recharged by recapturing energy during the vehicle’s deceleration and braking.
Plug-ins are great for those who love driving but hate paying for gas because drivers can go longer distances using less fuel. PHEVs also emit lower levels of harmful gases, thus reducing your carbon footprint. When considering a plug-in hybrid, keep in mind that some buyers can qualify for federal, state, and local tax credits and/or rebates.
Best Plug-in Hybrids of 2022
There are many reasons to consider buying a plug-in hybrid, but ultimately, it comes down to efficiency and convenience. PHEVs offer the all-electric driving range of an EV without the range anxiety, while delivering improved fuel economy compared to a standard hybrid. To show how diverse the current crop of PHEVs are, here are the best plug-in hybrids of 2022 in four of the most popular segments.
2022 Toyota Prius Prime
According to the EPA, the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime is the most-efficient PHEV for 2022 with fuel economy ratings of 133 MPGe and an all-electric driving range of 25 miles. Combining its electric and gasoline capabilities, the Prius Prime has a total driving range of 640 miles!
The Prius Prime uses the same engine (1.8-liter four-cylinder) and 71-horsepower electric motor as the standard Prius, and it upgrades to an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery that has a charging time of about two hours using a Level 2 charging station and less than 5.5 hours with a Level 1 charger. Toyota offers the Prius Prime in three trim levels (LE, XLE, and Limited) with prices starting at $29,865.
2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid
SUVs are, by far, the most popular vehicle segment, and the 2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is the best plug-in hybrid among SUVs in terms of efficiency. The Escape PHEV has an EPA-rated 105 MPGe to go along with an official EV driving range of 37 miles.
The Escape Plug-In features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 14.4-kWh battery, which has charging times of 3.5 hours with a Level 2 charger and about 10 hours with a Level 1 charger. Buyers can choose from three trim levels (SE, SEL, and Titanium) when shopping for an Escape PHEV with prices starting at $36,950.
2022 Lexus NX 450h+
When it comes to luxury brands, the 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ is the most efficient in this segment with an EPA rating of 84 MPGe and an EV driving range of 37 miles. Introduced for the 2022 model year, the NX 450h+ marks the first-ever plug-in hybrid for Lexus.
The new NX 450h+ uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor at each axle to return a net power output of 304 horsepower. The battery can be recharged in 2.5 hours using a Level 2 charger and 4.5 hours with a Level 1 unit. The all-new 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ is priced starting at $57,800.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
If you’re looking for a vehicle to haul your entire family, minivans are still the best tool for the job, and the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is America’s only plug-in hybrid minivan. The Pacifica is already one of the 10 best road trip vehicles, but the Pacifica Hybrid gets even better with an EPA rating of 82 MPGe as well as an EV driving range of 32 miles; this minivan is ready for any family road trip with a total driving range of 520 miles.
To create this family-friendly plug-in hybrid, Chrysler pairs the proven 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which takes just two hours to recharge using a Level 2 charger and more than 12 hours to recharge with a Level 1 charger. The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is available in three trim levels (Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle) with prices starting at $47,823.
Top 5 Reasons To Buy a Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle
Although there are many reasons to buy a plug-in hybrid, here are five good reasons to influence your decision:
- Electric vehicles have a long range.
- They can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- They have better fuel economy, which translates to lower costs at the pump.
- When driving a plug-in hybrid, you can help protect the environment
- Once your battery runs out, you’ll still have a gas-powered engine.
A plug-in hybrid provides many miles of range on road trips due to having both a gas motor and an electric motor. They are the perfect fit for people who are interested in purchasing an electric vehicle but still need the security of a full gas tank while traveling on longer journeys.
When you’re looking at a new hybrid vehicle, choose a model with high levels of reliability and safety. There are many excellent options for you to consider when purchasing a PHEV.
FAQs About Plug-In Hybrids
Which PHEV has the longest electric driving range for 2022?
With the ability to drive 42 miles on a single charge before the engine power kicks in, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 has the furthest all-electric driving range of any plug-in hybrid. The RAV4 Prime’s range is followed closely by the Volvo S60 Recharge and Volvo V60 Recharge, which both have EV driving ranges of 40 miles. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Ferrari SF90 Stradale and Ferrari 296 GTB both tie for the lowest EV driving range for a PHEV with the ability to go just eight miles on a single charge.
What is the most affordable plug-in hybrid for 2022?
While the Toyota Prius Prime is the most-efficient plug-in hybrid for 2022, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is the most affordable with a starting price of $27,895 including destination charges. This undercuts the price of the Prius Prime by almost $2,000!
What is MPGe?
To quantify the efficiency of a PHEV or EV, the EPA created the miles per gallon (of gasoline) equivalent, or MPGe, rating to show how far a vehicle can drive on 33.7 kWh of energy (that’s the amount of energy the EPA says is in one gallon of gasoline). In the case of the most efficient PHEV, the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime can travel 133 miles in combined city/highway driving using 33.7 kWh, which results in the 133 MPGe rating. The key advantage to using an MPGe rating is that you can equally compare a variety of vehicles head-to-head. Using the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid as another example, it’s easy to see that it is more efficient than the most-efficient EV, which is the 2022 Tesla Model 3 RWD rated at 132 MPGe.
Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals