2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, March 2014Enlarge Photo
So you want a hybrid car, with its high gas mileage and maybe some all-electric running--but you also need all-wheel drive.
What are your options?
The question came to mind after testing the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, the small Japanese brand's first-ever hybrid, which comes standard with all-wheel drive just like every other sedan and utility vehicle in its lineup.
2012 Ford Escape HybridEnlarge Photo
One of the most popular AWD hybrids is no longer made. The Ford Escape Hybrid, sold from 2005 through 2012, offered AWD as an option, and roughly half of the 126,000 Escape Hybrids (and Mercury Mariner Hybrids) sold over eight years were fitted with it.
But Ford's new 2013 C-Max Hybrid hatchback and Fusion Hybrid mid-size sedan don't offer all-wheel drive, to the dismay of tens of thousands of Escape Hybrid owners looking to replace their aging utility vehicles.
Their selection, in fact, is surprisingly limited.
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
The hybrid Crosstrek is a "mild hybrid" that offers limited electric-only power, but offsetting that is a whole suite of upgrades to the suspension, handling, and noise suppression of the base Crosstrek.
It's a very nice car, but its gas-mileage gains aren't particularly impressive. It may not matter; Subaru will likely sell quite a lot of them anyhow.
It's also the least expensive AWD hybrid for sale, with a base price including delivery below $27,000.
2012 Audi Q5 HybridEnlarge Photo
Audi Q5 Hybrid
Audi's only hybrid offering is what we call in the car business a "unicorn," or a guy that almost doesn't exist.
We've only ever seen a single one at any kind of media event, and Audi is far more interested in talking about--and selling--its Q5 TDI diesel model (which we quite liked) as its fuel-efficiency headliner.
We can't comment on the Q5 Hybrid, because there's never been one available to test.
And we've never once spotted one on the street either.
2013 Lexus RX 450h road test, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2012Enlarge Photo
The Lexus RX really invented the mid-size luxury crossover vehicle, and it'll likely be replaced by a fourth-generation vehicle within a year or two. The hybrid model is a large part of its appeal.
When we tested a 2013 Lexus RX 450h hybrid in July 2012, we found it didn't quite live up to its gas-mileage rating of 29 mpg combined; we got 26.8 mpg. That's not an uncommon problem with hybrids, but anecdotally, it seems more acute among hybrid crossovers than sedans.
Nonetheless, the hybrid RX is a popular vehicle and a mainstay of the Lexus lineup.