Hybrid power is no longer limited to small and unappealing commuters, and with almost every vehicle type these days available as a hybrid, electrified vehicles are more alluring than ever. And, as the technology becomes more readily available, many new hybrid vehicles have all-wheel drive as standard.
The all-weather traction benefits of an AWD system are hard to beat, and it’s become one of the defining traits of the crossover, SUV, and luxury car segments. Here is our take on the best hybrid all-wheel drive cars of 2022.
What sets hybrid vehicles with AWD apart from the rest? Here are some commonalities:
Under the hood: Electric assistance is the common denominator here, with hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars combining gas engines with electric motors and batteries. While PHEVs can be recharged by plugging into an outlet, regular hybrid cars don’t need to be recharged externally. Power is directed to all four wheels: electric motors upfront power the front wheels while an electric motor mounted to the rear axle to drive those.
Weight: Hybrid cars and other electric vehicles are generally heavier than their gas-powered counterparts by default, thanks to all the electronic gadgetry required. Those with AWD components are even more so. Hybrid cars with AWD are rather portly.
Pricing and features: Hybrid cars are usually on the pricier end of the spectrum but are also usually better equipped with features than base mdels. You can expect hybrid AWD cars to have all the benefits of mid-range models with good levels of comfort and convenience.
Fuel economy: The driving force behind hybridized vehicles is to lower fuel consumption and be better for the environment in terms of emissions. Hybrid cars should offer better gas mileage figures overall, although with PHEVs you will have to take charging times into account. The trade-off is the all-electric range available.
What to Consider When Buying Hybrid Cars With All-Wheel Drive
Before making the decision to purchase an AWD hybrid car, here are some advantages and disadvantages that may help you make the best purchasing decision:
Lower gas bills in the long run
All-wheel drive traction is a boon in adverse weather conditions
Smaller carbon footprint
All-electric range on AWD PHEVs is practical for those who don’t travel long distances daily
Outputs may be enhanced by added electrical assistance
Extensive battery and hybrid component warranty cover
Hybrid tech is available on most vehicles, from trucks and SUVs to convertibles
Certain plug-in hybrid cars qualify for tax credits in the USA
Performance can be negatively impacted by sheer weight or the drive for efficiency
Higher cost at the outset
Plug-in cars have long charging times and the range may be very short in some cases
Are AWD hybrids reliable?
The use of hybrid technology and AWD doesn’t directly correlate to reliability, despite the common belief that fewer moving parts mean fewer problems, or the converse - more electrical components mean more electrical problems. Hybrid cars come with extensive warranties that cover all the gadgetry, however.
What new hybrid cars with all-wheel drive are coming to the United States?
Toyota has announced the all-new Crown sedan for 2023, which comes standard with AWD across all three trim levels, with the top-end model getting an advanced version of the electronic on-demand all-wheel drive system. This setup uses a separate rear-mounted electric motor to drive the rear wheels when needed.
Can you take all-wheel drive plug-in hybrids off-road?
If properly equipped, an AWD PHEV is a good choice for off-roading for a few reasons: lots of torque is good for situations where you need low-end power to get over an obstacle; the near-silence on some EV modes means you can be in nature without disrupting it, and fewer emissions are always good for the outdoors.