Hybrid SUVs are supposed to be the best of both worlds, right? They promise great gas mileage and the convenience of an SUV. But not all of them live up to the hype. Some of these so-called money-savers can end up being a total waste of cash.

From unreliable performance to sky-high maintenance costs, these hybrids can be more trouble than they’re worth. Let’s dive into 15 hybrid SUVs that you might want to steer clear of.

2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid


With a starting MSRP of $53,005, the 2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid is equipped with numerous amenities but disappoints in interior quality, predominantly featuring hard plastics. Its efficiency is also underwhelming for a hybrid, with its sole powertrain option not living up to fuel economy expectations. It sits at the bottom of U.S. News rankings alongside the Outlander PHEV, with an overall score of 7.5 out of 10.

Although slightly better in reliability with a 3.5 out of 5.0 from RepairPal, it’s still only 21st out of 32 SUVs. CarEdge suggests a 26.60% probability of significant repairs over the next decade, which is 5.10% poorer than average for its class, indicating a less reliable nature compared to peers.

2017 BMW X5 PHEV


Priced at $18,728 on the used market, the 2017 BMW X5 PHEV offers a range of powertrain choices, including a plug-in hybrid option. Yet, its allure is overshadowed by its lackluster reliability. This model has been criticized for faults across critical systems, including suspension, drivetrain, fuel mechanisms, and the climate control system. Consumer Reports has given it a bottom-of-the-barrel rating of 1 out of 5 for reliability.

RepairPal also echoes this sentiment with a 2.0 out of 5.0 rating. With an expected annual maintenance cost of $1,134 and an astounding $18,389 over ten years, this vehicle also has a very high 54.61% likelihood of major repairs, making it a potentially costly and unreliable choice.

2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV


Priced at $39,845, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV boasts a nicer interior but falls short in providing enough room in the third row and handling prowess. Maintenance costs are pegged at $519 yearly by RepairPal, with CarEdge estimating a ten-year outlay of $7,173.

Despite these costs, the Outlander PHEV only achieves a 64 MPGe efficiency rating, indicating that its performance may not justify the expenses in the long run, especially for those looking for a more economical and agile driving experience.

2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid


The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, currently valued at $11,964 used, delivers only marginal benefits over the standard gas model and comes with its share of issues. High upkeep expenses and regular mechanical failures are major drawbacks. It ranks 21st among 26 midsize SUVs on RepairPal due to these reliability concerns.

Owners can expect to shell out about $705 annually for maintenance, accumulating to $9,302 over ten years. There’s also a 26.05% likelihood of significant repairs during this timeframe, making it a risky investment for long-term reliability.

2023 Toyota Venza Hybrid


The 2023 Toyota Venza Hybrid, with a starting price of $34,620, has been criticized for its engine noise and limited storage space. It’s ranked poorly among hybrid SUVs by U.S. News, mainly due to its single powertrain choice that many find underwhelming. Over a decade, you might spend about $5,652 on maintenance, with a notable 16.08% chance of major repairs.

RepairPal estimates the yearly maintenance costs to be approximately $444, pointing to moderate upkeep expenses but overall disappointment in performance and versatility.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid


Priced at $15,806 on the used market, the 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid has earned a less-than-stellar reputation due to multiple issues. Notable concerns include malfunctioning airbags and frequent problems with the powertrain and electrical systems.

Despite a decent ranking of 6th out of 19 by RepairPal for its category, it’s expensive to maintain, costing around $1,007 annually with an expected $12,933 in total costs over ten years. The likelihood of encountering significant repairs during this period is a high 36.55%.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid


Starting at a used price of $18,735, the 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid offers quick acceleration and responsive handling but falls short with its technologically outdated infotainment system, placing it lower among its peers. Noteworthy are the recalls for issues such as the fuel feed hose and brakes, as pointed out by Cars.com, which could impact its appeal.

RepairPal predicts that the annual maintenance could cost around $597, while CarEdge suggests that owners might face total expenses of about $9,820 over a decade, which could make the cost of ownership higher than expected.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid


The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, priced used at approximately $21,827, has not fared well in terms of reliability. It earned a low reliability score from Consumer Reports at 1.0 out of 5.0, highlighting significant issues across various areas. A mere 61% of owners would consider purchasing this model again, citing problems with the engine, electronic components, and even exterior finishes such as paint and trim.

Consumer Reports reflects this sentiment with an owner satisfaction score of only 3.0 out of 5.0. Prospective buyers should be aware of its projected annual maintenance cost of about $600 and expect to spend around $8,721 on upkeep over the first ten years, according to RepairPal’s estimates.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid


With a used starting price of $28,688, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid shines in terms of safety, boasting a near-perfect 9.9 out of 10 score from J.D. Power. Nonetheless, it leaves room for improvement in interior aesthetics and performance, scoring only 6.6 and 7.6 respectively. The infotainment system also falls behind, failing to match the offerings of competitors.

It holds a quality and reliability score of 79/100 from J.D. Power. CarEdge projects maintenance costs at $7,155 over ten years and indicates a 21.05% chance of needing substantial repairs, pointing to potential unexpected expenses down the line.

2021 Audi Q5 Plug-In Hybrid


Priced at $32,894 on the used market, the 2021 Audi Q5 Plug-In Hybrid garners an average 7.5 rating from Edmunds but doesn’t quite thrill with its design or driving dynamics. The vehicle is critiqued for its conventional styling and less engaging drive. Ride quality is another drawback, as drivers report feeling every bump and dip in the road.

It scores a meager 65 out of 100 on J.D. Power’s scale for quality and reliability. According to CarEdge, the Q5 can be quite costly to maintain, with anticipated expenses of $12,068 over 10 years and a significant 36.25% probability of major repairs.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid


The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is priced at $29,750 and offers less than expected. It has earned a reliability score of just 3.0 out of 5.0 from Consumer Reports, ranking it poorly among its peers for the year. This model is troubled by problems in its in-car electronics and drive system, compounded by owner complaints about the car’s acceleration, engine noise, transmission issues, and unreliable battery.

J.D. Power’s score of 77/100 reflects these challenges. RepairPal estimates its annual maintenance costs at $426, with predicted total expenses of $7,951 over the first decade, making it a questionable investment.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid


The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid comes with a price tag of $34,300 but fails to fully satisfy many buyers. It has received a middling owner satisfaction score of 3.0 out of 5.0, and only 40% of purchasers believe it’s worth the cost. This model has been plagued by several recalls that affect its tow hitch harness, electrical systems, and seat belts, undermining its dependability.

Consumer Reports has pointed out these reliability issues, and with an estimated annual maintenance cost of $515, projected to total $8,056 over ten years as per RepairPal, the financial burden may not justify the purchase.

2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid


The 2022 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid starts at $52,060, but it may not be the wise investment it appears to be. Reports from owners highlight numerous issues, earning it the nickname of a costly driveway ornament. It scores an unimpressive 7.4 out of 10 on Edmunds due to its mediocre interior and poor fuel efficiency for a hybrid.

With expected annual maintenance costs of $732 and a forecast of $9,017 in expenses over the first ten years according to RepairPal, the economic advantage of owning this hybrid quickly diminishes.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa Romeo

Despite its initial allure with a starting price of $44,995, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale disappoints on several fronts. It borrows excessively from its less exclusive counterparts, diminishing its unique appeal. Further undermining its value is a disappointing reliability score of 2.0 out of 5.0 from Consumer Reports.

The absence of a center airbag also raises concerns about the vehicle’s commitment to safety, positioning it less favorably among competitors that offer more comprehensive safety features.

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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