formerly Ridgefield + Wilton Magazine
Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (pictured above)
Performance and fuel efficiency are not mutually exclusive. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid delivers Porsche’s legendary driving experience with the frugal fuel sipping of a boring vanilla economy car. Porsche has been refining their hybrid technology since 2010 and the refinement shows. Switching from EV mode to the hybrid’s combined 455 hp, when the twin-turbo V6 joins the party, is seamless and exhilarating. The steering feel and handling are textbook Porsche yet the ride is luxury car supple. The Panamera’s liftback design and folding rear seats open up a surprising amount of cargo capacity. I was even able to transport a set of wheels and tires. With the seats up, there is ample room for four adults and even five in a pinch. EPA economy is rated at 52 MPGe and an EV only range of 19 miles. Prices start at $109,000.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle
How do you make the best family vehicle even better? Make it a hybrid. Nearly four decades after creating the minivan segment, Chrysler’s latest generation is still a winner. The utility and flexibility of the interior is only matched by the comfort and drivability of the overall package. Plus, it looks pretty good, too. The optional PHEV adds improved fuel economy at 33 mpg with 32 miles of EV only range. For your daily duties, you might never need gas at all. My top line Pinnacle tester featured quilted leather and second row captain’s chairs; their plush lumbar pillows giving the interior serious Bentley vibes. The Pacifica has all the features minivan buyers want with cubbies, cupholders and slide-out bins galore. The third row Stow N’ Go seating and optional vacuum makes hauling all your stuff — and cleaning up after — a snap. EPA economy is rated at 82 MPGe. Pacifica Hybrid prices start at $48,400.
Toyota RAV4 Prime
One of the hottest selling vehicles over the last year has been this PHEV. Toyota introduced consumers to hybrids with the seriously polarizing Prius, but this compact SUV shows how far they’ve come with their hybrid tech. In addition to a class leading 42 miles of EV only range, the RAV4 Prime out accelerates most competitors, including its gas-only sibling. The RAV4 is a near perfect package, with a flexible interior, good ground clearance and an EPA rating of 94 MPGe. The exterior looks great and with 302 hp, no one is going to be making granola jokes about your new Toyota Hybrid. In spite of using most of that horsepower, I still saw 41 mpg combined during my week. Prices start at only $41,600.
KIA Sorento PHEV SX-Prestige AWD
If you are looking for a three row SUV, nearly every manufacturer has you covered. If you want a PHEV with your back row, the choices skew towards the higher end of the market. KIA bucks that trend with the excellent and affordable Sorento PHEV. The mid-size Sorento features a roomy interior with KIA’s easy-to-use controls and an attractive exterior. While most PHEVs use a CVT, the Sorento, like the BMW 330e, is mated to a conventional multi-speed transmission which makes it drive like a standard SUV. Plugging in at night gave me 32 miles of EV only range for local trips. But even on a trip using mostly the gas engine, I saw over 40 mpg. EPA economy is rated at 79 MPGe. Prices start at $49,000.
BMW 330e Sedan
BMW has so many unique models, it’s understandable if the 330e is not on your radar. Yet, considering the overall package, this is one of the best in their line-up. Available in either rear or AWD, the 330e may not be the fastest car in the stable, but it delivers enough of BMW’s legendary performance to make you forget it’s a hybrid. During my week with a 2022 330e—equipped with both the M Sport and Dynamic Handling packages—the steering feel, comfort, and handling made me look forward to every drive. Plugging the car in each night delivered 42 mpg in spite of my spirited piloting on Fairfield County’s best twisty roads. EPA economy is rated at 75 MPGe with an EV only range of 23 miles. Prices start at under $44,000.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
A hybrid Jeep seems like an oxymoron. Yet when Jeep introduced a hybrid Wrangler, it became an instant hit. With the Grand Cherokee 4xe, Jeep brought their hybrid tech to the full-size luxury SUV market. Packing a turbo I4 and a single electric motor, the PHEV Grand Cherokee delivers more power and torque than the Hemi V8! The EV to gas transition can be a bit rough, but there are no complaints when it comes to acceleration and overall performance. The 4xe retains all of the off-road prowess and interior features Grand Cherokee owners expect, yet without the penalty at the pump. My top-of-the-line Summit Reserve GC featured a camera with night vision as well as pedestrian and animal detection. I averaged 25 mpg for my week, compared to 17 on the last V8 GC I drove. EPA economy is rated at 56 MPGe and an EV only range of 25 miles. Prices start at $60,000.