You know the country needs to reduce its dependence on oil, and you want to do your part.  But with all the people and stuff you need to haul, your lifestyle just won't cram into a little hybrid, so you're stuck in your thirsty SUV, right?  Wrong. Automakers have begun producing hybrid SUVs and crossovers in large numbers.  While they can't quite match the mileage of hybrid cars, these sport-utilities can help put some breathing room back in your gas budget.

Picking the best hybrid SUV is easy with the U.S. News Rankings. We've taken hundreds of published reviews by professional automotive writers and distilled them into a ranking list of the best and worst hybrid SUVs.  Read on to find the one that's best for you.

Lexus RX 400h

Lexus RX 400h
MSRP: $41,280 - $42,680
MPG: 27 City / 24 Hwy

If it's luxury you want, the Lexus RX 400h will deliver.  Its performance is comparable to its gas-only Lexus RX 350 sibling and its interior lives up to the Lexus reputation for quiet luxury.  The only downside is the RX 400h's price -- it is far and away the steepest in the class. On the other hand, it's also the only luxury hybrid SUV on the market.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid
MSRP: $33,700 - $39,950
MPG: 27 City / 25 Hwy

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has plenty of room for anyone (or anything) you might need to carry.  Its third-row seat is actually useful and its ride is composed and quiet. Families will love its utility, but their accountants probably won't love the price -- this is another expensive one.

Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford Escape Hybrid
MSRP: $21,880 - $27,445
MPG: 34 City / 30 Hwy

The Ford Escape Hybrid earns its spot in the top three by combining the practicality and usability of the gas-only Escape with a fuel-sipping hybrid powertrain.  Reviewers like its muscular exterior and comfortable seats, but complain about bloated handling and the lack of stability control.

Mercury Mariner Hybrid
MSRP: $23,310 - $29,920
MPG: 34 City / 30 Hwy

As the upscale cousin to the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mercury Mariner hybrid has all the strengths (and weaknesses) of the Ford, but with a more refined interior.  Unfortunately, it has a larger price tag, too.  Still, reviewers love the complement of standard features.  But they're not as enamored with the Mariner Hybrid's sloppy handling.

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
MSRP: $49,590 - $52,395
MPG: 21 City / 22 Hwy

Saturn VUE Hybrid
MSRP: $25,370 - $25,370
MPG: 25 City / 32 Hwy

What the Saturn VUE Hybrid lacks in performance and amenities, it makes up for in price. While the VUE offers a relatively inexpensive way to get into a hybrid SUV, that may be all it has going for it.  Competitors offer nicer and more comfortable interiors, more powerful performance and more advanced hybrid systems, along with even better fuel economy.

What's Next? 

When considering a hybrid SUV, it may pay to sit tight -- several more, like the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid are slated to come to market soon.  Others, like the Saturn VUE Hybrid, are getting upgrades to their powertrains which should result in even better fuel economy.  If you're still on the fence about getting a hybrid SUV, check out our "Is Going Green Worth It?" feature.  We crunch the numbers to show you how long it will take for fuel savings to cover the extra up-front cost of a hybrid.  If you're not sure you need all the space of an SUV, check out our Best and Worst Hybrid Cars feature.  Or, you can check out our Best and Worst Hybrid SUVs photo gallery