Not so many years ago, speaking the words "SUV" and "fuel efficient" in the same sentence would get you laughed at. One of the reasons so many people stayed away from these vehicles was due to the high cost of driving them. Sure, they are practical, comfortable, safe and just about everything else you could need in a vehicle, but who wants to spend their whole paycheck at the gas station every week?
Well, thanks to demand and concern for the environment, manufacturers are focusing their efforts on improving fuel efficiency, and some have been surprisingly successful. There are even some SUVs that probably offer better fuel economy than that old sedan you are still driving!
If the feisty styling of the Nissan Juke does not reel you in, then maybe fuel economy will. The turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4 can accelerate zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, and returns 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, as a front-wheel drive.
Those are unheard of numbers in a sport utility vehicle. Even if you opt for an all-wheel drive model with an automatic transmission, you are still looking at 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, or 27 mpg combined.
Kelley Blue Book has named the Mazda CX-5 the lowest cost crossover to own. Not only does it have a low starting MSRP, fuel economy is better than most hybrids on the road as well.
The base model in this compact crossover gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, and returns a class-leading 26/35/29 when equipped with a manual transmission. Even the 2.5-liter four-cylinder in Touring and Grand Touring return 25/32/27 as front-wheel drive, and 24/30/26 as all-wheel drive.
You really can have a sport utility vehicle that offers both impressive off-road capabilities and fantastic fuel economy. Its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder puts out 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque while yielding 23/28/25. Even as an all-wheel drive the numbers remain impressive at 22/27/24.
If you need a little more power, the GT gets a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 230 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque, but still returns 19 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway.
The sporty and modern exterior styling of the Buick Encore is enough to get anyone excited. Then, you melt into the comfortable seats and notice the luxurious vibe through the cabin. However what's under the hood is what is attracting a lot of attention.
The turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission to offer 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. As a front-wheel drive, Encore stands at 25/33/28, and all-wheel drive barely affects these numbers, as these models yield 23/30/26.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
This vehicle may look like an oversized wagon, but it offers the ground clearance of a crossover with standard all-wheel drive, fantastic off-road capabilities and a spacious cabin; this is an outdoor-lover's dream ride. Of course, a fuel-efficient package is the icing on the cake.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. With a five-speed manual you get 23/30/26, but if you opt for the CVT, these numbers become even more impressive at 25/33/28.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
You just knew Toyota would earn a spot on this list, right? The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is motived by a 3.5-liter V6 and three electric motors.
That’s all well and good, but let’s talk about gas mileage and efficiency. The motors all work harmoniously to deliver 280 horsepower, and can tow an impressive 3,500 pounds, all while returning 28 mpg combined.
Lexus RX 450h
Unlike other hybrid SUVs, Lexus actually gives you the option to choose between front and all-wheel drive powertrains.
RX 450h gets electric motors and a 3.5-liter V6 to deliver 295 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission.
Like Highlander Hybrid, this model can also tow 3,500 pounds. As a front-wheel drive, the RX 450h returns 32/28/30; all-wheel drive stands at 30/28/29.
Here is a crossover that drives like a sedan and returns the gas mileage of one too! The sDrive28i gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, delivering 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
This all-new model gets a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and a start/stop system to improve fuel economy. It accelerates zero to 60 mph in only 6.2 seconds, and yields 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for a very generous 28 mpg combined.
An article published on behalf of Katie Moss, is a freelance columnist-not-the-model-Kate-Moss-and review team member for Reviewitonline.net. She brings in-depth analysis and insight into the auto industry working as copywriter for an online web development company for auto dealers, as well as actively writing for a number of premiere websites in the field. If you’re looking for reviews on SUVs with the best gas mileage, look no further than suv.reviewitonline.net.