SUVs typically aren’t the go-to choice for fuel-conscious buyers, but there are several affordable crossover SUVs that have good gas mileage in addition to providing the flexible cargo space, high seating position and car-like ride that make SUVs so attractive.
If you prioritize fuel economy over space, a subcompact SUV may be a good choice. The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 returns an EPA-estimated 29/35 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class. Additionally, test drivers report that the CX-3 is fun to drive and that its interior is constructed with high-quality materials.
The 2015 Nissan Juke also earns reviewer praise for its engaging driving dynamics, and its EPA-estimated 28/32 mpg city/highway nearly matches the CX-3’s fuel economy. The tradeoff for this efficiency is space, as the CX-3 and Juke trail many competitors in terms of cargo volume and rear-seat accommodations.
Stepping up in size to a compact SUV like the 2015 Honda CR-V will give you a roomier interior while still providing competitive fuel economy. At an EPA-estimated 27/34 mpg city/highway, the CR-V is near the top of the class in gas mileage, and it also has one of the more spacious cargo areas.
If you’re looking for both efficiency and fun, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a great choice, as it returns up to 26/35 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, and auto writers agree it has especially nimble handling for an SUV.
The redesigned 2016 Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV that offers both strong fuel economy for the class (EPA-estimated 21/29 mpg city/highway) as well as three rows of seating. Reviewers report that the Sorento’s third row is only suitable for kids, which is common in the class, but they like the cabin’s premium materials and easy-to-use infotainment system.
If you can live with only two rows, the redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano also earns very good fuel economy for a midsize SUV at 21/28 mpg city/highway, based on EPA estimates. Test drivers say the Murano has a serene ride and its cabin quality rivals that of luxury brands.
Large SUVs typically have more space for cargo and passengers than midsize SUVs, but tend to have worse fuel economy. Equipped with an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Ford Explorer returns an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class. Other large crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Mazda CX-9 provide respectable fuel economy of 17/24 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA.
If you’re willing to spend more money up front for a fuel-efficient crossover, consider a hybrid SUV. The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid returns an EPA-estimated 30/34 mpg city/highway, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid makes 27/28 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, and reviewers say it has a top-quality interior and quiet ride. More expensive luxury offerings include the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, Lexus RX Hybrid and Lexus NX Hybrid.
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