Top 5 Most Fuel Efficient SUVs

Crossover SUV sales are on the rise and just because they offer some of the benefits of a truck does not mean they need to be inefficient.

Indeed, the standard now for fuel economy among the best is nearly as good as some compact sedans.

Of course, with the exception of all-electric models, the top-performing gas-burning crossover SUVs do comprise quite the trade-off of 15-20 mpg compared to the most fuel-sipping hybrid sedans and hatchbacks in the 40- to 50-mpg range.

Thanks however to cheap gas (or not), many consumers don’t seem to let that compromise stop them as SUVs provide more cargo space and a more authoritative profile on the road.

Following are the top five most efficient vehicles sold. But first we’ll mention the Tesla Model X.

The large crossover deserves a note as the most energy efficient “SUV” sold in America, but being all-electric and priced at least doubly over the others, it is the odd vehicle among “fuel” efficient conventional and hybrid SUV.

2017 Honda HR-V – 31 mpg

Available in a CVT transmission or regular stepped-gear automatic, both versions of Honda’s CR-V are rated for 31 mpg.

Honda brought this non-hybrid compact crossover here in 2015 and it sits below the very popular CR-V, being based on the Fit platform and powered by the Civic’s 1.8-liter engine.

Weighing in at 3,100 pounds, the HR-V has decent get up and go from its 141 horses.

Rumors initially were it would be a candidate for hybridization, but to date those are unconfirmed by Honda which is otherwise moving ahead with electrified vehicles.

All wheel drive as well as front wheel driver versions make for a versatile formula, as does the respectable cargo space

Mazda CX-3 2WD – 31 mpg


A direct competitor to the HR-V, the car from the company that has resisted hybridization is of course another non-hybrid, but its fuel economy is alright.

Powered by a larger 2.0-liter engine with a tad more oomph, the Mazda is 150 pounds lighter than the HR-V, and has more engaging driving opersonality.

Utility and style are baked in, and a 4WD version, while rated 29 mpg, is also available.

Lexus NX 300h – 31 mpg


Based on Toyota’s RAV4 platform, the upscale hybrid serves up more go from the ES 300 h sedan’s 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, while maintaining the same mpg on paper as the HR-V and CX-3.

This of course is a much more upscale ride, replete with the “spindle” grille that says you have are someone a cut above, for those who buy into conspicuous consumption.

Otherwise, it does deliver refinement, more bells and whistles, and a luxurious interior and accoutrements one would expect in a mid-level luxury car starting around $40,000.

Available in a 2.0T non-hybrid also, the “edgy” styling is complemented by respectable road manners for an overall sporty package letting you in theory eat your cake and have it too. http://www.hybridcars.com/2015-lexus-nx-300h-hybrid-review/

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – 33 mpg

Available only in all-wheel-drive, the RAV4 is the alternative to the NX, it came a year after last year, and has jumped to the second-best selling hybrid slot due to what’s technically known as a fairly good bang for the buck.

Utilizing the same 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain as the NX, it’s prices a paltry $700 more than comparably equipped RAVs in conventional trim.

This said, it is very well equipped in better and best trim levels, so that extra padding is how Toyota makes it work, but ultimately it is a good deal, and good reason to go hybrid.

Included is Toyota’s all-wheel-drive that utilizes a rear electric motor not connected by any driveshaft to the front wheel drive portion.

Styling is handsome, and no different than the non-hybrid except for badging and minor details.

Nissan Rogue FWD – 34 mpg

Driven by a 176-horsepower, 2.0-liter hybrid powertrain, the FWD version of the Rogue edges out the mpg of the AWD version of the RAV4, and represents Nissan’s entry to this market just rolling out this spring.

The Rogue was already immensely popular, and don’t be surprised to see it compete closely with the RAV. A 4WD version also beats by 1 mpg the RAV.

Attractive styling, and useful interior design complement good road manners.

This and the RAV ought to be enough to pull Honda in eventually with a CR-V hybrid, as has been rumored, and they otherwise represent an opening of this segment.

Now if we can get more plug-in versions in the same form factor, that would be even better, but meanwhile, aside from the Model X, this is the best that you can get in terms of fuel economy.


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