A few decades ago, you could either choose between an economical, basic runabout or a larger truck with the fuel-efficiency of a boat - nowadays, an SUV with the best gas mileage figures is actually a possibility. Times have changed and there are a number of modern sports utility vehicles that offer space, pace, and thrifty consumption in equal measure.
Our reviews uncover the pros and cons of each so that you know exactly what you’re spending your money on. Where fuel-efficiency is concerned, you can find out about each car’s official mileage, how far they travel on a full tank, and how their economy matches up to the competition.
Our rankings of the most economical models is a carefully considered one, taking into account aspects that might not be top of mind for the average buyer. Even if affordability is your main priority, you will also want to know about available safety features, build quality, warranty coverage, and ride/handling. Our experienced team addresses all of these categories to help you with your decision.
With all the new technology available to us, cars now achieve never before dreamed of mileage figures. The advent of the hybrid powertrain has been a particularly impressive leap forward in this area. Thanks to this, heavier machines such as crossovers can travel further than small sedans could a couple of decades ago, though they’ll never be the most efficient machines of all time.
These more practical family haulers may never be quite as economical as their smaller contemporaries. However, it is still possible to reach over 100 miles per gallon in the combined cycle, but only a select few have managed this impressive feat, such as the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Kona EV, which get the top mpg in this rather broad segment. Still, their compact nature means they are not as practical. But, to claim they have the best gas mileage is a bit of a misnomer, since they run purely on electricity.
The majority of models on the market fall quite short of the top-rated all-electric forerunners. However, within this category, you’re unlikely to find any options that disappoint. There are some more honorable mentions, such as the Audi e-tron. While not reaching the 100 mpg mark, it is still our top scorer. Better still, in terms of range alone, is the Jaguar I-Pace. It achieves an EPA-estimated 80/72/76 mpg for city/highway/combined cycles; though it scores half a point lower overall in our books, it is near the top of the list of SUVs with good gas mileage.
But, mileage is not all there is to efficiency. Sometimes, just keeping costs down is enough. To this end, many automakers have equipped their more popular nameplates with MHEV systems. Their overall mileage has not been improved dramatically, but the cost of running them is much lower. Some noteworthy names include the acclaimed Honda CR-V and the ever-popular Ford Escape, which both still boast pretty good SUV mpg of 40/35/38 and 43/37/40, respectively.
If non-traditional automobiles are not your cup of green tea, though, there are plenty of great pure gasoline, or even diesel, choices out there. If the initial capital outlay is a prime factor for you, cheaper options such as the Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, and Mazda CX-3 still boast combined numbers of over 30 mpg. That is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
While not the SUVs with the best mpg figures, some worthy mentions include: