A Look at Today's Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs
Choosing an SUV instead of a sedan for family transportation used to mean a lot of compromise. Early SUVs were built on truck foundations – with heavy chassis, big engines, and blocky bodies that meant they were slower, heavier, worse to drive, and worse on gas than equivalent cars – though their truck roots made them better off-road.
These days, with very few exceptions, SUVs are engineered and built on the same principles as cars, and require very few compromises. They drive like cars, they are as responsive as cars, and most of them also get very car-like fuel economy, with city and highway ratings that are only a couple of MPG off equivalently-sized sedans.
Plus, with an SUV, you get increased ride height which makes them easier to get in and out of as well as better-able to tackle off-road driving; the versatility of a large hatchback instead of a trunk; and the option of all-wheel drive on most models. Below, you’ll find five of the most fuel-efficient SUVs currently available in America.
Completely redesigned for 2022, the Rogue is packed with features, and also best in class for highway fuel economy. You might expect that economy comes in a small package, but the Rogue has generous cargo space in the rear, and plenty of room in the front and back.
Tech is great, too, with three screens, one for the instrument cluster, one for the infotainment system, and a third for the heads-up display. Safety features include adaptive cruise control; automatic braking with pedestrian detection; blind spot monitor; lane departure warning; and back-up assists including a camera, cross-traffic alert and automatic braking. Small wonder that the Rogue is one of the best-selling SUVs in the country.
- Starting MSRP: $27,150
- EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 30/37
Hyundai calls the Kona an “SUV for the city,” and that’s actually a pretty apt description. It’s a roomy, versatile all-rounder with a naturally-aspirated 2-liter engine that produces 147 hp, more than enough for daily duties with front-wheel drive.
While all-wheel drive is available, we don’t think most buyers will miss the ability to go bashing rocks off-road on the weekends; instead they’ll appreciate the thoughtfully-designed interior, the standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, and the impressive 10-year warranty*. Want even better efficiency and lower emissions? There’s an electric version available too!
- Starting MSRP: $21,300
- EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 30/35
The Kia Seltos isn’t quite an SUV, but it’s a lot more than a hatchback – the very definition of “crossover.” It’s a great SUV for city dwellers, economical to run, and easy to maneuver despite its roomy interior. Driver assist technology is comprehensive, and includes lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, forward and collision assist with pedestrian detection.
We also really like the Kia’s interior, which in addition to having plenty of space for five, has a very premium feel, with features like an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.
- Starting MSRP: $22,480
- EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 29/35
Toyota Corolla Cross
We predict that the all-new for 2022 Corolla Cross will be a big hit for Toyota; the Corolla is, after all, the best-selling vehicle in the history of the world. This new compact crossover, based on the evergreen Corolla, offers the cargo space of an SUV with the comfort and ride quality of a sedan.
Choose from front- or all-wheel drive, pick a sporty or a luxurious trim, and you have an all-round great value, and one that delivers traditionally low Toyota fuel consumption and running costs. Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 gives you active cruise control, lane assist, automatic braking, pedestrian detection, and more as well.
- Starting MSRP: $22,445
- EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 31/33
Introduced in late 2021, the Taos compact SUV is the latest addition to the Volkswagen lineup and has quickly become one of its top-sellers. It’s not hard to see why. The Taos looks great inside and out, with a high-end, premium feel despite its relatively low starting price.
The Taos’ little turbocharged 1.5-liter engine produces a surprising amount of power, put to very efficient use by its eight-speed automatic transmission. And thanks to a long wheelbase, the interior is very spacious – much more spacious than you’d expect of something with such compact exterior dimensions. We also really like its high level of standard equipment, which includes LED headlights, a full digital instrument cluster, alloy wheels, and more.
- Starting MSRP: $23,495
- EPA Estimated City/Highway MPG: 28/36
*See dealer for limited warranty details.