Vehicle shopping for many Americans has led to a showdown between a love for versatile SUVs and a need for excellent fuel efficiency. With recent innovations and the emergence of compact crossovers, the two are closer than ever to convergence.
A new breed of athletic and efficient crossovers and SUVs has flooded the market, making bigger vehicles available to consumers with long commutes, big families, or a love for the outdoors but can’t afford to spend an arm and a leg on fuel. While many full-size and midsize SUVs are still lagging behind, the smaller, more compact models are starting to rival compact and midsize cars in what they can achieve in fuel efficiency.
Edmunds has compiled a list of the 11 crossovers and SUVs that scored the highest average miles per gallon for this year. The publication chose to exclude electric vehicles from the list due to their limited range, which can make them an impractical choice in some cases. Some models on the list come with different powertrain options; Edmunds opted to include the model that employs the powertrain that got the most miles per gallon.
Here are the 11 crossovers and SUVs that achieved the highest average fuel economy on the highway, per Edmunds.
11. Ford Escape: 32 miles per gallon
Ending up in a tie with several other models by achieving 32 miles per gallon on average, the Ford Escape gets the honor of starting our list. The Escape is Ford’s smaller SUV offering, a little brother to its popular Explorer model. Ford has included its EcoBoost engines, which do an excellent job of getting the most out of every gallon of fuel. Loaded with technology and offering seating for up to five, the Escape is a sleek SUV that will get you where you need to go with your fuel budget intact.
10. Chevrolet Equinox: 32 miles per gallon
Coming in tied with the Escape (and others), the Chevrolet Equinox earns its place on our list by hitting the 32-mile-per-gallon mark. Chevy took it upon itself to ramp up the efficiency, space, and style in the Equinox, with seating for five in an athletic crossover chassis. Chevrolet engineers designed the Equinox for optimal aerodynamics to help get the best fuel economy possible. For shoppers looking for a highly versatile SUV with excellent fuel economy, the Equinox has emerged as a favorite of drivers across the country.
9. GMC Terrain: 32 miles per gallon
Another entry achieving 32 miles per gallon, the GMC Terrain makes a strong candidate for anyone looking for a new SUV. The Terrain was built to be tough, and the engineers at GMC have managed to couple that toughness with enough efficiency to make it a great choice for any commuter. Known for building strong vehicles, GMC brought the same attitude to the most compact vehicle in its lineup, allowing for towing and hauling not possible with other models in its class. For consumers looking for the ultimate blend of power and efficiency, the Terrain is a worthy contender.
8. Subaru Forester: 32 miles per gallon
The Subaru Forester is one of the most popular and fastest-selling vehicles around, and with plenty of space and fuel efficiency, it’s easy to see why. The Forester has become a pillar in Subaru’s lineup, and it has climbed the ladder in fuel economy to reach an impressive 32 miles per gallon on average. Lots of cargo room and a smooth driving experience are the two chief components behind the Forester’s success; a reputation of reliability doesn’t hurt, either. For an efficient and smooth-driving crossover, the Forester makes an excellent purchase.
7. Nissan Juke: 32 miles per gallon
The final entry on our list that hits the 32 miles per gallon threshold is the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Juke. With a fun name and an even more fun exterior, the Juke presents great fuel economy with a price tag of less than $20,000. Available in three model variations, the Juke offers a real opportunity to get exactly what you want out of your crossover. Nissan outfitted its compact SUV with the guts to get a solid performance, as well, no matter if you’re hitting the highway or headed up to the mountains. For shoppers looking for great fuel economy with a low sticker price, the Nissan Juke is a good choice.
6. Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Diesel: 33 miles per gallon
One of only two SUVs from a luxury brand to crack the top 11 is the Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK) GLK-Class Diesel, coming in at 33 miles per gallon. If sophistication is what you want from a compact SUV, the GLK-Class Diesel delivers. Although not the roomiest SUV on the list, this vehicle offers a driving experience that only Mercedes can deliver. A high-quality driving experience like this does come with a hefty price tag, though. But for luxury lovers who want the most out of their vehicle on the highway, the Mercedes GLK-Class Diesel is the ideal selection.
5. Buick Encore: 33 miles per gallon
The Buick Encore has been a favorite of car critics since its inception last year, and this small crossover really scores points with drivers looking for traditional styling and a classy exterior. The Encore is also great on the road, getting 33 miles per gallon on average every time it hits the highway. Consumers will be hard-pressed to find a more luxurious ride from a vehicle of this size, as Buick really put a lot of effort into making the Encore one of the most comfortable crossovers on the market. Loaded with interior features, the Encore is the consummate small SUV for the traditionalist driver.
4. Nissan Rogue: 33 miles per gallon
Nissan’s second model on our list is the athletic Rogue, a crossover getting 33 miles per gallon. The Rogue is a fitting choice for drivers who want lots of cargo space paired with an efficient engine. The Rogue can fit five people in its roomy interior, and it still has the pickup to get down the road behind 170 horsepower. Nissan set the price at under $23,000, as well, making the Rogue a true bargain for all that it offers.
3. Subaru XV Crosstrek – 33 Mpg
Subaru makes another appearance on the list with its new XV Crosstrek, hitting 33 miles per gallon. The popularity of the Crosstrek has been undeniable, as it has become the unofficial poster child of the small SUV boom sweeping the country. Lifting the vehicle up a bit and adding some very cool wheels, Subaru seems to really have struck a nerve with driving enthusiasts. It offers excellent off-road capabilities and plenty of room for the kids or outdoor equipment. For consumers hoping to hit the highways and head to the mountains or beach, this model is perfect.
2. BMW X1: 34 miles per gallon
BMW (BAMXY.PK) has put together a very impressive and efficient small SUV with its X1. Showcasing staples of BMW engineering like precise steering, fantastic suspension, and optional turbocharged engine, the X1 truly exemplifies what it means to be a sport utility vehicle. On top of all the great features, this crossover also achieves 34 miles per gallon on the highway. For luxury SUV lovers, the X1 is only rivaled by the Mercedes GLK-Class Diesel when it comes to fuel efficiency. For a comfortable and sporty ride, the X1 is a solid candidate.
1. Mazda CX-5: 35 miles per gallon
Topping Edmunds’ list of crossovers and SUVs with the best highway fuel economy is the Mazda (MAZDY.PK) CX-5. This crossover is truly the whole package, with excellent fuel economy, cargo room, and interior features, all at a sticker price of under $22,000. Topping all other SUVs and crossovers with 35 miles per gallon on the highway, the CX-5 is the perfect fit for drivers with a lengthy commute or sizable family. A charming and sleek SUV, the Mazda CX-5 makes the ultimate choice for eco-conscious consumers who want the most out of their vehicle.