In the past, the demand for space and room almost always came at the detriment of fuel economy and efficiency. Nowadays, this isn’t as much the case, as Edmunds.com set out to demonstrate with a list of the most fuel-efficient SUVs and crossovers for 2013.
Some entries on the list are corporate siblings, but even under different badges, we noticed that they garnered different ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency, as well. “Our list includes a couple of hybrids, but it’s dominated by the compact, gas-only crossovers that have proven to be strong sellers for automakers in recent years,” Edmunds writes.
“Our rankings are based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel,” the site continued. “Each vehicle’s placement is determined by its combined fuel economy rating. We used the EPA’s combined fuel economy formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating.”
That being said, here are the best bets for fuel and space-efficient vehicles in 2013.
12. GMC Terrain
As GMC’s smallest model, it’s no surprise that the Terrain gets the best mileage in the lineup, too. A capable 2.4-liter inline-four returns ample fuel economy for the degree of practicality that the terrain offers, especially when put into the gas-sipping Eco mode.
City: 22 miles per gallon
11. Chevrolet Equinox
The Terrain’s corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Equinox, is effectively a very similar car in a different package. Naturally, it gets similar figures to the GMC.
10. Ford Escape
Next is Ford with its hot-selling, redesigned Escape. Available in three different trims and with a menu of powertrain options including the 1.6-liter EcoBoost, there’s almost certainly an Escape for everyone.
9. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Mitsubishi’s compact crossover offering is easily one of the “sportiest” of the bunch, and it blurs the lines between what defines a crossover or a taller hatchback/wagon.
8. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
If space is as equally paramount as fuel efficiency, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid may be your best bet. It’s certainly one of the largest options, and its mileage is comparable to cars half its size.
7. Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC
Currently, the GLK Class is the smallest crossover/SUV offering in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, though this will change when the GLA is released. Though the normal gasoline GLK isn’t a complete slouch at the pump (19/25), the BlueTEC diesel version is the real fuel sipper.
6. Subaru XV Crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek straddles the fine, blurry line between car and crossover. However, there’s no denying that’s a practical vehicle, and the added ground clearance gives it that much more capability.
5. Buick Encore
The Buick Encore falls into the same realm as the Equinox or Terrain but offers a bit more fit and finish than its Chevy or GMC siblings, as well as improved fuel economy.
4. BMW X1
BMW’s smallest SUV/crossover is a new player, having only been introduced to the market this year. But it has already made its presence known, and it offers one of the best fuel economy-practicality ratios in the segment.
3. Nissan Juke
Say what you will about the Juke, but it certainly shows Nissan isn’t afraid to take risks. Polarizing styling aside, the Juke is a solid car underneath, providing a surprising amount of interior space for its small stature.
2. Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 hit the ball out of the park as far as fuel economy, styling, and space go. The Cx-5, despite its taller build, is as efficient than many cars smaller than it — or even more so.
1. Lexus RX 450h
Not surprisingly, the leading SUV/crossover for fuel efficiency is a hybrid. Based on Toyota’s Highlander, the RX 450h offers a more luxurious atmosphere and better highway mileage to help boost the Lexus to the front of the pack.