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SUVs today have better fuel efficiency than you might have guessed. Leaving aside today’s available all-electric SUVs, MotorTrend took a look at 20 of the most efficient gas-powered SUVs. They average excellent fuel efficiency of 55.5 MPG. There are two BMWs that make the list in the sixth and the 11th spots. Here’s a look at the efficiency of the 2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e and the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e.

The 2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e

The BMW X3 xDrive30e is the best BMW SUV on MotorTrend’s list of most fuel-efficient SUVs. The EPA rated it for 60 MPGe when running on electric and gas power. When running on just gas, it’s rated for 24 MPG. It has a starting price of $49,600. It has good handling and good predicted reliability. It also provides a roomy interior and “easy-to-use features,” says U.S. News.

The X3 is smaller than the BMW X5, and it places sixth on MotorTrend’s list. It’s a compact luxury plug-in hybrid SUV that has a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 with an electric motor. They’re paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain generates 288 hp, and it has 18 miles of electric-only range.

This SUV has a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It can be recharged in 3.5 hours with a level 2 public charger or a 240-volt outlet. With a 120-volt outlet, it takes 11.5 hours to fully charge, says U.S. News.

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e

Introduced for the 2021 model year, the BMW X5 xDrive45e is 11th on MotorTrend’s list. The EPA rated it for 50 MPGe when running on electric and gas power. It’s rated for 20 MPG when running on just gas. The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e has a starting price of $65,400, which is quite a bit more than the X3 xDrive30e. U.S. News likes that it has fast acceleration and good handling. It also sports a pleasant, high-quality interior and plenty of standard features. It has spacious seating, except for in the optional third row.

This midsize luxury plug-in hybrid SUV has a 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6 along with an electric motor. They’re paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain generates 389 hp, and it can go 31 miles on just electric power. This SUV can be charged in about five hours with a 240-volt outlet, according to U.S. News.

Other fuel-efficient compact SUVs

The Bayerische Motoren Werke AG white (BMW) X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV) is driven on to a stage on the opening day of the 89th Geneva International Motor Show
The BMW X5 xDrive45e | Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Out of the 20 SUVs on MotorTrend’s list of fuel-efficient SUVs, a number of them are compact SUVs like the highly efficient BMW X3. Both BMWs are more fuel-efficient than the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (18th place with 40 MPG), the Ford Escape Hybrid (17th place with 40–41 MPG), and the Jeep Wrangler 4xe (12th place with 49 mpg-e). Falling between the two BMWs are the Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid (10th place with 50 MPGe) and the Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 (7th place with 57 MPGe).

Four of the five that beat out the BMW X3 xDrive30e are compact SUVs. They are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (fifth place with 74 MPGe), Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring (fourth place with 78 MPGe), Toyota RAV4 Prime (second place with 94 MPGe), and the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (first place with 102 MPGe). In third place is the subcompact SUV Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid (90 MPGe). The highest-rated midsize SUV is the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring in eighth place with 56 MPGe.

If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient BMW SUV, check out the 2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e. If you need something a bit larger, the still efficient 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e might be just what you need.


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