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It’s no secret that the sales of compact SUVs have been increasing steadily in recent years, as individuals and families shift away from small cars or larger trucks for a vehicle that provides the best of both worlds. Fuel efficiency is a top priority for many when looking at compact SUV models. When one reviewing website made a list of the best compact SUVs based on their gas mileage, it came as no surprise to see the Kia Niro top the list. 

TrueCar’s list of ‘Best Compact SUVs by Gas Mileage

A red 2021 Kia Niro Touring model parked on an asphalt road near palm trees
A red 2021 Kia Niro Touring model | Kia America

TrueCar released a list of their top picks of compact SUVs that provide plenty of bang for their buck in fuel efficiency. The 2022 Chevy Trailblazer came in 10th with an estimated 31 mpg on the highway, and the 2021 Lexus NX came in ninth place with an estimated 29 mpg in the city, though its hybrid version brings home 31 mpg overall. In eighth came the 2021 Lincoln Corsair with a predicted 29 mpg on the highway, and the seventh-place spot went to the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek for its 34 mpg rating on the highway. 

The 2022 Hyundai Tuscon finished in sixth with its 29 mpg highway rating. In fifth place, we have the 2021 Honda CR-V, which delivers 32 mpg on the highway. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime and 2021 Toyota RAV4 came in fourth and third place, providing about 36 mpg and 34 mpg on the highway, respectively. The second-place finisher, the 2021 Ford Escape, is capable of 34 mpg on the highway. 

Lastly, the 2021 Kia Niro came in first place. According to TrueCar, the Niro provides incredible hybrid fuel economy that cannot be beaten. 

Why is the 2021 Kia Niro number 1?

Although the 2021 Kia Niro has been met with lukewarm reviews by many critics, the Niro is the most efficient compact SUV on the market when looking at raw efficiency. According to U.S. News, the standard hybrid model can get up to 46 mpg on the highway. The plug-in hybrid can get 46 mpg combined with gas and 105 MPGe with full electricity. Additionally, it can go a full 26 miles on just electricity before needing to switch to gas.

However, Kia didn’t stop there, as it also offers an all-electric Niro, which has 239 miles of range and gets 102 MPGe on the highway. None of the Kia Niro versions will provide a punchy or exciting ride, and the interiors of the Niro models aren’t particularly luxurious. Still, if fuel efficiency is the main priority for a prospective car buyer, the Kia Niro is a fantastic and affordable option. 

How does TrueCar make its vehicle selections?

TrueCar states that it uses cutting-edge data techniques to make their selections, deeming themselves a “data-driven company.” The site gathers data from consumer surveys, ALG industry research, and qualified data scientists to score several categories to make their vehicle selections. A few of these categories include comfort, performance, and of course, fuel efficiency.

These were factored in to determine which fuel-efficient and overall great compact SUVs belonged on this list. TrueCar looked beyond a simple mpg or MPGe metric for fuel efficiency, also factoring in how frequently the vehicle needs to be charged or refueled. 

TrueCar states that the site’s metrics help ensure their picks are as objective as possible to help consumers make more informed decisions and choose a vehicle that will work well for them. 


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