These are the Best Used Fuel-Efficient Three-Row SUVs According to Consumer Reports

Fuel-efficiency” and “SUVs” are two of the biggest buzz words in the current automotive marketplace. In turn, this makes finding the best used fuel-efficient three-row SUVs one of the most sought-after overlaps in the game. Consumer Reports has done all the testing so you won’t have to and found some wallet- and Earth-friendly 2016 SUVs that still have three rows. 

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe at the New York autoshow
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Getty Images

The 2016 Toyota Highlander is a killer and very fuel-efficient three-row SUV

It should come as no surprise that Consumer Reports found the 2016 Toyota Highlander to be a practical and fuel-efficient three-row SUV. The regular gasoline-powered 2016 Highlander is already pretty fuel-efficient at 21 mpg. However, the hybrid model brings in a stellar 25 mpg with help from its battery power. 

Inside The 2016 New York International Auto Show
The Toyota Motor Corp. Highlander sports utility vehicle | John Taggart/Bloomberg

While the 2016 Toyota Highlander is technically a three-row SUV, the second row is plenty roomy, but the third row is best left to smaller children. Consumer Reports was not overly pleased by how small the back row is on the 2016 Highlander, but the overall fuel efficiency is enough to glance over this cramped third row. 

The 2016 BMW X5 is super fuel-efficient for a three-row SUV

As with most performance-oriented vehicles, Consumer Reports didn’t love the 2016 BMW X5, but it is still on the list of most fuel-efficient three-row SUVs. The 2016 X5 claims a solid 21 mpg witch is extra impressive given its snappy powerplant. The X5 comes standard with a 300-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. 

BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV on display at Brussels Expo
The BMW X5 | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Most of these SUVs will be sluggish things, but the X5 has some real snap to it. Unlike some other three-row SUVs, the BMW X5 has an optional third row. This is partially why this one is unique in this list. Overall, the 2016 X5 is a good SUV, but Consumer Reports had some reliability reports and firm suspension issues. 

The 2016 Kia Sorento lands pretty high on the list

Consumer Reports notes that the Kia Sorento got a redesign for 2016, adding some new design elements and a larger SUV. This fuel-efficient three-row SUV got 21 mpg as per CR’s testing. The 2016 Kia Sorento is powered by a 290-hp, 3.3-liter V6 and is paired with a six-speed automatic.

The 2016 Sorento is quiet and comfortable while maintaining a crisp and agile steering profile. There isn’t anything luxurious about the 2016 Sorento, per se, but everything is as it should be. The seats are comfortable and supportive, interior materials are nice, and the controls are thoughtfully laid out for the driver and passengers. 

The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong option 

As far as fuel-efficient three-row SUVs are concerned, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is super practical. I doubt you’ll find many drivers that would rant and rave about how much fun their Hyundai Santa Fe is, but it is fuel-efficient, has plenty of room, and is comfy. 


The Most Reliable Three-Row Midsize SUVs According to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports says that from 2013-2018 the Hyundai Santa Fe offered optional third-row seating. The 2016 Santa Fe is rated at 20 mpg according to CR’s testing with the standard six-cylinder. The interior of the Santa Fe is expansive and comfortable. From the outside, these three-row SUVs do not seem to be this large, but everyone has plenty of room from the front to the rear.