Fuel-Efficient Used Compact SUVs Recommended by Consumer Reports

Since new cars are hard to come by these days, a reliable five-year-old compact SUV sounds like a good buy. Consumer Reports compiled a list of some good options for anyone looking to buy a used car.

2016 Toyota RAV4, a fuel-efficient used compact SUV

The Toyota RAV4 is a fuel-efficient used compact SUV
The RAV4 is a fuel-efficient used compact SUV | KovalevTASS via Getty Images

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 has been one of the top-ranked models consistently for years. Consumer Reports picked the RAV4 because of the reliability and hybrid options. 2016 was a refresh year for the Toyota SUV, which meant a quieter cabin, updated safety features, and a hybrid option.

The regular 2.5L engine got around 25 miles per gallon combined. A hybrid option offered around 31 miles per gallon overall. The RAV4 is practical and roomy for a compact SUV.

Price Range: $18,825 – $23,900

A luxurious used compact SUV: 2016 Lexus NX

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The 2016 Lexus NX 300h hybrid got around 29 miles per gallon when tested by Consumer Reports. The Lexus is definitely a bit sportier and more luxurious than the RAV4 but has some flaws elsewhere. The interior is small but has high-end bits like stitching that balance it out. CR suggests looking for a version with blind-spot warning to make up for the lack of visibility.

Two engine variants are available. A 2.4L four-cylinder turbo getting 235 horsepower and a 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid getting 194 horsepower. The overall reported mileage was around 24 miles per gallon.

Price Range: $24,625 – $27,375

The weekend warrior used compact SUV: 2016 Subaru Forester

The 2016 Subaru Forester is always on best used car lists for a reason. The Forester does it all while being reasonably affordable and getting good fuel economy. It gets an overall 26 miles per gallon from the 2.5L four-cylinder. Owner satisfaction is always high, and the reliability score is a respectable four out of five stars.

CR found the backseat roomy, and the blind spots were few and far between. It has some off-road capability and standard safety features others missed out on. It also is offered in a manual transmission.

Price Range: $15,550 – $19,850

A budget-friendly option: 2016 Mazda CX-5

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The 2016 Mazda CX-5 handles well and is still fun to drive for a compact SUV. In tests, the CX-5 got 25 miles per gallon overall from the 2.5L four-cylinder engine. While the ride was a bit rough and the cabin was loud, it was fairly reliable. Top trims included upgraded safety features, but the base-level trims missed out.

The Mazda CX-5 is versatile and budget-friendly enough to suit a lot of needs. While it might miss out on some of the creature comforts other SUVs offer, it still brings a lot to the table.

Price Range: $15,000 – $18,175

Old reliable: 2016 Honda CR-V

The 2016 Honda CR-V scored a five out of five for reliability. The CR-V is affordable, reliable, and within a reasonable price range. CR found it easy to park, and it did not compromise on the cargo space. The mid-2015 version received a refresh, so this is an updated body style with newer wheels. The 2.4L four-cylinder engine clocked 185 horsepower.

The Honda SUV came in at 24 miles per gallon overall, with an annual fuel cost of around $1,185. Look for one with extra safety features, if possible.

Price Range: $17,525 – $23,850

If you are struggling to find a solid fuel-efficient used compact SUV, perhaps one of these will fit your needs. Depending on what your priorities are, Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Subaru, and Mazda make some excellent options for every budget.