Can you have a true off-roading SUV and good fuel economy at the same time? During a time when gas prices aren’t favorable and it’s not unheard of to spend more than $100 at the pump, your off-road SUV could cost a lot to fill up. If you have one of the SUVs on this list, you’ve got a fighting chance of keeping some of that green in your wallet.
A qualifying difference between a crossover and an SUV
The list of the 10 SUVs with the best fuel economy comes from Gear Junkie, which qualified some differences for us. Instead of lumping all SUVs into one category, this list only has the body-on-frame 4×4 SUVs. This ensures you know you’re working with a vehicle made to tackle some of the toughest terrains while also offering you the highest level of fuel economy.
The top 10 list of fuel-efficient 4×4 SUVs
Now that we’ve qualified what types of vehicles we’re looking at, the models and their average mpg combined between city and highway driving are shown.
- Infiniti QX80 – 15 mpg
- Lexus GX460 – 16 mpg
- Jeep Grand Wagoneer Hurricane 510 – 17 mpg
- Toyota 4Runner – 17 mpg
- Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator – 18 mpg
- Lexus LX 600 – 19 mpg
- Ford Bronco 2-Door EcoBoost – 20 mpg
- Cadillac Escalade/GMC Yukon/Chevrolet Tahoe Duramax diesel – 22 mpg
- Jeep Wrangler 4xe – 49 MPGe
- Rivian R1S – 69 MPGe
What does this tell us about these off-roaders?
The two top-performing models are fuel-sipping hybrid and EV models. If you need more than 316 miles of driving range, the Rivian R1S is an SUV you’ll want to avoid. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a plug-in hybrid that offers the benefits of a gas-powered engine to go along with the electric battery pack, which allows you to drive for 21 miles on electric power. The gas engine is good for 23 mpg combined when the batteries are depleted.
If you’d like to avoid an electric-assisted powertrain, the GM trio uses a 3.0-liter Duramax turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine to offer reasonable fuel economy during your drive. The remainder of the list uses gasoline engines, which might be more to your liking.
Some crossovers offer the off-road credentials you desire
It’s not fair to some of the most capable crossovers to simply toss them aside and forget they exist. A handful of models deliver the off-road capabilities you want while bringing the fuel economy desired. Those crossovers are:
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe – 56 MPGe
- Ford Explorer Hybrid – 25 mpg
- Nissan Pathfinder – 23 mpg
- Hyundai Palisade/Kia Telluride – 21 mpg
- Dodge Durango – 21 mpg
- Land Rover Defender P400 – 20 mpg
Which of these crossovers has what you need?
Of this list of crossovers, the Grand Cherokee and Durango have the strongest reputation for capability. The Durango is one of the original large unibody crossovers in the market, offering up to 8,700 pounds of towing and the desired off-road capabilities.
Could one of the off-road SUVs bring the fun?
If you want an off-road SUV, you’re looking for some fun and adventure in the wilderness. With that in mind, most of the SUVs and crossovers on this list give you everything you’re looking for in a vehicle. The most popular are the Jeep models with the standard 4WD packages and a reputation for dominance on the trails. Of course, if you’re looking for something that’s not a Jeep, there are several other excellent options for you to find the SUV ready to deliver off-road fun and decent fuel economy simultaneously.
Next, learn more about the SUVs with the highest ground clearance in their class, or watch the reliable and efficient midsize SUVs in the video below:
This article was updated on 9/14/2022.