The Compact SUVs With the Best Fuel Economy in 2018

Fuel economy isn’t just what the sticker says at the dealership. For starters, mpg-fixing scandals from Hyundai and (most famously) Volkswagen proved that those numbers may be manipulated by the automaker.

However, the bigger problem with fuel economy comes down to this: You have to drive carefully to get the best figures. Anyone who’s ever driven down an American road knows people don’t really drive that way.

So when you look at the EPA estimates for a vehicle you’re considering, take the figures with a grain of salt. Or, better yet, look at the fuel economy recorded in real-world testing to see what drivers managed during normal drives.

Consumer Reports, which publishes the mpg from extensive testing, delivers on this front. Here are the seven compact SUVs with the best gas mileage (not including hybrids) for 2018.

7. Jeep Compass

2018 Jeep Compass | Fiat-Chrysler
  • Overall economy: 24 mpg

At 16 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, Jeep Compass managed to edge out Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 in real-world testing. As with any Jeep, there are recalls and generally poor reliability to consider with this model.

However, based on fuel economy alone, you can pick worse in the segment.

6. Nissan Rogue

2017 Nissan Rogue
2018 Nissan Rogue | Nissan
  • Overall economy: 24 mpg

While there is a Nissan Rogue Hybrid (34 mpg) starting around $27,000, the base model ($24,800) is one of the hottest selling vehicles in America in 2018. Among compact SUVs, it holds its own at a combined 24 mpg in Consumer Reports testing.

This model did get a CR recommendation for 2018.

5. Mitsubishi Outlander

View of the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander driving through wooded area
Mitsubishi Outlander | Mitsubishi
  • Overall economy: 24 mpg

At 17 mpg in the city city and 30 mpg in highway driving, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander made the top five in a segment that’s 14 vehicles deep. Reliability and owner satisfaction scores weren’t impressive for this model, however.

The new Outlander plug-in hybrid (74 MPGe) is obviously the most economical model you can buy, though it’ll cost you.

4. Chevrolet Equinox

Chevy Equinox Redline
2018 Chevrolet Equinox | General Motors
  • Overall economy: 25 mpg

It might sound sad that a “compact” SUV getting 25 mpg overall is one of the best, but that’s the situation with fuel economy in U.S. cars these days. (Of course, plug-in hybrids and electric cars offer an alternative.)

Chevy Equinox doesn’t have the reliability ratings to be a recommended model, but it is economical.

3. Volkswagen Tiguan

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen
  • Overall economy: 25 mpg

Since it’s not a diesel and CR testers recorded 25 mpg overall in real-world tests, you can take these fuel economy numbers as legitimate. On the highway, Tiguan even managed 35 mpg.

Predicted reliability ratings (below average) kept this one from getting a recommendation, but the new, larger Tiguan does get good gas mileage.

2. Subaru Forester

2018 Subaru Forester | Subaru
  • Overall economy: 26 mpg

With standard all-wheel drive, great reliability scores, and 26 mpg in real-world testing, the 2018 Subaru Forester got Consumer Reports’ top rating in the compact SUV segment.

That figure included 18 mpg in city driving, which was second to only one vehicle.

1. Honda CR-V

2018 Honda CR-V
2018 Honda CR-V | Honda
  • Overall economy: 28 mpg

The 2018 Honda CR-V was the only compact SUV to hit 20 mpg in city driving. Meanwhile, it recorded an impressive 37 mpg in highway driving.

Great road-test scores and impeccable reliability make it one that got the full CR recommendation for this model year.

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