Whether you study sales charts or simply glance at a supermarket parking lot, you will come to the same conclusion: SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in America. However, crossovers and truck-based utility vehicles don’t consume gas like their sedan counterparts.
In fact, if you look at the subcompact SUV segment, you’ll only find five models that do better than 25 mpg in real-world driving. That’s considerably worse than compact or midsize sedans, and with gas prices higher in every state in 2018, SUVs are becoming more expensive to operate.
As all-electric SUVs make their way to the U.S. market in 2019, consumers’ best bet for an economical utility vehicle will be a hybrid. These six models feature the best fuel economy on the current market, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
6. Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 27 mpg
The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is more performance vehicle than eco-warrior, but it does get solid fuel economy for its size and power (321 horsepower). Even with standard all-wheel drive, it got an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg overall. That’s 5 mpg better than the standard 2019 MDX.
5. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 29 mpg
Midsize SUVs aren’t known for their fuel economy, but the lone exception is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The 2018 model, which gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined, rated as the best midsize utility model for fuel economy in Consumer Reports tests. It’s also the only non-luxury hybrid in this SUV class.
4. Lexus RX 450h
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 30 mpg
At $45,995, the Lexus RX 450h doesn’t come cheap, but it does come in at a lower price and better fuel economy than the Acura MDX’s hybrid variant. In fact, it gains an mpg (30 mpg combined) over the Highlander with which it shares a platform. Add in the standard advanced safety tech and 308 horses and you can start making a case for the sticker price.
3. Lexus NX 300h
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 31 mpg
While the RX 450h can overwhelm car shoppers, the Lexus NX 300h takes a bit more to win over consumers at $38,535. This model comes in with considerably less thump (191 horsepower) and a slow 0-60 time (over 9.o seconds). What it does offer, on the other hand, is the best fuel economy for a luxury SUV this side of the Tesla Model X. At 33 mpg in city driving, it gets better mileage than the tiny Nissan Versa sedan.
2. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 32 mpg
As Toyota preps the all-new RAV4 and hybrid edition for the 2019 model year, consumers have yet to find anything wrong with the current model. Outside of the top three pickup trucks, no vehicle sells as many units as the RAV4 in America. At $27,385 for the hybrid edition that gets 34 mpg in city driving (32 mpg overall), you can make a strong case this model’s affordability, too.
1. Nissan Rogue Hybrid
- EPA fuel economy estimate: 34 mpg
No SUV can top the Nissan Rogue Hybrid’s economy of 34 mpg in 2018. This model, which also features a low MSRP ($27,020), competes with the RAV4 Hybrid on nearly every level. (Overall, Rogue barely trails Toyota’s compact SUV in sales.) Few people ever imagined they’d be getting 35 mpg in highway driving in an SUV, but that’s now possible with the Rogue Hybrid.