Special Report

Most Fuel Efficient SUVs You Can Buy Today

Alexander-93 / Wikimedia Commons

Sport utility vehicles were once bare-bones four-by-fours sold mostly to off-roaders and outdoor adventure seekers. But in recent decades, SUVs – including both truck-based SUVs and crossovers – have gained traction with a broader market, outselling sedans in the U.S. for the first time in 2015, and accounting for over half of all new vehicle production in 2021. 

Generally, SUVs offer greater versatility, capability, and interior space than sedans. Historically, these advantages came at the expense of fuel economy. This is no longer the case, however. According to 2022 data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the average crossover SUV gets a combined 32.4 miles per gallon, and the average truck-based SUV gets 24.8 MPG – up from 24.3 MPG and 20.8 MPG, respectively, a decade earlier.

As gasoline prices have remained at historic highs over the past two years, fuel economy is top of mind for many new car buyers — and some SUVs can get far more out of a single gallon of gas than others. (Here is a look at the states with the highest and lowest gas taxes.)

Using EPA and U.S. Department of Energy data from fueleconomy.gov, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market. We reviewed over 500 available SUV configurations for the 2023 and 2024 model years, selecting the most fuel-efficient build for each nameplate and ranked them by the EPA’s estimated combined MPG. Each of the 36 nameplates on this list is available in a configuration that gets a combined 27 MPG or higher. EVs and plug-in hybrids were excluded from analysis.

For any vehicle, fuel efficiency is subject to a number of factors. Some of them are contingent on driving habits, but those related directly to the vehicle itself include weight, ground clearance, aerodynamics, drivetrain, and engine size. 

For each of the 36 SUV nameplates on this list, there is at least one available configuration capable of at least 27 MPG in combined city and highway driving. Some models on this list have a rating of over 40 MPG. Nearly half of these vehicles are hybrid, and the vast majority are classified as small SUVs. (Here is a look at the best selling vehicles in America.)

It is important to note that the MPG ratings used to rank these vehicles are based on the most fuel-efficient configuration available, and that many of these SUVs are also available with far worse gas mileage. The Toyota Grand Highlander, for example, ranks high on this list with two-wheel drive, a hybrid 4 cylinder engine, and a 36 MPG combined rating. However, the Grand Highlander is also available in all-wheel drive without a hybrid engine – a configuration that gets a combined 22 MPG.

Here are the most fuel efficient SUVs.

36. Ford Explorer

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 27 city; 28 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 6 cylinder; 3.3 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, rear
  • Vehicle class: Standard SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,650 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $38,355

35. Jeep Compass

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 24 city; 32 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,000 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $29,995

34. Lexus TX

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 27 city; 28 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.4 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Standard SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,400 per year; $2,250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $55,050

33. Mazda CX-50

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 24 city; 30 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 4-wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,650 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $31,675

32. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 26 city; 29 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 1.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,650 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $27,995

31. Mitsubishi Outlander

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 24 city; 30 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,000 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $30,015

30. Volkswagen Tiguan

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 24 city; 31 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,000 per year; $250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $29,855

29. Volvo XC40

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 27 combined; 24 city; 32 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,050 per year; $2,250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $37,445

28. Chevrolet Equinox

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 28 combined; 26 city; 31 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 1.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,950 per year
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $27,995

27. Mazda CX-5

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 28 combined; 26 city; 31 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 4-wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,950 per year
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $30,675

26. Subaru Outback

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 28 combined; 26 city; 32 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,950 per year
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $30,190

25. Mazda CX-30

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 29 combined; 26 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 4-wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,550 per year; $250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $24,325

24. Mercedes-Benz GLC 300

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 29 combined; 26 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, rear
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $2,200 per year; $1,250 more than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $48,250

23. Subaru Forester

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 29 combined; 26 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,550 per year; $250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $27,620

22. Buick Encore GX

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 30 combined; 30 city; 31 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 3 cylinder; 1.2 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,800 per year; $750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $26,895

21. Subaru Crosstrek

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 30 combined; 28 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,500 per year; $500 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $24,870

20. Chevrolet Trailblazer

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 31 combined; 29 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 3 cylinder; 1.3 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,450 per year; $750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $23,395

19. Hyundai Venue

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 31 combined; 29 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,750 per year; $1,000 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $21,135

18. Kia Seltos

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 31 combined; 29 city; 35 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,450 per year; $750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $24,665

17. Volkswagen Taos

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 31 combined; 28 city; 36 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 1.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,450 per year; $750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $25,450

16. Hyundai Kona

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 32 combined; 29 city; 35 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,400 per year; $1,000 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $23,475

15. Toyota Corolla Cross

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 32 combined; 31 city; 33 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,400 per year; $1,000 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $24,960

14. Nissan Rogue

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 33 combined; 30 city; 37 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: 3 cylinder; 1.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,350 per year; $1,250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $28,725

13. Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 34 combined; 36 city; 31 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,300 per year; $1,500 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $30,085

12. Lexus RX 350

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 36 combined; 37 city; 34 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,800 per year; $750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $49,750

11. Toyota Grand Highlander

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 36 combined; 37 city; 34 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Standard SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,500 per year; $2,250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $44,465

10. Toyota Highlander

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 36 combined; 36 city; 35 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,250 per year; $1,750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $38,015

9. Kia Sorento

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 37 combined; 39 city; 35 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,450 per year; $2,500 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $32,000

8. Hyundai Tucson

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 38 combined; 38 city; 38 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,400 per year; $2,750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $28,585

7. Ford Escape

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 39 combined; 42 city; 36 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: part-time 4-wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,150 per year; $2,250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $29,495

6. Lexus NX 350

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 39 combined; 41 city; 37 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,650 per year; $1,500 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $44,365

5. Toyota Venza

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 39 combined; 40 city; 37 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,150 per year; $2,250 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $36,315

4. Honda CR-V

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 40 combined; 43 city; 36 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.0 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,350 per year; $3,000 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $30,825

3. Toyota RAV4

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 40 combined; 41 city; 38 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 2.5 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: All wheel drive
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,100 per year; $2,500 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $29,625

2. Kia Sportage

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 43 combined; 42 city; 44 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,050 per year; $2,750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2023
  • Est. base MSRP: $27,615

1. Kia Niro

  • Best available efficiency (MPG): 53 combined; 53 city; 54 highway
  • Most fuel-efficient engine: Hybrid 4 cylinder; 1.6 liter displacement
  • Most fuel-efficient drive-train: 2-wheel drive, front
  • Vehicle class: Small SUV
  • Est. fuel costs: $1,000 per year; $4,750 less than avg. over 5-years
  • Model year considered: 2024
  • Est. base MSRP: $28,165

Methodology

To identify the most fuel efficient new SUVs on the market, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed fuel efficiency data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy-run site, fueleconomy.gov. We reviewed over 500 available SUV configurations, selected only the most fuel-efficient build for each name plate, and ranked them by EPA estimated combined MPG. Each of the 36 nameplates on this list is available in a configuration that gets a combined 27 MPG or higher. 

EVs and plug-in hybrids were excluded from analysis. For new vehicles with release dates before Oct. 4, 2023, we used 2024 model years. All other SUVs were ranked using data for the 2023 model year. Supplemental data on engine and drivetrain configuration and estimated fuel costs were also from the EPA and DOE. 

Estimated base price is from automotive industry publication, Car And Driver

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