Most Fuel Efficient SUV
There are a wide variety of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) on the market today. For those who want just a little more than a regular car, the small or compact SUV may be just about right. For those who need a lot of seating and want towing capability, the large SUV may be perfect. These are typically more expensive in price, but provide a lot more vehicle. You will find a wide variety of sizes, options and prices when shopping for an SUV. Many enjoy luxury when it comes to their vehicle, but for most of us, the cost of fuel still plays a significant part in which vehicles we decide to buy. With the rising cost of fuel, fuel efficiency becomes a much more important factor when choosing any vehicle. Outside of our home, the vehicles we purchase will normally be the second most expensive expenditure we will make. So it is wise to evaluate the fuel efficiency of an SUV before purchasing one. It is thought that fuel prices will soon exceed $5 per gallon, and already do in some parts of the country. But you may be asking, “What is the most fuel efficient 2012 SUV on the market today?” We will try to help you evaluate various SUVs to see which may fit your purposes the best.
In spite of the rising fuel costs, people still need, and desire the versatility of SUVs. The most fuel efficient SUV for you may not be the exact match for someone else. Your specific needs may be different as most family needs do vary from household to household. There are a number of reasons people want to buy an SUV rather than a minivan or station wagon. Often, there are a variety of reasons that motivate a family to purchase an SUV verses another type of vehicle.
Reasons People Buy An SUV
Many buy an SUV for its seating capacity in addition to the towing capacity that it provides. Many younger families enjoy taking the family on camping trips or trips to the lake with a boat or camper trailer. SUVs work well for this. Most SUVs offer at least five passengers seating; some offer a third optional row of seating. In addition to the seating capacity, an SUV provides more cargo space than station wagons. Even though the cargo area is normally taller than a station wagon, they may be shorter in length.
Others may like the added safety of having a larger vehicle on the road that is heavier built. These vehicles often sit up higher as well, offering more protection. Another reason people like an SUV is the ability to get around better in snow or even do more off-road driving. There are some cars that offer front wheel, or all-wheel drive, which could possibly outperform certain SUVs. Do keep in mind that with an all-wheel drive (AWD), you will lose some gas mileage.
When it gets right down to it, the primary reason most people purchase an SUV over a minivan, wagon, or full size passenger van is that they like the features or the look of the SUV. The SUV better fits their specific needs. Some of the compact SUVs get fairly decent gas mileage, so shifting downwards in size is probably a good option for many drivers.
When buying a larger SUV, such as a Chevy Tahoe or Lincoln Navigator, you have the added space that comes in handy, but sacrifice more on mileage. But on the other end of the spectrum, if you buy a small SUV, you may get excellent MPG, but can’t haul near as much stuff or as many people. If you buy a larger SUV, such as the Toyota Highlander, it offers a 3rd row seating hybrid SUV, which provides better flexibility for hauling additional passenger or cargo, but sacrifices a little more when it comes to MPG. This is where personal needs and economy need to find a good balance.
Questions To Ask Before Buying An SUV
Smaller SUVs will offer better fuel economy, but if you can’t fit your family into the one you choose, you will end up less than satisfied. Here are some practical questions to ask when trying to decide which SUV to buy:
What can we spend initially and monthly that will keep us within our budget? In today’s economy, most have to base their decision more on money than they may want. Most people get in the habit of spending everything they make; and more in many cases.
Do I need a new SUV or will a pre-owned SUV work for me? Remember that a new car will depreciate greatly as soon as you drive it off the car lot. It isn’t a bad idea to even purchase a nicer car that is a couple of years old with low mileage and a remaining warranty for much less than you would pay for a brand new SUV.
What all will I be using my SUV to accomplish? If you have several kids, it will probably be much more practical to purchase a larger SUV, and sacrifice a little more on gas mileage.
What are my specific needs for having an SUV? Will I be using it primarily for city driving, freeway, or both? This may determine if you should get a hybrid vehicle or stick strictly with gasoline. A hybrid car may save you on gas depending on how you drive.
Hybrid SUVs Offer Additional Fuel Economy
Hybrid powertrains are now also available in a number of SUVs. Ford was the first to introduce hybrids to the SUV market with their Ford Escape Hybrid. Other hybrids include the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, the GMC Yukon Hybrid, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, and a number of others. Some of these will be featured in this article as the most fuel efficient SUVs on the market. One thing to keep in mind with the hybrid vehicles is that although they offer better fuel economy, they also are considerably more costly when purchasing them.
Four Tips For Better Fuel Economy
There are four things you can do to generally improve fuel efficiency with any vehicle:
1. The first and foremost thing you can do is to purchase the right SUV for your needs. This will vary for each owner, so evaluate your specific needs before buying.
2. Second, plan out your travel in advance and combine as many trips as possible. Rather than driving back and forth across town, plan out your stops in a linear fashion. By doing more planning, you won’t zigzag back and forth as much; therefore you will cut down on your overall miles.
3. Third, drive in a more efficient way. Driving like your teenage son may cost you on gas mileage while driving more like your grandmother may stretch out those miles. What I mean is not to accelerate as quickly as you may be accustomed to doing. This especially is true when driving a hybrid.
4. Last of all; keep your SUV in good working condition. Have it serviced regularly. Regular oil changes will keep the engine running more efficiently. Check the air in your tires on a regular basis. With proper pressure, you will not only get better gas mileage, but will get more miles out of your tires. Also get your SUV aligned regularly and have the wheels rotated and balanced.
The following lists are comparisons of SUVs based on size. Not all SUVs were evaluated. These lists are based on several top models.
Most Fuel Efficient Compact SUV
Here are the top five small or compact SUVs when it comes to fuel efficiency:
The 2WD Nissan Juke comes in number one. This small SUV has a 1.6 Liter, 4 cylinder engine with an automatic (AV-S6) transmission, but requires premium fuel. For city driving, it delivers 27 mpg and 32 highway mpg, for a combined driving of 29 mpg. The MSRP is between $19,990 and $25,780.
The Chevy Equinox FWD comes in second with combined mpg of 26. Although its highway mpg is the same as the Nissan Juke at 32 mpg, city driving is rated only at 22 mpg. This 2.4 L, 4 cylinder, automatic 6-speed runs on regular gas. The MSRP is between $23,530 & $29,220.
The Kia Sportage 2WD,slightly edges out the Hyundai Tuscon due to a lower sticker price. This 2.4 L, 4 cylinder, automatic 6-speed gets 22 mpg for city driving and 32 mpg for highway driving, offering a combined mpg of 25. The Sportage runs on regular gas. The MSRP is between $18,500 to $26,900.
The Hyundai Tuscon 2WD has the same size engine and similar transmission as the Kia; runs on regular gas, and gets the exact same mileage. Its MSRP is between $19,145 to $24,995.
The Honda CR-V 2WD rounds out the top five compact SUVs. It too has a 2.4 L, 4 cylinder engine with an automatic 5 speed transmission. As to gas mileage, it gets 22 mpg city driving and 31 mpg on the highway with a combined mileage of 26 mpg. The CR-V also used regular gas. The MSRP is between $22.295 and $28,545.
Most Fuel Efficient Medium Sized SUV
The top five SUVs that fall into the medium sized range are:
The Ford Edge FWD surprisingly is at the top of the list. Highway miles average 30 mpg while city driving comes in at 21 mpg, for an average combined driving at 24 mpg. The Edge has a 2.0 L, 4 cylinder engine, with a 6 speed automatic transmission, and used regular gasoline. The MSRP is between $27,770 and $37,110.
The Hyundai Santa Fe 2WD SUV comes in third with combined driving of 23 mpg. This SUV used regular gas with its 2.4 L, 4 cylinder engine. It has a 6-speed automatic transmission. City driving comes in at 20 mpg while highway driving at 28 mpg. The MSRP sticker price is $23,225 to $29,225.
Although the Acura TL 2WD 3.5 L SUV used premium gas, it gets 29 mpg with highway driving and 20 mpg city driving for an average of 23 mpg. This SUV has a 6 cylinder engine with an automatic (S6) transmission. The MSRP ranges from $35,605 to $41,535.
Coming in fourth is the Lincoln MKX 2WD, averaging 22 mpg combined driving. The MKX has a 3.7 L, 6 cylinder engine with an S6 automatic transmission. It runs on regular gas with a sticker price of $39,545.
The Toyota Highlander 2WD rounds out the top five featuring a 2.7 L, 4 cylinder engine and a S6 automatic transmission. This vehicle also runs on regular gas. The MSRP is between $28,240 and $35,745.
Most Fuel Efficient Large (Luxury) SUV
Topping the list of Large fuel efficient SUVs is the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid 2WD. This vehicle has a 6.0 L, 8 cylinder engine with an automatic (Variable gear ratios) transmission. For a large SUV it still uses regular gasoline and gets 23 mpg highway miles and 20 mpg city driving, for an average combined mpg of 21. The sticker price on this SUV is $51,745.
The GMC Yukon 1500 Hybrid 2WD has the same features and same gas mileage as the Tahoe but offers a sticker price slightly higher than the Tahoe. It comes in at $52,165.
The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid – 2WD also features the same engine and transmission, and runs on regular gas. Due to some other amenities, the MSRP is considerably more, coming in between $73,850 and $83,295.
While the Chevy Suburban 1500 2WD offers more hauling space and passenger room, you lose some on mileage. This SUV has a 5.3 L, 8 cylinder engine with a 6 speed automatic transmission and also runs on regular gas. The MSRP is between $41,995 & $54,890. The Suburban only gets 21 mpg highway driving and 15 mpg city driving, for combined mpg of 17.
The Toyota Sequoia 2WD rounds out the top five large SUVs when it comes to fuel efficiency. The Sequoia features a 4.6 L, 8 cylinder engine with an automatic S6 transmission and also runs on regular gas. Mileage ranges from 14 mpg city to 20 mpg highway driving with a combined mileage of 16 mpg. The sticker price ranges from $40,930 to $58,580.
Now that you have some good data, start looking for the perfect SUV for you. Keep your eyes open in coming years for alternative fueled SUVs. Currently, a good alternative fuel for trucks and buses is natural gas. This year natural gas hybrid pickups are being introduced by at least two manufacturers. Soon, SUVs could be added to that list. With increasing gas costs, natural gas vehicles for sale are increasing in number.
Remember, finding the most fuel efficient SUV for your needs may not be the same as for other drivers. As your family varies in its needs and desires, finding just the right fuel efficient SUV may be unique to you. Good luck in finding the one that matches your family’s needs.