Buying an SUV typically means you have a family, you go on adventures (and not always to soccer fields), want to tow bicycles, or go on very long trips up and down the state you live in. For that, you need a host of things including reliability, tow capacity, power delivery, and just as important, optimal fuel efficiency. SUVs haven’t always had this in abundance, however, they are becoming more exemplary with each passing year and continue to prove themselves as well-rounded cars, appropriate for nearly all vehicle-related activities, or at least activities that require having a well-balanced vehicle.
We’ve focused on gas mileage in SUVs, and have compiled a list of the current most fuel-efficient vehicles (30+ mpg), all for near or less than $25,000 new, which you can count on dropping in a few years.
Honda’s CR-V has made great strides in the realm of decent gas mileage over the years, and as of 2017 is able to boast 34 mpg on the highway from its 2wd EX and Touring models. To obtain this stellar gas mileage you’ll need to purchase the turbocharged version of their 1.5-liter inline-four engine, but don’t worry as the price of this car sits at the edge of our limit at around $25,000.
Hyundai does well to put its own SUV into good MPG contention. The Tucson gets 32 mpg on the highway out of its Eco model, sporting a turbocharged inline-four 1.6-liter engine that produces around 175 horsepower. The Tucson has an MSRP of around $24,000. It’s a bit cheaper than the Honda, however, Hyundai is proving itself to be more than capable of producing well-balanced cars with decent performance.
Surprisingly one of the cheapest cars on this list is the Mazda CX3 Sport. It also has one of the higher mpg ratings on this list at 34 on the highway. It’s got a non-turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and only makes about 140 horsepower, but it’s a Mazda so the handling is probably optimal. As we said the MSRP is low and sits at around $19,960.
Honda has both the most expensive and the cheapest vehicle on this list, with the HR-V holding the latter position. That being said there are some differences between the HR-V and the CR-V. For instance, the HR-V’s 34 mpg highway rating is achieved via a non-turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four engine but makes less power at 140. As an interesting trade-off, Honda is essentially asking an extra $6,000 for a smaller turbocharged engine that makes about 50 more horsepower. If all you’re after is an SUV with good gas mileage, the HR-V seems the best choice. Otherwise, if you must own an SUV Honda and need passing power on the freeway, the CR-V is probably what you’re after. The HR-V has an MSRP of $19,465.
Whether you want a Honda, Mazda, GMC, or Hyundai SUV you basically can’t go wrong when it comes to mileage. These all get more than 30 mpg, which to be fair has been the case for at least a couple years however the ratings are going up, which means SUVs are only getting better fuel efficiency on an annual basis.
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