Ranked

Ranked: 20 SUVs with the best gas mileage

A wide variety of vehicles makes up the list of the most fuel-efficient SUVs sold in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Shopping for a new SUV can be a chore. There's a lot to consider. Two or three rows? Small, medium, midsize, large? Hybrid or traditional powertrain?

When searching for a new SUV, buyers will often compare their fuel efficiency. The models on this list have the best combined gas mileage of any SUVs on the market today. The list consists of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrids. No plug-in hyrbids or all-electric models were considered. Scroll down to see all 20.

Click here to learn more about fuel efficiency.

2020 Ford EcoSport

2020 Ford EcoSport

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company​

27 mpg in the city/29 mpg on the highway
Most consider the Ford EcoSport to be underpowered for the American market but, that helps with its fuel efficiency. It comes standard with a 123-horsepower turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

25 mpg in the city/32 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport is celebrating just its third year in the U.S. As an international offering, it doesn't have the type of horsepower that will excite speedy U.S. drivers, but makes sense for markets with lower speed limits. It gets its power from a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a continuously variable transmission.

2020 Mazda CX-30

2020 Mazda CX-30

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

25 mpg in the city/33 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is the newest member of the Japanese automaker's family. The model comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an automatic transmission. The model is most fuel-efficient as a front-wheel drive crossover. All-wheel drive is available and when equipped it's competent off-road.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

24 mpg in the city/34 mpg in the city
In its last year before a complete redesign, the Mercedes-Benz GLA continues to return good fuel economy numbers. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and achieves 208 horsepower.

2020 Toyota CH-R

2020 Toyota CH-R

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

27 mpg in the city/31 mpg on the highway
The front-wheel drive 2020 Toyota CH-R is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman

Photo courtesy of MINI

26 mpg in the city/33 mpg on the highway
With its unmistakable Mini looks, the 2020 Cooper Countryman is instantly recognizable as being from the House that Cooper Built. The model's most fuel efficient engine is its standard turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that produces 134 horsepower.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

27 mpg in the city/33 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is known for its competence. Despite having standard all-wheel drive, the model is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs out there. It gets its power from a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Crosstrek comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Upgrade to the continuously variable transmission for more fuel efficiency.

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

27 mpg in the city/33 mpg on the highway
The two power plants buyers can get in the 2020 Hyundai Kona have nearly the same fuel economy numbers. The car comes standard with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose to upgrade to a 175-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

2020 Toyota RAV4

2020 Toyota RAV4

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

26 mpg in the city/35 mpg on the highway
Even without its hybrid powertrain, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is fuel-efficient. It comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The SUV's powertrain is complete with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Honda HR-V

American Honda Motor Co., Inc

28 mpg in the city/34 mpg on the highway
The front-wheel drive version of the 2020 Honda HR-V is most fuel-efficient. Each HR-V is powered by a 141 horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with continuously variable automatic transmission.

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Mazda CX-3

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

29 mpg in the city/34 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Mazda CX-3 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and achieves 148 horsepower.

2020 Hyundai Venue

30 mpg in the city/34 mpg on the highway/32 combined
The 2020 Hyundai Venue is the newest model inn the automaker's lineup and it's one of the most fuel-efficient. The zippy Venue has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission but is more fuel-efficient with a continuously variable transmission.

2020 Lexus UX

2020 Lexus UX

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

29 mpg in the city/37 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Lexus UX is nearly as fuel efficient as the UX Hybrid. It gets down the road thanks to a 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

2020 Nissan Kicks

2020 Nissan Kicks

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

31 mpg in the city/36 mpg on the highway
The Nissan Kicks has had the next-gen version of its engine (shared with the Versa) installed for the 2020 model year. Its better off the line now but still has just 122-horsepower coming from its four-cylinder power plant. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota

36 mpg in the city/35 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with two electric mothers and a battery pack. A continuously variable transmission completes the powertrain. It comes standard with front-wheel drive.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

35 mpg in the city/40 mpg on the highway
New for the 2020 model year, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a four-cylinder engine that produces 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Lexus UX Hybrid

2020 Lexus UX Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

38 mpg in the city/41 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Lexus UX Hybrid has more horsepower than its non-hybrid counterpart. It has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood and two electric motors that are good for 181 horsepower combined.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

41 mpg in the city/38 mpg on the highway
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is designed to be peppier and more fuel-efficient than that non-Hybrid RAV4. It has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that together produce 219 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission rounds out its powertrain.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

44 mpg in the city/37 mpg on the highway
The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid edges out much of the SUV field as one of the most fuel-efficient SUV out there. Completely redesigned for the new model year, the Escape Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor that combine to produce 198 horsepower.

2020 Kia Niro

2020 Kia Niro

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

52 mpg in the city/49 mpg on the highway
The Kia Niro's powertrain wasn't designed to blow anyone's doors off. It's made up of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission completes the powertrain, which achieves 139 horsepower.

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The Sakura is Nissan's newest EV.

Nissan

It's no secret that the Japanese get all manner of quirky, cool cars that we don't see here in the States. Sure, there's the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Delica van, but tiny vehicles like kei cars and "minivehicles" are popular imports for Americans looking to diversify their drives. Pint-sized kei cars are ripe for electrification, and Nissan did just that with its new Sakura EV, which comes almost a year after the automaker announced it was working with Mitsubishi to develop tiny electric models. It's one of dozens of new EVs slated to come from the Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renaul Alliance this decade.

Though tiny, the Sakura offers a decent top speed of 80 mph, and its range of around 112 miles could make it an ideal urban runabout for many. That said, there's little chance the car will come to the United States. Japan's minivehicles and kei cars are far smaller than anything currently on sale here. For example, the Sakura's 133.6-inch length makes it almost 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, a car that Americans would consider minuscule.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura borrows features from the Nissan Leaf, including its battery.Nissan

Nissan borrowed the Sakura's 20-kWh battery from the Leaf and says it can be used to provide power for external devices or even power a home for up to a day. The car comes with three driving modes to change the behavior of things like regenerative braking and throttle response, and Nissan says it took further guidance from the Leaf to give the Sakura the quietest cabin in its class.

The Sakura's upright shape likely helps with headroom, but it certainly doesn't increase cargo space, as Nissan claims just 107 liters (4 cubic feet) of room. That said, the car features small-item storage spaces for gear like a smartphone or wallet. Buyers can opt for black, beige, or blue-grey interior colors, and an upgrade package is available that brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are a surprising number of features packed into the minute Nissan's cabin. A 7-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Nissan says the car's displays are oriented to reduce distraction and keep the driver's eyes on the road, and ProPilot safety systems are standard, including a new parking assist feature. ProPilot is a stepping stone toward Nissan's goal of debuting autonomous driving tech by 2030.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura isn't destined for the U.S. - yet, anyway. Nissan

The Sakura goes on sale in Japan this summer. It's priced at 1.78 million yen, or around $14,000. The car will be available for purchase online, and Nissan says it will offer video chats and other resources to help buyers with the process. Buyers will be able to opt for a full in-person buying experience, a completely virtual experience, or anything in between.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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