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Cars.com Identifies Best-Bang-for-Your-Buck SUVs and Crossovers

Gas-chugging SUVs and crossovers have taken a backseat as prices at the pump continue to rise. For those needing a bigger vehicle to get their family or gear around town, Cars.com identified the SUVs and crossovers that offer the best bang for a consumer's buck based upon each vehicle's sticker price and estimated lifetime fuel cost.

"From a cost-of-gas perspective, bigger cars aren't the best options right now," Cars.com editor in chief Patrick Olsen said. "Even though there are some hybrid SUVs and crossovers on the market, their high sticker prices might not make these the best overall money-saving option. Shoppers should, however, keep an eye out for rebates, which can be quite high for SUVs right now."

To help consumers select the most cost-effective SUVs and crossovers with respect to fuel economy, the experts at Cars.com identified the top 10 vehicles in these segments that deliver the best bang for the buck based on base sticker price and estimated lifetime fuel cost. The 2008 Jeep Patriot tops the list with a base price of $16,485 and average fuel economy of 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city.

The list was compiled by combining each car's base sticker price (as of 8/24/08) with a fuel cost estimate based on the car's EPA-estimated gas mileage. Fuel costs assume that the car is driven 15,000 miles per year, 55 percent in the city and 45 percent on the highway; that the cost of regular unleaded gasoline is $4 a gallon; and that the car is owned for eight years.

Best Bang for Your Buck SUVs/Crossovers
All cars listed are two-wheel drive
VehicleMPG (city/hwy)Base StickerLifetime FuelSticker & Lifetime Fuel
1. Jeep Patriot23/28$16,485 $19,193$35,678
2. Jeep Compass23/28$17,475$19,193$36,668
3. Kia Sportage20/25$16,050$21,840$37,890
4. Ford Escape22/28$19,140$19,714$38,854
5. Mazda Tribute22/28$19,240$19,714$38,954
6. Hyundai Tucson20/25$17,420$21,840$39,260
7. Nissan Rogue*22/27$19,430$20,000$39,430
8. Mazda Tribute Hybrid* 34/30$25,310$15,153$40,463
9. Honda Element*20/25$19,780$21,840$41,620
10. Mitsubishi Outlander*20/25$19,990$21,840$41,830

*Denotes automatic transmission

About Cars.com

Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).

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