By Rick Popely on August 25, 2013
"Which crossover SUV is the most fuel efficient?"
Norman M., Brooklyn, N.Y.
That honor goes to the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV — a low-production electric version sold only in California at the moment — that earns the equivalent of 78 mpg for city driving, 74 mpg for highway and a combined city/highway rating of 76. Given that the RAV4 EV might not be available in your neighborhood, or be a good choice for your needs, the Lexus RX 450h hybrid has a combined city/highway rating of 30 mpg with front-wheel drive and 29 mpg with all-wheel drive. The similar, but less-luxurious, Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes in at 28 mpg with standard all-wheel drive.
Other crossover SUVs with higher EPA ratings are the Buick Encore (28 mpg), Mazda CX-5 (29 mpg), Subaru XV Crosstrek (28 mpg), and the Mini Countryman and Paceman (31 mpg with manual transmission, 27 mpg with automatic). The XV Crosstrek has standard all-wheel drive, but the other ratings are for front-wheel-drive models. The numbers will be lower on all-wheel-drive versions, and because these are just estimates, your mileage is sure to vary.
The Cars.com Vehicle Recommender, found here, can help you sort through the dozens of crossover SUVs to find the ones that offer the right combination of mileage, price, size and features.
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Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick