The U.S. auto industry has seen significant changes in the last decade – most notably perhaps, the emergence of commercially successful electric vehicles. But while the EV market is years away from maturity, other recent shifts in the industry are now clearly established, including the dominance of the SUV.
SUVs and crossovers are now the dominant auto segment in the U.S., overtaking sedans in unit sales for the first time in 2015. Just four years later, SUVs outsold sedans by a two-to-one margin. So far this year, two of the three best-selling vehicles in the U.S. are crossover SUVs – and only one of the five best selling models is a sedan. (Here is a look at the best-selling car in America.)
Historically, SUVs have offered greater versatility, capability, and interior space than sedans – though these advantages often came at the expense of fuel economy. This is no longer the case, however. As hybrid engines and smaller crossovers have proliferated the market, driving an SUV does not necessarily mean more trips to the pump. And with gas prices hitting an all-time high in 2022, fuel efficiency is top of mind for many prospective buyers.
Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 20 most fuel-efficient SUVs and crossovers on the market, ranked by best available combined miles per gallon. We only considered vehicles for the 2023 model year, excluding plug-in hybrids and EVs.
For any vehicle, fuel efficiency is subject to a number of factors. Some of them are contingent on driving habits, but those related directly to the vehicle itself include weight, ground clearance, aerodynamics, drivetrain, and engine size.
All of the 11 highest ranking vehicles on this list are hybrids, which combine a traditional internal combustion engine with one or more electric motors powered by batteries. Hybrid batteries, which charge automatically, offer supplementary power, resulting in reduced fuel usage. Some of the hybrid vehicles on this list can top 40 miles per gallon.
The nine SUVs on this list not available in hybrid models generally have smaller three- or four-cylinder engines. Combined fuel economy for these non-hybrid models often tops 30 mpg.
Automakers on this list include Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen – though most of the highest-ranking SUVs by fuel economy are made by Japanese and Korean companies. (Here is a look a the car brands Americans hate the most.)
Click here to see the most fuel efficient SUVs on the US market.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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