The Top 6 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs of 2022

Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Calvyn Ee

To some people, fuel efficiency and SUVs don’t exactly go hand in hand, what with the size of SUVs in general. But with technology improving, newer SUVs have become surprisingly economical in fuel usage. Hybrid SUV models are also becoming increasingly popular, especially with rising gas prices. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration published findings stating hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles made up 11% of light-duty vehicle sales in the United States. That’s still a lot of cars!

Perhaps now might be the best time to get your hands on any of the most fuel-efficient SUVs available on the market. You’ll find a choice of hybrid and non-hybrid models in this list, but you’ll be spoiled for choice with what we have to share!

Criteria for Review

Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency is measured in miles per gallon, or mpg for short. The higher the car’s mpg rating, the better its fuel efficiency. Mpg ratings can be inconsistent due to various factors, so getting an accurate reading is challenging. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handles the certification of all mpg ratings, so they will run a set of standardized tests to determine the official mpg rating of a car.

You can find the mpg ratings of various cars on the market via this site.

Appearance

SUV designs have become more modern through angular contours, sharp defining features, and signature stylings. Who doesn’t love that?

Features

Comfortable, pretty interiors, top-notch infotainment and electronics, and essential safety features are all a must on any car.

Performance

You may trade performance power to get the most out of these fuel-saving driving machines. Still, some of them can give you a mix of pleasant rides, quiet drives, and even high-speed road running.

What are 6 of the Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs You Can Buy?

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid

A white 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid on the move
2021 Ford Escape Hybrid: a cool car offering significant fuel savings all year round

What We Liked

  • Great fuel economy
  • Smooth ride
  • Standard safety features

What We Disliked

  • Interiors could be better

  • Ratings based on the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid front-wheel drive, 2.5L
  • City: 44 mpg
  • Highway: 37 mpg
  • Combined: 41 mpg

Able to achieve 40 mpg worth of savings (equal to about $1,750 of fuel savings), the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid offers a great daily driver that’s ideal for anyone looking to save an extra buck or two on fuel costs. Not only are you getting a well-rounded SUV for your daily driving, but you also get a decent package with a spacious cabin, excellent standard safety features, and a host of fun and sound infotainment systems. With a price tag of slightly under 30k for the basic trim, this is a good deal you’re getting.

The 2.5L inline-4-cylinder engine comes with two electric motors delivering 200hp and 155 lb-ft of torque while using a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a front-wheel drive (optional all-wheel-drive available). It’s not the punchiest of vehicles to drive, the cabin doesn’t filter out noise very well when on the move, and you might find some interior design choices lacking. The overall savings you get from its fuel economy is no joke, and it can still offer a relatively smooth ride for your everyday needs.

Review

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
4.3

2019 Kia Niro Hybrid

A parked dark grey 2019 Kia Niro Hybrid with headlights on
2019 Kia Niro Hybrid: an affordable SUV with decent performance and interior space

What We Liked

  • Great fuel economy
  • Affordable selection of trims
  • Has various features

What We Disliked

  • Not very agile

  • Ratings based on the 2019 Kia Niro FE, 1.6L
  • City: 52 mpg
  • Highway: 49 mpg
  • Combined: 50 mpg

If you’re OK with saving more down the road, the 2019 Kia Niro Hybrid is a great SUV option. Having fuel efficiency go as high as 50 mpg might seem like a dream, but the Niro can deliver. In the base FE trim (which coincidentally stands for Fuel Economy), you get a 1.6L, 4-cylinder engine sporting 139hp and 195 lb-ft of torque working together with a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion battery. Admittedly, you lose a good deal of powerful performance on the road, but the Niro still offers well-adjusted handling and a stable ride.

For a little extra, you can get the LX model, which offers some extra creature comforts without sacrificing the base model’s many strengths. In contrast to many of its rivals, however, the Niro lacks cargo space, overall performance – especially acceleration, with 0-60 time taking as much as 8 seconds or more – and less than fantastic drive quality. It remains an ideal choice for simple daily driving and fuel economy savings.

Review

2019 Kia Niro Hybrid

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
4

2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

A parked red 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid
2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: average performance but top marks for interior space

What We Liked

  • Significant fuel economy
  • Lots of room
  • Comfy interiors

What We Disliked

  • Not very performant

  • Ratings based on the 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, front-wheel-drive, 2.0L
  • City: 33 mpg
  • Highway: 35 mpg
  • Combined: 34 mpg

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid is yet another fuel-efficient choice in the SUV lineup. The 2018 hybrid model has a 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor, both of which work to produce 176hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Mated with a rather disappointing CVT, you might be less than thrilled with the driving quality or speed you’ll get behind the wheel. Despite the lack of sportiness and its unremarkable performance, you’ll still enjoy a reasonably balanced ride for a fair price. Moreover, you’ll be getting up to 34 mpg combined fuel efficiency, which translates to about $2,050 worth of fuel savings!

The overall design of the Rogue did get a slight facelift from the previous model. Say goodbye to the optional third row, but say hello to more cabin room and cargo space. Add the comfortable seats and well-assembled interior pieces, and you’ll get a cozy ride for everyone on board. The base model is no slouch, but if you find a good deal for a top-of-the-line SL trim, we’d highly recommend it for its leather upholstery and advanced safety features, among other things.

Review

2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
4

2019 Chevrolet Equinox

A parked pearl white 2019 Chevrolet Equinox
2019 Chevrolet Equinox: though not a hybrid, the Equinox is a fuel-efficient surprise

What We Liked

  • Quite fuel-efficient
  • Three engine choices
  • Spacious interior

What We Disliked

  • Manual all-wheel-drive system

  • Ratings based on the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox, front-wheel-drive, 1.6L diesel
  • City: 28 mpg
  • Highway: 39 mpg
  • Combined: 32 mpg

The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox is the only non-hybrid vehicle on our list. The Equinox comes available with one of three engines you can choose from. The base turbocharged 1.5L engine with 170hp is considered to lack power in terms of the car’s size. You could pick a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 250hp and 260 lb-ft torque; or the fuel-efficient 1.6-liter inline-four diesel with 137hp and 240 lb-ft torque. Some tests have found the Chevrolet Equinox to be able to hit a highway rating of 43 mpg and a combined rating of 34 mpg!

The Chevrolet Equinox is an impressive road runner with its competent handling, smooth, accurate steering, and decent driving range. Its main flaws come from its unappealing acceleration times, poor build quality, and lackluster entry-level trims owing to the underpowered 1.5L turbo engine. The Equinox is still an excellent choice if you’d still like to get your hands on a reliable SUV without taking the hybrid route.

Review

2019 Chevrolet Equinox

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
3.9

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

A parked silver 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: a reliable, robust, and fuel-efficient SUV

What We Liked

  • Sharp, classy look
  • Excellent hybrid performance
  • Good fuel savings

What We Disliked

  • High price point

  • Ratings based on the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, all-wheel-drive, 2.5L
  • City: 41 mpg
  • Highway: 38 mpg
  • Combined: 40 mpg

Powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine aided by two electric motors, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a muscular yet economical beast, with 219hp, 163 lb-ft torque, and all-wheel-drive capability. Delivering up to 40 mpg fuel efficiency yet possessing a fast, snappy engine that can outperform the standard RAV4 line, the RAV4 hybrid demonstrates a formidable combination of power and efficiency without losing too much of either quality. You’ll get great rides in a sleek, modern package, sprinting from 0 to 60 in a respectable 7.4 seconds.

You may find some of its design choices being conventional-looking, while its overall driving quality is somewhat marred by the noise coming into the cabin while driving. There’s also the issue of low headroom for taller persons to sit inside comfortably. At the very least, you can rely on Toyota’s track record for building dependable cars that, with proper maintenance, can outlast its competitors without fail. Not only will you be saving on fuel costs, but you’re also saving on the need to spend more on a brand new car.

Review

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
4.3

2019 Lexus UX200

A parked green 2019 Lexus UX200
2019 Lexus UX200: though small in stature, it has much to offer

What We Liked

  • Decent overall handling
  • Great maneuverability
  • Premium quality at a reasonable price

What We Disliked

  • Not much cargo space

  • Ratings based on the 2019 Lexus UX200, front-wheel-drive, 2.0L
  • City: 29 mpg
  • Highway: 37 mpg
  • Combined: 33 mpg

The Lexus UX200 is a subcompact crossover “mini SUV,” with its design exuding Lexus’ trademark aggressive looks. While it might be smaller than its competitors, the UX200 is a noteworthy contender. It sports a 2.0L naturally aspirated inline-four that clocks 169hp and 151 lb-ft of torque (and paired to a CVT), a premium interior facade, well-balanced handling and responsiveness, and a surprising fuel economy rating despite being a non-hybrid car. You may find the main letdown of the UX200 to be its driving, no thanks to a less than impressive engine and curiously small size (given its position as a subcompact crossover).

Still, you’ll get a lot of fun with a few tweaks in places. Switch to Sports mode to enjoy a livelier driving experience, for example. It might be a little hampered compared to the competition, but you’ll still be able to put out a few exciting drives thanks to a good balance of drivability boons in its mechanisms. If you’d like to take it further, the UX250h hybrid vehicle offers plenty to offer as well on top of top-notch fuel economy.

Review

2019 Lexus UX200

Fuel Economy
Appearance
Features
Performance
3.9

Getting the Most Out of Fuel Economy

Saving fuel costs is particularly important with how gas prices increase. Getting your hands on a fuel-efficient car will undoubtedly be an option you’d like to consider, and these SUVs might just fit the bill. You can always refer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy reference site if you want to learn more about a car’s fuel efficiency ratings. Various car reviewers will also factor fuel economy in their ratings; some even test a car’s EPA rating against their standards to see how accurate the rating is. Do note that your mileage may still vary depending on how you drive.

Make sure you also protect yourself from automotive fraud if you’re looking to buy a car you’re interested in. Make sure to get a hold of its VIN, then get its vehicle history report for additional checking. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.