They’re far from being the big fuel-swilling behemoths you may have grown up with.
Crossover SUVs are the darlings of the auto industry these days, with consumers ditching their sedans in earnest to avail themselves of added practicality and perhaps a more rugged or expressive appearance. Families have long-embraced three-row models as their rides of choice, but a tsunami of smaller crossovers that still continue to enter the market are likewise attracting singles and empty nesters.
Car-based crossovers are more well-mannered and sophisticated than their truck-based predecessors, but they still afford a higher ride height and more commanding outward visibility, with generally more interior room and cargo space than same-sized sedans, and available all-wheel-drive (AWD) for added foul-weather security.
And while the current generation of crossovers get far better fuel economy than the truck-based gas-guzzlers that rose to prominence during the 1990s, crossover SUVs still get fewer miles per gallon than similarly sized passenger cars, due largely to their added curb weight and less-aerodynamic exteriors. For example, while the subcompact Honda Fit hatchback is EPA-rated at 33/40 mpg (city/highway), its crossover equivalent, the Honda HR-V, gets 28/34 mpg, which will cost an owner an estimated additional $200 a year in fuel costs at 15,000 miles driven. Also, adding AWD generally drops a model’s fuel economy by one or two mpg, given the system’s added heft.
We’re highlighting the 10 purely petroleum-powered SUVs in the accompanying slideshow – all of them are car-based crossovers – that are the most fuel-frugal for the 2018 model year; all prices include the automaker’s destination charge. As always, the EPA’s website should be your go-to resource for fuel economy ratings and other related information for all current and past car and truck lines.