2011 Ford Escape HybridEnlarge Photo
You’re an SUV owner looking to upgrade your current car, but you’re also getting tired of increasing gas prices and the way those hybrid and electric car owners look at you on the freeway.
At the same time, you’re not about to downsize to a sub-compact in order to get good gas mileage. What do you do?
There is an answer: A more fuel-efficient SUV.
And to help you chose, here’s just five of the highest economy SUVs on the market in 2012.
2012 Ford Escape Hybrid FWD
If fuel economy is your primary concern you can’t get any better than the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid Compact SUV.
With a 30.9 cubic feet of luggage space and seating for five, the Ford Escape Hybrid should be a worthy workhorse for family trips, weekends away and the weekly shopping trip. A towing capacity of 1,500 pounds makes the Escape Hybrid an all-rounder.
It is also available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations -- although the all-wheel drive version is a few mpg less efficient than its front-wheel drive sibling.
2011 Lexus RX 450h
2011 Lexus RX 450hEnlarge Photo
2012 Lexus RX 450h FWD
Benefiting from sister company Toyota’s 10+ years of hybrid drivetrain development, the 2012 Lexus RX 450h features a six cylinder, 3.5 liter engine married to two electric motors (three in the all-wheel drive version).
Firmly in the luxury midsize crossover SUV category, the 2012 Lexus RX 450h offers a massive 40 cubic feet of cargo space with all of its five seats filled -- and is based on the same chassis as the 2012 Toyota Highlander (below).
If you want the luxury of a larger Hybrid SUV -- and don’t mind paying a premium you could do a lot worse than the Lexus RX 450h FWD. For All-Wheel drive, expect to pay another few thousand dollars extra, along with a drop in fuel economy of a few mpg.
Capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds the RX 450h isn’t just a car for going shopping in and can cope with all but the largest of towing duties.