Advertisement

Five Compact Crossovers With Great Gas Mileage

 
Follow Antony

2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 2.5 - First Drive, February 2013

Whoever invented the crossover must have been a marketing genius.

Few segments have grown as quickly over the last decade than these SUV-like cars that offer greater utility without the efficiency sacrifices of a larger vehicle.

Gas mileage is improving all the time too, allowing the average compact crossover to use less fuel than regular compact cars were returning only a few years ago.

Which are most efficient? We've picked the five best fuel-sippers in the compact crossover class. There are a few surprises here and the omission of a few--like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V--that you may have expected to do better.

 

1. 2014 Mazda CX-5
26 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined

Mazda has made a big deal of its Skyactiv engine and transmission technology, and with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder the CX-5 is comfortably the most economical compact crossover on the market. With a manual transmission and two-wheel drive it achieves up to 35 mpg on the highway, while combined mileage is a respectable 29 mpg.

That drops to 28 combined if you opt for all-wheel drive--a small price to pay for those in less clement climates. It's a little sportier to drive than most, too.

 

2. 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek AWD
25 city, 35 highway, 28 combined

We were a little disappointed when we drove the Subaru XV Crosstrek a while back, but our disappointment doesn't stop it being one of the more efficient compact crossovers on the market. At 35 mpg highway, its four-cylinder boxer engine matches that of the Mazda CX-5's best efforts, though drops 1 mpg in the city and overall.

You do get standard AWD into the bargain though, and an automatic gearbox that may be preferable for some drivers.

 

3. 2013 Buick Encore
25 mpg city, 33 highway, 28 combined

A 1.4-liter engine? In a crossover? Actually, things aren't so bad--in the 2013 Encore you'll find the 1.4-liter turbocharged unit more familiar from cars like the Chevy Cruze and Sonic. The downsized unit is pretty efficient too, with the automatic transmission--up to 28 mpg combined, just shy of the Mazda above.

 

4. 2013 BMW X1 sDrive28i
24 city, 34 highway, 28 combined

BMWs never used to be known for their fuel efficiency--apart from a few "e"-badged models back in the 1980s which utilized long gearing and detuned engines to boost gas mileage. Nowadays it's downsized engines and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that help the X1 to its 28 mpg combined figure.

At the same time, the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine has plenty of performance potential, and BMW's trademark nimble handling should be present and correct--the sDrive28i is the only rear-drive crossover on this list.

 

5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 Bluetec 4matic
24 city, 33 highway, 28 combined

Another German entrant you'd not normally find in "most efficient" lists, though perhaps this one should be a little further up--it is a diesel, after all. Edged out by its gasoline-powered German rival, the 2.1-liter diesel and seven-speed automatic combo make the GLK an easy car to cruise around in, and we expect real-world mileage to be a little better--we returned almost 35 mpg when testing it in April.

Performance from the 200-horse, 369 pounds-feet diesel is strong, and the price is hefty too--starting at $38,590. As such, the Mercedes is more a purchase for existing prestige car customers looking to reduce their bills, than a buying wanting to save from the word go.

 

Wildcards

The cars you see above are a fairly conventional bunch, all selected via the EPA's fueleconomy.gov website. But there are a few alternatives if you want a crossover with good gas mileage.




Posted in:
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (5)
  1. For what it is work, the 2012 Nissan Juke data from Fuelly shows 29.7 mpg, although the 2011 shows a lower 27.9 mpg.

    Perhaps customers are experiencing a little better mpg than GCR did in their test.
    http://www.fuelly.com/car/nissan/juke
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. @John: Is Fuelly differentiating between the AWD Juke and the FWD one? The former appears to get significantly worse mileage than the base model, but I don't know the sales split between the two versions. Our road test was of the heavier, thirstier AWD Juke.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. I miss the old Ford Escape hybrid...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  4. I have the Mercury version, a 2008 model, and I recommend it. On a recent 12 mile errand I managed 48 MPG with careful use of the EV part of the vehicle.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Actual numbers reflect the bad driving habits of Americans who do not wish to run these cars efficiently and do not even ever open the owner's manual. These test figures need to be adjusted 30% down. The 28 MPG combined shall be closer to 20 MPG overall. Technology cannot control the brain/gas pedal combination in emotionally driven humans. The only type of car the trumps technology over people is the electric car. Even the Volt suffers from heavy footed drivers to drain its batteries and start the engine thusly using fuel. Reality check, people. Reality check. In Ohio the Interstate speed limit went to 70 MPH overall which means 75 to 80 MPH which means fuel usage shall increase significantly while affecting little the ETA.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.