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 ten 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 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
31 mpg combined (29 mpg city, 33 mpg highway)
Kudos to Subaru here--when we last looked at fuel-efficient crossovers, its XV Crosstrek made an appearance but didn't quite reach the top. With the addition of a hybrid drivetrain it's now made that leap, and as far as both city and combined mileage go it's the best here.
Power comes from the combined efforts of Subaru's traditional flat-four gasoline engine, and a small 10 kW (13 horsepower) electric motor. It's largely a 'mild hybrid' in that its EV mode only cuts in under very, very gentle driving. You're better viewing it as an XV with improved gas mileage than a proper hybrid vehicle.
2. 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28d
30 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway)
While the Subaru above uses hybrid technology to return good gas mileage, BMW has opted for diesel. 34 mpg highway is not bad at all for a vehicle of the X3's bulk, and the 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine offers strong performance.
You get an eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and 180 horsepower at your disposal--which should make the BMW one of the punchiest cars here despite its economy potential.
3. 2014 Nissan Juke
29 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 32 mpg highway)
A little smaller than the rest, the Juke nevertheless returns good gas mileage. What it lacks in size it makes up for in striking styling, and the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine sends its power through an automatic transmission.
We struggled to hit the Juke's mileage figures when testing one a few years ago, but the Juke has at least enjoyed a minor facelift and equipment tally bump since then, so it's a little better to live with on a daily basis.
4. 2015 Mazda CX-5 2WD manual
29 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway)
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 one of the most economical compact crossovers on the market. With a manual transmission and two-wheel drive--and no fancy tricks--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.
5. 2014 Nissan Rogue
28 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway)
Of more usable size than the Juke, the latest Rogue still has respectable economy ratings. That's at least in part down to Nissan's persistence with continuously-variable transmissions to boost economy--the Rogue matches the frugality of several other vehicles here despite using a 2.5-liter gasoline engine.
It isn't the most exciting vehicle you'll ever drive, but there's an option for seven seats, it's spacious, comfortable, and with prices starting at $22,790, it's competitively priced too.