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Best MPG SUV: What Factors Determine Fuel Consumption

Most people believe that if a person spends money on a large SUV, he should be ready to leave considerable sums at gas stations. However, modern technologies allow manufacturers to cope with this problem, and now we can say that the voracity of an SUV is gradually becoming a myth. Therefore, the best MPG SUVs are in high demand among urban residents who love to travel and move over rough terrain. 

Top 20 Best MPG SUVs to Buy Used in Indianapolis

If you are looking for a used SUV with low fuel consumption, check this list of the best MPG SUVs. The models below have a fairly good EPA combined number, which is a reliable indicator of the real-world fuel efficiency of a vehicle.  

SUVcity (mpg)highway (mpg)
Buick Encore FWD2831
Chevrolet Equinox 1.5L Turbo FWD2631
Chevrolet Trax 1.4L turbocharged 2631
Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.2L FWD2931
Ford EcoSport 1.0L EcoBoost2729
Ford Escape 1.5 L turbocharged FWD2733
Honda CR-V 2.0 L Hybrid 4035
Honda HR-V FWD2834
Hyundai Kona N Line FWD2935
Kia Seltos 2.0 L FWD2935
Mazda CX-3 FWD2934
Nissan Rogue FWD2633
Nissan Kicks 1.6L 3136
Subaru Crosstrek 2.5 L2734
Subaru Forester 2.5i CVT2633
Subaru Outback 2.5i2633
Toyota C-HR 2.0 L2731
Toyota Highlander Hybrid FWD3635
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2.5 L4138
Toyota Venza MPG4037

What Is the Average MPG for an SUV?

The average fuel economy for modern SUVs is 29 mpg. By modern standards, low fuel consumption for SUVs is considered to be more than 30 mpg. The performance varies depending on the fuel type the engine is running on. 

Most motorists believe that SUVs are not economical. However, the international auto industry can offer many models with good cross-country ability and fuel efficiency. Read more about the best SUVs for gas mileage.

What SUV Gets Over 30 MPG?

Most compact and subcompact SUVs are equipped with modern engines that provide more than 30 miles per gallon. Among the most popular models, you may consider Lexus UX 200 with its 37 mpg on a highway, Toyota RAV4 with its 35 mpg, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Nissan Rogue will show you up to 33 mpg on a highway. Read also about the advantages of hybrid SUVs

What Midsize SUV Has Best MPG?

According to our expert data and the customers’ reviews, Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD can be named one of the best in its class. It can boast 29 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on a highway, and 28 mpg in the combined cycle. This model has been recognized as the fuel economy leader for years. Read more about other fuel-efficient cars. 

What SUV Has the Best Gas Mileage?

best suv for gas mileage

In general, when you need to choose the most economical SUV, you can be guided by the following general principles:

  • The consumption of diesel vehicles is less than that of gasoline ones. The main reason is that a diesel engine can run on a very lean air-fuel mixture. That is, at a minimum load (idling), fuel is supplied to the engine exactly as much as it requires to perform useful work. This is due to the compression ratio – the higher it is, the poorer the mixture can be.
  • The heavier the car, the more energy is needed to move it. Accordingly, other things being equal, a heavy frame SUV loses to a crossover in this regard. But its permeability, as a rule, is higher. The same applies to the dimensions of the car. The bigger it is, the more air resistance it encounters on the road, and the more energy is required to maintain the constant speed. The engine will consume more fuel.

The best MPG SUVs are no older than ten years, as, since about 2011, the efficiency of SUVs began to increase. Manufacturers achieve this through:

  • aerodynamic improvements;
  • the coasting function, which uses the kinetic energy of the engine impulse;
  • reducing the weight of the car;
  • the use of hybrid engines;
  • increasing the efficiency of the engine.

How Your Driving Style Influences the Fuel Economy

fuel economy depends on driving style

What is an economical driving style? Slow accelerations, low speeds, and smooth braking? Not all of this is true, for example, sluggish acceleration sometimes leads to excessive fuel consumption even on the best mpg SUV. 

Higher Load – Better Fuel Efficiency

At a speed of 30 mph, a car weighing 1.5 tons stores 208 kJ of kinetic energy contained in 0.2 oz of gasoline. Whether acceleration is smooth or rapid, the total amount of energy is the same. There is, however, still air resistance and other losses, but they also depend on the acceleration curve weakly (at the same final speed).

In reality, everything is a little more complicated. The actual amount of burned gasoline is significantly higher than the mentioned 0.2 oz because the engine and transmission efficiency is far from 100%. But the paradox is that the harder you press on the gas, the higher the motor efficiency.

Why Is This Happening?

In gasoline engines, closing the throttle leads to pumping losses increase. Diesel engines do not have a throttle, but the efficiency of all motors is affected by mechanical losses (friction, drive units, etc.), which become dominant at low loads. As a result, the best engine efficiency is achieved at high load modes when the pedal is recessed almost to the floor.

Don’t Be Rough With Speed

The speed at which you drive affects fuel consumption greatly. The dependence of mpg fuel consumption on speed is close to quadratic. Therefore, if you want to save money, accelerate briskly, but choose low cruising speeds and higher gears. The longer you keep a stable speed, the lower the average fuel consumption, which is visible when you turn on the cruise control.

Use Engine Braking

In cars with manual and robotic transmissions, engine braking helps to save fuel. When you release the gas while in gear, the computer turns off the fuel supply – the engine rotates due to the inertia of the car itself. You can brake with the engine if, for example, a red light is lit up at a traffic light far ahead. However, the economy should not be at the expense of safety. No need to drive at an unreasonably low speed or use engine braking where this creates inconvenience to others.

Buy a Used SUV with the Best MPG in Indianapolis

If you want to buy the best MPG SUV in Indianapolis, visit Indy Auto Man. At our multi-brand used car dealership, you will find dozens of reliable models from American, European, and Japanese manufacturers. Choose the model from the stock and schedule a test drive already today!