Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers continue to be among of the most popular vehicles in America — their versatility makes them an attractive alternative to sedans, minivans and wagons. That said, those who need an SUV or crossover don’t have to forgo good fuel economy. With hybrids, electrics, diesels and highly-efficient gas engines, the 2016 SUV lineup offers plenty of fuel-efficient choices. Since most SUV buyers are looking for all-wheel drive, let’s review the 20 most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive sport utes on the market. Note that EPA fuel economy is listed as city / hwy / combined mpg.
Tesla Model X 90D
90 / 94 / 92 mpge
MSRP: $80,000 (estimated)
The Model X is currently the only production electric SUV on the market, and the sleek SUV offers more than just impressive fuel economy. According to Tesla, the 90D has a range of around 257 miles on a full charge and can reach 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. There’s seating for seven, and access to the rear seats is via unique Falcon Wing doors. But there is a bit of a waiting list — Tesla says that placing an order today will likely mean delivery in the latter half of 2016.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
34 / 31 / 33 mpg
The RAV4 is one of the best-selling SUVs in America, and for 2016 Toyota has introduced a hybrid version that is now the most fuel-efficient gas-powered SUV on the market. All RAV4 Hybrids are 4WD — the gas engine combines with an electric motor to drive the front wheels, while an additional electric motor provides power to the rear wheels.
Lexus NX 300h AWD
33 / 30 / 32 mpg
Lexus joins the growing compact luxury SUV segment with the all-new NX. Available with a turbocharged engine or hybrid powertrain, it’s the hybrid version we’re highlighting here. The all-wheel-drive NX hybrid features a gas-electric powertrain driving the front wheels and an electric motor powering the rear wheels for additional traction. The new NX is designed to provide sporty handling as well as impressive fuel economy.
Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
30 / 34 / 31 mpg
When Subaru introduced the XV Crosstrek Hybrid in 2014, it was the first hybrid the company had ever offered in the U.S. The hybrid system provides a bit more power than the gas-only version, but it also weighs almost 400 pounds more so performance is similar between the two models. Fuel economy is similar as well; however, the hybrid is rated at 30 mpg in the city, compared to 26 mpg in the gas version.
BMW X3 xDrive 28d
27 / 34 / 30 mpg
BMW SUVs have always been more about “sport” than “Utility,” and in that vein this diesel-powered X3 certainly doesn’t disappoint. The twin-turbo engine delivers 181 horsepower and — more importantly — 280 lb-ft of torque, which means it feels very quick off the line. With an 8-speed automatic transmission the X3 28d is very fuel efficient, claiming 34 mpg on the highway.
Lexus RX 450h AWD
30 / 28 / 30 mpg
One of the first luxury crossovers on the market, the RX is the best-selling Lexus model ever and for 2016 it gets a complete makeover. Styling is all new; most noticeable is the brand’s large, bold spindle grille which dominates the front end. Performance for new RX is quite impressive — the 450h hybrid powertrain puts out 308 horsepower while delivering a combined 30 mpg.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
26 / 34 / 29 mpg
Subaru made a brilliant move a few years ago when it took the compact Impreza and with few alterations converted it into the very popular XV Crosstrek. The small crossover is fun to drive, has good space for four as well as a usable cargo area. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek is very capable while delivering impressive fuel economy of 29 mpg combined.
27 / 32 / 29 mpg
The HR-V is a new model for 2016 and the smallest of the Honda crossover lineup. With a surprisingly spacious interior, the HR-V can handle cargo of myriad shape and size with its configurable second-row “Magic Seat.” Power comes from a 138-horse engine teamed with a continuously variable transmission, offering reasonable performance in this very competitive market segment.
25 / 33 / 28 mpg
The Subaru Outback was one of the original crossovers, combining SUV utility with the comfort and convenience of a wagon. Completely new last year, Subaru has stayed true to that original formula. And while it is larger with added high-tech features and capabilities, Outback’s fuel economy remains impressive, especially for such a large vehicle.
Nissan Rogue AWD
25 / 32 / 28 mpg
Nissan’s most fuel-efficient SUV was completely redesigned two years ago, but the Rogue’s popularity has not lessened. With styling that fits within the rest of the Nissan lineup, the Rogue offers great versatility with “EZ Flex” seating. The small SUV can accommodate up to seven or be configured for impressive cargo-carrying ability. Rogue is available with a number of high-tech features — a favorite is the Around View Monitor, which lets the driver see around the car when maneuvering into a parking space.
26 / 31 / 28 mpg
The JUKE certainly stands out from the crowd with its sculpted headlights, unique silhouette and overall muscular lines. The small crossover features a sporty-looking interior with a surprising amount of room for rear-seat passengers and cargo. Juke backs up that sporty look with a 188-horsepower direct-injected 4-cylinder engine under the hood.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD
28 / 28 / 28 mpg
The Highlander Hybrid is one of eight hybrid models offered by Toyota, and it was all new for the 2015 model year. The most fuel-efficient SUV to offer space for seven, the Highlander Hybrid can handle the extra load with a total horsepower rating of 280.
Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4MATIC
24 / 32 / 27 mpg
One of the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup, the GLA seems more car-like than SUV. No matter what you call it, the GLA features a sleeker, more aerodynamic design than the slightly larger GLC (formerly GLK). The GLA’s turbocharged and direct-injected 4-cylinder engine generates more than 200 horsepower — which is more than adequate for a vehicle of its size — but at the same time returns fuel economy on par with the company’s diesel offerings.
24 / 32 / 27 mpg
Forester was all new for 2014, making the Subaru SUV lineup one of the newest on the market as well as one of the most fuel-efficient. For 2016 Forester earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating with Subaru’s innovative EyeSight system, which integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.
Honda CR-V 4WD
25 / 31 / 27 mpg
Honda introduced a redesigned CR-V last year with updated styling as well a number of new features. The small crossover is as popular as ever, continuing to hold the title of best-selling SUV in America. A new engine and transmission combination was also introduced with the new CR-V — the 2.4-liter 185-horsepower engine is lighter and more efficient, and teamed with a new continuously variable transmission.
Hyundai Tucson Eco
25 / 31 / 27 mpg
The Hyundai Tucson is all new for the 2016 model year with a fresh new look, updated interior and a number of new high-tech features. When equipped with the optional Automatic Emergency Braking, the Tucson earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation. The new Tucson is more spacious inside and under the hood it now offers a new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 175 horsepower as well as improved fuel economy.
Chevrolet Trax AWD
24 / 31 / 27 mpg
As the compact crossover market continues to grow, American car shoppers were introduced to the Chevy Trax last year, which is also sold in 66 global markets. Trax seats five, and the split-folding rear seat adds considerable versatility to the small crossover. It also comes standard with GM’s latest tech offering — OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Power comes from a rather small 1.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 138 horsepower.
24 / 31 / 27 mpg
An all-new model from Jeep last year, the Renegade is the smallest model in the Jeep lineup. But unlike most small crossovers, Renegade boasts the off-road capability one expects from Jeep products. The Renegade also features a disconnecting rear axle that improves fuel economy when 4WD is not needed. The most fuel-efficient combination is the 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Audi Q5 hybrid quattro
24 / 30 / 26 mpg
Fuel-efficient Audis have always employed the company’s miserly diesel technology, but with rising demand for hybrids in America it made sense for Audi to create a hybrid version of the popular Q5. With the current issues facing diesels of the Volkswagen Group (Audi is a division of Volkswagen), the efficient Q5 TDI is not currently being sold. But unlike the many hybrids built with only fuel economy in mind, this one uses the hybrid system for performance as well. With the 2.0-liter engine combined with a powerful electric motor, the Q5 hybrid puts out a total of 245 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque.
Mazda CX-5 4WD
24 / 30 / 26 mpg
Many years have passed since Mazda coined its “Zoom Zoom” tagline, but it still works for their current lineup — including the CX-5. The CX-5 gets updated styling and interior upgrades for the 2016 model year, and still continues to feature the SKYACTIV technology suite, including the 2.0-liter powerplant that offers snappy performance as well as impressive fuel economy.