With the price of gas these days putting a toll on our wallets, people are becoming very concerned about purchasing vehicles with poor fuel efficiency. Obviously, smaller cars have higher MPG’s, but what about people that are fans of SUV’s? A family of five that frequently travels would most likely prefer an SUV than a sedan. A family of six doesn’t have much of a choice. So, with the price of gas at its current levels, which SUVs are the most fuel efficient? The numbers used in this article are based on the results found by a study made by Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports states that the top 5 fuel efficient SUV’s, in order from most to fifth, are the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, Lexus RX 450 H, Ford Escape Hybrid, Subaru Forester 2.5 X (MT), and the Nissan Juke SV. As it can be seen, most of these vehicles are hybrid models. In a previous article I posted, which can be found here, I gave specific figures showing that hybrid models are not better long term investments than the base gasoline models, but since this article focuses on the most fuel efficient vehicles, hybrid models will be considered.
It should also be noted that the MPG values being used in this article are based on the results from the Consumer Reports study, not the listed values given by their respective companies. Which of these SUV’s give you the most bang for your buck? I will crunch the numbers for each of these models, starting from the Nissan Juke and ending with the Toyota Highlander. It will also be assumed that an average of 10,000 miles is driven annually, and the price of gas is $3.50 per gallon.
Nissan Juke SV. Based on the results of the study, the Juke averaged 24 MPG. This is a very respectable number for an SUV. This SUV also is the cheapest of the bunch, going for roughly $20,280. Going with the assumptions stated earlier, approximately $1,458.33 will be spent on gas in a year. While this SUV may be have the lowest MPG of the group, along with the Forester, the MSRP price is still far lower than any of the other SUV’s. Personally, I am not too familiar with the Juke, but based on these numbers, this one may be the best option (Assuming that price is the key concern).
Subaru Forester 2.5 X (MT). This model also averaged 24 MPG, and goes for about $29,995. While this price may be far out of the range of the Lexus and Highlander Hybrid Limited, the Ford Escape is listed at just $50 more, and the Ford also gets 2 more miles per gallon. We already know that this car won’t beat the Juke in value, and since the Escape is virtually the same price, and the Lexus is just too far out of its price range, the only one left to compare it to is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. The Forester has an annual fuel cost of $1,458.33, like the Juke, while the Highlander averaged $1,296.29. That is a difference of $162.04 a year, in favor of the Highlander. At this rate, it would take just over 46 years for the Highlander to become more cost-effective than the Forester. This Subaru model finished fourth in MPG, but it finishes third in my study.
Ford Escape Hybrid. The only American model to make the list is Ford’s Escape Hybrid. This SUV averaged 26 MPG, yielding an annual fuel cost of $1,346.15. The price for this model is roughly $30,045. The Escape automatically surpasses the Highlander, since the Forester was able to accomplish that. As with the other models, the Lexus was just too far out of its price range. This leaves the only real competitor to be the Juke. It’s funny that the Juke was its only real competition, considering it would take 87 years to become more cost-effective than the Nissan. Ford finishes as a solid number two option in my study.
Lexus RX 450h. Lexus posted the only luxury model in this study. By default, this car ranks last in my study due to its highest price and MPG rating that did not exceed any brand by more than 2 miles per gallon. Like the Escape Hybrid, the RX 450h posted an annual fuel cost of $1,346.15. While it did not stand a chance in my personal study, I would still choose this model over the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. At a price of $43,935, only $6,445 more than the Highlander, I find this to be the better option. While you would save money both short-term and long-term with the Highlander, a difference of less than $6,500 is actually a good deal when comparing a luxury SUV to a non-luxury model. Another reason that helps me make this decision is that Lexus vehicles posted fewer problems per 100 vehicles than Toyota. Lexus actually ranked second on the overall list, which happens to include all car brands. I previously wrote an article on car reliability, and this entire list is included. That article can be found here.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. Toyota’s SUV ranked number one in Consumer Report’s study, posting an average MPG of 27. This yields an annual fuel cost of $1,296.29, obviously the cheapest of the group. While it may rank first on Consumer Report’s study, it ranks fourth of five in mine. My personal opinion has it ranking last of the group, due to its high price.
“The Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs”, Consumer Reports.