We Rank the New & Used SUVs With the Best MPG
SUVs offer the perfect mix of space, ride height, and versatility, though their larger size can often mean poor fuel economy. Luckily, choosing between a spacious vehicle and an efficient one doesn’t have to be hard.
These are the SUVs with the best gas mileage in 2021, as determined by the EPA. We ranked the cars according to the EPA’s combined fuel economy ratings. Most are hybrids, although there is one non-hybrid, the Nissan Kicks, that squeaks in at the bottom of the list.
Prices range from under $20,000 to around $40,000. However, many haven’t changed for a few years, so you can save some money by buying used – but still efficient – versions.
Other Fuel Economy Rankings
1. 2021 Kia Niro Hybrid | 50 mpg
- Base price: $24,690
- Fuel economy: 53 mpg city / 48 mpg hwy / 50 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Niro LX
The Niro tops our list of fuel-efficient SUVs, while boasting a spacious cabin and a reasonable price tag. For the best mpg, get the base LX trim; higher trims have more features but get slightly worse fuel economy.
For even better fuel economy, check out the Niro plug-in hybrid. To skip gas altogether, try the Niro EV.
Shopping for a Used Niro Hybrid
The Kia Niro has only received minor updates since it debuted in 2017, so models from 2017 to 2021 are mostly identical.
2. 2021 Lexus UX Hybrid | 42 mpg
- Base price: $35,100
- Fuel economy: 43 mpg city / 41 mpg hwy / 42 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: UX 250h
The Lexus UX is the luxury brand’s smallest SUV. In its hybrid form, it’s the most efficient luxury SUV on the market. Space in the UX is limited, though the luxurious cabin makes up for that somewhat.
Shopping for a Used UX Hybrid
The Lexus UX has only received minor updates since it debuted in 2019, so models from 2019 to 2021 are mostly identical.
3. 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid | 41 mpg
- Base Price: $27,605
- Fuel economy: 44 mpg city / 37 mpg hwy / 41 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Escape SE FWD
The Ford Escape Hybrid returned for the 2020 model year following a lengthy hiatus. It has decent cargo room, a spacious cabin with seating for up to 5 people and sporty driving dynamics.
The Escape Hybrid’s powertrain combines a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a CVT.
The plug-in hybrid Escape gets even better fuel economy, though it’s also more expensive.
Shopping for a Used Escape Hybrid
The Escape Hybrid was all-new for 2020, so similar used models are rare. The previous generation of the Escape Hybrid is fairly old at this point, and won’t compare in terms of features or fuel economy.
4. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | 40 mpg
- Base Price: $28,500
- Fuel economy: 41 mpg city / 38 mpg hwy / 40 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: RAV4 Hybrid LE
Toyota completely redesigned the RAV4 Hybrid for 2019. It boasts loads of cargo space, good overall performance, and a long list of standard features. It’s one of the few vehicles on this list to come standard with all-wheel drive (AWD).
The non-hybrid RAV4 is also efficient, at least compared to other non-hybrid SUVs.
Shopping for a Used RAV4 Hybrid
The RAV4 Hybrid was last redesigned in 2019, so models from 2019 through 2021 are nearly identical. RAV4 Hybrids from before 2019 aren’t as fuel efficient or feature-packed, though they cost less.
5. 2021 Toyota Venza | 39 mpg
- Base Price: $32,570
- Fuel economy: 40 mpg city / 37 mpg hwy / 39 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Venza LE
Toyota brought back the Venza after half a decade off. Like its sibling, the RAV4 Hybrid, it’s one of the few vehicles on this list to come standard with AWD. It’s larger than the RAV4, with a Lexus-caliber interior, though its higher price reflects that. It is only available as a hybrid.
Shopping for a Used Venza
The current Venza debuted this year. The previous version of the Venza left the market in 2015, and it wasn’t a hybrid, or particularly fuel efficient.
6. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid | 38 mpg
- Base Price: $30,560
- Fuel economy: 40 mpg city / 35 mpg hwy / 38 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: CR-V Hybrid LX
Honda debuted the Hybrid version of the current CR-V in 2020. It’s not as fuel efficient as the RAV4 Hybrid, and it’s more expensive. Still, it is a comfortable vehicle with lots of space and good performance.
The non-hybrid CR-V is cheaper, and also gets excellent fuel economy.
Shopping for a Used CR-V Hybrid
The CR-V Hybrid debuted in 2020, so used models are few and far between.
7. 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid | 37 mpg
- Base Price: $33,590
- Fuel economy: 39 mpg city / 35 mpg hwy / 37 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Sorento Hybrid S
The Sorento Hybrid joins a number of new SUVs on this list, just missing the top spot for midsize SUV with the best mpg – that went to the Toyota Venza. However, the Sorento does have a third-row seat, which the Venza doesn’t.
The Sorento Hybrid’s rugged looks aren’t backed up by its performance, but it’s still a solid choice in the class.
Shopping for a Used Sorento Hybrid
The Sorento Hybrid is brand-new for 2021, but older, non-hybrid Sorento models are available.
8. 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | 36 mpg
- Base Price: $38,410
- Fuel economy: 36 mpg city / 35 mpg hwy / 36 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Highlander Hybrid LE FWD
The Highlander Hybrid is the priciest vehicle on this list, though it is also the largest, and one of only two with a third-row seat. True to its badge, the Highlander Hybrid is a great all-around performer, if you can swallow the substantial up-front cost.
The non-hybrid Highlander is cheaper and more powerful, though fuel economy dips considerably.
Shopping for a Used Highlander Hybrid
Toyota last redesigned the Highlander Hybrid in 2020, so there aren’t many on the used market that look like the vehicle above. However, the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid was also a great car, and there are a number available on the used market.
9. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid | 34 mpg
- Base Price: $33,650
- Fuel economy: 36 mpg city / 31 mpg hwy / 34 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Santa Fe Hybrid Blue
The all-new hybrid version of Hyundai 2-row midsize SUV doesn’t come cheap and can’t match the fuel economy of the Venza, but it does have a premium look, and Hyundai’s excellent warranty.
Shopping for a Used Santa Fe Hybrid
The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is all new for 2021, though similar-looking non-hybrid Santa Fe models are available on the used market.
10. 2021 Nissan Kicks | 33 mpg
- Base Price: $19,500
- Fuel economy: 31 mpg city / 36 mpg hwy / 33 mpg combined
- Trim w/ best mpg: Kicks S
The Nissan Kicks is roomy for a subcompact SUV. It’s also the cheapest SUV on this list, and the only one that isn’t a hybrid (those two things are related).
The Kicks features a 122-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a CVT. It’s fine for city driving, but you may wish you had more power on the highway.
Shopping for a Used Nissan Kicks
Nissan refreshed the Kicks for 2021. However, it hasn’t been significantly redesigned since its debut in 2018, so new and used models are similar.
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