When gas prices leap above $4 and $5, not many people are willing to settle for 17 MPG. Fortunately, lovers of gas guzzling goliaths can benefit from a myriad of choices, from Hybrid SUV’s to smaller but more efficient versions of the beasts they love. Whether it’s kids, work, hobby, etc. drivers can navigate the seas of SUV’s to find the best compromise between value and space.
The most gas conscious SUV’s available:
Driving an SUV doesn’t have to be hell on the wallet. Learn to love the good h-word, Hybrid. Although pricier up front, Hybrid SUV’s dominate the front line of long term economic bang for buck. Plus, you can bask in the satisfaction of owning a vehicle that serves the dual purposes of reducing pit stops while contributing to overall cleanliness.
2011 Ford Escape Hybrid
Proof that sacrificing a little space can pay off in dividends, the Escape Hybrid seats 5, but it’s the 32 combined MPG’s (34 city, 31 highway) that grabs attention. The 4WD version loses a bit but is still a good value at 29 combined MPG (30 city, 29 highway). Escape Hybrid offers assurance that you’ll have the best economic value (starting at $30,110) in the SUV market, for now.
2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
This prince of cleaner technology hangs in the same neighborhood as Prius, and it shows: Boasting 28 city and highway MPG’s, starting at $37,490, Highlander Hybrid comes with a 3.5 L, V6, 4WD heart. That’s enough to haul 3,500 lbs. (with Towing Prep Package) and offers 3rd row seating standard. Highlander is billed as the most fuel efficient seven passenger vehicle available, so if cramming in people for transport is the motivation, check it out.
Lexus RX 450h Hybrid
If luxury is your vice, check out Lexus’ jeweled Hybrid, the RX 450H. Pricier- which comes with Lexus territory- for $45,525 buyers of the front wheel drive (FWD) receive 30 combined luxury MPG. Part time all-wheel drive (AWD) nets 29 combined MPG for $43,935. Both versions come equipped with 295 HP, making for a capable hybrid with all the bells and whistles of refined excess.
2011 Chevrolet Equinox
Take long trips? This is your SUV. At $22,995, Equinox actually outperforms Escape Hybrid with 32 Highway MPG (22 city). The downside here is that great highway performance comes with 4 cylinders, but if you can sacrifice a few HPs, Equinox is solid.
Diesel lovers can shell out $51,300 for the xDrive35d, a long name for long drives at 26 MPG highway (19 city) with 265 HP. Plus, there’s the BMW name.
Those willing to sacrifice a few more MPG’s for size, see here:
2011 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and 2011 GMC Yukon Hybrid
These whales both offer 20 city, 23 highway MPG for 50K plus price tags. The positive is the size and power, the negative obviously being the average MPG postings.
Whatever your choice, good luck and remember to freeze those low MPG’s.