When most people think of rampant fuel-inefficiency, the vehicles that usually come to mind are big, bad SUVs. Those who grouse about this country's dependence on oil from foreign nations often point accusing fingers at these towering haulers.
But not all SUVs deserve to be tarred as profligate gas-suckers. Take this bunch, for example. These are the 10 sport-utility vehicles offering the best gas mileage.
Rankings were ascertained using the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel. To be more specific, we tapped the EPA's combined fuel-economy formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating. The rating for each SUV below is expressed in mpg as a city/highway ratio.
All ratings apply to base models equipped with manual transmissions, except where indicated otherwise with an asterisk. All ratings apply to 2WD models, with the exception being the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Each model was allowed only one appearance on the list. The exceptions are the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, which make repeat appearances as a result of being available in both gas-electric hybrid and regular gasoline versions.
1. Ford Escape Hybrid — 34/30* (tie)
The Ford Escape Hybrid offers a potent hybrid drivetrain and a roomy interior.
1. Mazda Tribute Hybrid — 34/30* (tie)
Exceptional mileage makes the Mazda Tribute a king among hybrids.
1. Mercury Mariner Hybrid — 34/30* (tie)
Like its corporate twins, the Tribute Hybrid and Escape Hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid offers class-leading fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions.
2. Saturn Vue Hybrid — 25/32*
The Saturn Vue Hybrid's affordable price makes it one of the true bargains of the hybrid bunch.
3. Toyota Highlander Hybrid — 27/25*
Performance and fuel economy achieve harmonious coexistence in this sterling Toyota.
4. Lexus RX 400h — 27/24*
The RX 400h is expensive, but it offers all the quickness and luxury you'd expect from a Lexus.
5. Jeep Compass — 23/28
The Compass comes armed with a low price tag and the sort of compact dimensions that enhance maneuverability.
6. Ford Escape — 22/28 (tie)
Even without the benefit of a hybrid powertrain, the Escape is thrifty enough to earn a place on our list.
6. Mazda Tribute — 22/28 (tie)
Ditto for its twin, the capable Tribute; this Mazda also offers a long list of safety features.
7. Nissan Rogue — 22/27*
Turn to the Rogue for a carlike driving experience and a well-crafted cabin.