Car buyers looking for great fuel efficiency don’t need to sacrifice cargo room, performance or high-riding road manners. Here are five reasons why:
Toyota RAV4 EV (76 MPGe)
Tesla Motors, maker of the outrageously cool Model S electric sedan, developed the powertrain and battery pack for the Toyota RAV4 EV (pictured above). Its position as the only electric SUV on the market makes it an intriguing vehicle. The popular EV, based on the popular Toyota crossover, carries an equivalent efficiency of 76 MPGe. When fully charged, the RAV4 EV has an official range of 103 miles, a significant increase over popular smaller electric cars like the Nissan Leaf. When dropped into Sport mode, the RAV4 EV reveals its Tesla origins with a serious jolt of power. The RAV4 EV has a starting MSRP of $49,800 though some dealers have offered lease prices as low as $299 per month. It’s only sold in California.
Subaru XV Crosstrek (31 MPG)
New for 2014, the Subaru XV Crosstrek is Subaru’s first hybrid offering—much to the delight of Subi brand’s dedicated fan base, many of whom had been clamoring for a high-mileage gas-electric for years. Subaru didn’t disappoint, bringing to market a crossover SUV with the best gas mileage of any non-electric vehicle in that category. The Crosstrek is available in all 50 states. Typical of a Subaru, the Crosstrek earns high marks for its handling and received a perfect safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With standard all-wheel drive and excellent ground clearance, the crossover can handle its own in the city, on the highway (where the EPA gives it a 33-mpg rating) or off-road. The Crosstrek starts at just under $22,000.
Lexus RX 450h (30 MPG)
The Lexus RX line is the longest-running and best-selling hybrid SUV. Last year, the RX 450h again sold more units than any other hybrid SUV in the United States. As a midsize SUV, the RX 450h offers superior cargo and passenger space to other vehicles in this category. The RX’s V6 engine and twin electric motors combine for a meaty 295-horsepower—not bad considering that the car gets 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The RX 450h starts at $46,410 and comes with a range of standard features typical of a Lexus, including a nine-speaker audio system and dual-zone climate control.
Nissan Juke (29 MPG)
Starting at just $18,990, the Nissan Juke provides an outstanding combination of affordability and fuel economy of any crossover. The compact SUV offers distinct styling and responsive handling, and its 188-horsepower turbocharged engine provides plenty of oomph. Inside, the crossover employs bold color accents and panel design to create a youthful urban feel. The main tradeoff for consumers with the Juke is its limited cargo and passenger space, which trail behind other more expensive but less efficient SUVs.
Mazda CX-5 (29 MPG)
The CX-5 isn’t roomiest, most powerful or most efficient SUV, but it may offer the best balance of all three. With more cargo space than the Juke and a much more “grown-up” interior feel, the CX-5 makes a good affordable, efficient vehicle for families. Starting at $21,395, the CX-5 may set you back a few thousand dollars more than the Juke, but its versatility is worth the price.
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.