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Eight of the Best Used SUVs for Fuel Efficiency

A blue 2020 Kia Niro parked in front of a modern home.

There was a time when “SUVs” and “fuel efficiency” only belonged in a sentence together when someone was complaining about how inefficient such large vehicles were. That time has gone, however, and the options on the market these days include plenty of great vehicles that give you the spaciousness and functionality of an SUV combined with terrific fuel economy. As your used SUV dealer, we pride ourselves on offering a fantastic selection of pre-owned SUVs and crossover models to meet pretty much any need. This includes the needs of our customers looking for something they can count on to get where they need to go without costing an arm and a leg at the gas pump.

One of the most important things to note before we dive into some of our favorite options for fuel-efficient SUVs is that the best gas mileage will almost always come from hybrid models. Whether you’re considering a standard hybrid or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that offers a limited all-electric range, these models dominate when it comes to fuel economy. The second thing to consider is that smaller vehicles generally have superior fuel efficiency compared to larger ones; small sizes need less power to get around and have engines focused more on efficiency than acceleration and performance. With that in mind, let’s check out eight of the best options to look for as you shop for a used SUV with excellent fuel economy.

The Kia Niro

As a compact crossover model, the Kia Niro has everything we look for in a great SUV that delivers the perfect combination of style, interior space, and terrific fuel efficiency. Since we’re a Kia dealership, we’re probably a bit biased in our love for the Kia lineup and the Niro, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fantastic vehicle and an excellent choice for many drivers. It’s been on the market since 2017, and in that time, it has won over a lot of drivers with its sporty performance and terrific options. It comes with standard engines, as a hybrid or as a PHEV, for superior overall capability. Looking at a 2020 Kia Niro, for example, a hybrid FE version can get an estimated 50 MPG of combined fuel economy, while the PHEV version has 105 MPG equivalent (MPGe) of combined gas mileage thanks to its electrified design.

The Toyota RAV4

Overall, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular SUVs on the market and a favorite of many drivers year after year. While a lot of folks like to hang onto their RAV4 for a long time, you can still find plenty of them when looking at used SUVs, and they’re one of our favorite options as we take customers through different vehicles. If we look at a 2019 RAV4, a hybrid model gets an estimated 40 MPG of combined fuel economy, while versions with the standard engine get an estimated 30 MPG of combined fuel efficiency even with all-wheel drive (AWD) performance, giving you great gas mileage and excellent capability.

A silver 2022 Honda HR-V driving on a winding coastal road towards a used SUV dealer.

The Honda HR-V

Another excellent vehicle for a wide range of drivers, the Honda HR-V is a subcompact crossover that can fit into pretty much any lifestyle while giving you terrific gas mileage. The second-generation HR-V was released for the 2016 model year and is the version you should typically focus on when shopping for a used model. These vehicles are well known for their great performance and stylish design plus high efficiency; a 2020 Honda HR-V can get an estimated 30 MPG of combined fuel economy, making it a good overall choice to watch for.

The Mazda CX-3

One of the smallest models in Mazda’s lineup, the CX-3 is a subcompact crossover that first hit city streets with the 2016 model year and ran through 2021. Although it’s recently been discontinued here in the US and replaced by the similar CX-30, this was still a terrific vehicle, and the fact that there’s a newer and flashier option makes this a great choice as you look at used SUVs. A Mazda CX-3 from 2018, for example, can get an estimated 31 MPG of combined fuel economy with front-wheel drive (FWD) or an estimated 29 MPG of combined fuel efficiency if you look at an AWD model.

The Kia Soul

Although you could argue that the Kia Soul is a surprisingly spacious hatchback, we still like to think of it as a subcompact crossover; any way you describe it, this is a fantastic vehicle designed to meet the needs of a wide range of drivers. Like so many Kia vehicles, it’s been offered with a variety of drivetrains and engines that deliver different driving experiences. Looking at a 2020 Kia Soul, for example, you can find all-electric models with more than 200 miles of driving range, as well as standard gas-powered versions that can get an estimated 31 MPG of combined fuel economy.

The Nissan Rogue

Another terrific compact crossover option, the Nissan Rogue is one of the most popular models on the market and a great choice overall. Since so many of these have sold since it was first introduced, the Rogue is a fantastic model to look for when considering different used SUVs. Like many of our top picks, it has been offered with both standard and hybrid engines over the years, so keep that in mind while shopping. A 2019 Nissan Rogue, for example, can get an estimated 34 MPG with its available hybrid engine or up to 29 MPG of combined fuel economy with its standard gas engine.

A black 2019 Ford Escape driving on a city street.

The Ford Escape

If you prefer domestic brands from here in the US, the Ford Escape is one of our favorite choices for a great crossover model that delivers gas mileage beyond many of its competitors. The Escape is a compact crossover that’s been available for more than 20 years and won over a lot of fans in that time with its sleek design, outstanding performance, and comfortable interiors. Since Ford has offered the Escape with hybrid powertrains for many years, you can find models with truly remarkable fuel economy. A 2020 Ford Escape with its available hybrid engine can get an estimated 41 MPG of combined fuel efficiency, making it one of the best options available for keeping gas costs down.

The Buick Encore

Another one of our favorites from a domestic manufacturer, the Buick Encore is a subcompact crossover that shares much of its engineering with the Chevy Trax. As a Buick, it offers more refined options than the Chevy model. Its small design and sleek performance make it a great choice for many drivers, especially anyone interested in a subcompact option that doesn’t feel too barebones. Although it was recently replaced by the Buick Envista, an older Encore is a great choice if you want a used SUV with impressive fuel economy. A 2018 Encore, for example, can get an estimated 30 MPG of combined gas mileage with FWD.

Find the Used SUV with Everything You Need

As you can see, you have no shortage of options to consider and choose from when looking at used SUVs, even if terrific fuel economy is your top concern. No matter what you’re searching for, finding and buying a great pre-owned SUV becomes much easier when you choose a dealership that puts your needs first and focuses on getting you the best vehicle possible. It’s important to consider a variety of factors when it comes to fuel efficiency, including the engine, drive type, and how well-maintained the vehicle was by previous owners; the right dealership will help you with all of this and give you the facts you need to choose the perfect vehicle. Come visit us at Victory Kia today to see our impressive selection of used SUVs, and we’ll make sure you drive away in one with terrific fuel economy.