Cut down on fuel stops and enjoy more drive time.
Great gas mileage isn't just for sedans and hybrids! If you're in the market for an SUV that's compact, fuel-efficient, and fun to drive, then a five-passenger crossover can be a smart choice. Many small and compact SUVs come with cool features such as flat-fold rear seating for maximum cargo space, keyless entry and ignition, and innovative infotainment systems — depending on the model year and trim you choose.
Begin your search with our list of high MPG small SUVs below, based on fuel economy estimates from fueleconomy.gov1:
You can expect to get an estimated 25 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years of the Nissan Rogue with its 2.5-liter 4WD engine at 170 horsepower.2 The 2014-2016 Nissan Rogue comes in three trim levels (the base S, SV, and SL) — all of which are available with optional four-wheel drive as an upgrade.
Opt for the 2016 base S trim with four-wheel drive and you'll enjoy these standard features:
- remote keyless entry
- rearview/back-up camera
- four-speaker sound system
There are also several add-on packages available. This includes the Appearance package, which adds features like rear privacy glass and chrome exterior accents. Regardless of the trim you select, you'll enjoy 70 cubic feet of maximum storage capacity.
With the 2017 Nissan Rogue's 2.5-liter, 4WD engine, you'll achieve an estimated 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.2 In addition to impressive fuel economy, this newer version of the Rogue offers some nice extra features compared to its predecessors — even in its base S trim. Some of these features and updates include:
- an innovative cargo storage system
- Bluetooth® connectivity
- added sound insulation
Just like in previous model years, the 2017 Rogue is available with 4WD on all trim levels, so there's no need to upgrade trims for this feature alone. Many of the same package add-ons are also available for easy customization, and drivers and passengers alike will enjoy the unique "zero gravity" seating throughout for added comfort. Storage space remains unchanged for this model year at 70 cubic feet with rear seats folded down.
For the 2015 model year, the Honda CR-V saw a welcome refresh that included improved fuel economy. Specifically, drivers of this vehicle can expect to get an estimated 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway in the base LX trim with 2.4-liter engine and four-wheel drive.2 Keep in mind that while a 4WD upgrade is available on all four trim levels, it is a feature you'll pay a little extra for.
From a space standpoint, the 2015 CR-V competes with the Nissan Rogue, offering nearly 71 maximum cubic feet of storage. Even in its base trim, it also comes with some well-appointed features, such as:
- full power accessories
- a rearview/back-up camera
- internet radio connectivity
Compare this to the 2015-2016 Nissan Rogue 2.5L 2WD, which also gets an estimated 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.2
We have another tie! Both the 2017 Nissan Rogue with 2.5-liter engine/front-wheel drive and the 2015 Mazda CX-5 with 2.5-liter engine and front-wheel drive achieve an estimated 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.2 So, it will likely come down to the available features, cargo space, and other options you're looking for when determining which is the better choice for you. Perhaps because of its more recent model year, you might favor the 2017 Rogue over the 2015 CX-5 if you're looking at standard features alone. However, you might fancy the base Sport trim of the CX-5, which includes:
- a touchscreen interface
- voice control system
- SMS text-reading
Take a look at available cargo space in these vehicles, however, and you'll find that the 2017 Rogue offers 70 maximum cubic feet versus the CX-5's maximum of 65 cubic feet. If you'll primarily be using the second row of seats to transport passengers, you may not notice the difference as much as you would if you're constantly needing to haul larger items around in your trunk.
Topping our list of best compact SUVs with great gas mileage is the 2015 Honda CR-V base trim with 2.4-liter, front-wheel drive engine. This vehicle gets an estimated 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, and comes in four trim levels (LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring).2 The base LX trim comes with some nice features such as a telescoping steering wheel that controls the stereo system, eight cupholders for front and back-seat passengers, and Bluetooth capability. If you want to take it up a notch, the Touring trim offers:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- adaptive cruise control
- navigation system
- power tailgate
When fuel economy is a priority, these small SUVs with the best gas mileage are a wonderful starting point. Here are more CarMax articles to help you in your vehicle search:
1To rank these vehicles, we first used city fuel economy estimates from fueleconomy.gov and then considered highway fuel economy estimates.
2Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.