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Most Popular Small SUVs Ranked by Gas Mileage


PUBLISHED THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2022
Two friends unpacking folding chairs and a picnic basket from their small SUV

Comfort, cargo, and more time on the move.

If you're shopping for a vehicle with maximum fuel economy for adventures, errands, and everything in between, it's the mpg (miles per gallon) rating that really matters. According to the 2021 EPA Automotive Trends Report, car SUVs (or smaller SUVs) have seen a 22% increase in fuel economy from 2012 to 2020.

For all gas-powered vehicles, there are three mpg figures—city, highway, and combined. For context, it's worth understanding what to look for in fuel economy, since real-world driving tends to be a combination of slow-moving city driving (with plenty of stops and starts) and highway driving that allows you to increase your speed and hit cruise control. Arguably, the combined mpg figure gives the most accurate account since it is the weighted average of city and highway figures—two very different driving conditions.

For passenger space, cargo chops, and pocket-book peace of mind, a fuel-efficient small SUV could be the all-rounder you're looking for. We identified nine of the most popular small SUVs at CarMax and ranked them by their EPA-estimated combined fuel economy.

Learn how we built the list here. 

All vehicles on our list are 2018 models. When we crunched the numbers, this model year came up as the largest sample size in our inventory for the small SUV category. According to the EPA, new small SUVs with the model year 2018 had an average combined MPG of 24.

Read on to see how our list compares.

  1. Nissan Rogue Hybrid — 34 MPG

  2. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — 32 MPG

  3. Chevrolet Equinox — 32 MPG

  4. Honda CR-V — 30 MPG

  5. Mazda CX-5 — 29 MPG

  6. Jeep Compass — 25 MPG

  7. Jeep Renegade — 25 MPG

  8. Ford Escape — 24 MPG

  9. Volkswagen Tiguan — 24 MPG

1. Nissan Rogue Hybrid — 34 MPG

Navy Blue 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: CarMax average price $27,500

For style, comfort, practicality, and impressive fuel efficiency, it's the Nissan Rogue Hybrid that takes top honors. The 2018 Rogue Hybrid pairs a 2L, four-cylinder gas engine with an onboard electric motor and automatic transmission for a blockbuster EPA-estimated 34 mpg combined.

 More mileage means more freedom and the Nissan Rogue Hybrid couldn't be more inviting. The hybrid is only available in the Rogue's higher SV and SL trim configurations, but luxury becomes standard here, with smartphone integration, a power liftgate, heated front seats, and a suite of driver assistance aids.

2. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — 32 MPG

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: CarMax average price $33,500

Taking the number two spot in our fuel-friendly listing is the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Powered by a 2.5L engine with onboard electric motor technology and AWD capability, you can expect this customer favorite to power you on, and on, and on, with an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.

 Driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are standard, plus rear privacy glass, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 17-inch alloy wheels keep you and your crew looking and feeling like rock stars on the move.

3. Chevrolet Equinox — 32 MPG

Black 2018 Chevrolet Equinox: CarMax average price $24,000

The turbodiesel engine of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox delivers some serious mileage for drivers that use their vehicle for work and recreation. If your daily schedule is full of errands and appointments, the FWD or AWD 1.6L turbo diesel Equinox with automatic transmission delivers an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.

 With Chevy Teen Driver monitoring as standard, you can set a speed limit warning for your teen driver whenever their designated key fob is in use. The Equinox also includes a variety of entertainment tech controlled via a seven-inch touchscreen—this is a vehicle you'll be happy to share with the whole family.

4. Honda CR-V — 30 MPG

Black 2018 Honda CR-V: CarMax average price $29,000

When friends and family live out of state, planning trips to visit them feels easier when your ride is fuel-efficient. The 2018 Honda CR-V with the turbo 1.5L engine, standard FWD, and automatic transmission returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined.

 Pairing fuel-frugality with a turbocharged engine is the big draw here as the CR-V responds to the road with vigor, while its interior dimensions (including 39.2 cu-ft of standard cargo space) mean this classy compact SUV can go the distance for trips that include loved ones and their baggage.

5. Mazda CX-5 — 29 MPG

Black 2018 Mazda CX-5: CarMax average price $27,000

For smart styling and more miles from your tank of gas, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 with the 2.2L engine, FWD, and an automatic transmission achieves a truly impressive EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined.

 As the driver, you'll love its responsive handling, while passenger comforts are where it excels for family and friends. The three-trim CX-5 has refined interior finishing and plenty of standard features from the base trim upwards including a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth® connectivity, and reclining rear seats.

6. Jeep Compass — 25 MPG

Silver 2018 Jeep Compass: CarMax average price $25,500

The 2018 Jeep Compass can take you further between fill-ups as you navigate daily life. The standard engine for all trims is a 2.4L four-cylinder, and when paired to the six- or nine-speed automatic transmission, you'll benefit from an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined.

 This compact SUV provides deep seats for longer trip comfort, alongside 41.8 inches of legroom for the front row seats and 38.3 inches for the rear. Fold-flat capability for that rear row turns your five-seat Compass into a 59.8 cu-ft cargo hauler.

7. Jeep Renegade — 25 MPG

Gray 2018 Jeep Renegade: CarMax average price $23,500

If you regularly take off for the mountains or like to explore your city in detail, the Jeep Renegade has you covered for adventure-filled weekends. The 2018 2.4L FWD Renegade dials in an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined, a nifty number that provides a balance of fuel efficiency and carefree driving.

 The Renegade's upscale offering focuses on passenger enjoyment and includes a standard six-speaker audio system, a five-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, and Bluetooth connectivity.

8. Ford Escape — 24 MPG

Blue 2018 Ford Escape: CarMax average price $23,000

Pick the 2018 Ford Escape, and its three engine options not only provide good fuel economy figures, but you can also find a version that suits your driving style and the roads you regularly navigate, too. The FWD model with the 2.5L engine achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined.

 The turbocharged 1.5L is equipped with optional AWD, and the FWD version of the turbocharged 2L also gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined.
 Ideally suited to young professionals and families that want style and convenience, the Escape has plush interior finishing and 34 cu-ft of space behind the second row.

9. Volkswagen Tiguan — 24 MPG

Gray 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan: CarMax average price $22,000

All trims of the spacious 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan are powered by a turbocharged 2L engine. In its FWD iteration, the Tiguan achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined.1 Keeping you connected to your online world are standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto connectivity. For groups that enjoy traveling together, look for a Tiguan equipped with an optional third row of seating, taking capacity to seven.

If you regularly hit the highway on your daily commute or just want to save on miles as you run around town, one of these high-mpg vehicles could be a good choice. Even the most practical compact SUV can make a great companion for weekend adventures—you get the best of all worlds.

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Who We Are

At CarMax, we've been buying and selling cars since 1993, and we've made it our business to pay close attention to which cars customers like—and buy—the most. As the largest used car auto retailer in the United States, our overall sample size is large and reflective of the variety of years, makes, and models that we sell.

How We Ranked This List

To create this list of CarMax’s most popular small SUVs with the best gas mileage, our analysts looked at CarMax’s vehicle and sales data over a six-month period (March 1, 2022 through August 31, 2022) to determine the 9 top-selling small SUVs. From there, we ranked these results by their EPA-estimated combined MPG. Looking back over a six-month period allows for the highest sample size possible while also providing up-to-date pricing information. Specifically, this list includes only 2018 models, as this was our largest sample size for this category.

*Average estimates are based on prices on the 2018 models of the vehicles identified above on carmax.com from March 1, 2022 through August 31, 2022. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features, mileage, and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.
* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to 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.​

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