These are the most economical SUVs

The popularity of SUVs has soared and sales show no signs of slowing down, especially as more and more models of this type are scheduled to go on sale in the coming years.

They are often criticized for being inattentive and ineffective, and have even been victims of climate activists who have targeted SUVs, with tire extinguisher groups deflating SUV tires in high-profile “attacks” in cities such as London and Edinburgh.

But are SUVs really inefficient? Although some certainly are, not every vehicle is, especially with a range of hybrid and electric versions available. But what are the most economical SUVs available? We’ve picked out some great options, but we’ve excluded hybrid and electric models to focus on more “regular” powered SUVs.

The Yaris Cross delivers outstanding performance. (Toyota)

Toyota is famous for its hybrid models, being the first brand to offer a model of this type with its Prius in more than 25 years. The majority of new Toyota cars are now sold as hybrids, including SUVs, and if you’re looking for the best fuel economy, you should take a look at the Yaris Cross.

Using the same 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid setup as the standard Yaris, this crossover model is remarkably efficient, with Toyota claiming up to 64.1mpg but better fuel economy numbers are possible in urban driving which is where the Yaris comes in Cross is in its own place. It’s remarkably roomy for a relatively compact car but also has the lofty driving position that’s popular with SUV buyers.

The T-Roc diesel can return more than 60 mpg. (Volkswagen)

Diesels have been mislabeled as the ‘devil’ fuel in recent years, but the latest diesel engines can be remarkably efficient and are well suited for those who do a lot of long journeys, although they’re not great for city driving. One of the most efficient diesel SUVs you can buy today is the Volkswagen T-Roc – a mid-size crossover that offers a great driving experience and smart design.

Opt for a T-Roc with Volkswagen’s once-popular 2.0-litre diesel engine under the hood, and 60.1mpg is said to be possible, making it ideal for extended motorway commutes.

Niro is only available with electrified engines. (Kia)

The Kia Niro made a big impact when it was launched, being one of the first cars available with a choice of three electric powertrains – a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric model. But for maximum efficiency without having to stop and charge, the standard hybrid model is the one to go.

Using a 1.6-litre petrol-electric motor, Kia claims it’s possible to deliver up to 64.2mpg, which is excellent for a family crossover like this. This latest generation Niro also has a more modern look inside and out, while the cabin offers plenty of space. And we can’t forget Kia’s class-leading seven-year warranty, too.

Austral uses a powerful and efficient hybrid setup. (Renault)

Renault is rapidly electrifying its entire range, and one of the latest additions is the new Austral. An alternative to the Kadjar, this mid-size SUV offers stylish looks and a high-quality interior, with the Android-powered infotainment system a real plus, with features like Google Maps fully integrated.

The new Austral is only available as an active hybrid, using a 197bhp 1.2-litre petrol-electric engine. Choose a model with smaller alloy wheels (larger rims have a negative impact on efficiency) and Renault claims up to 60.1mpg.

For a premium SUV, the GLC can be very efficient. (Mercedes)

If you have a little more money to spend on something bigger and upscale, but still want something that gets you better fuel economy, it’s worth taking a look at the new Mercedes GLC. This latest generation of Mercedes’ practical mid-size SUV offers more modern styling and a high-tech interior.

While a range of hybrids are available, for long-distance drivers who want maximum efficiency, the GLC 220d is the choice, using a 194bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox. Mercedes claims 52.3 mpg, which is excellent for a car of this type.

The 5008 is very good in terms of fuel economy for such a large SUV. (Peugeot)

It’s rare to find a car that seats seven adults and delivers great fuel economy, but one of the few models that fits the bill is the Peugeot 5008. It’s the French company’s largest SUV, although a new version is expected in the next year or so The current car still makes a strong case for itself with its spacious cabin and good interior design.

It’s available with a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine, and this engine is the one to be desired when it comes to fuel economy, with Peugeot claiming up to 54.3mpg – an excellent figure for a seven-seat family SUV.

The Puma’s mild hybrid drive adds to its efficiency. (stronghold)

The Ford Puma is not a full hybrid, but what is known as a mild hybrid, which uses mild electric assistance to boost performance and fuel economy, but with limited zero-emission operating capability. However, the Puma still performs admirably, with Ford claiming up to 52.3mpg from the 1.0-litre mild hybrid petrol engine.

The Puma remains one of the best compact crossovers on the market too, being great to drive and surprisingly spacious inside – especially with deep under-floor boot storage expanding its versatility significantly.

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