We spend a lot of time driving Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and Crossovers. Although some might think it odd that an organization that’s so keenly focused on fuel economy would put this much effort into producing SUV reviews, it’s core to our purpose. Traditional SUVs can consume an inordinate amount of fuel, yet many folks simply cannot live without them (for any one of a number of reasons). We’re not here to be judgmental. We’re here to help you find the most fuel-efficient vehicle that fits your needs. Our SUV reviews tackle the topics that matter most in these trying times.
The clean diesel Audi Q7 TDI delivers a unique combination of fuel efficiency, range, driveability, luxury, and towing capacity, along with some of the best in-cabin technology on the market today.
It’s not surprising that the 2010 Cadillac SRX is decidedly European, as Cadillac’s compact crossover rides on the same platform as the Opel Antara. The SRX currently offers a choice between two V6 engines (turbocharged or naturally aspirated) with front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD). While its gas mileage results are middle-of-the-road, the crisply-designed SRX delivers all the style, comfort, and tech goodies you’d expect in a modern high-end Cadillac.
With segment topping highway gas mileage, the redesigned 2010 Chevy Equinox goes to battle in the crowded field of five-passenger crossovers. A car-like and quiet ride along with a roomy and smartly-designed interior makes the 2010 Equinox a worthy contender for families swapping out of conventional SUVs.
The 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a traditional truck-based full-size three-row SUV with a big difference. The Tahoe Hybrid’s two-mode hybrid system functions as promised, delivering a substantial jump in fuel economy when compared to the conventional Tahoe.
With room for seven and highway gas mileage in the mid-twenties, the front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2009 Chevy Traverse LTZ crossover offers a compelling feature set, with a spacious interior that’s chock full ‘o creature comforts.
The 2008 Ford Edge is a roomy and comfortable five-seat SUV that competes with the Honda CR-V, Nissan Murano, Saturn Vue, Toyota Highlander, and Toyota RAV4 among others in the popular crossover SUV market.
The 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid is a five seat sport utility that competes with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Highlander, and Jeep Patriot, among others. In a crowded field, the Escape Hybrid’s excellent gas mileage set Ford’s innovative SUV apart from the competition.
The 2010 GMC Terrain shares its platform with the Chevy Equinox, and like its cousin, delivers solid gas mileage results when equipped with the standard four-cylinder engine. The Terrain is a prime choice for fuel-conscious families swapping out of larger SUVs, with generous interior space, a comfortable ride, and plenty of in-cabin amenities.
The CR-V is a best-seller in the crowded five-passenger SUV market, competing against a slew of competitors including the Toyota RAV4, Ford Edge and Escape. Now in its third generation, the 2008 CR-V has come a long way from its humble and boxy roots.
While the 2010 Hyundai Tuscon faces tough competition in the five-seat crossover category, it’s clearly up to the task. The Tuscon carves out a healthy chunk of the segment with good fuel economy numbers, solid handling, a roomy and well-executed cabin, and unique styling.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most refined Grand Cherokee to date, with a beautifully executed interior, superior ride, and a base FlexFuel V6 engine. When run on domestic E85 fuel, the FlexFuel Grand Cherokee helps in the quest to eliminate our reliance on imported oil, without any sacrifice in comfort, delivering true 4×4 off-road capability in a luxury SUV.
Available in just the 2007 and 2008 model years, the Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD uses a Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder diesel engine to great advantage.
As the competition moves to soft and cushy crossover designs with limited off-road abilities, the 2010 Jeep Liberty remains a competent and conventional mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV), designed to tackle tough terrain while hauling the goods. Although the Liberty’s 3.7-liter V6 has been newly equipped with an interactive Decel Fuel Shut Off feature to improve fuel economy, this is still a relatively thirsty SUV.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4 was built to travel the road less taken. The four-door Unlimited provides a unique combination of features: plenty of room for crew and cargo, time-honored four-wheel-drive capabilities, and strong resale values. While not one for poseurs, the 2009 Wrangler Unlimited is the only four-door convertible on the market.
The top-of-the-line 2011 Kia Sorento SX delivers a remarkable amount of bang for the buck. Competitors in the three-row crossover segment may have a tough time matching the Sportage SX feature-for-feature, without enduring the sticker bloat of option packages.
The aggressively-styled 2011 Kia Sportage stakes out a bold space in the highly competitive five-seat crossover market. Sharing its platform with the Hyundai Tuscon, the Sportage plays the design card, and trumps the competition with features for the dollar. This one is stuffed with all the goodies, in a quest to one-up the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
The 2008 Lexus RX400h is a luxury five seat sport utility that competes with the Acura RDX, BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, and Mercedes R-Class (among others) . While that’s a crowded field, the RX400h’s hybrid drive train sets the luxurious Lexus apart from its most worthy competitors.
The 2011 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost takes the big American luxury crossover to a new level. While it lags behind the European turbo-diesels when it comes to fuel economy, the twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine provides a remarkable rush of power. Say goodbye to the V8-powered luxury barge. The MKT EcoBoost is an executive jet on wheels, with a luxurious ride for six or seven.
The luxurious 2011 Lincoln MKX is packed with safety features and technology, including the innovative MyLincoln Touch flat-screen display that dispenses with the need for a clutter of conventional buttons and knobs. The steering wheel’s dual five-way buttons and voice control allow the driver to take charge of the system without lifting a hand.
The AWD Mazda CX-7 stands apart from the flock of five-seat crossovers, with a truly sporting approach and a distinctive design. No question about it … this is the driver’s CUV.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC is one of the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger luxury SUVs on the road today. From the calm and comfort within the GL350’s well-crafted cabin, one can only wonder why so many manufacturers have been slow to embrace clean diesel as the ideal solution for premium vehicles.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS is among the most sporting of the mid-size Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), with a rally-inspired design that provides real four-wheel-drive, magnesium paddle shifters, and an optional 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system.
Nissan bills the 2010 Nissan Murano as “the Premium Crafted Crossover” with the goal of nibbling away at the sales of more expensive luxury competitors. This roomy and comfortable five-passenger crossover is chock full of amenities and style. A curvaceous design, a smooth ride, and plenty of interior space have earned the Murano a space in many a driveway.
The 2010 Nissan Rogue plays in a hotly contested field, as it scores big points for style and handling among the compact crossover competition. Slotted between the luxurious Murano and the raucous Juke, the Rogue leans toward the sporty side with a distinctive design.
The distinctively styled 2008 Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid competes with the Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Jeep Patriot, and Compass among others in the crowded compact SUV category.
As a tall AWD wagon, the 2009 Subaru Forester forges its own trail amongst its peers, with a comfortable ride, roomy interior, generous headroom, and excellent visibility.
The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a seven seat SUV that plays a trump card in the sport utility market, by delivering the best gas mileage in its class.
The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best-selling five-seat SUVs for good reason. Solid gas mileage, a roomy interior, and a generous cargo capacity are among its most appealing attributes.
SUVs are particularly well-suited to clean diesel engines, with their gobs of torque and legendary fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, American auto manufacturers have been hesitant to commit to diesel SUVs, other than a handful of short-lived exceptions. The luxurious diesel-powered 2011 VW Touareg TDI hammers home the facts, with a cruising range born for the open road.