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Most economical SUVs, 4x4s and crossovers 2019

SUVs and crossovers aren't generally known for their excellent mpg figures but here we name some that are - the most economical SUVs on sale

SUVs used to have a reputation for being big gas guzzlers and this never seemed to be an issue with buyers. The point was if you could afford a brand new £100k Range Rover then you could afford the asscoiated costs too, including the hefty fuel bills.

But those days are long gone. The SUV market is crowded with every manufactuer trying to find a new niche to fit an SUV into, plus there is pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and maximise fuel economy.

• Most economical cars on sale

Curiously, since mainstream motorists have started buying SUVs in big numbers, they have demanded models which behave like the traditional family hatch or saloon. Plush interiors, strong driving dynamics and of course, car-like fuel economy are now all on the SUV wish list.

Car manufacturers have responded with a wave of models to address this demand and now we’re at a point where there are SUVs with combined cycle fuel economy figures to rival even the most frugal city cars.

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Our top 10 most economical SUVs list below is split into two categories: non-hybrid and plug-in hybrid. These have been split up primarily because PHEV SUVs claim incredible combined cycle economy figures by virtue of being able to travel on electric power alone for part of the test. There are question marks as to whether such returns can be achieved in real world driving and there’s also the fact that for some buyers a plug-in hybrid will not make sense. Just as a diesel SUV will not work as well for others.      

Top 5 most economical non-hybrid SUVs

  1. 1. Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Expression+ 5dr - 78.5mpg
  2. 2. Vauxhall Crossland X 1.6 Turbo D ecoTec SE 5dr [Start Stop] - 78.5mpg
  3. 3. Peugeot 2008 1.6 BlueHDi 100 Allure Premium 5dr - 76.3mpg
  4. 4. Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 BlueHDi Flair 5dr - 76.3mpg
  5. 5. Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Expression+ 5dr - 74.3mpg

Top 5 most economical non-hybrid SUVs in detail

1. Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90

Economy: 78.5mpg

The good-looking Renault Captur is the smallest crossover in the French brand’s range, sitting underneath the mid-sized Kadjar and larger Koleos. It’s powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine and produces just 89bhp, but in a car this small, that’s plenty. It’s also worth the performance deficit, as the Captur returns an impressive 78.5mpg and just 95g/km of CO2.

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Renault Captur review

=1. Vauxhall Crossland X 1.6 Turbo D ecoTec SE 5dr

Economy: 78.5mpg

The Vauxhall Crossland X came as a much needed improvement on the retired Meriva MPV, and is a spacious, well-equipped and practical family car. Its position in the range may be a little hazy with the presence of the Mokka X, despite the marque’s efforts to distinguish the two. Aside from the cracking economy, the Crossland X’s biggest draws are its brilliant packaging and comprehensive infotainment system.

Vauxhall Crossland X review

3. Peugeot 2008 1.6 BlueHDi 100

Economy: 76.3mpg

Coming in at third place with an impressive 76.3mpg is the Peugeot 2008. The 2008 is related to the Cactus but offers a plusher and luxurious interior as well as a more substantial feeling on the road. This adds weight and therefore dents fuel economy, but it’s still unlikely to cost you the earth at the pumps.

Peugeot 2008 review

4. Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 BlueHDi ETG6

Economy: 83.1mpg

The C4 Cactus focuses on simplicity and lightness, so it’s perhaps no surprise that it posts such a staggering economy figure. For a car with space for a growing family, a figure of over 80mpg is very impressive indeed – and it’s backed up by an equally low CO2 figure of just 89g/km.

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It’s not all good news, unfortunately. The Citroen’s soft and pillowy driving dynamics won’t be to everyone’s taste, admittedly, but some approve of the comfort-focused ride and handling. Less easy to swallow is the automated manual gearbox necessary to achieve the headline economy figure. It’s slow, jerky, and makes for an often unpleasant drive.

Citroen C4 Cactus review

5. Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Expression

Economy: 74.3mpg

The Renault Kadjar is a stylish crossover that shares a platform with the Nissan Qashqai, however the Renault model beats the Nissan in almost every area. While the potential economy is great, the easy to use infotainment and quality cabin make it appealing family users.

Renault Kadjar review

Top 10 most economical hybrid SUVs in detail

  1. 1. Kia Niro 1.6 GDi PHEV 3 5dr DCT - 217.3mpg
  2. 2. Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 PHEV Juro 5dr Auto - 166.1mpg
  3. 3. Audi Q7 diesel 3.0 TDI 258 Quattro e-tron 5dr Tip Auto - 156.9mpg
  4. 4=. Volvo XC60 2.0 T8 Hybrid R DESIGN Pro 5dr AWD Geartronic - 134.5mpg
  5. 4=. Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid Momentum 5dr Geartronic - 134.5mpg
  6. 4=. MINI Countryman 1.5 Cooper S E ALL4 PHEV 5dr Auto - 134.5mpg
  7. 7. Range Rover 2.0 P400e Vogue 4dr Auto - 101mpg
  8. 8. Range Rover Sport 2.0 P400e HSE 5dr Auto - 100.9mpg
  9. 9. BMW X5 xDrive40e SE 5dr Auto - 85.6mpg
  10. 10. Mercedes GLE GLE 500e 4Matic AMG Night Edition 5dr 7G-Tronic - 76.4mpg

1. Kia Niro 1.6 GDi PHEV 3 5dr DCT

Economy: 217.3mpg

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The Kia is a dedicated hybrid model, the first one from the marque. This means that you cannot have a pure petrol or diesel Niro, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. With the potential for massive economy along with a well-equipped and spacious interior the Niro makes a compelling case for itself.

Kia Niro review

2. Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 PHEV Juro 5dr Auto

Economy: 166.1mpg

Mitsubishi gave the Outlander PHEV some small updates in 2017, but these failed to change our opinion of the hybrid SUV. It will prove practical and cheap to run for many and interior quality is in line with that you would expect from the Japanese brand.

Mitsubishi Outlander review

3. Audi Q7 diesel 3.0 TDI 258 Quattro e-tron 5dr Tip Auto

Economy: 156.9mpg

The Audi Q7 e-tron is incredibly relaxing to drive, quiet and wonderfully comfortable. It has a premium of around £10,000 over the regular diesel (which unlike the e-tron can have a third row of seats) but it sure is one of the best plug-in SUVs on sale right now.

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Audi Q7 e-tron review

=4. Volvo XC60 2.0 T8 Hybrid R DESIGN Pro 5dr AWD Geartronic

Economy: 134.5mpg

The Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid offers a beguiling mix of performance and economy: 400bhp and 134.5mpg on the combined cycle is amazing stuff. That being said, partly because of its weight, the economy figures are difficult to match in the real world, but if you plug it in regularly the XC60 will still be one frugal SUV.

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Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid review

4=. Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid Momentum 5dr Geartronic

Economy: 134.5mpg

Aside from anything else, the Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid was an example of Volvo’s technological prowess. The driving experience of the standard XC90 hasn’t been compromised, but as with all the PHEVs on this list, to get anywhere near the claimed economy you will need to make sure that you are plugging it in regularly.

Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid review

4=. MINI Countryman 1.5 Cooper S E ALL4 PHEV 5dr Auto

Economy: 134.5mpg

Despite certain motorists still holding reservations about a MINI being anything but mini in proportions, the Countryman plug-in is a great car. The hybrid makes a strong case for itself as it offers very little compromise over the similarly priced petrol car, along with usable electronic range and engaging drive.

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MINI Countryman S E plug-in hybrid review

7. Range Rover 2.0 P400e Vogue 4dr Auto

Economy: 101mpg

For drivers who mostly use their Range Rover for town driving, the PHEV version of the luxury SUV is the ideal car. It loses none of its upmarket appeal, but makes significant gains in economy – provided of course you plug it in regularly.

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Range Rover PHEV review

8. Range Rover Sport 2.0 P400e HSE 5dr Auto

Economy: 100.9mpg

The Range Rover Sport hybrid continues on the themes of its larger sibling mentioned above. Ideal for those who predominantly make shorted trips around town the Sport retains much of its character from the standard car, including its important off-road ability.

Range Rover Sport PHEV review

9. BMW X5 xDrive40e SE 5dr Auto

Economy: 85.6mpg

The BMW X5 hybrid has a personality which is brilliant but flawed. The petrol-electric powertrain makes great sense in an SUV as there is ample space to hide batteries. However, the economy falls to nearer 30mpg if you don’t keep it well charged, and the seemingly impressive emissions figures are not so great when you compare them to the Volvo XC90 twin engine.

BMW X5 hybrid review

10. Mercedes GLE 500e 4Matic AMG Night Edition 5dr 7G-Tronic

Economy: 76.4mpg

The Mercedes GLE 500e shares its hybrid platform with the S 500e limo, which is no bad thing. The 3.0-litre V6 and electric motor produces 436bhp and that’s more than enough to get the big SUV moving down the road.

Mercedes GLE review

Now you know the most economical SUVs on sale, why not shift gear and look at the fastest SUVs on sale?

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