Real-world MPG: most economical SUVs

Our True MPG team has tested a variety of large SUVs. Here's the top 10 all of which return more than 40mpg.

What Car?’s technicians drive new cars every week to capture our True MPG fuel economy data. Unlike official Government figures generated by a laboratory test, the numbers we publish are gained from real-world conditions.

This week we’re looking at the most economical large SUVs that we’ve tested so far, including the Honda CR-V with the efficient 1.6 diesel engine. If you’re looking for a large SUV that won’t break the bank at the filling station, then these models are worth considering. All of them beat 40mpg in our test.

1. Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC – official 62.0mpg; True MPG 56.5mpg
The CR-V is as comfortable and easy to drive as a family hatchback, plus there’s loads of space in the cabin and boot. Refinement and equipment levels let it down, though. Still, our test shows this 1.6 version is supremely economical, and even the four-wheel-drive 2.2 diesel model managed 47.6mpg.

2. Toyota RAV4 2.0 D-4D – official 57.6mpg; True MPG 46.9mpg
The RAV4 has an enormous cabin and a big boot, plus most versions offer a generous amount of kit. Refinement and perceived quality are disappointing, though, and the engines are weak compared with the best rivals.

3. Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 – official 53.0mpg; True MPG 46.3mpg
The CX-5 is about as compact as a ‘large’ SUV can get, but you still get plenty of interior space and equipment for your money. The firm ride and wind and road noise are the only significant disappointments. Mazda’s 2.2 diesel is not only incredibly smooth, but economical, too.

4. Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi — official 53.3mpg; True MPG 45.7mpg

The Nissan X-Trail has a spacious and flexible cabin and boot, plus the option of seven seats. It’s cheaper to buy and run than most direct rivals, and comes with plenty of standard equipment.

5. Lexus NX300h — official 54.3mpg; True MPG 45.5mpg

If you’re looking for an economical SUV but don’t want a diesel engine, the petrol-electric Lexus NX300h is the way to go. It offers cheap company car tax bills and a generous standard specification.

6. Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D — official 52.3mpg; True MPG 43.0mpg

The Mitsubishi Outlander has seven versatile seats and a big boot. The ride is generally comfortable and running costs are relatively low. Our biggest criticism is saved for the interior plastics which feel low rent.

7. Volvo XC60 2.0 D4 — official 60.1mpg; True MPG 42.8mpg

The Volvo XC60 has a spacious, versatile and appealing cabin, smooth motorway manners and loads of safety kit. It’s also available with large discounts which makes it even more attractive.

8. BMW X3 sDrive18d — official 55.4mpg; True MPG 41.5mpg
We think the BMW X3 is one of the best SUVs you can buy. We’d choose the optional adaptive suspension to get the right balance of comfort and agility.

9. Subaru Forester 2.0D — official 46.3mpg; True MPG 41.4mpg

The Subaru Forester offers genuine off-road capability, plenty of space and a generous standard equipment list. It also rides well on faster roads.

10. Porsche Macan 3.0 V6 S diesel — official 44.8mpg; True MPG 40.7mpg

When you think of Porsche, fuel economy isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. However, the diesel Porsche Macan performed well in our real-word testing. The Porsche Macan is the best-handling SUV on sale, and it has one of the highest-quality cabins to go with it.

We add new models to our True MPG database every week. Visit to see the full range of cars we’ve tested, and find out what you really can expect to achieve on UK roads.


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