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 latest 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 seven 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 new 1.6 version is supremely economical, and even the four-wheel-drive 2.2 diesel model managed 47.6mpg.
2. Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 – official 61.4mpg: True MPG 47.2mpg
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. What’s more, the more powerful 2.2 diesel and the 2.0 petrol both beat 40mpg as well.
3. 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.
4. BMW X3 xDrive20d – official 50.4mpg: True MPG 42.2mpg
We think this is one the best compact four-wheel-drive cars you can buy, which is why it was our 2013 SUV of the Year. This engine has all the performance you’ll need, but we’d choose the optional adaptive suspension to get the right balance of comfort and agility.
5. Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 4WD – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 42.1mpg
The Santa Fe is pricey compared with some rivals, but it’s a practical, classy and well-equipped SUV. Our favourite version is the seven-seat model with the automatic gearbox, which makes a fine alternative to an MPV.
6. Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 4WD – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 42.0mpg
The Kuga has plenty of space in the cabin, which looks classy if you go with one of the higher spec models. Boot capacity is smaller than many rivals with the rear seats up, though, and the dashboard is unintuitive. The ride is firm around town, although it does handle well, but it’s not enough to trouble the class leaders.
7. Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 40.6mpg
The Q5 may trail the BMW X3 in a few areas, but it’s still a terrific, plush, compact SUV. Ride comfort suffers in particular on S line models, but stick with SE trim and it will be comfortable enough and very refined. This 2.0 TDI is our pick of the range, thanks largely to its affordable running costs.
We add new models to our True MPG database every week. Visit whatcar.com/truempg to see the full range of cars we’ve tested, and find out what you really can expect to achieve on UK roads.