What's the best economical 4x4? updated

  • 40mpg+ cars with four-wheel drive
  • Family-friendly SUVs
  • Every car averages more than 40mpg

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If you're looking for an economical 4x4 that combines low emissions and high mpg, all wrapped up in a great overall package, then you've come to the right place.

These 4x4 cars all average more than 40mpg, make tax-efficient company cars, and are great to own for private buyers. As well as the traditional pure diesel engine choices here, we've also included couple of plug-in hybrid models on our list.

The cars are listed in alphabetical order, along with our True MPG results where we have tested the precise model in question.

Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro
MPG/CO2 49.6mpg/149g/km
Underneath the Audi Q3's rather mundane styling lies a decent car. The engine is strong, refined and reasonably economical. The ride is comfortable and the upmarket cabin is hard to fault.
Read the full Audi Q3 review

BMW X3 xDrive20d SE
MPG/CO2 50.4mpg/149g/km True MPG 42.2mpg
The BMW X3 is the best compact 4x4 you can buy, and our current SUV of the Year. It's classy, practical and good to drive. The engines are efficient, too, and standard kit is pretty generous.
Read the full BMW X3 review

Fiat Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet 
MPG/CO2 60.1mpg/125g/km True MPG 53.7mpg
The Fiat Panda 4x4 is the only supermini that offers genuine off-road ability and great economy. Although it's a niche car, it's vastly superior to small SUVs such as the Suzuki Jimny. Only the much bigger Dacia Duster offers comparable abilities for similar money, but you might be put off by its disappointing three-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Read the full Fiat Panda review

Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec
MPG/CO2 47.9mpg/154g/km True MPG 41.0mpg
The Ford Kuga has a decent amount of passenger space, both for those up front and in the rear seats. The gutsy and economical diesel engines are also pluses, but the amount of boot space on offer is a disappointment. While the 4x4 versions are economical enough to make it on to this list, the 2WD versions are capable enough off road to warrant consideration as well.
Read the full Ford Kuga review

Honda CR-V 4x4 2.2 i-DTEC SE
MPG/CO2 50.4mpg/149g/km
The Honda CR-V's off-road ability is limited and its diesel engine can be noisy, but it has impressive build quality and gives you masses of space inside.
Read the full Honda CR-V review

Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi SE 136 4WD
MPG/CO2 49.6mpg/149g/km
The Hyundai ix35 is cheaper and better equipped than many of its rivals, and the powerful diesel engine that comes with this 4WD model is another bonus. However, we'd stick to the lower trims, because the purchase price can quickly escalate.
Read the full Hyundai ix35 review

Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Style (7st)
MPG/CO2 46.3mpg/159g/km
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a practical, classy and well equipped 4x4. It's spacious and there's the reassurance of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
Read the full Santa Fe review

Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D SE-L AWD
MPG/CO2 54.3mpg/136g/km
Given its size and performance, the Mazda CX-5 has brilliant fuel economy and CO2 emissions, and the entry-level diesel engine is a real peach. The CX-5 has lots of interior space and equipment for a reasonable price, too.
Read the full Mazda CX-5 review

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 PHEV GX3h
MPG/CO2 148mpg/44g/km
Even Mitsubishi admits that you can take the claimed 148mpg fuel economy with a pinch of salt, but if you plug the Outlander PHEV into the mains on a regular basis then you should be able to go a serious distance without using much in the way of petrol.
Read the full Mitsubishi Outlander review

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 130 Acenta Premium
MPG/CO2 65.7mpg/115g/km
The Nissan Qashqai makes a brilliant family car because it's roomy, comfortable and refined with reasonable running costs. The king-of-the-road driving position is another plus, although if you want to get 4WD then you have to go for one of the top specifications.
Read the full Nissan Qashqai review

Range Rover Evoque 2.2 TD4 Pure
MPG/CO2 49.6mpg/149g/km True MPG 36.4mpg
The Range Rover Evoque is stylish, good to drive and comes with desirability that its rivals simply can't match. This model strikes the best balance between performance, efficiency and affordability.
Read the full Range Rover Evoque review

Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI 4x4
MPG/CO2 57.6mpg/124g/km
The Skoda Octavia Estate is a spacious family car. While this version doesn't have a raised ride height like its Octavia Scout predecessor, it's still a practical four-wheel-drive car.
Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI SE 4x4
MPG/CO2 47.1mpg/157g/km
The Skoda Yeti is a stylish and practical alternative to traditional family hatchbacks. It handles brilliantly and this 4x4 model is a capable off-roader, too.
Read the full Skoda Yeti review

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI Bluemotion Tech 4Motion
MPG/CO2 48.7mpg/150g/km
The VW Tiguan has a responsive engine and a finely balanced chassis, so it's enjoyable to drive. It has a pleasingly smart image, too, with a classy, spacious and flexible cabin.
Read the full VW Tiguan review

Volvo V60 2.4 D6 AWD Plug-in Hybrid
MPG/CO2 155.2mpg/48g/km
The Volvo V60 is another car that boasts a staggering official fuel economy figure, but how much fuel you use depends on how often you plug it in. Unlike the Mitsubishi Outlander, however, this car pairs a diesel engine with an electric motor. It offers a decent mix of performance and economy, therefore, but its practicality takes a hit thanks to all the extra battery technology under the boot floor.
Read the full Volvo V60 review

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