True MPG: most and least efficient SUVs

What Car?'s True MPG tests show what you can really expect from a car. Here, we reveal the top 10 most and least efficient SUVs we've ever tested...

Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V driving

The official MPG figures published in car sales brochures can tempt you into buying a particular model, but they're often misleading.

Fortunately, What Car?'s True MPG test tells you what sort of fuel economy you can expect to get in the real world, with our results reflecting what's achievable if you drive gently and stick to speed limits, but don't resort to any unrealistically slow acceleration or special 'hypermiling' techniques.

To ensure that they're comparable for all the different cars we run, we use strictly controlled laboratory conditions. However, the test is based on a real route that takes in town, rural and motorway roads.

Below, we count down the 10 most efficient SUVs we've tested – plus we reveal the one that used the most fuel.

The 10 most fuel efficient SUVs:

10. Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid

Buy a new Kia Niro with What Car? >>

2020 Kia Niro PHEV front 3/4

True MPG 46.2mpg

It doesn't make as much sense as the fully electric e-Niro (which we like so much that we once named it What Car? Car of the Year) but this hybrid model still topped 46mpg in our test. Its practical interior and seven-year warranty are further plus points.

2021 Mercedes GLA nose

True MPG 46.5mpg

We think the smooth and potent 220d diesel engine suits the GLA well, and it's kind to your wallet too. Elsewhere, the GLA impresses with a well-controlled ride and an interior that feels special. It's an expensive choice, though, which is why our discounts are worth paying attention to.

Read our full Mercedes GLA review >>

8. Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI

Buy a new Volkswagen T-Cross with What Car? >>

Volkswagen T-Cross front

True MPG: 46.6mpg

We're big fans of the T-Cross, because it's spacious enough for growing families yet it's also good to drive. This 1.0-litre petrol version doesn't feel as lively as some rivals, but it pulls strongly enough and will be kind to your wallet.

Read our full Volkswagen T-Cross review >>

7. Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet Hybrid

Buy a new Suzuki Vitara with What Car? >>

Suzuki Vitara 2021 front

True MPG 46.7mpg

The Vitara is a spacious and practical choice in the small SUV market, and if you stick with the cheaper trim levels, it also represents real value for money. Rivals have nicer interiors, though, and the infotainment system on entry-level models is quite basic.

Read our full Suzuki Vitara review >>

6. Peugeot 2008 1.2 Puretech 130

Buy a new Peugeot 2008 with What Car? >>

Peugeot 2008 2021 front right cornering

True MPG 47.3mpg

We recommend Peugeot's 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine in a whole host of models, because it pulls strongly from low revs and never feels out of breath. It's also wonderfully economical, returning upwards of 47mpg in real-world conditions.

Hyundai Kona 1.6 Hybrid 2022 front

True MPG: 47.4mpg

With low C02 emissions from this hybrid version and a generous amount of standard kit, there's lots to like about the Hyundai Kona. Some rivals are more practical and cosseting, though.

Read our full Hyundai Kona review >>

=4. Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid

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Honda CR-V Hybrid

True MPG: 47.4mpg

This 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor set-up is the sole choice in the CR-V, so it's handy that it's very frugal. It also really really lively, plus Honda's largest SUV is vast inside, and has a comfortable ride.

Read our full Honda CR-V review >>

3. Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid

Buy a new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with What Car? >>

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

True MPG 49.0mpg

The RAV4 is fairly ordinary to drive, but its strong suits lie elsewhere. The real selling points are low running costs (including impressive economy), strong resale values and a very good reliability record. The RAV4 is one of the cheapest large SUVs for company car tax, too.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review >>

2. Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid

Buy a new Suzuki Ignis with What Car? >>

Suzuki Ignis 2022 front

True MPG: 59.9mpg

The 1.2-litre petrol engine in this version of the Ignis may produce only 82bhp, but the car never feels slow to get moving, because a mild hybrid system deploys electrical power to help you out. The result is a seriously economical small SUV, and one that's deceptively spacious to boot.

Toyota Yaris Cross 2022 front right tracking

True MPG 60.1mpg

Toyota's Yaris Cross is good to drive, with composed handling and decent punch from its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, plus you get the kind of lofty driving position which many buyers are looking for these days.  Most impressively of all, though, the Yaris Cross is not just the most fuel-efficient SUV we've ever tested, but the most fuel-efficient car full stop.

Read our full Toyota Yaris Cross review >>

And the least fuel efficient SUV...

Audi SQ5

Buy a new Audi SQ5 with What Car? >>

Audi SQ5 front

True MPG: 24.6mpg

It's perhaps unsurprising that a performance SUV takes our bottom slot here. The petrol SQ5's result of just 24.6mpg was even beaten by a Porsche Macan Turbo, which gave a mildly better 25.3mpg in our tests. However, this engine has since been replaced by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that's far more frugal.

Read our full Audi SQ5 review >>

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