When SUVs began their popularity surge in the 1990s, fuel was still relatively affordable, making high fuel consumption an afterthought. But as gasoline and diesel pricing soared in the 2000s, buyers began looking more closely at SUV fuel efficiency. Today, SUVs have hit a comfortable stride in fuel consumption with a wide range of hybrid versions and new turbo technology.
These advancements have made finding SUVs with lower gas consumption relatively simple. For a vehicle that combines comfort and cargo space with reduced fuel costs, check out this list of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada.
In years past, listing the most fuel-efficient SUVs was as simple as running down a list of numbers. Today, SUVs have a range of green powertrain options, including electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, and gasoline or diesel.
These new powertrain options muddy up the waters a little when searching for the most fuel-efficient SUV. But in this list, we cover the most fuel-efficient SUVs in all four powertrain classes to clear the waters and help you decide.
Traditional SUVs come with gasoline- or diesel-only powertrains and tend to have the lowest upfront cost. This lower cost and simpler technology come at the expense of fuel consumption, as they use significantly more fuel than their hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric counterparts.
The 2018-2019 Chevrolet Equinox diesel leads the list of most fuel-efficient SUVs without a hybrid powertrain. Its fuel consumption varies slightly between years and with optional all-wheel drive, but it checks in at 8.5 L/100 km city, 6-6.1 L/100 km highway, and 7.4 L/100 km combined.
The 2018-2019 GMC Terrain Diesel is almost identical to the Equinox Diesel mechanically, so its fuel efficiency is the same. NRCan rates it at 8.5 L/100 km city, 6-6.1 L/100 km highway, and 7.4 L/100 km combined.
The 2022-2023 Nissan Rogue is the first non-diesel model on this list of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid SUVs. Its consumption rates check in at 7.8 L/100 km city, 6.5 L/100 km highway, and 7.2 L/100 km combined with front-wheel drive. The AWD variant also makes the cut at 8.4 L/100 km city, 6.7 L/100 km highway, and 7.6 L/100 km combined
In the 2022 model year, Toyota introduced the all-new subcompact Corolla Cross built upon the legendary name of the long-running compact sedan bearing the same name, and it comes up next on our list of the most fuel-efficient SUVs with fuel consumption ratings of 7.6 L/100 km city, 7 L/100 km highway, and 7.3 L/100 km combined. One thing to remember, though, is this model is only available with one powertrain setup: front-wheel-drive with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel-drive or manual transmission is not available.
The Hyundai Kona is another subcompact SUV with big fuel economy numbers. It comes standard with a 147-horsepower 2.0 litre engine and has an optional 195-horsepower 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder powerplant. Both versions of the Kona make our list of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada.
With the base engine, the Hyundai Kona rings in at 8 L/100 km city, 6.6 L/100 km highway, and 7.4 L/100 km combined. The peppy 1.6-litre engine is only slightly thirstier at 8 L/100 km city, 6.8 L/100 km highway, and 7.5 L/100 km combined.
Another tiny crossover that puts fuel economy ahead of all else is the subcompact Volkswagen Taos. This teeny-tiny people hauler and its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission consume fuel at a rate of 8.4 L/100 km city, 6.6 L/100 km highway, and 7.6 L/100 km combined.
The 2020 Honda CR-V with the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive rounds out our list with consumption ratings of 8.3 L/100 km city, 7 L/100 km highway, and 7.7 L/100 km combined. The all-wheel-drive CR-V consumes too much fuel to qualify for our list.
Hybrid SUVs not only deliver superior fuel efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-only models, but they also eliminate the need to plug them in. You can simply hop in and drive. This convenience comes at the expense of fuel consumption relative to their plug-in hybrid relatives, though.
Because they have no all-electric range, NRCan rates hybrid models' fuel consumption the same way it does traditional gasoline models: litres per 100 km (L/100 km).
The 2020-2023 Ford Escape Hybrid leads the pack as the most fuel-efficient SUV in the hybrid class. In its standard front-wheel-drive setup, the Escape Hybrid delivers some of the best fuel economy numbers in its class at 5.4-5.6 L/100 km city, 6.3-6.5 L/100 km highway, and 5.8-6 L/100 km combined. Opting for all-wheel drive increases consumption to 5.5-5.6 L/100 km city, 6.4-6.5 L/100 km highway, and 5.9-6 L/100 km combined.
The 2019-2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the second-most fuel-efficient SUV in the hybrid class with its 5.7-5.8 L/100 km city, 6.3 L/100 km highway, and 6 L/100 km combined full consumption ratings. What's more, it delivers this efficiency with standard all-wheel drive.
After a brief hiatus, the Toyota Venza returned in 2021 as a hybrid-only crossover with all-new styling and standard all-wheel drive. This all-new hybrid crossover delivers 5.9 L/100 km city, 6.4 L/100 km highway, and 6.1 L/100 km combined consumption ratings.
Need a three-row midsize SUV that's still one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada? The 2020-2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD is a solid option with fuel economy ratings of 6.6-6.7 L/100 km city, 6.8 L/100 km highway, and 6.7-6.8 L/100 km combined.
Based on similar hybrid technology as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, it’s no surprise the luxurious Lexus NX 350h AWD makes the cut. It features the same 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain as the RAV4 but places it in an upscale crossover body with loads of premium features and materials. It checks in with fuel consumption ratings of 5.7 L/100 km city, 6.4 L/100 km highway, and 6 L/100 km combined.
Kia bet big on hybrid SUVs in 2023, dropping an electrified powertrain in its popular, fully redesigned compact Sportage model. This model pairs a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total of 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This power flows through a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.
Despite delivering great power and standard AWD, the Sportage Hybrid is still one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada at 6.1 L/100 km city, 6.3 L/100 km highway, and 6.2 L/100 km combined.
Based on the exact same platform as the Kia Sportage Hybrid, the Hyundai Tucson is the next logical player in the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada. Its turbo 1.6-litre engine and eclectic motor pair up for 1 less horsepower than its Kia counterpart, but it still has all the same pep and standard AWD.
Fuel consumption rings in a little higher than the Kia at 6.3 L/100 km city, 6.6 L/100 km highway, and 6.4 L/100 km combined.
Buyers who aren't quite ready to leap from gasoline to full electric can use a plug-in hybrid SUV as a bridge vehicle. These models combine an electric motor and gasoline engine to deliver enhanced fuel economy. They also include higher-capacity batteries to deliver all-electric driving.
The all-electric range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is significantly shorter than full-electric models, but they switch into hybrid mode for extra range once their batteries deplete. Like electric SUVs, NRCan rates plug-in hybrids in Le/100 km, but this rating combines their fuel consumption in hybrid and electric modes.
The 2020 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is the most efficient plug-in hybrid SUV in Canada with its 2.2-2.3 Le/100 KM combined rating on battery power and 5.8-5.9 L/100 km combined rating in hybrid mode. With a full battery, the Escape has a 60-km range, and its hybrid mode adds another 771-790 km.
The 2021-2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime rings in at No. 2 on our list of most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid SUVs with a 2.5 Le/100 km rating on battery power and 6 L/100 km rating in hybrid mode. This compact SUV delivers a 68-km all-electric range and a 911-km range in hybrid mode.
Some buyers consider the 2020-2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid AWD a lifted hatchback, while others consider it a crossover SUV. Regardless of its classification, the Crosstrek Hybrid AWD pairs Subaru's legendary off-road prowess with a fuel-efficient powertrain with a 2.6 Le/100 km consumption rate on battery power and 6.7 L/100 km in hybrid mode. With a fully charged battery, the 2020 Crosstrek Hybrid can travel up to 27 km on battery alone. Once the battery runs out, hybrid mode adds another 747 km.
The Lexus NX 450h is based on the same technology as the RAV4 Prime, so it only makes sense that it is next on the list of economical plug-in hybrid SUVs. It checks in with a 2.8 Le/100 km rating on battery power and 6.6 L/100 km rating in hybrid mode. This compact SUV delivers a 61-km all-electric range and a 835-km range when this luxury SUV is in hybrid mode.
We mentioned that Kia bet big on electrified SUVs, which continues with the plug-in hybrid model of the Kia Sportage. This sharp-looking but economical plug-in SUV features a 2.8 Le/100 km rating on battery power and a 6.7 L/100 km combined rating in hybrid mode.
With a fully charged battery, the Sportage Plug-In Hybrid can drive up to 55 km on electricity and another 632 km in hybrid mode with a full tank of gas.
Just like earlier, as goes the Kia Sportage, so goes its cousin, the Hyundai Tucson. Next up on the list of economical plug-in hybrid SUVs is the 2022-2023 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid. It checks in at 2.9 Le/100 km on battery and 6.7 L/100 km combined in hybrid mode. With a fully charged battery, it can travel 53 km, and a full tank of gas gets it another 626 km in hybrid mode.
Another Kia SUV makes our list, and this time it’s the midsize SUV, the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid. Despite its larger stature, it uses a small 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine and electric motor that pair to deliver 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This combination also delivers strong fuel economy numbers of 3 Le/100 km on battery power and 6.9 L/100 km combined in hybrid mode.
If your budget allows it, the most fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada are electric vehicles. Electric SUVs generally start with significantly higher pricing than their hybrid or gasoline-only counterparts, plus they often require buyers to install special charging equipment to reduce charging time.
These vehicles use no gasoline, so Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) uses a formula to convert electrical consumption to an equivalent of litres of gasoline consumed (Le/100 km).
The 2020-2023 Tesla Model Y is the most fuel-efficient SUV in Canada in the electric vehicle (EV) segment, but its fuel economy varies greatly between its different variants. The most fuel-efficient version is the 2021 Standard Range model rated at 1.7 Le/100 km city, 2.0 Le/100 km highway, and 1.8 Le/100 km combined. The least efficient version is the 2021-2023 Performance models that ring in at 2.0 Le/100 km city, 2.2 Le/100 km highway, and 2.1 Le/100 km combined.
The all-electric small SUV has an all-electric range (AER) of 393 to 531 km.
The 2019-2023 Hyundai Kona Electric rings in at No. 2 on the list of most fuel-efficient SUVs at 1.8 Le/100 km city, 2.2 Le/100 km highway, and 2 Le/100 km combined. The downside to this electric SUV is it’s only available in front-wheel drive.
The Kona Electric has an AER of 415 km.
Toyota sneaks in at No. 3 on our list with its oddly named bZ4X SUV. This model, which it built in partnership with Subaru, checks in at a thrifty 1.8 Le/100 km city, 2.2 Le/100 km highway, and 2.0 Le/100 km combined with two-wheel drive (2WD). The 2WD bZ4X’s AER checks in at 406 km.
With AWD, the bZ4X is far less efficient at 2.1 Le/100 km city, 2.5 Le/100 km highway, and 2.3 Le/100 km combined. Its AER is 367 km.
The Volkswagen ID.4 has been around since 2022 and gave the German automaker an electric SUV that could challenge Tesla in efficiency. It’s rated at 2.0 Le/100 km city, 2.4 Le/100 km highway, and 2.2 Le/100 km combined in the 2023 model year. The 2022 ID.4 was slightly less efficient at 2.1 Le/100 km city, 2.5 Le/100 km highway, and 2.3 Le/100 km combined.
The ID.4’s AER comes in at 336 to 443 km.
Tesla returns at No. 5 on the most fuel-efficient SUV list with the 2016-2023 Model X -- the Model Y's larger sibling. This all-electric midsize SUV comes in a wide range of trim levels, and its fuel consumption rings in at 2.2-2.9 Le/100 km city, 2.3-3 Le/100 km highway, and 2.2-3 Le/100 km combined.
The Model X has a wide range of AER ratings, ranging from 322 to 597 km
The Ford Mustang Mach-E — Ford’s first dedicated electric vehicle — comes in at No. 5 on our list. It has a few models to pick from with varying ranges and fuel consumption estimates, but the most efficient models are the 2021-2023 California Route 1 and Standard Range models at 2.1-2.2 Le/100 km city, 2.5 Le/100 km highway, and 2.3 Le/100 km combined. The 2021-2023 GT Performance Edition is the least efficient at 2.7 Le/100 km city, 3.1 Le/100 km highway, and 2.9 Le/100 km combined.
The Mach-E’s driving range also varies greatly from 340 km in the 2021 Standard Range AWD model to 505 km in the 2022 California Route 1 model.
As a relative to the Toyota bZ4X, it only makes sense that the Subaru Solterra makes it on the list. The reason it’s so far behind its platform-mate is because it — like every other Subaru not named BRZ —- comes standard with AWD. This drops its base fuel consumption numbers to 2.1 Le/100 km city, 2.5 Le/100 km highway, and 2.3 Le/100 km combined. Its AER is 7 km less than the bZ4X AWD at 360 km.
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