Sport utility vehicles and crossovers (crossovers being sport utility vehicles based on a car rather than truck chassis) are popular even as the general trend toward higher MPG vehicles moves forward. The reason is simple: they are functional. One trip to Costco is enough to convince many families that a Prius won’t cut it. Regular trips up to the mountains in the winter to ski could similarly motivate a car buyer to look for an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle rather than the front-wheel drive found on most high-mileage hybrids. Cars don’t always cut it.
All of which leaves the environmentally conscious consumer with some tough choices. If your lifestyle points you toward an SUV or crossover, you still want to do what you can to minimize your contribution to further CO2 in the atmosphere. There are no electric SUVs, no plug-in hybrids (yet) and only a few hybrid and clean diesel models, so the key is to check out the most fuel efficient models that fit your needs. Since one of those needs with this class of vehicles usually entails a good amount of distance travel, we’re using the highway fuel economy as the benchmark for our Top 10 list.
You need look no further than the 2013 New York International Auto Show media preview this last week to see that automakers are aggressively laying out multiple paths to get to the fuel economy goals of the U.S., Europe and Japan. Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hybrids, diesels and advanced gasoline engines (as well as other technologies) point to a diverse future.
Auto shows always present a confusing story to the general public because the messages being transmitted through the media are intended for a variety of audiences – everyone from those interested in cheap, basic transportation to the enthusiast looking for the hottest, most-up-to-date muscle machine to the high-roller with money to burn on something exotic. [...]
Superstorm Sandy, “Snowmegeddon,” El Nino. You need a great car or crossover SUV when that 100-year storm hits. These new all-wheel drive (AWD) cars, crossovers, and SUVs have the best AWD mileage in the United States in 2013. The range from fun, yet thrifty, from Subaru to luxury turbo diesels and hybrids from Audi. We’ll also give you a peak at future plug-in hybrid AWD wonders from Tesla, BMW, and Mitsubishi.
The new 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid delivers more miles per gallon than any luxury luxury hybrid car in America with an EPA-certified 45 mpg across the board – city, highway and combined. It doesn’t cost a dime extra to get the MKZ as a hybrid. The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at $35,925 for this richly appointed sedan. The price is the same whether you buy it as a 45-mpg hybrid or with a 2L EcoBoost engine. Other competitors charge a premium for their hybrid models.
All-wheel drivers may soon get record fuel economy. Mitsubishi is showing a crossover SUV with AWD in Tokyo which is likely to go on sale U.S. in 2012 or 2013. The MITSUBISHI PX-MiEVⅡ is a midsized plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with a 500-mile cruising range. The PX-MiEV is a 5-door, 7-passenger SUV with all-wheel drive.
The Audi e-tron Spyder is a convertible sports coupe with dramatic styling and is likely to be the first diesel plug-in hybrid car to be sold in the United States. With two electric motors and a 3 liter turbodiesel engine, this car has the power to race past the popular Chevy Volt. This Audi e-tron goes zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds. The Audi performance and styling will provide serious competition to Fisker.
Now you can have an excellent SUV without sacrificing premium features, comfort and good fuel economy. The Lexus RX450h is a stylish 5-seat, 5-door, SUV that delivers 28 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 32 highway, and 30 overall. For an extra $1,590 you can get the all-wheel drive (AWD) version for better handling on snow and ice and still get 28 city, 30 highway, and 29 overall. The FWD 2011 Lexus RX 450h has a suggested starting price of $44,735 and the 2012 are $500 higher.
The new 2012 Subaru Impreza delivers the best mileage of any all-wheel drive vehicle sold in the U.S. – 27-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. Even the hybrid AWD from Ford and Lexus cannot touch this fuel economy. The AWD handling is designed to get you to your snow board / ski resort in the winter, off-road hike and bike spots in the summer, and get to school and work when snow and ice intimidates other drivers. Remember last winter’s miserable roads and high gas prices. The Impreza addresses both with better mileage in 2012, more rear seat and cargo room, and new options.
Ten all-wheel drive cars and four-wheel drive SUVs, crossovers, and AWD cars are compared, priced, and ranked by those that delivered the best mileage. Compare the AWD vehicles that save the most at the pump from Subaru, Audi, MiniCooper, Ford, Toyota, Lexus and others. Are SUVs important in snow and ice? Do you need AWD for snow and heavy rain?