Consumer Reports Cited Fuel Efficient Suvs

by : Anthony Fontanelle

With the prices of gas and fuel increasing steadily, consumers tend to turn their backs on the sport utility vehicle (SUV) market. Sports utility vehicles after all has a reputation for being gas guzzlers and that is why most consumers now opt for more fuel efficient smaller cars like a sedan or a coupe.

But the versatility and the loading capacity of an SUV is hard to match, even by large sedans. That is why Consumer Reports came out with a list of the most fuel efficient SUVs to help consumers choose the right kind of vehicle that would suit their needs and wants as well as their budgets. The list of the best and worst SUVs when it comes to fuel economy is the result of a battery of tests that were performed by Consumer Reports on the SUVs that are currently available in the market.

"With more crossovers, hybrids, and car-based SUVs entering the market, it's now much easier to find an SUV that gets gas mileage similar to a midsized sedan," Rik Paul, the Automotive Editor for Consumer Reports, quipped. The editor also pointed out that consumers can save a lot of money that is usually spent on fuel simply by doing research before choosing a car to buy. And the magazine has provided prospective car buyers with a comprehensive list of the best and the worst fuel efficient SUVs in the market so as to aid them in choosing a vehicle.

Aside from giving their readers an idea which vehicles are noteworthy, they also showed them which vehicles to avoid where fuel economy is concerned. The information presented by Consumer Reports is a great help to prospective car buyers. What can be more helpful though are the pieces of information about choosing aftermarket parts for the vehicle like or other car parts.

Some of the sport utility vehicles tested by Consumer Reports posted gas mileage which is similar to that of a conventional family sedan. Models like the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Saturn Vue Green Line, and the Toyota RAV-4 model that uses a 4-cylinder engine each posted 23-26 miles per gallon, and that is not far from gas mileage ratings achieved by some sedans. While there are SUVs that boasts of good fuel economy, there are also those that would burn a hole in your pocket with gas mileage ratings that seem to use up each gallon of fuel faster than you can say jag. Small SUVs which have performed poorly on the fuel economy tests are the Kia Sorento LX, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, and the Jeep Liberty Sport.

The tests conducted by Consumer Reports gave a result of an equally weighted average of city, highway, and one-day trip gas mileage ratings. For the city driving gas mileage rating, Consumer Reports simulated stop-and-go driving with a total of 18 stops, four minutes of idling, and speeds reaching up to 40 miles per hour. For the highway mpg rating, testers drove the vehicles through eight 5-mile laps with a constant speed of 65 miles per hour.

To find out the gas mileage rating of the vehicles for a one-day trip, testers pushed the vehicles through 155 miles in a day. The trip is constituted by 26 percent freeway driving, 11 percent two-lane highway, and 63 percent varied countryside roads with turns and minute elevation differences. The tests conducted show the overall performance of the vehicles in terms of fuel economy, other components of the vehicles were not tested.

Other noteworthy SUVs in the midsize segment are the Lexus RX400h, with a gas mileage rating of 23 miles per gallon, and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited which posted 22 miles per gallon. The BMW X3 3.0si, the Nissan Murano, and the Toyota Highlander Limited also posted good gas mileage ratings of 19 miles per gallon. Consumer Reports however did not find any vehicle in the large SUV segment with unusually good gas mileage figures.