Fuel Efficient SUV Alternatives

As I mentioned last week, SUVs are grinding to a halt and trade in values on SUVs is plummeting (good news if you’re in the market for a used full sized SUV). So this week I thought I’d cover some of the fuel efficient alternatives to large SUVs that still give you plenty of cargo space and a higher ride without draining your pocketbook. One nice thing about these vehicles is they’re also cheaper than the larger SUVs they’re replacing.

1) Scion xB

First up is the Scion xB. This newly redesigned vehicle has plenty of interior space and lots of little nooks and crannies where you can store stuff. This vehicle gets 28mpg on the highway and 22mpg in the city and will run you $15,750.

2) Mini Cooper Clubman

Next is the Mini Cooper Clubman which gets the best gas mileage of all the vehicles in this list. The Clubman is about 10 inches longer than a standard Mini. And if you’ve never sat in a Mini before you’ll find that it’s surprisingly spacious inside for such a little looking car. I have a friend who tips the scales at over 300lbs and says that it’s one of the most spacious vehicles for him to ride in so don’t let it’s little size fool you. The Mini Clubman gets 37mpg highway and 28mpg city and will run you $19,950.

3) Toyota Matrix

The Toyota Matrix gets 32mpg on the highway and 26mpg in the city. This vehicle also comes with available all wheel drive so you don’t have to give up ability to drive in snow with the Matrix. This car will run you $16,190-$20,660. It has a unique look that some people love and others hate so you’ll have to make that determination yourself.

4 ) Kia Rondo

If you’re a fan of ugly vehicles then the Kia Rondo is perfect for you. Seriously, this thing is hideous – it looks like a cross between a station wagon and minivan that hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down. However, this thing is capable of hauling people around and even has available third-row seats. It gets 26mpg Highway and 19mpg in the city and will run you $16,395-$20,195.

5 ) Ford Escape Hybrid

A couple years ago I helped one of my good friends drive a Ford Escape from Lincoln, Nebraska to Boston, Massachusetts so I can give you some first hand feedback on driving an Escape (and the hybrid is pretty much identical, it just gets better mileage). I’ll admit that I’m a fan of this vehicle and the 30mpg highway, 34mpg city (that’s not a typo, remember hybrids get better city mileage due to regenerative braking) certainly makes this an attractive option especially if you spend a lot of your time commuting through the city. This is an SUV, not a car, and it even comes with available all wheel drive, so if you’re not ready to give up your SUV in the name of fuel efficiency, you don’t have to. The one trade off is price – the Ford Escape Hybrid will run you $27,445-$29,215.

6 ) Saturn Vue Green Line

If you’re a fan of Saturn vehicles (or if you prefer to do the Patriotic thing and buy American), but the Ford Escape Hybrid is a little out of your budget, then the Saturn Vue Green Line might be the better option for you. It uses Chevrolet’s “mild hybrid” system and while I’m not entirely sure what the heck that means, I do know it’s a cheaper system to install in a vehicle but still boosts gas mileage. The Saturn Vue Green Line will run you $23,640 and gets 32mpg highway and 24mpg city. And you still get the higher up ride you may have become accustomed to with your SUV. So what’s the catch? Well, you gotta find one first. Saturn isn’t producing many of these vehicles right now and they’re pretty doggone hard to find. But if you do manage to find one, you know exactly what you’re going to pay for it since Saturn doesn’t negotiate on their vehicles (which means in this case they can’t charge more than sticker price.)

7 ) Mazda5

The Mazda5 is the slightly better looking cousin to the Kia Rondo as far as I’m concerned. I’d say this thing looks like a little minvan. However, it’s attractively priced at $17,995-$22,515 and gets 28mpg highway and 22mpg in the city while offering plenty of space for passengers and their stuff. It even comes with a third row of seats.

8 ) Subaru Forester

With Subaru you know you’ll be getting four wheel drive, and the Forester has been redesigned to look a less like a high riding station wagon and more like the SUVs we’ve all come to know and love. The Forester gets 27mpg highway and 20mpg in the city and comes with a price tag between $19,995 and $28,195.

So there you have it – eight alternatives to your gas guzzling SUV that will still give plenty of space to put your people or stuff but will be far more friendly to your pocketbook.

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Posted: June 15th, 2008
at 9:35pm by Fuel Saver

Categories: Gas Saving Tips

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