​What are the Most Economical SUVs?

The market for small SUVs – crossovers – continues to grow. The great cars listed below all return over 60mpg, making them a sensible choice if you're focused on fuel economy.

Seat Ateca, 65.7mpg (2016-)

The Seat Ateca is the brand’s first SUV, and they’ve not pulled any punches in delivering a great all-round vehicle. The Ateca’s based on the successful Leon hatchback, and that’s clear in some elements of the styling.

Seat Ateca

For fuel economy, the Ateca can return up to 65.7mpg. This is from the 1.6-litre diesel engine, which is 115bhp and also has very low levels of emissions. There’s two more diesel engines available – the 2.0-litre diesel is also available with four wheel drive and as an automatic. Whilst having an automatic transmission doesn’t affect the great economy levels too much, making the move to four wheel drive will: you can expect that 65mpg to fall by at least 10mpg.

Although the diesels are likely to be the most popular engines, thanks largely to their economy, there’s also two petrol engines to choose from. A 1.0-litre petrol is good if you’ll only be driving the Ateca around town; for a bit more punch, the 1.4-litre engine shuts down half its cylinders when they’re not in use to save fuel. You can expect both petrol engines to return a not-unimpressive 50mpg.

There’s four trim levels available from the Ateca, meaning that there’s plenty of variation on the used market. That being said, even the entry level S trim packs in nice features like a five-inch touchscreen, a leather steering wheel and 16 inch alloys.

Overall, the Ateca is also a comfortable vehicle to travel in: a roomy interior, comfortable seats and good refinement are assisted by particularly smooth suspension in delivering a pleasant driving experience.

Vauxhall Mokka, 65.7mpg (2012-)

Like the Seat, the Mokka represents Vauxhall’s first foray into the burgeoning crossover SUV market.

Vauxhall Mokka

It’s certainly a unique looking vehicle, as the brand tries to make its mark against the likes of well-established manufacturers in this market, partly through its noticeably lower price when new than many rivals.

The Vauxhall Mokka can deliver decent fuel economy, too. With the 1.7-litre diesel engine, which is also available with an automatic transmission or with four wheel drive, you can expect an impressive 63mpg. A facelift in 2015 and the introduction of the Whisper Diesel improved this engine further – this variant drops the size to 1.6-litres, delivering 134bhp and 65.7mpg. In addition, it’s quieter and releases fewer emissions, too.

The cabin’s comfortable, with good amounts of leg and headroom and a decent-sized boot. Good amounts of standard kit such as DAB radio, climate control, cruise control and USB connectivity are impressive, although it’s worth bearing in mind that the entry level trim is only available with the 1.6-litre petrol engine.

The interior is essentially the same as in a sixth-gen Astra, so it’ll be familiar if you’ve driven a Vauxhall. Whilst the cabin’s functional, some of the materials used can feel a bit on the cheap side, particularly some of the hard and scratchy plastics.

Mazda CX-5, 61.4mpg (2012-16)

The first small crossover SUV from Mazda, the CX-5 was launched in 2011 and has proved popular since then, acting as a worthy opponent to the Nissan Qashqai.

Mazda CX-5

When it comes to economy, it’s the 2.2-litre diesel engine you’ll want to go for. In two-wheel drive form, the 148bhp engine returns 61.4mpg. Not only that, but its emissions are just 119g/km, too. If you’re after some extra power from a diesel, the 2.2-litre engine’s also available with 173bhp.

The petrol version is a 2.0-litre, 163bhp engine; all engine variants are available on either two or four wheel drive vehicles.

The MX-5 is also the first Mazda to use the brand’s SKYACTIV features, which further boost fuel economy. Part of this is the implementation of weight saving measures, which make this the lightest model in its class, at just 1330kg.

There’s no sacrifices elsewhere, though – for example, the five star Euro NCAP rating has been maintained. There’s also good levels of equipment – even the netry level models have features like automatic wipers, cruise control and Bluetooth.

Despite the apparent size of the MX-5, in reality it’s not much larger than a hatchback – the raised driving position of crossovers makes them seem larger than they actually are. This raised position is great for driving, affording great visibility. It’s still a spacious vehicle, though, with enough room for five adults, plenty of legroom and a 503-litre boot.

Hyundai Tucson, 61.4mpg (2015-)

The original Tucson was launched in 2004 and was rebranded as the ix35 in 2010 in a move to take more of a share of this lucrative small SUV market. In 2015, we were re-introduced to an updated Tucson, which replaced the ix35 with an improved crossover vehicle.

Hyundai Tucson

What’s noticeable in all of these small SUVs is the high driving position coupled with the hatchback-like handling. This is particularly apparent in the Tucson, which handles particularly well, with very little lean in the corners.

The most economical engine available is the 1.7-litre, 113bhp diesel, returning 61.4mpg. This is certainly the engine you’ll want, as performance isn’t quite as good in this regard from the others on offer – for example, the 173bhp 1.6-litre petrol returns 37.7mpg. There’s a 2.0-litre diesel available either with 134 or 138bhp which also offers four wheel drive as an option, but this’ll hit that fuel economy a bit.

Inside, the Tucson is a great family vehicle – it’s spacious, has plenty of storage, a large boot, an intuitive and easy to use infotainment system, as well as five stars from Euro NCAP.

All the above vehicles are spacious, practical family cars that offer fantastic levels of fuel economy. with Carsnip, it’s possible to easily find one of these economical SUVs at a range of different specifications and prices. Try it out and find the ideal economical SUV today!

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