High MPG vehicle options with decent ground clearance

What about a lifted gasoline Jetta? Buy a new one, then lift it. You’d get pretty good mpg from that, and you already know you like the Jetta’s ride and handling. Why take a risk a different model when you know you like the Jetta for this special off-the-main-road purpose.

Battery dead or “low” and car won’t start in cold weather? The vehicle needs to be repaired before venturing out anywhere.

Chances are good you’ll have other problems besides just an old battery or failing charging system. :wink:

Probably not much. If you’re going for max range you aren’t going to be flooring it, so you won’t be using all that hp anyway. To get the full horsepower you have to put the car in “ludicrous” or “insane” mode anyway, so it’s not going to be full-powered by default.

As is, the car will go more than 300 miles on a charge in the configuration I specified.

Let’s not forget that we’re talking about $120,000 cars here. No one is going to go out and drop Porsche GT3 money on a car that is not a limo and be happy with a slow plod to 60. No one.

Yeah… Again, I was joking to try and point out that you need to give us a budget, which, unless I’ve missed something, you have yet to do.

budget = with the amount of time spent in vehicle id say budget 40k, unless its some custom solution (ie. via truck)… there no sense with the landrover/ rangerover or bmw hybrid for my purpose

Again im not looking for fast (although that would be nice) but i do enjoy the power of diesel… before my turbo on it died it also go from 0-60 pretty quick

Always being able to park where you can roll down hill, not likely. Being able to roll far and fast enough to actually start the vehicle, maybe. Makes more sense to just take along a charged battery pack and you might even help a fellow camper.

I have said this before: while you can operate a manual transmission what if you are injured or sick and the person with you can’t. An automatic should not be discounted.


Good fuel mileage and off road capability are at odds with each other. Good off road capability implies a real 4WD system and a strong structure like a truck provides. The best mileage available in a diesel truck/SUV is the 1.6L Equinox/Terrain. They aren’t meant for serious off-roading though. The highest mileage available Ina real 4WD truck is the Colorado. The average mileage is 23 mpg.

I wouldn’t buy a new vehicle and modify it to suit your use. That would likely void the warranty. Any serious modifications should be made on a used vehicle, like your old Jetta. Maybe this is what you have in mind anyway.

I think that I would just buy the truck that does the job best with an eye on fuel economy. The difference between a vehicle that gets 25 mpg vs 30 mpg over 10,000 miles is 67 gallons. Even at $3/gal, that’s only $200 per 10,000 miles. At $40,000 you can get a nice new 4WD truck that will do the fun stuff well and not cost you a lot when you are on the road.


These are all very valid points, cost of new vehicle + mods + lost warranty + more $ insurance (newer car) + possibility getting it all messed up on some dirt trail… :frowning: I will look closer into the diesel equinox as a possibility (and perhaps even take the colorado for a test drive) but perhaps i should also as you say give more attention to some of the older vehicles out there - which was my interest in the 2011 ford escape hybrid (31city, 34hwy - if i can even find one used). I know im being a stickler i just cant think of anything in say the last 7 years that fits most of my criteria (im not sure the mileage on the older Subaru’s).

Not sure if it would fit the bill but a division of HPA (the vw tuners) does a TDI swap for the Wrangler or the XJ manual transmission Cherokee with 35mpg potential

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Holy crap - sounds pretty awesome… not sure if it would fly with CA emissions but worth looking into - thanks!

From what I can find out so far it might be worth checking with the smog check referee program since they would need to inspect the conversion.

For sure, although this doesn’t solve the security problem but definitely worth looking into…

I know this discussion is dead, but what did you decide to get?

Higher ground clearance vehicles arranged by my best guess at real world MPG
Crosstrek (came out in 2013) (8.7”) = 28 (KBB= $12,000)
SX4 (6.9”) = 24 (KBB= 3500 for 07)
CX-5 (came out in 2012) (8.5”) = 24 for AWD 26 for 2WD (KBB= $9,000)
Juke (came out in 2010) (7”)= 23 for AWD (KBB=$6,700)
CR-V (8.2”) =22 for AWD 25 for 2WD (KBB= 2200 for gen 1, 3700 for gen2, 5300 for gen3)

-“stick with 99-01 first gen., or 05-06 for second gen… the 2005-2006 got larger brakes… 16" wheels… 5 speed auto transmission [vs 4 speed] , so highway MPG was better” “1997 was rated for 126 hp, and the B20Z [99-01] was rated for 147 hp [but got the same MPG because of Vtec]” “Regular valve adjustments are critical for the 1st Gen engines [every 30k miles].” “Gen1 was prone to valve recession issues” “later Gen2 ('05 - '06) [was better than early gen2 because] had a 5 speed automatic” “if you buy an earlier gen 1 [pre 99’] they have a timing belt that can wear out [timing chain for 3rd gen 2007+]”

Rogue (came out in 2008) (8.3”) = 22 for the AWD (KBB= $4,800)
Rav4 (7.5”) = 22 for AWD (KBB= $1600 for gen1, 4000 for gen2, 5600 gen3)
Touareg (8.7”) = 22 (KBB= 3000 for 2005)
Caliber (7”) = 22 for AWD 26 for 2WD (KBB= 3000 for 07)
Edge (8”) = 21 (KBB= 4000 for 07)
Sportage (7.7) = 21 (KBB= 2300 for 05)
Murano (7”) = 21 (KBB= 3500 for 05)
Santa Fe (8.1”) = 21 (KBB = 2500 for 05)
Sorento (8.2”) = 21 (KBB = 3000 for 05)
Tucson = 21 7.7” then 6.7” in 2010 but then get about 25mpg (KBB= 2400 for 05)
Outback (8.4”) = 20 for 3.0L 6 cylinder or 25 for 2.5L 7.5” then 8.4” in 05’, 8.7 in 09’ (KBB= $4k for 05)
Forester (8.1”) = 20 for 3.0L or 25 for 2.5L (KBB= 3000 for 05)

all 2.5L Subaru motors appear to have significant issues with head gaskets and engines overheating and destroying themselves. “the EJ25 pushed the boundaries. The original EJ’s were the EJ18 and EJ22. To get to the EJ25, they bored more of the cylinder wall out. That gave less surface area [of the head gasket] to bond to.” [this issue was allegedly fixed in 2010]

Outlander (8.5”) = 20 for AWD 22 for 2WD (KBB= 2200 for 05)
Equinox (8”) = 20 until 2010 then 22 (KBB= 2700 for 05)
Patriot/Compass (8.1”) = 20 for AWD and 24 for 2WD (KBB= 3700 for 07)
Freestyle (8”) = 20 for AWD (KBB=2500)
Escape/Mariner/Tribute non-hybrid (8.2”) = 19 (KBB= 2300 for 05)
Vue (8”) = 19 for AWD
Highlander = 19
CX-9 = 19
Pilot = 19
MDX = 18
Ranger = 18 for 4x4
Colorado (8.4”) = 18 for 4x4 (KBB = 3800 for 05)
4Runner (9.6”) = 17 for 4x4 (KBB= 6000 for 05)
Xterra (9.5”) = 17 for 4x4 (KBB= 3200 for 05)
Cherokee (8.7) = 17 for 4x4. Went away in 2001 but came back in 2014 for 22mpg (KBB= 2300 for 00’)
Tacoma = 17 for 4x4
Frontier = 17 for 4x4
Wrangler (10”) = 16
F-150 (9.3”) = 14 then 16 for 2015 and above 4x4 (KBB= 4600 for 05)

Focus (6.2”) = 30 (just for comparison sake)

Also the Subaru Outback sucked at ground clearance, approach angle and departure angle until it was improved in 2005. It was improved further in 2009.

2016 and up GMC Colorado’s diesel is worth mentioning with it’s 24mpg.

You’ve replied to this stale thread three times. How’s that working out for you?



Statistically there are more guests reading these threads than users. If you google “high mpg, high ground clearance” this is what comes up.

I mean yeah the OP has definitely moved on to other things but you have lost touch with reality if you think what I wrote isn’t helping someone.

Well, Jared I doubt if your first post will help much . Most people are going to look at that , their eyes will cross out and they will just go on to something else.

Whitey… JaredE replied to an old but alive thread with useful infomation. You replied to an old but alive thread with zero useful information and a smartarse comment just to be noticed. Is being noticed as a condescending smart4ss working out for you?

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Hmm. @JaredE is technically correct. We get lots of people who search for topics and come in here without comment.

@VOLVO_V70 we don’t know who finds the threads helpful and never posts. Maybe the comments didn’t help, but maybe they did.

Please don’t hassle anybody for posting in old threads. Our system doesn’t allow for archiving old discussions, so you’re basically blaming new people for a feature of our platform. Save your rotten tomatoes for us. Besides, is it really any different that we get ten discussions about self-driving cars, instead of one massive one being reawakened periodically? :face_with_monocle: