New SUV purchase



I am interested in buying a new SUV and I was wondering what the best gas efficient models out there.




That depends. What are you planning on using it for? An urban runabout, or a boat-hauler? Also, why an SUV? More info will get you better recommendations. A budget would be nice, too, as well as features you can’t live without (A/C, AWD, etc.)


We just went thru this process, replacing a 1996 Isuzu Trooper. We wanted 4WD, some towing ability, and room for 4 adults and gear. Looked hard at several, Rav4, Escape, CRV, etc. Ended up with the Rav4, it seems like the best overall. We really thought hard about the Escape, it was quite a bit less money, but just not quite the vehicle. HOWEVER, the Escape hybrid does have better gas mileage than the rest, but I figured it would take 7-10 years to pay back the initial cost. If you are looking at bigger SUVs, you will find the gas mileage is really poor. Our Rav4 V6 4WD is getting 21+ MPG overall, we see 24 MPG on the highway at 70+ MPH.


Take a look at

The Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute/Mercury Mariner hybrids are the most fuel efficient. They are the same basic truck, trimmed out to represent the model line. The Toyota Highlander and Saturn Vue hybrids are not far behind. The most efficient non-hybrid models are the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot (2WD, 4-cyl).


That’s a very informative web-site JT. Thanks



More information is needed before we can give you an informed answer.

Do you need to tow?.. If so how much will you be towing?

How many passengers do you need to be able to carry??

Will you be driving it off-road??

Answer these questions and we can give you an educated answer. There are just way too many choices out there.


If you’re planning on towing get a real SUV, one with a real frame and not unibody tin can. Of course having a real frame adds weight so the fuel economy isn’t going to be great. Also make sure to get AWD or 4WD, no sense in getting an SUV without it. If you want good fuel mileage you can get the Escape Hybrid, the Highlander Hybrid, the RAV 4 or the CRV. Keep in mind none of these vehicles have any off road ability and can’t tow much. The CRV is glorfied Civic and the Highlander is built on the same platform as the Camary.


The last I checked the EPA ratings for the Grand Cherokee was the same as the 4runner with the 4runner having a little more hp and torque. Grand Cherokee is Unibody…4Runner is body-on-frame. Unless you’re towing real heavy (class III or greater) it doesn’t really matter if it’s a unibody or not. I’ve owned both. Either is fine if you’re under 5k towing limit.


I was refering to the higher weights. Furthermore should you do some real off-roading and you have an incident a SUV with a frame is much cheaper to repair. But 99.99% of SUV owners never take them off the pavement.


Furthermore should you do some real off-roading and you have an incident a SUV with a frame is much cheaper to repair.

Agreed. I’ve taken my 98 Pathy off road a few times. But nothing real serious. And it’s a unibody.

And the next statement says WHY a full frame isn’t needed.

But 99.99% of SUV owners never take them off the pavement.


I was just stating that as long as you are going to put up with the disadvantages of an SUV (poor mileage, marginal ride, dubious emergency handling, etc.) You might as well go whole hog and get a stoutly built tank of an SUV. When I sold Nissans I could not fathom why people were buying 2WD Xterras. They would ask “How is it in snow?” I would flat out tell them, that it wouldn’t do nearly as well as the Civic they were trading in and that they should consider a 4WD model if driving in snow was important to them. 90% of the time, they would decide that they did not need 4WD but would buy the 2WD Xterra anyway. In addition, many customers would just automatically assume that every truck/SUV on the lot was 4WD. It amazed me that so few people did any type of research into the vehicles they were buying.


Interesting! That pretty much confirms my impression that a lot of people buy SUVs for image, rather than for any other factors.


I have owned an '03 Ford Escape going on 4 years - it was a rental car for Hertz before I bought her; it’s an XLT, 6-Cyl 4WD.

I think it’s a fine vehicle. It gets 19-21-ish MPG, a tad more on highway, which is about all you can expect from a V6 SUV this size (My primary car is a much more fuel-efficient 4 cyl Honda Accord). We didn’t buy the vehicle for SUV-image-itis (although I think it’s a nice looking car). We bought it because we wanted to have a vehicle that had 4WD in the event we need it - rare, but we have used it when visiting a friend in VT in the winter. That being said, this is not a vehicle for off-road used in general, IMHO. There is plenty of cabin room and we haul furniture, etc. in it all the time.

Reliability has not been an issue. Oil changes every 3-5K, follow the factory maintenance schedule religiously (we do not use a dealership, we use our own mechanic). Only problems were the OEM Contitrac Tires (piece fell off on the highway at 30K) and the SRS system indicator light malfunctioning every now and then.

Good luck in your decision!