SUV alternatives to crossover like Subaru Outback with good MPG and more interior volume/seating?



Was curious about alternatives to crossover vehicles like the Subaru Outback that offered more interior volume and perhaps more seating (like the Highlander which has 3 rows of seats) without compromising gas mileage, and can handle a little gentle off road but not necessarily made for it.

I got curious when I was surprised to see that the Toyota Highlander and Rav4 get pretty good highway mileage - much better than I would have expected.


jsutter recommended the Honda CRV, the Toyota Rav4, and the Ford Escape.


Americar said in my other post - Suzuki SX4 is smaller but cost Thousands of dollars less then anything else with 4 wheel drive


What other cars would you place in this class?


I like the Ford Edge, very classy act with good ratings from Edmunds and consumer reports. A little on the larger side but still nice and my kids want the full length moonroof.


What’s wrong with the Subaru? Are you saying you want something with more room? If so, the CRV and Rav4 are roughly comparable or a little bit smaller than the Subaru. The Highlander probably would be good, but the trick is finding one with the more fuel-economy friendly options. With the 4-cylinder engine and only front wheel drive the highlander is a pretty frugal little vehicle. With the V6, it’s a real gas hog and the hybrid drive train, though good in town, gets even worse mileage than the V6 on the highway! The trouble is that they’re sold as a luxury car most places, so you’ll mostly find V6’s and Hybrids in the used market and even on most new car dealer’s lots-- you may have to do some work to find a base-model one.

Of course, and I have to say this every “need a fuel efficient big car” thread, but what you really need is a full-size station wagon, but you haven’t been able to buy one of those since 1996.


The Toyota pair get an excellent mileage vs Subaru since they are really just front wheel drive and activate the rear wheels when needed. Subaru’s are always running power to four wheels which is better in adverse conditions but the rest of the time not needed. Toyota’s have trouble in more extreme conditions(deep snow) but they have a nice switch to lock the differential to overcome the traction control working overtime in the extreme stuff. I have had a direct comparison of sisters RAV4 vs our Subaru Legacy in 9"+ deep unplowed driveway. My sister was stuck in RAV4 until she figured out the differential lock.


I have a 2007 RAV4…4 cylinder…summer 27 mpg and winter 24… I don’t believe the Highlander Hybrid gets really great gas mileage by comparison to price difference …about 10 K