Let’s face it, we’re Americans and when it comes to our cars, big is sometimes better.
Overall, bigger cars mean relatively poorer fuel economy and thus higher emissions, but there has been progress along these lines. We’ve selected eight “big” cars that have made serious strides when it comes to gas guzzling, and still offer more room and added power to storm through rough terrain and weather. Not to mention, in SUVs and trucks, you get a commanding view of the road, a plus for 5’4” females like me.
And believe it or not, they’re not all hybrids.
So if you daydream of marrying “big” with “fuel-efficient,” consider these top picks, some of which recently made Consumer Reports's 2009 survey of the most fuel efficient SUVs.
1. Subaru Forester 2.5X (pictured)
City MPG: 18
Highway MPG: 30
Starts at $20,000
This car, acclaimed for its safety, recently won the 2009 Motor Trend’s Sports Utility of the Year. Edmunds.com’s Overall Consumer Review gave it a rating of 8.8 out of 10.
2. Toyota Highlander Hybrid (Stock Quote: TM)
City MPG: 27
Highway MPG: 25
Starts at $34,000
U.S. News World & Report recently named this vehicle the No. 1 in Affordable Mid-Size SUVs. It’s more expensive than other SUVs in its class, but its city mileage is tough to beat.
3. Toyota RAV4
City MPG: 17
Highway MPG: 29
Starts at $21,500
This is the smallest of Toyota’s SUVs, but still a nice size hunk of metal. It ranks No. 3 in U.S. News World & Report’s Affordable Compact SUVs. It also scored a 10 out of 10 for reliability.
4. Lexus RX400h (Hybrid)
City MPG: 16
Highway MPG: 29
Start at $43,000
Pricey, but considered to be the only true “luxury hybrid SUV,” by Edmunds. The vehicle’s hybrid system mixes a gas-fueled V6 engine with batteries and electric motor generators. Did we mention it’s fancy?