With the weather here in Wyoming and Nebraska, a lot of people (not everybody) want to feel safer with the comfort of an AWD or 4×4 system in their vehicle. It’s not always necessary to have and pay the higher price for a large or full-size SUV (sports utility vehicle) such as a Suburban though, just to get four wheel drive. There are other options available such as compact or small SUVs that now come equipped with AWD or a four by four system. It used to be that full time four by fours used a lot more fuel, like ‘can’t-pass-a-gas-station’ type fuel consumption. With the introduction of electronic systems and the ability to switch between 2wd and 4wd, this is no longer the case.
Due to the fact that AWD or four by fours are harder working vehicles, it’s inevitable that they will use slightly more fuel than the counterpart 2WD vehicle. So, if you are looking for an AWD or four by four small SUV, which ones are the most fuel efficient?
Upon researching this topic, it became clear that fuel consumption figures were different depending on the source. Manufacturer websites will list numbers, sometimes difficult to find. Other 3rd party sites will also post different numbers. There is usually some kind of disclaimer attached to these numbers too. So for the sake of fairness, we took the following numbers from the U.S. Department of Energy. These are the figures that you will see on a window sticker of a brand ew vehicle. What fuel consumption you will actually get may vary though, depending on driving conditions, driving style, trim level and fuel quality.
Here is a list of the top 10 most fuel efficient small SUVs AWD/4×4
Toyota Rav4 Hybrid 2.5L Auto– 34/30, combined 32mpg
Jeep Renegade 1.4L Manual– 24/31, combined 26mpg
New model Jeep Compass 2.4L Manual/Auto– 22/30-31, combined 25mpg
Toyota Rav4 2.5L Auto– 22/28, combined 25mpg
Fiat 500X 2.4L Auto-21/29,combined 24mpg
Ford Escape 1.5L Auto– 22/28, combined 24mpg
Buick Envision 2.5L Auto– 21/28, combined 24mpg
Jeep Patriot 2.4L Manual– 22/27, combined 24mpg
Jeep Renegade 2.4 Auto– 21/29, combined 24mpg
As you can see from the results, its pretty close knit, with half of those vehicles obtaining the same combined fuel consumption of 24mpg. What may catch your attention on these stats though, is that the Jeep Compass gets the same mpg whether it’s a manual or automatic transmission! There is also only a 2mpg difference between the Jeep Renegade 1.4L manual and the 2.4 Auto. One may assume that a much bigger engine in the same vehicle with a automatic transmission would get much worse fuel consumption but only 2mpg is hardly anything. In fact 2mpg can be affected by driving skills and conditions, so kudos to Jeep.
Other vehicles in this segment of small AWD/4WD SUVs available at Fremont Motors are; Volkswagen Tiguan, Lincoln MKC, Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, Jeep Cherokee, and the Jeep Wrangler.
“Fuel Economy.” U.S. Dept of Energy, n.d. Web. 22 May 2017
“Competitive Comparison.” Buick.com. Buick, n.d. Web. 22 May 2017.
Driver, Car And. “Chevrolet Trax.” Reviews – Chevrolet Trax Price, Photos, and Specs – Car and Driver. Car and Driver, 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 22 May 2017.
Buick Buick Pressroom – United States – Images.” Media.gm.com. General Motors, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
“Media Log In.” Multimedia | Ford Media Center. Ford, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
“FCA US Media.” Http://media.fcanorthamerica.com. FCA, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: