With the weather in the northern parts of the United States, 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 4×4 system. Which ones are the most fuel-efficient small AWD/4×4 SUVs?

Fuel Efficient 4x4 AWD

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.

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 new 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 AWD/4×4 SUV’s for 2017

Toyota Rav4 Hybrid 2.5L Auto– 34/30, combined 32mpg

Buick Encore/Chevrolet Trax 1.4L Auto– 24/30, combined 27mpg

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, it’s pretty close-knit, for the most fuel-efficient small AWD/4×4 SUVs 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 an automatic transmission would get much worse fuel consumption but the 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.

Do you have one of the most fuel efficient small AWD/4×4 SUVs on our list ro a different one? Tell us about your real life fuel consumption in the comments below.