It used to be that you could have an all-wheel drive vehicle or a fuel-efficient vehicle, but you couldn’t have both. The added weight of the AWD system is a disadvantage in the fuel economy department right from the start, but modern engineering advances help reduce the impact dramatically.
Buying an AWD vehicle with good fuel economy numbers is certainly possible. The 15 vehicles on this list prove it.
Tesla Model 3/Model S/Model X
You can’t do much better in the fuel economy department than an electric motor that doesn’t require fuel. So, the Model S sedan and the Model X are certainly the undisputed winners when it comes to combining fuel-efficiency and all-wheel drive stability.
Jaguar XE 20d AWD
Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, the Jaguar XE 20d is one of the last luxury compact sedans featuring a diesel powertrain. Starting at $45,900, the XE 20d has a posted fuel economy rating of 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers in the city, and 5.8 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
Jaguar XF 20d AWD
It’s hard to get accurate numbers on the Jaguar XF 20d. Jaguar’s site doesn’t post them and when we do find them they are exactly the same as the XE 20d’s numbers. There’s only about a 40-kilogram difference between the two, so it is believable. That said, the XF 20d is heavier, so we’ll put it second. Oh, it also costs about $24,000 more than the XE.
BMW 328d xDrive
Featuring the same power output as in the Jaguar XE 20d (180 horsepower), the BMW 328d xDrive has basically the same fuel economy rating at 7.8 l/100 km in the city and 5.9 l/100 km on the highway. The difference between the two is that the Beemer is about $2,000 more. It’s interior is also a little more dated than the Jag’s.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The current 2018 RAV4 hybrid is on the way out with a brand-new generation taking its place in the next few months. If anything, the new 2019 RAV4 Hybrid will be more fuel-efficient than this one, so its spot in second place is safe. With the RAV4 hybrid, you get more than 1,000 liters of cargo space and an average fuel economy rating of 6.9 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
Chevrolet Equinox Diesel/GMC Terrain Diesel
The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine powering the Equinox only delivers 137 horsepower. At least there’s 240 pound-feet of torque there as well, but don’t expect incredible performance. The advantage is strictly fuel economy which is rated at 8.5 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 6.1 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
We’ve bunched the Equinox and Terrain into one listing here because we want to fit in more vehicles into our top 10. They both have the same engine.
Finally, a vehicle that’s not a hybrid and that’s not an SUV. The Impreza is as close as you can get to a normal car. Its engine isn’t even turbocharged, just a normal 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 152 horsepower. What it does feature is one of the most advanced and effective all-wheel drive systems in the world along with impressive fuel economy numbers – 8.3 liters per 100 kilometers in the city, 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
Now, make sure you opt for the CVT because you won’t get nearly as good fuel consumption numbers with the five-speed manual.
Lexus NX Hybrid
One tends to forget about the Lexus NX, especially the 300h hybrid model. It is a rather forgettable vehicle in a lot of ways, but it more than makes up for its lacke of sportiness with remarkable comfort and impressive fuel-efficiency. It’s hybrid engine has a fuel consumption rating of 7.2 liters per 100 kilometers in the city, and 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
Lexus RX Hybrid
The Lexus RX hybrid version has been around for a while. It was one of the pioneers of the luxury hybrid SUV and remains to this day a benchmark in its segment. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s fuel economy gains compared to the RX 350 are notable. Fuel economy numbers are set at 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 8.4 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway. Do you make up the difference in price with the amount of money you save on gas? You can, but you’ll have to keep your Lexus RX 350 a very long time.
The Honda CR-V features a new turbocharged engine that’s quite peppy, and an impressive cargo area that’s among the most spacious in its segment. It’s the only compact SUV aside from the RAV4 Hybrid to be featured in this list. In other words, it’s the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class when looking at traditional combustion engines.
The Crosstrek features the same engine as the Impreza. Not quite an SUV, it’s a hatchback with better ground clearance, a very capable all-wheel drive system, and good versatility.
Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology does wonders for fuel economy, but not enough for the CX-5 to creep into this list. The smaller CX-3, on the other hand, makes it with its 148-horsepower engine.
The HR-V is another fuel-efficient subcompact SUV option. It’s not as fun to drive as the Crosstrek or CX-3, but it’s certainly more spacious and versatile.
Jaguar F-Pace Diesel
Jaguar is doubling down on diesel. The F-Pace SUV features the 180-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged engine also found in the XF and XE. With 317 pound-feet of torque, it’s slightly more powerful to compensate for the increase in weight.
The Legacy is the only mid-size sedan to come standard with all-wheel drive. It’s 175-horsepower engine remains fuel-efficient nevertheless.
Coming soon: Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace is a late addition to this list. Starting at roughly $86,000, it’s more affordable than the Model X by a long shot yet will still feature almost 400 kilometers of range. It could be a game changer for both Jaguar and Tesla.