For those living in snowy or mountainous regions, opting for a new car with four-wheel or all-wheel drive has its advantages. Unfortunately, the added power required to gain that extra traction typically results in reduced fuel efficiency. Still, there are several AWD vehicles out there that deliver solid mpg figures. Keep reading to review a few of the most fuel-efficient 2011 models that also boast four-wheel drive.
2011 Ford Escape Hybrid (29 mpg combined)
The base model Ford Escape Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient SUV for the year. Though four-wheel drive models aren't quite as efficient, they still manage to outperform the majority of SUVs on the market. EPA figures suggest gas mileage of 30 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric engine combine to offer a total of 247 horsepower - enough to easily tackle the occasional steep incline or decline. However, one downside worth noting for the Escape Hybrid is sticker price - four-wheel drive models start at $31,615.
Learn more about the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid.
2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (28 mpg combined)
Pound for pound, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is hard to beat in terms of fuel efficiency. As a mid-size SUV, the Highlander offers more interior room than the compact Escape Hybrid. Despite its added girth, it manages 28 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel drive comes standard, and serves to deliver a hybrid vehicle that is equipped to handle the occasional trip off the beaten path. At $37,290, the Highlander Hybrid doesn't meet the budget of some shoppers. However, for those who can afford it, this AWD hybrid delivers seating for seven and a fairly high level of luxury.
Learn more about the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
2011 Subaru Legacy (26 mpg combined)
Those in the market for a mid-size sedan that offers AWD capabilities will find much to like about the Subaru Legacy. Offering 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, the Legacy delivers excellent fuel efficiency for an AWD vehicle. Three engine options further allow shoppers to balance the level of performance to fuel efficiency. In terms of comfort and convenience, the Legacy typically receives good reviews for offering a roomy interior and fairly upscale environment. Base models come with a price tag around $20,000.
Learn more about the 2011 Subaru Legacy.
2011 Suzuki SX4 (25 mpg combined)
The Suzuki SX4 is one of the few compact cars available with all-wheel drive (the only other option is the 2011 Subaru Impreza). This fact makes it an excellent economy option for those who encounter snowy roads on a regular basis. The EPA reports a rating of 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for AWD models with an automatic transmission. Power comes via a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that musters 150 horsepower. Base price for an all-wheel drive Suzuki SX4 starts at $16,999.
Learn more about the 2011 Suzuki SX4.
2011 Jeep Compass (24 mpg combined)
The 2011 Jeep Compass proves to be a good 4WD SUV option for those who don't want to pay the premium to own a hybrid. Offering 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, the Jeep Compass is one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid SUVs for the year. Though not as well equipped for off-roading as other Jeep models, the Compass may prove a good option for those looking to balance efficiency with utility. All 4WD models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 172 horsepower. Initial asking price for an AWD Jeep Compass is around $20,500.
Learn more about the 2011 Jeep Compass.