One of the major benefits of choosing a crossover over a traditional SUV is the general improvement in fuel efficiency. Thanks to smaller bodies, lighter engines and the elimination of heavy technologies such as all-wheel drive, crossover vehicles are a great way to economize the size and utility of the SUV. If you can do without such niceties as off-road performance and towing capabilities, then a lighter, more nimble crossover is likely to meet your needs. To maximize your bang for the buck, check out this list of most fuel-efficient crossovers for the 2010 model year:
2010 Chevrolet Equinox
The Chevrolet Equinox is the most fuel-efficient crossover for 2010 with 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway (26 mpg combined). Newly redesigned for 2010, the Chevy Equinox earns high accolades from reviewers and drivers alike. Upgraded with more horsepower, a nicer interior and more modern exterior styling, the Equinox is a well-rounded crossover that competes ably against more popular class leaders. If you're in the market for a fuel-efficient crossover, then test-driving the Equinox is a must. Base price for the 2010 Equinox is $22,440.
2010 GMC Terrain
The GMC Terrain is mechanically identical to its Chevy Equinox corporate cousin. As such, it posts the same impressive mileage ratings (26 mpg combined). Of the two GM crossovers, the Terrain offers more aggressive styling and a sleeker, more upscale interior. These improvements result in a slight price increase (base MSRP is $24,250), but the additional standard features more than make up for the price difference. Like the Equinox, the 2010 GMC Terrain comfortably fits five passengers.
2010 Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass earns solid crossover numbers with 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (25 mpg combined). Jeep's first crossover benefits from smooth, car-like driving dynamics and an affordable entry fee (base MSRP is $18,720). However, unless price is a top factor in your shopping decision, other crossovers may serve you better. The interior quality of the Compass comes off as a little chintzy, which may turn off many drivers. As such, paying a little more may be worth it in exchange for some added comfort and convenience. For similar pricing, fuel efficiency and improved off-road capabilities, you might consider ducking out of the crossover segment to check out the 2010 Jeep Patriot.
2010 Subaru Outback
The 2010 Subaru Outback successfully straddles the wagon and SUV markets with a true utilitarian design that glides along at 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway (24 mpg combined). These numbers are achieved despite Subaru's legendary all-wheel drive technology. The 2010 Outback receives a complete redesign that improves interior volume and engine power. If you're looking for a crossover that puts functionality and convenience first, then the Subaru Outback is a top contender. A base price below $23,000 adds to the appeal of this versatile crossover.
2010 Toyota RAV4
One of the best-selling crossovers of all time makes the list with 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway (24 mpg combined). Despite its compact design, the RAV4 trumps competitors with an efficient V-6 engine and optional third row of seating. Throw in a good combination of convenience features, comfort and engine performance, and it is easy to see why the Toyota RAV4 is such a popular vehicle. A wallet-friendly entry price of $21,500 adds to the appeal of this capable crossover.
2010 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V competes closely with the Toyota RAV4. While the CR-V earns slightly lower city mileage (21 mpg) than the Toyota alternative, identical highway mileage (28 mpg) averages out to a comparable 24 mpg combined. The CR-V beats the RAV4 out in such areas as interior quality and rear trunk accessibility (the RAV4 incorporates a curious side-swinging rear door). However, the CR-V suffers from a smaller engine and lacks a 3rd-row seating option. Base price for the 2010 Honda CR-V comes in at $21,545.
2010 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue earns 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, good enough to tie it with its Japanese crossover competitors at 24 mpg combined. With a base price of $20,340, the Rogue undercuts the competition and serves as a good value-oriented option. However, that lower price tag comes at the expense of engine performance (no V-6 engine is available). Still, the Rogue offers a more refined styling, both inside and out, than both the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. As such, if style and affordability are major factors in your buying decision, than the 2010 Rogue may be the right choice for you.
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander
The EPA rates the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander with 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway (24 mpg combined). With available third-row seating and impressive warranty coverage, the Mitsubishi Outlander stands out as a value leader in its class. Base price for the Mitsubishi crossover is just over $20,000, though to really get the most for your money you'll need to upgrade to an optional trim package. Downsides of the Outlander include an underpowered engine and lackluster interior.