What Midsize SUV Gets the Best Gas Mileage (Revealed!)


If you are shopping for a midsize SUV and your top priority is fuel efficiency, here are a few of the most competitive models of midsize SUVs on the market when it comes to fuel efficiency.

The midsize SUVs that get the best gas mileage are the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Explorer, the Subaru Outback, and the Toyota Venza. In general, hybrid cars get the best gas mileage, with these SUVs being the most efficient vehicles in their class.

Here’s what you need to know about these high mileage vehicles before you head to the dealership.

Hybrid Engines

Hybrid cars have been around for a lot longer than most people think. As an alternative to diesel, electric, or conventional engines, hybrid engines combine a small gasoline engine with a battery-powered motor to improve fuel efficiency while maintaining a high standard of performance. The battery saves the engine and lets it run at its highest level of efficiency while the electric component of the car takes over when needed.

In general, gasoline engines run much better on the freeway or the highway than they do in cities and at slower speeds. This is because, in the city, you need to slow down and speed up a lot more often than you do while on the freeway. Cars take far more energy to accelerate than they do to maintain a speed, and every time you brake or slow down, momentum is lost. Because of this, some cars get as much as 10 extra miles off of every gallon of gas that they use when driving on the highway.

In order to save gas whenever possible, a hybrid engine can make use of the battery power it stores (usually generated while the car is slowing down) to save the gas tank some use. Furthermore, the combined gas and electric engines in hybrid cars mean that you have all of the advantages of a conventional engine while still sharing in on some of the gas-saving benefits of an electric vehicle. If you are in the market for the most fuel-efficient midsized SUV, chances are you will be purchasing a hybrid.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Toyota Highlander is considered an excellent midsize SUV for both the great fuel efficiency and the price. Toyota Highlanders get about 36 miles per gallon (which is less than the mpg of some of their competitors) but the price of the Highlander is surprisingly low for all of the features that it provides. The highlander includes its own safety sense to protect the passengers and a variety of different gadgets for their convenience.

If you are shopping for a used Toyota highlander, the 2013, 2015, and 2020 models have been rated the highest by owners when it comes to reliability and versatility. One thing that the Toyota Highlander might be lacking in, however, is cargo space (at least behind the final row of seats) The trunk is small and the backseat is a tight fit for many people. When the seats are down, however, the cargo space expands nicely to its full size.

Ford Explorer Hybrid

The Ford Explorer has a much more energetic motor than most of the other hybrids it competes with, making it an exciting option to consider. To balance out the extra power that it gets from its engine, however, the Explorer only gets about 27 miles per gallon. However, if what you are looking for is a midsize SUV for towing that still gets good mileage, the Ford Escape is one of the best cars that you can hope for.

With the Ford Explorer, interior space is somewhat limited and the price can be pretty high, so be on the lookout for good deals. The most recent Ford Explorers have the best reviews but older models are still appreciated. Overall, the stronger engine and towing ability make the Ford Explorer a good option for those who want to save on gas.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is different from the other cars on this list in that it does not have a hybrid engine. Among other midsize SUVs, however, it gets many more miles per gallon than expected, averaging out to about 29 miles per gallon. The Subaru Outback is a reliable car that has all of the things that a potential midsize SUV owner is looking for: Good cargo space, good mileage, a little bit of extra power (compared to a sedan), and greater ability to haul trailers, bikes, or kayaks.

The 2005-2009 Outbacks are great cars, offering great utility and performance in addition to the higher than average gas mileage. These years are favorites among the Outback lineup, but the most recent years (2020-present) offer a reworked model that has more space and more power to tow and haul anything. All in all, the Subaru Outback is a great option that competes with hybrid cars in the world of gas mileage. If you aren’t planning on getting a hybrid but want a lot of mileage out of your midsize SUV, this is the car for you.

Toyota Venza Hybrid

The Toyota Venza is a car that hasn’t always been a hybrid, In fact, that change has come as recently as the year 2020. Before that, the Venza hadn’t been built since 2015. At that time, the Venza was struggling to compete against the other midsize SUVs. With the addition of the hybrid engine in 2020 and the refined new look, the Venza has a lot to offer. Because of its new hybrid engine, the Venza gets more miles per gallon than almost any other midsize SUV. It gets anywhere from 37-40 mpg, making it compete with some of the most efficient cars out there.

On the other hand, the Venza has a lot less space in it than the other midsized SUVs mentioned. It also costs a bit more, though most consumers are satisfied with the price because of the luxurious feel that the new model has. If you are shopping for a car with great mileage like this one, you should know that you will only get mileage like this on the newest models, because the previous ones did not have the same kind of engines. Toyota Venzas that were built before 2015 got only about 20-26 miles per gallon, but of course are significantly cheaper than the most recent years.

Will Turner

Will has an absolute passion for 4x4s and loves discovering all of the small details about each model. Will joined the Four Wheel Trends team in early 2021 and has been a valuable contributor ever since!

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