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10 Top Fuel-Efficient SUVs in Canada: Hybrid & Gas-Only Models

Here's our list of new sport utilities to help you save some cash at the pump. Including 5 hybrid and 5 gas-only options to keep on your shopping shortlist.



If you’re in the market for a new vehicle right now, the chances are good there’s at least one SUV or crossover on your shopping list. Utilities of all sizes have become some of Canada’s most popular models, and automakers have responded by adding new and, in many cases, smaller SUVs to their lineups.

In the past, that would have been of serious concern if good fuel economy figured highly in your purchase decision. But SUVs and crossovers have evolved significantly since they began dominating sales charts, and have become much more efficient in the process.

To illustrate that, we’ve compiled a list of the most fuel-efficient new SUVs and crossovers you can buy today. We’ve split our ranking into two sections: one for gas-electric hybrids and another for conventional gas-only models. All models are ranked according to their combined (city/highway) fuel consumption estimates as listed in Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide.

Some of the hybrids listed here are also available as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that offer some all-electric driving range. We’ve mentioned that where applicable, but have focused on regular hybrids in order to present the most affordable fuel-efficient choices available in the crossover marketplace.

Hybrids SUVs and crossovers

1. Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid FWD – 5.8 L/100 km

Ford Escape PHEV | Photo: Ford 

  • Powertrain: 2.5L four-cylinder engine + electric motor/CVT/FWD
  • Price: $32,099 – 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid

Our most fuel-efficient SUV model is a new-for-2021 Ford Escape PHEV, which joins this compact model’s conventional gas-powered version. Under the hood, a 2.5L four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor combine for 200 hp. An Escape PHEV version gets 221 hp and as much as 60 km of EV driving on a full charge from a similar powertrain, and boasts the same combined hybrid fuel consumption rating as the regular Escape Hybrid. The Escape PHEV is rated for 2.2 Le/100 km in EV mode.

2. Lexus NX 350h – 6.0 L/100 km

Lexus NX 350h | Photo: Lexus 

  • Powertrain: 2.5L four-cylinder engine + electric motors/CVT/AWD
  • Price: $49,900 – 2022 Lexus NX 350h

For 2022, the Lexus NX is all-new and enters its second generation as the upscale brand’s compact crossover model. The second-place NX is the only luxury model on our list, thanks to a conventional gas-electric hybrid setup comprising a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and electric power, which team up to produce a total of 240 hp. The redesigned NX also offers a plug-in hybrid option, and while it’s more powerful, its hybrid fuel consumption is less thrifty. The 2022 Lexus NX is built in Cambridge, Ontario.

3. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – 6.0 L/100 km

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Photo: Toyota 

  • Powertrain: 2.5L four-cylinder engine + electric motors/CVT/AWD
  • Price: $32,950 – 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid

As Ford does with its Escape, Toyota makes its RAV4 compact crossover in both conventional and plug-in hybrid models, with the latter recognizable by its Prime designation. In both cases, AWD is standard and traction is delivered to the rear wheels by a dedicated electric motor. With 302 hp on tap, the RAV4 Prime is Toyota’s quickest-accelerating four-door vehicle. The more conventional RAV4 Hybrid is less powerful, but also more affordable, and either of the RAV4’s gas-electric options is a good choice for performance that’s smoother and quieter than the gas-only version. The RAV4 Prime’s electric energy consumption rating is 2.5 Le/100 km.

4. Toyota Venza – 6.1 L/100 km

Toyota Venza | Photo: Toyota 

  • Powertrain: 2.5L four-cylinder engine + electric motors/CVT/AWD
  • Price: $38,490 – 2021 Toyota Venza LE

Next up on our list of fuel-efficient SUVs is the Toyota Venza, a good-looking near-luxury crossover that shares its underpinnings and standard hybrid drivetrain with the RAV4 Hybrid. There’s no plug-in version of the Venza, though. Despite styling reminiscent of the sporty Jaguar F-Pace, the Venza offers a relaxed, comfortable drive that highlights its powertrain’s efficiency and 219 hp. Reflecting its upscale position in Toyota’s lineup, the Venza comes standard with a power tailgate and wireless phone charging, and options include a panoramic sunroof with glass you can turn from clear to frosted electronically.

5. Hyundai Tucson Hybrid – 6.4 L/100 km

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid | Photo: Hybrid 

  • Powertrain: 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine + electric motor/six-speed automatic/AWD
  • Price: $38,899 – 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid (Luxury trim)

The Hyundai Tucson is all-new for 2022, and part of its dramatic redesign includes the compact crossover model’s first-ever hybrid powertrains. The hybrid entry point is a conventional gas-electric setup, and you can upgrade to a plug-in option that promises 53 km on a full charge of its battery. The standard Tucson Hybrid derives 227 hp from its gas engine and electric motor working together, while the PHEV boasts 261 hp. One thing that sets the Tucson Hybrid apart from most other contemporary hybrids is a six-speed automatic transmission, which provides a more traditional driving feel than the CVTs found in most gas-electric vehicles. The Tucson PHEV’s energy consumption estimate is 2.9 Le/100 km.

Gas-only fuel-efficient SUV models

1. Toyota Corolla Cross FWD – 7.3 L/100 km

Toyota Corolla Cross | Photo: Toyota 

  • Powertrain: 2.0L four-cylinder engine (169 hp)/CVT/FWD
  • Price: $24,890 – 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross L FWD

On the gasoline-only side of the ledger, the new-for-2022 Toyota Corolla Cross jumps to the top of the fast-growing subcompact SUV class for fuel efficiency. The Corolla Cross is Toyota’s first small utility model aimed at mass-market sales; the brand’s other subcompact crossover, the C-HR, is less practical inside and doesn’t offer AWD. The Corolla Cross gets 169 hp from a 2.0L engine borrowed from the Corolla sedan and hatchback, along with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). AWD is optional, but only the FWD model qualifies for top spot on this list.

2. Hyundai Kona 2.0L FWD – 7.4 L/100 km

Hyundai Kona | Photo: Hyundai 

  • Powertrain: 2.0L four-cylinder engine (147 hp)/CVT/FWD
  • Price: $21,999 – 2022 Hyundai Kona Essential FWD

The Hyundai Kona vaulted into the subcompact SUV race in 2018, quickly racking up sales and becoming one of the segment’s most popular vehicles. A 2022 update brings styling that’s still distinctive, but a little less weird. One of the Kona’s most appealing characteristics is strong value, which shows up in a starting price $3,000 less than that of the Toyota Corolla Cross. The Kona’s 2.0L engine lacks state-of-the-art tech like direct fuel injection, so performance is relatively modest at 147 hp. Like the Toyota, the Kona offers AWD as an option, but so equipped isn’t efficient enough to make our ranking.

3. Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3L FWD – 7.6 L/100 km

Chevrolet Trailblazer | Photo: Chevrolet 

  • Powertrain: 1.3L turbocharged three-cylinder engine/CVT/FWD
  • Price: $26,193 – 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT FWD

In 2021, Chevrolet upped its presence in the subcompact crossover class with the Trailblazer, which joined the Trax at the entry-level end of Chevy’s lineup. (The Trax is cheaper, but also less efficient.) Chevrolet offers the Trailblazer with a pair of three-cylinder turbocharged engines, and it’s the more powerful of the two – a 1.3L – that posts the most efficient fuel consumption ratings with the help of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Base models use a 1.2L engine and CVT drivetrain that is both less powerful and marginally less efficient; you can also option the 1.3L with AWD and the segment’s only nine-speed automatic transmission.

4. Volkswagen Taos FWD – 7.6 L/100 km

Volkswagen Taos | Photo: VW 

  • Powertrain: 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine/8-speed automatic/FWD
  • Price: $26,695 – 2022 Volkswagen Taos Trendline FWD

The Volkswagen Taos is a new model for 2022, and the brand’s first-ever subcompact crossover. Significantly, it replaces the Volkswagen Golf in North America as the company’s least-expensive vehicle with hatchback cargo access. The Taos gets its drive from a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. You’ll get the Taos’s best efficiency in FWD form, which comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission; if you opt for 4Motion AWD, you get a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and less-efficient performance. While the Taos ties the Trailblazer for combined fuel economy, the Chevy places higher thanks to a thriftier city rating.

5. Honda CR-V FWD – 7.7 L/100 km

Honda CR-V | Photo: Honda 

  • Powertrain: 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine (190 hp)/CVT/FWD
  • Price: $30,770 – 2022 Honda CR-V LX FWD

Introduced in 2017, the fifth-generation Honda CR-V is nearing the end of its life cycle, but its entry-level LX FWD configuration is still efficient enough to make our list of Canada’s five thriftiest gas-powered SUVs. If you want more features than are available in the LX model, you’ll have to add AWD to get them and sacrifice some fuel economy along the way. However, LX trim does include heated seats, passive keyless entry, and a suite of driver safety assists. Honda builds the CR-V in Alliston, Ontario.

Honourable mention: Toyota RAV4 FWD – 7.7 L/100 km

Toyota RAV4 FWD | Photo: Toyota 

  • Powertrain: 2.5L four-cylinder engine (203 hp)/8-speed automatic/FWD
  • Price: $28,590 – 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE FWD

The Toyota RAV4 ties the Honda CR-V for combined fuel consumption, but just misses the cut because it’s a smidge less efficient in city driving. Still, we couldn’t leave this fuel-efficient, Canadian-made SUV off the list because of a technicality.

Predictably, the RAV4 posts its best fuel economy numbers with FWD, but Toyota gives you more choice in front-drive models, offering the RAV4 that way in LE and XLE trims. LE comes with heated front seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and a suite of safety features. XLE builds on that with a power driver’s seat, sunroof, alloy wheels, dual-zone A/C, and passive keyless entry.

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