Source: Ján Hargaš The popularity of SUVs continues to grow. However, over time, new SUV owners will start to be annoyed by one thing – consumption. Especially when energy prices are high and gasoline or diesel are breaking price records. Almost every second new car (45.5%) sold in Europe is an SUV. According to the analysis carried out by the online service Carvago.com, the share of SUVs among the used cars sold in Slovakia reaches a significant 26.5%, and in the case of cars up to five years old, even 38.1%. Customers most often cite a better view, easier boarding, a sense of security and greater confidence when moving on unpaved roads as reasons for buying an SUV, since even SUVs without all-wheel drive have a raised chassis. However, their higher construction means greater air resistance, and thus higher fuel consumption – which is a highly monitored parameter at a time of record fuel prices. Therefore, we have selected five SUV models that may not come to your mind first, but will not break your wallet when buying or operating, and at the same time meet the space requirements of an ordinary family. How did we choose? Finding an economical SUV wouldn’t be difficult if we settled for small cars like the Peugeot 2008 or Škoda Kamiq. However, we were only looking for models that can comfortably take a family of four on a skiing trip or summer vacation. As the basic parameters of the search, we set a price of €28,000, a mileage of up to 99,000 kilometers and an age of up to five years, we requested at least cruise control and parking sensors. And what exactly have we defined as low consumption? For us, it is 5 liters per hundred kilometers. Yes, in reality these cars “swallow” a little more – if only because they were still homologated according to the more benevolent NEDC methodology, which in recent years has been gradually replaced by the stricter WLTP measurement cycle. However, even the consumption reported by the older method allows mutual comparison – and we simply selected those models that are more economical than other vehicles approved at the same time using the same procedure. We entered the mentioned criteria into the search filter of the Carvago.com service, which, thanks to its international scope, offers hundreds of thousands of used and new cars from all over Europe. Recommended models are listed in alphabetical order in no particular order. BMW X1 20d xDrive Steptronic Power: 140 kW/190 hp Consumption: from 4.9 l/100 km Who would have expected that the very first vehicle in our review would be a premium brand vehicle? In addition, with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive? But that’s exactly how it is. The correctness test via spritmonitor also came out well. The most fuel-efficient cars of this specification run at 4.6 l/100 km, but the average of fuel-efficient drivers is between 5 and 6 liters. BMW has extremely efficient engines in all respects that achieve low fuel consumption in real-world traffic if the driver makes even a little effort. Cars in our price category won’t be in like-new condition and won’t be full of extra equipment, but the selection is still decent. Tip: if lower power is enough for you, the 18d is even more economical (from 4.3 l/100 km) and with 110 kW (150 hp) it is still completely sufficient. But don’t forget that you are getting a premium product. You may save on fuel, but the prices of some parts and the hourly rates of authorized service centers will not be low. BMW X1 2016 Source: BMW Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D Power: 110 kW/150 hp Consumption: from 5.0 l/100 km Mazda likes to do things its own way. For example, it did not follow the downsizing trend at all, i.e. reducing the volume of gasoline engines in particular and “catching up” performance by turbocharging. And note that its diesel too has a generous 2.2-litre capacity. But that doesn’t matter, you’re still in for one of the best driving experiences in this category. And that’s thanks to the comfortable position behind the wheel and harmonious behavior in curves, which Mazda pays great attention to in all models. And the big engine delivers a burst of power when needed that smaller units can never quite replicate. With Mazda, you have to keep in mind small “fads”, which, however, are not a deficiency in the true sense of the word. For example, the touchscreen does not work while driving, because according to Mazda it is not safe, and the on-board system is supposed to be operated by the controller between the seats while driving. And he’s right.
Used Mazdas with this engine had several problems in the past, but the manufacturer eliminated them over time, and today the engine plays a gray average in maintenance costs. However, the correctness test for this car turned out worse than for the X1. Even though the Mazda is relatively light for its size, the larger engine requires more, but compared to the paper data, the difference is not fundamental and you can keep the consumption at 6 to 6.5 liters with a lighter foot, even with automatic and 4×4. Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D Source: Ján Hargaš Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Power: 85 kW/115 hp Consumption: from 3.8 l/100 km Years ago, the Japanese manufacturer was one of the first to realize that SUVs do not need all-wheel drive or off-road ambitions, because people buy them for completely different reasons – and the Qashqai model, described as an “urban crossover”, has been a huge success in Europe. Today it faces much greater competition and you will no longer find it in the bestseller lists, but it is still very popular, especially in southern countries. It would also fit within the fuel consumption limit with an automatic transmission (4.4 l/100 km). The current third generation is no longer produced with a diesel engine, but it came to the market only last year and is still rarely seen among driven cars. The Qashqai with a French engine is one of the champions of economy, but with this unit, the same applies to every car. Spritmonitor reports consumptions usually just above 6 liters. Economical driving therefore bears fruit and it is not difficult to cope with paper consumption, just don’t forget that a diesel engine, like a petrol one, sometimes needs to “blow off” and from time to time give it a stronger acceleration and a longer route. Nissan Qashqai 2014 Source: Nissan Peugeot 3008 1.5 BlueHDi Power: 96 kW/130 hp Consumption: from 4.2 l/100 km Like the smaller 2008 model and larger 5008, this Peugeot doesn’t offer all-wheel drive, but customers don’t mind. The 3008 model has been a long-term hit and last year it found more customers in Europe than, for example, the VW Tiguan. Therefore, the offer of used vehicles of this model is very rich. In 2020, the Peugeot 3008 underwent a facelift, during which it significantly rejuvenated its design. Especially inside, it now has a very modern and valuable impression. The so-called “i-cockpit” with a small, low-slung steering wheel can be uncomfortable at first try, but you can easily get used to it. The diesel engine with a volume of 1500 cm3 is sufficiently nimble during normal driving and its consumption does not increase too much even in combination with an automatic transmission. The consumption of this crossover in real conditions can be kept below the level of 5 liters, even in the case of the version with an automatic transmission, it may not rise above 5.5 liters. Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 6 M/T Source: Ján Hargaš Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid Power: 145 kW/197 hp Consumption: from 4.9 l/100 km If Toyota, then only hybrid. Although the RAV4 with a diesel engine would meet our criteria, its biggest competitive advantage is the refined hybrid drive. The price limit included vehicles of the previous generation, offered until 2018. The hybrid also exists in an AWD version with a second electric motor on the rear axle, but the standard was a combination of a 114 kW combustion engine and a 105 kW electric motor turning the front wheels. This type of drive is not suitable for the left lane of the highway or mountain roads, but it shines all the more in the city, where conventional combustion engines, on the other hand, achieve the highest fuel consumption and diesel units usually do not prove themselves. Your surroundings will appreciate the fact that the combustion engine operating in the so-called The Atkinson cycle emits significantly fewer pollutants than a similarly economical diesel. Spritmonitor reports an economy range of around 5 litres. Of course, the highway speed increases, as does the heavier right leg. toyota rav4 Attention: You will pay extra for big wheels and 4×4 drive every time you fill up. Don’t forget that the resulting fuel consumption depends, among other things, on your driving style, route profile and vehicle load. You can influence this by avoiding vehicles with large wheels during the selection phase. The same vehicle with smaller wheels is simply generally more economical. All-wheel drive also has an adverse effect on fuel consumption. Although it only connects when needed, its hardware adds weight and resistance. In some cases, the 4×4 drive is also combined with a shorter gear, which improves off-road traction, but otherwise means higher engine revolutions at the same speed, and therefore higher fuel consumption. In the past, the guaranteed recipe for increased consumption – in extreme cases up to 50% – was an automatic transmission. However, modern automatics with six or more gears today can be even more economical than the equivalent model with a manual transmission.