Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Three-Row SUVs

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

In the market for a three-row SUV but want to know what will get you the best fuel economy? AutoGuide has compiled the top 10 most fuel-efficient three-row SUVs available today based on their combined MPG rating.

Priced from $30,775 the front-wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe gets identical fuel economy as the Honda Pilot: 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway for a 21-mpg combined rating. It is however, more powerful with 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. The 2014 Santa Fe offers seating up to seven with impressive interior room at a competitive price.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

The Audi Q7 TDI is the only German SUV that makes it onto this list, powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine providing 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. It gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, making it good for a 22 mpg combined rating. It comes at a price however, starting from $53,795 it’s also the most expensive SUV on the list.

Kia’s three-row offering features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine providing a modest 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque but is also one of the cheapest on the list with a starting price of $24,995. The Sorento in two-wheel drive form offers 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, giving it a 22 mg combined rating.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Kia Sorento Review

The 2014 Toyota Highlander received various changes for the new model year and is powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Its fuel economy is comparable to the Kia Sorento with 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, also giving it a 22 mpg combined rating. The 2014 Highlander is priced from $30,075.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Toyota Highlander Review

The Acura MDX is another luxury SUV with respectable fuel efficiency, netting 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Good for a 23-mpg combined rating, the MDX is priced from $43,185 and comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The MDX comes standard with front-wheel drive but does have the automaker’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) available as an option.

The sole American vehicle that makes it onto the list is the Ford Explorer when equipped with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. With 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, it offers plenty of power while staying competitive with an EPA rating of 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway. Priced from $31,905, the Ford Explorer gets 23 mpg combined.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport Review

Despite being outdated and lacking Mazda’s new design language found on the 3 compact and 6 mid-sizer, the Mazda5 is still competitive in the marketplace especially since it’s the cheapest car on the list with a starting price of $20,935. Powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Mazda5 gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, giving it a 24 mpg combined rating. It features 157 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. While it isn’t really an SUV, it makes the list because of its practicality and affordability.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Mazda5 Review

The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid lands third on our list, getting 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The total system output for the hybrid powertrain is 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque, which is impressive considering its 26-mpg combined rating. Priced from $35,970 the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid is a great bang for the buck.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Review

The Mitsubishi Outlander is also one of the more affordable cars on the list with a starting price of $23,820. In two-wheel-drive form, the Outlander performs well in the fuel-efficiency category getting 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, netting it 27-mpg combined. Those fuel economy figures come at a price though, as the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine only puts out 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Review – Video

Topping the Top 10 list of most fuel-efficient three-row SUVs is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. With its 3.5-liter V6 mated to an electric motor, the hybrid powertrain has a total system output of 231 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque, providing 28 mpg across the board. Priced from $48,160 the Toyota Highlander Hybrid may not be the cheapest on the market, but if you have to seat seven or even eight while conserving gas on those long road trips, it’s your best bet.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Gets New Look, Same Powertrain

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

More by Jason Siu

Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments