The real MPG of SUVs

The real MPG of SUVs
The real MPG of SUVs

Here’s our top 10 of SUVs and their real-world fuel consumption

We all know that statistics are a thing and that thing doesn’t have much to do with real life. Whether it’s fuel consumption, EV battery range or Treasury forecasts, we all know that they conform to some rules but they don’t conform to reality. Which is where we come in.

Working with What Car?, we have a complete set of real-world consumption figures for all manner of types of vehicle. We know that figures in brochures are misleading, but we all need something to work from, but that something is so much more reliable when it’s properly tested by a real car on real roads in real driving situations.

So settle back, and if you’re interested in buying an SUV – a type of vehicle that makes up a third of all sales – then you’ll be interested in our countdown of the top 10.

10. Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95

Official fuel economy 57.6mpg True MPG 45.9mpg Shortfall 20%
One of the latest to join the SUV ranks, the new Seat is roomier inside than it looks from the outside, and is quite fun to drive. It should depreciate slowly too. We’d go with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine as it’s cheap, competent and strong enough to work even on motorways.

9. Vauxhall Mokka X 1.6 CDTi 136

Official fuel economy 65.7mpg True MPG 47.0mpg Shortfall 28.4%
It looks Tonka-toy tough and standard equipment levels are high and, if you choose the diesel, it’s economical too. But that diesel is noisy as well as fairly frugal – the 110 version is smoother and quieter than this more powerful 136 version.

8. Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150

Official fuel economy 56.5mpg True MPG 47.4mpg Shortfall 16.1%
The latest CX-5 looks better than the last version and has a more stylish cabin, even if practicality is not improved. Both handling and ride are really very good, and Mazda’s decision to go with larger but not turbocharged diesels seems to bear fruit, with a torquey response even with five people and luggage on board.

7. Suzuki Vitara 1.6

Official fuel economy 53.3mpg True MPG 47.7mpg Shortfall 10.5%
Suzuki was one of the first into the fun SUV sector, but the old Vitara has been replaced by a vehicle better suited to a city or a country house track than a serious off-road green lane. However, it’s still fun to drive and represents good value, particularly here with the 1.6-litre petrol engine which is full of life and pleasantly smooth.

6. Kia Niro Hybrid

Official fuel economy 74.3mpg True MPG 50.1mpg Shortfall 32.6%
There are some plus points here for this hybrid, including bettering 50mpg while the seven-year warranty is highly desirable. The 1.6-litre engine and electric motor combination works well in town but out on the open roads it starts to run out of steam. And will you look at that consumption discrepancy – over 32%, the highest here. Tsk.

5. Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI 115

Official fuel economy 65.7mpg True MPG 50.2mpg Shortfall 23.6%
If your budget peaks at £20,000 then this is where we recommend that budget goes. It’s a terrific all-rounder and with the 1.6-litre diesel is highly efficient. Even so, we’d actually prefer the 1.4-litre turbo petrol version unless you’re doing silly miles every year.

4. Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi

Official fuel economy 61.4mpg True MPG 51.4mpg Shortfall 16.3%
Practical, spacious and, in 2 trim, sensibly priced and well equipped, the Sportage is another good all-rounder. We’d go for the 1.7-litre diesel as the most economical, even though you do suffer some diesel grumbles in the cabin as a result.

3. Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110

Official fuel economy 70.6mpg True MPG 51.9mpg Shortfall 26.6%
The vehicle that started the whole compact SUV sector has had a refresh but even so it’s starting to fall behind some of the newer, fresher rivals that have poured in to the sector. Even so, it’s still a very good vehicle, particularly with this 1.5-litre diesel engine that is potent enough for relaxed motorway cruising, but which still does nearly 52mpg in the real world with sub-100g/km of CO2.

2. Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110

Official fuel economy 74.3mpg True MPG 55.2mpg Shortfall 25.7%
The Renault version of the Qashqai, the Kadjar, has an equally silly name, but it is even more frugal. The Nissan seems the classier of the pair but for some, particularly those high-milers, the appeal of over 55mpg will be, well, appealing.

1. Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SHVS

Official fuel economy 65.7mpg True MPG 59.6mpg Shortfall 9.3%
If you look at the shortfalls here, you’ll find that the top two slots are occupied by Suzuki. The Ignis does a real near-60mpg against a claimed 65.7mpg, making this the most honest of our ten. It’s also the most efficient SUV, the smallest SUV and also one of the most fun, with dimensions closer to a city car. The 1.2-litre engine in this version gains a tiny bit of hybrid support which actually does add to the experience. Should you want the whole SUV 4×4 thing, then four-wheel drive versions can still manage 53.3mpg.

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