Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Three-Row Crossovers

Carrying Seven Doesn't Have to Mean Paying Seventy

September 18, 2012
    • Every generation seems to have a car or segment that defines it: from the Model T eventually on through to muscle cars, from the emergence and growth of the Japanese titans to the bloated and trendy SUVs of the late 90s and first half of the 2000s, among many. As America is developing an ever growing appetite for hybrids and CAFE standard happy econo-cars, there is a large segment of car owners that have a pressing dilemma: they've gotten used to the comfort and convenience a large SUV provides, but the relatively poor fuel economy generally associated with the bulky behemoths has shoppers worried. Fear not, dear parent or person in need of ample seating and abundant cargo, below are the 10 most fuel-efficient, not-luxury three-row crossovers available in the U.S.
    • 10

      Ford Flex and Mazda CX-9 - 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway (tie)

      Both front-wheel drive and sharing similar engines -- a 3.5-liter V-6 in the Ford Flex and a 3.7-liter version of the same engine in the Mazda CX-9 -- these big crossovers are capable of swallowing acres of cargo along with as many as more

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      Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia - 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway

      The trio of full-size GM crossovers built on the "Lambda" platform -- the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia -- moved ahead of the Flex and CX-9 by way of a tiebreaker, as their 3.6-liter V-6 nets 23 mpg on the highway with more

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      Honda Pilot - 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway

      The third big crossover on this list, the Honda Pilot looks more like a traditional, upright SUV than a station wagon on stilts. But where it may not have aerodynamics on its side like some of the aforementioned crossovers, it makes up for it more

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      Dodge Journey - 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway

      Equipped with front-wheel drive and its base 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder , the Dodge Journey is able to achieve a respectable 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway while carrying six or seven people. But you don't want that engine. It's paired more

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      Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid - 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway

      The next vehicle on our list isn't a crossover at all. It's a legitimate, bona fide SUV, built on a heavy duty truck frame and able to tow up to 6,200 pounds -- almost double what the next-best vehicle on this list can muster. It also offers up more

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      Ford Explorer - 20 mpg city/28 highway

      The EcoBoost mantra of V-6 power with four-cylinder fuel economy sounds rather enticing. On paper, the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder makes 237 horsepower, which sounds like more than enough for any front-wheel-drive crossover. more

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      Toyota RAV4 -22 mpg city/28 mpg highway

      This tweener that straddles the compact and midsize crossover segments does much more with much less compared to the many of the other vehicles on this list. Whereas others have advanced features like six-speed automatics, turbochargers, direct more

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      Mitsubishi Outlander SE -23 city/28 mpg highway

      Just one iteration of the Mitsubishi Outlander comes with its fuel-efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and the optional third row bench seat. It's not likely going to be the one you find on your dealership lot, either, more

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      Kia Sorento - 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway

      Kia's breaking the mold, offering a mid-range engine in its midsize crossover that not only is more powerful than its base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, but also gets better fuel economy, too. Offered up in as an option in the base Kia Sorento LX, more

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      Toyota Highlander Hybrid - 28 mpg city/28 mpg highway

      When done correctly, hybrid technology is an excellent tool to help mitigate the problems caused by having a big vehicle to haul around and a big engine needed to do it. In the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the automaker employs a combination of more

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