It used to be that "SUV" was synonymous with "gas guzzler," but thanks to new technology and the popularity of crossover class vehicles, you can find fuel-efficient sport utility vehicles with power to spare.
Steve Pounds, auto guide editor, Bankrate.com
"The vehicles we've chosen have all improved their fuel economy through technology advances, so that you now have SUVs that have comparable gas mileage to cars but they can perform heavy towing tasks."
Here's a list of Bankrate's favorites.
Topping the list is the Lexus RX 450h. The hybrid version of this luxury crossover keeps the 3.5-liter V-6 from its gasoline counterpart and adds an electric motor for 295 horsepower. Front-wheel drive models get 32 miles to the gallon city, 28 highway.
New to the market is Mazda's CZ-5. The five-seat compact SUV features SkyActiv technology to boost power and improve mileage. SkyActiv combines direct-injection gasoline engines with advanced transmissions, and a lightweight, rigid body. The 155-horsepower CZ-5 gets 25 miles to the gallon city and 32 highway.
For ultimate gas savings, you can't beat full electric. The Toyota Rav4 EV's electric motor produced 154 horsepower. The RAV4 seats five with 36 cubic feet behind the seating area, but this isn't a road-trip vehicle. Its range is only 103 miles on a full charge, which takes about 12 hours in a 240-volt outlet.
Speaking of alternative fuels, The Volkswagen Touareg TDI runs on clean diesel. The "TDI" in its name references the 3-liter V-6 Turbocharged Direct Injected engine, which produces 240 horsepower and 406 footpounds of torque. The Touareg gets 20 miles to the gallon city and 29 highway.
To see more gas-saving SUVs with plenty of power and to shop around for the best rate on your next car loan, check out the auto section at Bankrate.com. I'm Lucas Wysocki.