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The premium small SUVs with the best fuel economy

CarExpert

New member
Premium small SUVs come with a higher price tag, but they aren’t necessarily more efficient than their cheaper counterparts.

There is something for everyone in this segment – from petrol power to hybrid, and full electric – leaving buyers spoilt for choice.

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To help simplify the decision, we’ve researched the premium small SUVs that retain an internal combustion engine to find out which has the best fuel economy?

We’ve gathered the data, using claimed combined fuel economy figures provided by manufacturers, to find out.

These are the cars within the small SUV over $45k category in the VFACTS sales charts published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

We’ve also measured based on the variant with the best fuel economy in the range, as some trim or powertrain options may see the figures quoted here increase slightly.

Alfa Romeo Tonale​


Alfa Romeo has jumped to the top of the fuel efficiency rankings with the release of the new for 2024 Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Q4, which consumes just 1.5L/100km. That figure is contingent on having a fully charged battery, however; as is always the case with plug-in hybrids a flat lithium-ion battery will make it very hard to come close to that figure.

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The regular Tonale Hybrid was already a relatively efficient car, but the new PHEV steps it up a notch while commanding a near-$20,000 price premium.

Priced at $78,500 before on-road costs, the plug-in hybrid has all the features of the other variants plus 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, perforated black leather-accented seats, Brembo red brake calipers, and aluminium finishes.

All Tonales are sold with Alfa Romeo’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Alfa Romeo Tonale
Fuel economy (claimed)1.5L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 42.5L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Alfa Romeo Tonale
MORE: Everything Alfa Romeo Tonale


Kia Niro​


The Kia Niro is another hybrid option in the small SUV space, but the Korean car comes in far cheaper than the Alfa.

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The Niro HEV starts at $44,930 before on-road costs, well south of the Tonale’s price tag.

Kia claims a fuel economy figure of 4.0L/100km. The Niro has a 42L tank and only requires 91 RON unleaded petrol.

The base HEV is equipped with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

All variants come standard with Kia’s seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Kia Niro
Fuel economy (claimed)4.0L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 42L
Fuel type91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Kia Niro
MORE: Everything Kia Niro


Lexus UX​


The revised Lexus UX range is now all-electrified.

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Now starting from $55,370 plus on-road costs, the UX drinks 4.2-4.4L/100km depending on model grade, with power derived from a 2.0-litre hybrid drivetrain.

The interior features a new 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument cluster (up from 7.0-inches).

Two-wheel drive variants kick off the new selection, while the UX 300h AWD F Sport sits at the top of the tree, priced at $73,210 before on-road costs.

Lexus UX
Fuel economy (claimed)4.2L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 40L
Fuel type91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Lexus UX
MORE: Everything Lexus UX


Audi Q2​


The Audi Q2 is the most efficient of the petrol-only cars on this list, with a claimed fuel consumption of 5.2L/100km.

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All variants are powered by turbocharged four-cylinder engines, displacing 1.5 litres in the more frugal base specification 35 TFSI.

The entry level Q2 comes standard with leather trim, Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, an 8.3-inch infotainment screen, and wireless phone charging.

Pricing starts at $49,400 before on-road costs.

Audi Q2
Fuel economy (claimed)5.2L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 50L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Audi Q2
MORE: Everything Audi Q2


Mercedes-Benz GLA​


The Mercedes-Benz GLA received a freshen-up heading into 2024, with the base model climbing to $68,900 plus on-road costs.

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The GLA 200, which happens to be the most efficient car in the GLA range, now comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable front seats with memory, metallic paint, a surround-view camera, and adaptive cruise control.

It’s powered by a turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine producing 120kW of power and 270Nm of torque, mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Like most of the European cars on this list, the GLA requires a minimum of 95 RON premium unleaded petrol.

Mercedes-Benz GLA
Fuel economy (claimed)6.2L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 43L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Mercedes-Benz GLA
MORE: Everything Audi Mercedes-Benz GLA

BMW X1​


The BMW X1 is one of the most popular cars in this segment – 4644 were sold in 2023, behind just the Volvo XC40.

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As with the Audi Q2, the base X1 best suits buyers wanting to save money at the pump; economy is claimed at 6.5L/100km for the sDrive18i.

That car packs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 115kW of power and 230 Nm of torque, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Standard features inside include a 10.25-inch instrument display, 10.7-inch HD curved touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a wireless charger.

BMW X1
Fuel economy (claimed)6.5L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 45L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a BMW X1
MORE: Everything BMW X1


Mini Countryman​


A new generation of the Mini Countryman has arrived with a variety of powertrains catering to both the performance focused enthusiast and eco-conscious electric adopter.

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Aside from the pure electric models, the base Countryman C is the pick of the bunch from an efficiency perspective, with a claimed fuel economy of 6.8L/100km.

The drivetrain is pulled straight out of the BMW X1 and produces identical power and torque outputs.

In the drivers seat buyers are now greeted by a new 9.4-inch OLED touchscreen infotainment system running Mini Operating System 9. It offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Mini Countryman
Fuel economy (claimed)6.8L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 45L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Mini Countryman
MORE: Everything Mini Countryman


Audi Q3​


Like the BMW X1, the Audi Q3 featured on the podium for premium small SUV sales in 2023.

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The entry-level Q3 35 TFSI uses the least fuel, consuming 6.9L/100km, while the flagship RSQ3 sacrifices efficiency for performance.

A base model will set you back $53,400 before on-road costs.

It comes with 530L of boot space and features such as a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Audi Q3
Fuel economy (claimed)6.9L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 58L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Audi Q3
MORE: Everything Audi Q3


Volvo XC40​


Volvo sold 5837 examples of the XC40 in 2023, making it the best-selling car in this segment.

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All petrol variants are powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with assistance from a 48V mild-hybrid system.

Pricing starts at $54,990 before on-road costs and tops out at $62,990 before on-roads, and all cars come with front and rear heated seats, a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless phone charging and 18-inch five-spoke silver alloy wheels.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a notable omission from the spec list.

Volvo XC40
Fuel economy (claimed)6.9L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 54L
Fuel type91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Volvo XC40
MORE: Everything Volvo XC40


BMW X2​


This one comes with a disclaimer.

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Yes, the best official fuel economy figure for the new BMW X2 is 7.7L/100km, but that is for the performance oriented M35i.

Efficiency numbers for the base xDrive20i have not been released, but that car will undoubtedly outperform the M35i in this regard.

The xDrive20i will cost $75,900 plus on-road costs at launch, and house a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.

BMW Australia covers its line-up with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre new vehicle warranty.

BMW X2
Fuel economy (claimed)7.7L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 54L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a BMW X2
MORE: Everything BMW X2


Jaguar E-Pace​


The Jaguar E-Pace is the least efficient car in this category.

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A 67L fuel tank provides decent range despite a consumption figure of 8.0L/100km, which is courtesy of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

Jaguar is the class leader when it comes to boot space – the E-Pace has 601L with the rear seats up.

Pricing ranges between $76,773 before on-road costs to $81,920 plus on-roads.

Jaguar E-Pace
Fuel economy (claimed)8.0L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 67L
Fuel type95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Jaguar E-Pace
MORE: Everything Jaguar E-Pace

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