As the allure of the open road stretches before you, the quest for a 4x4 that perfectly balances power and fuel efficiency becomes unavoidable. For a truly rugged yet economical vehicle, we need to look to the big players like Hyundai, Mazda, Suzuki and Peugeot. What is the most economical 4x4? You can be sure that this depends on your preferences for engine type, 4x4 capabilities and practicality. Take a sneak peek at our top models which unite off-road capabilities with incredible economy, without compromising on performance:
Interested in the most affordable 4x4s? Check out our blog coverage on the topic here!
In the realm of 4x4 vehicles, the Hyundai Tucson stands as a testament to innovation and efficient engineering. The HTRAC All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system delivers 4x4 capability on the Ultimate and N Line trim levels for the Tucson, which also deepens the vehicle's ability to handle and corner remarkably well. To achieve the greatest fuel efficiency on the 4WD Tucson, we'd recommend the 1.6L TGDi Plug-In Hybrid powertrain, delivering an impressive economy of up to 201.8mpg and can grant up to 38 miles of electric-only driving
For those who seek a Hyundai 4x4 that balances utility with reliable efficiency, the Hyundai Santa Fe diesel stands tall. Similar to the Tucson, the Santa Fe grants 4WD capabilities, and here we'd suggest the diesel powertrain. With 571L of boot space and a 7-seat configuration available, achieving a long-running, reliable powerhouse is essential. The 2.2L diesel engine is found on both Premium and Ultimate trims, allowing you to experience an efficient 41.5mpg.
Peugeot has stepped up its game when it comes to efficient 4x4s. The striking Peugeot 3008 introduces an e-EAT8 hybrid system available on the Allure Premium+ and GT trims that includes 4x4 capabilities. Here, the 'Grip Control' system bridges the gap between 4WD capability and optimal traction, ensuring confidence across diverse terrains by utilising two axels. The powertrain you would look for is the e-EAT8 1.6 Hybrid4 300, boasting a remarkable 249.8mpg.
The Mazda CX-30, equipped with the mild-hybrid 2.0 e-SKYACTIV X Petrol engine and 4x4/AWD, delivers an impressive 46.3mpg. An addictive driving style for a small SUV is met with confident styling which makes it a great choice for those seeking dynamic performance and fuel efficiency. A decent array of equipment which comes standard on the CX-30 is a nice addition too.
For a step up in size and power, the award-winning Mazda CX-5 is a great choice for those who seek 4x4 paired with a frugal and punchy diesel engine. Look to the Takumi or Exclusive Line which offers Auto AWD (4x4) performance, paired with the 2.2L diesel engine, which delivers up to 42.8mpg. An enticing array of advanced safety and connective features are generously stacked on these trim levels too, so make sure to check them out for yourself.
If you're loving Mazda diesel 4x4s but need a little extra room, the Mazda CX-60 can take the spotlight to fulfil this need. An abundant 570-litre boot space gives you all the space you need to embark on even the longest of journeys. The engine's capabilities have seen a boost to match CX-60's practicality too, where a 3.3L diesel engine on the Homura line not only brings AWD 4x4 but also an exceptional economy of 54.3mpg.
The Vitara, Suzuki's proud design of affordability, economy and family-centrism, is a hassle-free SUV that redefines solid reliability. While its distinctive look might be the first head turner, it's the unique ALL Grip 4-Wheel Drive (AGS) technology that takes the spotlight. Available on the SZ-T and SZ5, the Vitara's 4x4 system can tackle rain, snow, and other off-road situations that it'll come across. Pair this with Sports, Snow or Lock mode, and the AWD system turns into your trusty partner in even the harshest of conditions. We'd recommend the 1.4L mild hybrid system, offering 47.8mpg with the AGS 4x4 technology.
Looking for an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid? The Suzuki ACross shines here with its incredibly comfortable ride and highly economical powertrain. As a bonus, Suzuki packs 4x4 capability into the Across as standard called the E-Four 4-wheel drive system so you can be assured performance in rugged and harsh terrain. The powertrain on the Across is the 2.5L Plug-In hybrid, which delivers a staggering economy of 282.4mpg and a groundbreaking electric-only range of 46 miles. Now that's impressive.
On the horizon, the Vauxhall Grandland GSe promises a remarkable 217.3 mpg, offering a glimpse into Vauxhall's future of efficient 4x4 SUVs.