SUVs combine everything that we crave in a car: space, power and yes, loads of utility. But there’s one more element being added to that wish list: fuel efficiency. With fuel prices on the rise, and as we move away from fossil fuels, Australians are on the hunt for more eco-efficient cars. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when searching for a fuel-efficient SUV in Australia.
Engine size and type
When searching for a new car, particularly a fuel efficient car, the type of engine and its size will have a large impact on how fuel efficient the car is. Plug-in hybrid engines and electric cars are undoubtedly more fuel-efficient than your average petrol-powered vehicle, and the Australian market is seeing a burst of activity when it comes to the demand for electric vehicles.
When it comes to engine size, the larger the engine – typically the more fuel it will consume. While other factors like weight and aerodynamics also play a role, the number of cylinders is the most basic measure of how much fuel an engine will consume. Generally, SUVs have one of three engine sizes:
- 4 cylinders – your average passenger vehicle
- 6 cylinders (V6) – high-performance vehicles
- 8 cylinders (V8) – heavier high-performance vehicles and trucks
The more cylinders a vehicle has – usually the more fuel it consumes and therefore the less fuel efficient it becomes. For example, a 4-cylinder vehicle will generally be more fuel efficient compared to a V6 because it produces less horsepower. But horsepower isn’t everything. A car with more cylinders is also heavier – meaning the engine has to do more work to move the car, therefore further increasing fuel consumption.
Choosing the Right Fuel for Your SUV
The type of fuel you choose also impacts fuel efficiency. SUVs that run on diesel engines tend to be more fuel-efficient than petrol engines, although they’re also usually more expensive when you buy the vehicle upfront. Electric SUVs are even more efficient than diesel, but again, they’re (at least for now) even more expensive to purchase and maintain.
If you want to get the best of both worlds, hybrid models like the Subaru XV are an excellent middle-ground when it comes to reducing your impact on the environment, and the impact on your wallet.
Manual vs. Automatic and their Impact on Fuel Efficiency
Transmission and fuel consumption are closely linked and will play a role in how fuel efficient your SUV is. Your transmission is your gear-change mechanism – better known as either manual or automatic. When it comes to daily driving, manual gearboxes are often considered more fuel efficient – but a lot of that depends on how you drive. Some newer automatic transmissions, such as continuously variable transmission (CVT), are designed to be more fuel-efficient than traditional automatic transmissions.
The Impact of SUV Weight on Fuel Consumption
While SUVs are known for their versatility and boundless boot space, this luxury appeal often comes at the expense of a few added kilos.
And if you’re looking for better fuel economy in an SUV, the weight of your vehicle should be one of your key considerations. The heavier a vehicle, the less fuel efficient it is likely to be. That’s because engines require more power to shift the weight. Unfortunately, many larger SUVs lag in the race to become fuel efficient cars simply because of their size and weight.
Yes, even the shape of your SUV matters.
SUVs with a lower profile and more streamlined design are far more eco-friendly than boxier and more wind-resistant vehicles. If you’re after an SUV that is fuel efficient and also looks the part, opting for a design that is more aerodynamic certainly has its benefits. Especially if you plan on driving fast – and for long distances. Remember that it’s not just the shape of a vehicle that matters, it’s also additional accessories that can impact your fuel efficiency too. For example, roof racks are (unsurprisingly) a sure-fire way to reduce aerodynamics.
Choosing the Right Tyres for Better Fuel Efficiency
Think about it: when driving, the only thing between you and the road are your tyres. That’s a whole lot of friction happening. Predictably, fuel economy and friction are sworn enemies. The more friction – the less efficient your car is. The wider your tyres, the more contact they have with the road, meaning the more effort is needed to propel the car forward. You want your SUV to glide forward without added friction, and with less power required.
Why is the Subaru XV Hybrid an eco-friendly SUV?
Let’s take a closer look at one of the most fuel efficient SUVs in Australia: the new Subaru XV Hybrid. This small SUV is designed to offer a great combination of fuel efficiency, performance, and versatility, while also sticking true to what we love best about any SUV – its spaciousness and all-around capability.
The new Subaru XV Hybrid combines a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed direct injection e-Boxer 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for extra efficiency. It’s everything you’d expect from a Subaru SUV, with traditional all-Wheel Drive, and all-terrain capabilities like X-mode. Giving you the peace of mind to explore, knowing that you’re keeping our environment clean and green.
Test drive the most fuel efficient SUV Australia has to offer
Finding a fuel efficient SUV Australia can be difficult – but certainly not impossible. With the likes of the Subaru XV hybrid, you can have the best of both worlds – a powerful, spacious and versatile vehicle that won’t break the bank at the pump.
But don’t take our word for it. Come down to Perth City Subaru in Vic Park and take the Subaru XV hybrid for a test drive and see for yourself.
You can also read our blog on what you can expect from the next iteration of the XV – the highly anticipated 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review, coming soon.
Note: The Subaru XV model is marketed as the Subaru Crosstrek. This change in name was made to align with Subaru’s global naming strategy. Therefore, when referring to the Subaru XV in the context in the market, it is synonymous with the Subaru Crosstrek. Rest assured, any information or references pertaining to the Subaru XV can be considered applicable to the Subaru Crosstrek.