Fuel-Efficient Winter Rides

© Subaru of AmericaFuel Efficient
When winter weather amps up and roads get swathed in rain, sleet, snow and ice, the benefits of all-wheel drive really come into play. But that doesn’t necessarily mean drivers need a big gas-guzzling SUV or truck to tackle wintry conditions — plenty of fuel-efficient options offer additional traction thanks to power at all four wheels. What follows are the most fuel-efficient new all-wheel drive models available in America, including vehicles that feature diesel, gasoline, electric and hybrid powertrains. Note that vehicles are listed in ascending order by combined fuel economy ratings as reported by the U.S. EPA. MPGe is “miles per gallon equivalent,” which equates electric energy to that found in a gallon of gasoline — this figure is used for EVs (electric vehicles) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles).

© Toyota Motor Sales USA25. 2019 Lexus RX 450h
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 31 / 28 / 30
Base MSRP: $45,995
One of the first luxury crossovers on the market, the RX remains the best-selling Lexus model ever. The RX received a complete makeover for 2016 with all-new styling; most noticeable is the brand’s large, bold spindle grille which dominates the front end. The RX features a sophisticated hybrid system that combines a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine with two electric motors — one on the front axle, one on the rear — to create an electric all-wheel-drive system that generates a total of 308 horsepower, providing excellent all-weather performance in addition to great fuel economy.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience24. 2019 Nissan Altima S AWD
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 26 / 36 / 30
Base MSRP: $25,100
Nissan has introduced an all-new Altima for the 2019 model year, and for the first time this popular sedan will be available with full-time all-wheel drive. The new Altima has a sleek look that is lower and wider with a more dynamic design inspired by the Vmotion 2.0 concept that debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Nissan engineers revised the Altima’s 2.5-liter engine to produce 188 horsepower while delivering improved fuel economy numbers. All-wheel drive is available on all Altima trims, featuring Hill Start Assist for launch on low-grip surfaces, as well as torque distribution that can send 100 percent of power to the front wheels when conditions don’t require the added traction, or as much as 50 percent power to the rear for improved traction and handling.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA23. 2019 Lexus NX 300h
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 33 / 30 / 31
Base MSRP: $38,735
Lexus joined the growing compact luxury SUV segment for the 2015 model year, when Toyota’s luxury marque launched the brand-new NX. Last year this hybrid model received a complete refresh with updated styling and new features. Utilizing the latest Lexus hybrid system, the NX is powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine teamed with a high-torque electric motor to drive the front wheels, while an additional electric motor provides power to the rear wheels as needed. All modes combine to produce 194 horsepower.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA22. 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 34 / 30 / 32
Base MSRP: $27,385
The RAV4 is one of the best-selling SUVs in America, and Toyota completely redesigned the small crossover for the 2016 model year. As part of that revamp, the Japanese automaker added a hybrid RAV4 to join the growing number of hybrids in Toyota’s portfolio. All RAV4 Hybrids are 4WD — the gas engine combines with an electric motor to drive the front wheels, while an additional electric motor provides power to the rear wheels. Not only is the RAV4 Hybrid the most fuel-efficient version of this small crossover, with 194 horsepower it also happens to be the most powerful RAV4 ever. An all-new RAV4 will be coming to market later this year, with a hybrid version arriving next spring.

© Subaru of America19. 2019 Subaru Impreza Sedan w/CVT (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 28 / 38 / 32
Base MSRP: $19,595
Subaru’s compact entry was all new for the 2017 model year. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Impreza is built on an all-new Subaru global platform that is “designed to deliver significantly higher levels of driving pleasure, agility, crash protection and ride comfort.” All Imprezas are equipped with a 2.0-liter boxer engine producing 152 horsepower directed to Subaru’s full-time all-wheel-drive system. Impreza is also available with EyeSight, Subaru’s innovative driver-assist system that makes this fuel-efficient winter ride one of the safest cars in America.

© General Motors19. 2019 GMC Terrain SLE Diesel (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 28 / 38 / 32
Base MSRP: $33,600
General Motors introduced the latest version of the GMC Terrain for the 2018 model year with a new design that features a bold grille, sculpted headlights and C-shaped rear light graphics. Like its Chevrolet Equinox sibling, the Terrain is offered with several turbocharged powertrains, most noteworthy being an all-new diesel. Available on SLE and SLT trims, the 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine offers both efficiency as well as performance, generating 240 lb-ft of torque at a very low 2000 rpm.

© General Motors19. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox LT Diesel (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 28 / 38 / 32
Base MSRP: $31,200
Along with its GMC sibling, the Chevrolet Equinox entered the 2018 model year with updated styling, the latest in high-tech safety technology and an available fuel-efficient diesel powertrain. Equinox has one of the few diesel options among small crossovers: a 1.6-liter turbocharged unit that produces 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The diesel is one of three turbocharged motors available on the new Equinox.

© Nissan North America18. 2018 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid AWD
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 31 / 34 / 33
Base MSRP: $28,370
The Nissan Rogue was completely redesigned last year, and for the first time Nissan is offering a hybrid version of this popular crossover. The Rogue Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine that produces 141 horsepower, teamed with a 40-horsepower electric motor to produce a net 176 horsepower. Rogue Hybrid further improves fuel efficiency with Nissan’s Xtronic continuously-variable transmission as well as an Idle Start/Stop system and an Intelligent Regenerative Braking system.

© BMW North America15. 2018 BMW 328d xDrive (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 30 / 40 / 34
Base MSRP: $43,750
Long known as the benchmark sport sedan, the 3 Series typically reigns near the top of luxury sedan sales charts. However, when properly equipped with a fuel-efficient diesel powertrain, it is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in America. The diesel still offers plenty of performance for this iconic car — the 2.0-liter engine generates 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque at a low 1750 rpm. Excellent winter grip is provided by BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

© Jaguar Land Rover15. 2019 Jaguar XF 20d Premium (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 30 / 40 / 34
Base MSRP: $54,465
The XF was all new a few years back, featuring an aluminum-intensive architecture with considerable weight savings, as well as improved fuel economy and vehicle dynamics. As part of the new generation of XF, Jaguar added a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel to the engine choices. The diesel powertrain produces 180 horsepower and a plentiful 317 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.

© Jaguar Land Rover15. 2019 Jaguar XE 20d (tie)
MPG (city / hwy / combined): 30 / 40 / 34
Base MSRP: $41,105
Positioned as the entry model of the famed British marque, the XE sport sedan is one of the newest models in the Jaguar lineup. For those who remember the woefully inadequate X-TYPE from the early 2000s, they’ll be happy to hear the XE is nothing like that earlier sedan. Sporting the same stylish grille as the XF and XJ, the XE is available with a variety of engines, including a fuel-efficient diesel option. The 2.0-liter diesel powerplant produces plenty of torque at low rpm for a sporty, fun-driving experience — even in the winter.

© BMW of North America14. 2018 BMW X5 xDrive 40e
MPGe / MPG (combined): 56 / 24
Electric Range: 14 miles
Base MSRP: $63,750
This plug-in hybrid version of BMW’s midsize premium SUV was the first plug-in hybrid from the German brand. At the heart of the X5 xDrive40e is BMW’s 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor integrated into the 8-speed automatic transmission, for a total system output of 308 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Intelligent all-wheel drive is standard. On a full charge, the lithium-ion battery offers an electric-only range of 14 miles and can propel the plug-in X5 from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

© Mercedes-Benz USA13. 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e 4MATIC
MPGe / MPG (combined): 56 / 25
Electric Range: 10 miles
Base MSRP: $49,990
The GLC is the compact luxury crossover offering of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, introduced a few years ago when it replaced the outgoing GLK. The fuel-efficient GLC 350e is new for the 2018 model year, offering a plug-in hybrid for the first time in the GLC range. With a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with a powerful 85 kW electric motor, the GLC 350e generates a total 315 horsepower. With up to 413 lb-ft of torque coming from the electric motor, this plug-in hybrid can jump to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds. The power is usable in all weather conditions, thanks to the Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system that works with the electronic stability control to optimize torque at every wheel.

© Volvo Cars North America11. 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV AWD (tie)
MPGe / MPG (combined): 58 / 25
Electric Range: 17 miles
Base MSRP: $66,300
The plug-in hybrid version of Volvo’s premium 7-seat SUV is also the most powerful available in the XC90 lineup. Motivating the XC90 T8 PHEV is Volvo’s T8 Twin Engine system that delivers a combined 400 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged gasoline engine in the front and an electric motor at the rear. This big SUV claims impressive performance — the XC90 AWD PHEV will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and has an all-electric range of up to 17 miles. The high-performance T8 powertrain is available on all trim levels of the XC90.

© Volvo Cars North America11. 2019 Volvo XC60 AWD PHEV (tie)
MPGe / MPG (combined): 58 / 25
Electric Range: 17 miles
Base MSRP: $52,900
Volvo introduces an all-new XC60 for the 2018 model year, and in addition to new styling and features, the premium crossover is now available with the same powerplants as its larger sibling, the XC90. The most fuel-efficient of them all is the T8 plug-in hybrid which employs a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged engine sending power to the front wheels, while an electric motor powers the rear wheels. The two sources combine to deliver up to 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. The immediate torque of the electric motor helps the XC60 T8 reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.

© BMW of North America9. 2019 MINI Countryman S E All4
MPGe / MPG (combined): 65 / 27
Electric Range: 12 miles
Base MSRP: $36,900
MINI has introduced its first plug-in hybrid in the shape of the Cooper S E Countryman. One of the larger MINIs on the market, the Countryman is a 4-door offering reasonable cargo space, ALL4 all-wheel drive and now a fuel efficient but powerful hybrid powertrain. Under the hood is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor for a combined 221 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. When fully charged, the hybrid Countryman can run for 12 miles and reach speeds as high as 77 mph using the electric motor only. This plug-in MINI is also eligible for up to $4,000 in U.S. federal tax credits.

© BMW of North America8. 2019 BMW 530e xDrive
MPGe / MPG (combined): 67 / 28
Electric Range: 15 miles
Base MSRP: $55,700
When the 5 Series was redesigned for the 2018 model year, BMW added the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid to the lineup. This is the fourth iPerformance model and the first to be offered in both sDrive rear-wheel-drive and xDrive all-wheel-drive versions. The 530e iPerformance features a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder 180-horsepower engine teamed with an eDrive electric motor to produce a total of 248 horsepower. As expected from a BMW 5 Series, the PHEV comes well equipped with a luxurious interior and the latest in high-tech safety features.

© BMW USA7: 2019 BMW i8
MPGe / MPG (combined): 69 / 27
Electric Range: 18 miles
Base MSRP: $147,500
With its sleek silhouette, big wheels, narrow grille and crazy aerodynamic angles at the rear, the innovative BMW i8 will turn heads no matter where it is — especially when the gull-wing doors are open. And it has an advanced powertrain that seems fitting for such a futuristic-looking sports car. The rear wheels are powered by a 1.5-liter 228-horsepower 3-cylinder turbo engine, while the front wheels get motivation from a 141-horsepower electric motor. Together they produce 369 horsepower with plenty of low-end torque, allowing the AWD i8 to reach 60 mph in around 4 seconds. Perhaps not your typical winter vehicle, but with the proper tires the i8 could be pretty entertaining in the snow.

© Volvo Cars of North America6: 2019 Volvo S90 AWD PHEV
MPGe / MPG (combined): 71 / 29
Electric Range: 21 miles
Base MSRP: $63,650
The flagship sedan of the Volvo lineup, the S90 was all new for the 2017 model year. The S90 has a much more expressive appearance than previous generations of Volvo flagships, with an attractive, luxurious design highlighted by a new concave grille and “Thor’s Hammer” headlights. Inside, the S90 interior is covered with soft leather and natural open-pore walnut trim; the environment feels more living space than luxury sedan. The T8 PHEV is the most powerful powertrain option in the S90 lineup — the turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder engine is teamed with a powerful electric motor to produce an impressive 400 horsepower driving all four wheels.

© Mitsubishi Motors North America5. 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
MPGe / MPG (combined): 74 / 25
Electric Range: 22 miles
Base MSRP: $34,595
The Mitsubishi Outlander may not be the most popular vehicle on this list; however, it is the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive model that still uses an internal combustion engine. The Outlander PHEV combines a 2.0-liter gas engine and two high-performance electric motors — one on each axle — for a combined 224 horsepower. The electric motors provide instant torque for Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control 4WD system, designed to deliver efficient all-weather capability and efficiency.

© Jaguar Land Rover North America4: 2019 Jaguar I-PACE
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 80 / 72 / 76
Electric Range: 234 miles
Base MSRP: $69,500
Jaguar is the first brand to come to market with a luxury model to challenge Tesla — the all-new fully electric I-PACE. The all-wheel-drive I-PACE is powered by two electric motors — one driving each axle — for a total output of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque, which makes the I-PACE capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Drivers can choose a mode befitting the current conditions that changes the throttle response, suspension and steering — there is even a Rain/Ice/Snow mode. The roomy interior maintains a level of luxury expected from a Jaguar, with a long list of standard features — even on the base trim.

© Tesla Motors3. 2018 Tesla Model X 75D
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 91 / 95 / 93
Electric Range: 238 miles
Base MSRP: $83,000
The Model X was the first production electric SUV on the market, and this sleek vehicle offers more than simply impressive fuel economy. The 75D is the entry-level version of the model X with a 328-horsepower electric motor — enough power to reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. There’s seating for seven, and access to the rear seats is via top-hinged Falcon Wing doors. Thanks to the absence of an internal combustion engine, the Model X offers a large front trunk in addition to a rear cargo area.

© Tesla Motors2: 2018 Tesla Model S 75D
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 102 / 105 / 103
Electric Range: 259 miles
Base MSRP: $77,000
Tesla changed the automotive landscape when it introduced the all-electric Model S — this luxury sedan was the first production electric car to offer more than 200 miles on a full charge. The big sedan is available with a range of high-performance powertrains, but the 75D with its dual-motor all-wheel-drive system is the most fuel efficient according to the U.S. EPA. Still, the 75D offers plenty of gusto. With more than 500 horsepower, this very-efficient automobile can sprint to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds.

© Tesla Motors1. 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 120 / 112 / 105
Electric Range: 310 miles
Base MSRP: $49,000
The all-new Model 3 joined the Tesla lineup within the last year, and while production has been slower than planned, deliveries of this “more affordable” electric sedan are well underway. With styling similar to the larger Model S, the Model 3 Long Range gets two electric motors — one on each axle — and enough power to reach 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. It may be the base-level Tesla, but the Model 3 still comes well equipped with features such as a 15-inch touchscreen display, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, LED exterior lighting, a backup camera and a suite of advanced safety technology with collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking.

 

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