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2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e

These Are the Most Fuel-Efficient AWD Cars & SUVs

These are the non-luxury all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs with the best gas mileage in 2021, as determined by the EPA. All of the vehicles shown are 2021 models, but many haven’t been changed for a few years, so you can save some money by buying used – but still efficient – versions.

Most models featured here are small cars and small SUVs. All have conventional gas engines, but some have hybrid systems that help boost their efficiency. We focus on plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fully electric cars in other articles, so these fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs are among the cheapest on the market.

How We Ranked These Cars and SUVs

In this piece, we focus on the trim with the best fuel economy, which is usually one with an automatic transmission, and that’s usually more expensive than the base price. Keep in mind that most vehicles don’t come standard with all-wheel drive, so in most cases it costs extra.

The prices of these vehicles when new fall between $20,000 and $40,000, and most are available for significantly less in our Used Car Listings.

The cars are ranked by the EPA’s combined fuel economy ratings, then city and highway fuel economy. In the case of a tie, we use price as a tiebreaker (since part of the appeal of a fuel-efficient car is saving money).

2020 Toyota Prius

2021 Toyota Prius / Photo Credit: Toyota

1. 2021 Toyota Prius | 49 mpg

  • Combined: 49
  • City: 51
  • Hwy: 47

The Prius is a legend when it comes to fuel-efficiency, so it’s no surprise it tops this list. However, prior to the 2019 model year, Toyota didn’t offer the Prius with all-wheel drive. To get a Prius with all-wheel drive, step up to the LE trim level and choose the AWD-e model. The 2021 AWD-e model starts at $27,135.

The Prius has roomy seats for up to five people, impressive cargo space for a compact car, and a history of good crash test ratings. Its powertrain consists of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It’s not going to win any races, but it delivers sufficient acceleration for typical daily driving.

Shopping for a Used Toyota Prius

Toyota refreshed the Prius for the 2019 model, and also added all-wheel drive. You can save money considering a used model with nearly identical styling and similar features.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid / Photo Credit: Ford

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid / Photo Credit: Ford

2. 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid | 40 mpg

  • Combined: 40
  • City: 43
  • Hwy: 37

The Escape Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor and a CVT. All-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,500. The base 2021 Escape SE Hybrid with all-wheel drive starts at $29,105.

This compact crossover has respectable cargo capacity, a spacious cabin with seating for up to five passengers, and sporty overall performance. It accelerates with ease, handles well, and provides a smooth ride. The Escape Hybrid comes equipped with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced driver assistance technologies.

Shopping for a Used Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford brought the Escape Hybrid out of lengthy retirement for the 2020 model year, and it arrives largely unchanged for 2021.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid / Photo Credit: Toyota

3. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | 40 mpg

  • Combined: 40
  • City: 41
  • Hwy: 38

The 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has a starting price of $28,500 and comes standard with all-wheel drive. It has a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, three electric motors, and a CVT. This combination delivers lively acceleration.

The RAV4 Hybrid boasts a premium cabin, abundant cargo space, comfortable seating for five people, and plenty of standard niceties and advanced driver assistance aids.

Shopping for a Used Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The RAV4 was completely redesigned for 2019. Shopping for a used model will save you money.

2021 Toyota Venza / Photo Credit: Toyota

2021 Toyota Venza / Photo Credit: Toyota

4. 2021 Toyota Venza | 39 mpg

  • Combined: 39
  • City: 40
  • Hwy: 37

The Toyota Venza is an all-new hybrid SUV with an upscale interior, roomy seats, and a coddling ride. It’s powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and a CVT that combine to make 219 horsepower. All-wheel drive comes standard.

To get the best fuel economy, simply choose the base model, which starts at $32,570. It comes well-equipped, with a touchscreen infotainment system and a full suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS).

Shopping for a Used Toyota Venza

The Venza is an all-new SUV for the 2021 model year.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid / Photo Credit: Honda

5. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid | 38 mpg

  • Combined: 38
  • City: 40
  • Hwy: 35

The CR-V Hybrid is peppy, and it rides and handles much like a smaller car. It has an attractive interior with roomy accommodations for up to five people, as well as generous cargo capacity.

This Honda hybrid gets its power from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors, which together produce 212 horsepower. All-wheel drive and a CVT come standard, so you can buy the base model and get the best gas mileage. The 2021 CR-V Hybrid starts at $30,560.

Shopping for a Used Honda CR-V Hybrid

The Honda CR-V Hybrid was new for 2020, and it’s a carryover for 2021. If you can find a used model, it will save you money.

2021 Toyota Sienna

2021 Toyota Sienna / Photo Credit: Toyota

6. 2021 Toyota Sienna | 35 mpg

  • Combined: 35
  • City: 35
  • Hwy: 36

For 2021, Toyota not only redesigned the Sienna, but also added a hybrid system that makes it incredibly fuel-efficient for a vehicle of its size. It consists of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and a CVT, which together make 245 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, though all-wheel drive is available.

To get the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive 2021 Sienna, choose the base model and add all-wheel drive, which costs an extra $2,000. This brings the Sienna’s starting price up to $36,460.

Shopping for a Used Toyota Sienna

Toyota completely redesigned the Sienna for the 2021 model year. All-wheel drive has been available for years, though the fuel-sipping hybrid system is new for 2021.

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid / Photo Credit: Toyota

7. 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid | 35 mpg

  • Combined: 35
  • City: 35
  • Hwy: 35

The Highlander Hybrid essentially matches the Toyota Sienna’s fuel economy. This is because it has the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and CVT, though this midsize SUV is rated at 243 horsepower, instead of 245.

This Toyota midsize hybrid SUV has front-wheel drive as standard, so you’ll have to pay an additional $1,600 to add all-wheel drive. This setup carries a starting price of $40,110.

Shopping for a Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Highlander Hybrid was redesigned for the 2020 model year, so you can save money buying a used model with the same styling and features.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid / Credit: Hyundai

8. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid | 34 mpg

  • Combined: 34
  • City: 36
  • Hwy: 31

The Santa Fe Hybrid is an all-new compact crossover for the 2021 model year. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and cranks out 226 horsepower thanks to its turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, electric motor, and 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Santa Fe also has a new, more aggressive exterior, plenty of room for five people, decent cargo capacity, and loads of standard niceties and safety features.

Choose the base Blue model for the best gas mileage. It starts at $33,650.

Shopping for a Used Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

Hyundai launched the Sante Fe Hybrid as a new model for 2021. You can save money buying an older Santa Fe, but it won’t be as fuel-efficient.

2021 Nissan Rogue / Photo Credit: Nissan

2021 Nissan Rogue / Photo Credit: Nissan

9. 2021 Nissan Rogue | 33 mpg

  • Combined: 33
  • City: 30
  • Hwy: 36

The fully redesigned 2021 Rogue will offer an optional turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine that significantly improves fuel economy. However, at the time of writing, the available powertrain wasn’t yet an option on Nissan’s online configurator.

The Rogue boasts a premium interior, a wealth of standard features, and ample passenger and cargo space. Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is available. Since the optional engine isn’t yet available, we don’t have pricing details. However, the Rogue starts at $27,150 with all-wheel drive.

Shopping for a Used Nissan Rogue

Nissan completely redesigned the Rogue for the 2021 model year. The optional turbocharged 3-cylinder engine wasn’t available in the past, though you could search for a used Rogue Hybrid.

Shop for a used Nissan Rogue2020 Subaru Impreza

2021 Subaru Impreza / Photo Credit: Subaru

10. 2021 Subaru Impreza | 32 mpg

  • Combined: 32
  • City: 28
  • Hwy: 36

Nearly every Subaru vehicle comes standard with all-wheel drive, and the Impreza is no exception. However, to get the best fuel economy, you’ll have to pay an additional $1,300 to upgrade from the standard manual transmission to the CVT. This puts the 2021 Impreza’s starting MSRP at $20,095. Models with the CVT also come with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of active safety systems.

The Impreza is available in sedan and hatchback configurations. This compact car’s notable strengths include two rows of spacious seats, terrific crash test ratings, excellent road grip, and balanced ride and handling. However, its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine feels underpowered, especially at highway speeds.

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