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The light SUVs with the best fuel economy in Australia

There’s nothing more onerous as a driver than regular trips to the fuel pump wasting time and, more importantly, money.

Thankfully, cars are getting more efficient by the year, and light SUVs benefit from their diminutive size compared to bigger classes of vehicle.

Which light SUVs currently on sale in Australia have the best fuel economy? We’ve gathered the data, using claimed combined fuel economy figures provided by the manufacturers, to find out.

These are the cars within the light SUV 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.

Lexus LBX

The brand new Lexus LBX will hit showrooms this year as the most frugal car in the segment.

Sipping just 3.8L/100km, the LBX takes full advantage of its hybrid powertrain to provide efficiency as a selling point. However, it comes at a price.

The baby Lexus will range from $47,550 before on-road costs to $56,990 before on-roads, making it the most expensive light SUV on sale.

Based on the same GA-B platform as the Toyota Yaris Cross, the LBX can be had in either front- or all-wheel drive, with the two-wheel drive variants quoting slightly better efficiency.

Lexus LBX
Fuel economy (claimed) 3.8L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 36L
Fuel type 91 RON

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

Toyota Yaris Cross

Unsurprisingly, given the Yaris Cross and LBX share a platform and powertrain, the Toyota returns near identical fuel economy figures to the Lexus.

The Yaris Cross will return 3.8-4.0L/100km depending on specification, and undercuts the Lexus by over $17,000 in base specification.

As one of only two hybrids on this list, the jacked up Yaris is also over 20 per cent more efficient than the next best contender.

It’s been a popular option with buyers; 6514 were sold last year, ranking third for sales in this segment.

Toyota Yaris Cross
Fuel economy (claimed) 3.8L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 36L
Fuel type 91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Toyota Yaris Cross
MORE: Everything Toyota Yaris Cross

Suzuki Ignis

The tiny Suzuki Ignis is the best performing non-hybrid option here, returning a claimed fuel economy figure on 4.7L/100km.

It makes sense when you consider the Ignis weighs just 865kg, giving the engine less work to do compared to other cars in the segment.

Speaking of the engine, this little Suzuki is powered by a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder producing 66kW of power and 120Nm of torque.

The Ignis is among the cheapest SUV options available, priced from just $23,490 before on-road costs.

Suzuki Ignis
Fuel economy (claimed) 4.7L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 32L
Fuel type 91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Suzuki Ignis
MORE: Everything Suzuki Ignis

Volkswagen T-Cross

Volkswagen’s smallest SUV offering is equal fourth in the efficiency stakes, consuming a claimed average of 5.4L/100km.

However, it has a bigger fuel tank (40L) than higher ranked cars, meaning it will travel a similar distance between trips to the service station.

Fill ups will be more costly though, given the T-Cross requires a minimum of 95 RON premium unleaded petrol.

Variants range between $30,990 before on-road costs and $33,490 before on-roads.

Volkswagen T-Cross
Fuel economy (claimed) 5.4L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 40L
Fuel type 95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Volkswagen T-Cross
MORE: Everything Volkswagen T-Cross

Kia Stonic

The Kia Stonic uses a similar recipe to achieve the same claimed fuel economy as the Volkswagen T-Cross.

Power comes from a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, just like the Volkswagen, although the Korean car is lighter at 1227kg (tare).

Fuel capacity and quality are two key differentiators between the two machines; the Stonic has a 45L tank and 91 RON unleaded petrol is adequate, rather than 95 RON.

The single-variant Stonic costs $30,790 before on-road costs, and comes with Kia’s seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Kia Stonic
Fuel economy (claimed) 5.4L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 45L
Fuel type 91 RON

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

Nissan Juke

Like the previous two cars, the Nissan Juke packs a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, producing 84kW of power and 180Nm of torque in this case.

The Nissan is slightly less efficient, however, consuming 5.8L/100km.

The perks of the Juke include class-leading boot space (422L) and competitive towing capacity (1250kg braked).

A base model will set you back $28,390 before on-roads, while a fully loaded top spec car comes in at $36,890 before on-roads.

Nissan Juke
Fuel economy (claimed) 5.8L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 46L
Fuel type 95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Nissan Juke
MORE: Everything Nissan Juke

Mazda CX-3

This segment’s clear best seller is the Mazda CX-3, with 15,776 new examples leaving showrooms last year.

Starting at $26,950 before on-road costs for the base car, the CX-3 is at the affordable end of the pricing spectrum for this category, although buyers will spend more at the pump due to the Mazda’s 6.3L/100km fuel economy.

Boot space is also down compared to the rest of the cars here, at 264L.

Mazda CX-3
Fuel economy (claimed) 6.3L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 48L
Fuel type 91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Mazda CX-3
MORE: Everything Mazda CX-3

Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is now available with either three or five doors, but that hasn’t changed fuel consumption which remains at 6.4L/100km (manual transmission).

At 40L the fuel tank is relatively small for the segment, although buyers don’t have to fork out for premium fuel.

Pricing ranges between $30,490 before on-road costs to $36,490 before on-roads for a range-topping XL, which offers extra practicality in the form of two extra doors and a bigger boot.

Suzuki Jimny
Fuel economy (claimed) 6.4L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 40L
Fuel type 91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Suzuki Jimny
MORE: Everything Suzuki Jimny

Renault Captur

The Renault Captur was a relatively slow seller in 2023, with 939 delivered.

The French offering is dearer than most of its rivals, topping out above $40,000 before on-road costs, while the base car is $33,000 before on-roads.

For the money you get a 422L boot, which ranks the Captur equal first for cargo room.

Renault Captur
Fuel economy (claimed) 6.6L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 48L
Fuel type 95 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Renault Captur
MORE: Everything Renault Captur

Hyundai Venue

The Hyundai Venue rounds out this list with a claimed fuel economy of 7.2L/100km.

It has the cheapest starting price of any SUV on the market – $22,500 before on-road costs – but its 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is relatively inefficient, resulting in more fill-ups.

That didn’t faze the 6152 customers who purchased a Venue in 2023.

All Venues are front-wheel drive, and can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission.

Hyundai Venue
Fuel economy (claimed) 7.2L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 45L
Fuel type 91 RON

BUY: Get in touch with a dealer about a Hyundai Venue
MORE: Everything Hyundai Venue

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