2016 Mazda CX-3
The EPA has released fuel-economy figures for the Mazda CX-3, and the new Mazda is able to claim best-in-class ratings for the baby-SUV segment. With front-wheel drive, the CX-3 merits a 29-mpg city rating and 35 on the highway. That beats all comers—but not by a lot.
The Honda HR-V, again with front-wheel drive, is just 1 mpg behind at 28 mpg city, and it matches the Mazda’s 35 mpg on the highway (that’s with the CVT). Next up is the front-drive Nissan Juke manual, at 28 city, 34 highway (that vehicle’s CVT cuts 2 mpg off of the highway rating). Then comes the front-drive Mini Countryman and Paceman, which net 27 mpg city and 34 highway with their available manual transmission (disappointingly, the CX-3 isn’t offered with a manual). One tick behind in the city is the Chevy Trax (FWD), at 26/34 mpg. Following at 25 city, 34 highway are stick-shift versions of the Fiat 500X and the Honda HR-V. And, well, it goes down from there.
With all-wheel drive—which after all is a major selling point of these vehicles—the Mazda CX-3 is only able to tie the HR-V at 27 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, meaning the two new entries share the AWD top spot. Behind them is the Nissan Juke, at 26 city, 31 highway. Matching that highway figure but falling 1 mpg shy in the city are the stick-shift-equipped Minis, netting 25 city, 31 highway. One further notch down in the city, at 24 mpg, but good for the same 31 mpg on the highway, we find the Chevy Trax and the Jeep Renegade, the latter with its smaller, 1.4-liter engine and manual transmission. Beyond that, none of the baby SUVs can do better than 30 mpg on the highway.
All of which goes to show that gas-sipping SUVs/crossovers remain pretty hard to find, even among the smallest of their ilk. Some drink as much or more than their size-larger competitors. We’re looking particularly at you, all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4-liter: 23 city, 26 highway? Come on now.