The Midsize SUVs With the Worst Fuel Economy Ratings in 2018

The SUV boom comes with some consequences. For one, it’s much harder to find a space in parking lots built for sedans. Meanwhile, you can’t ignore the significant drop in fuel economy. These days, only a handful of subcompact SUVs can top 25 mpg in everyday driving.

As you move on to the list of compact SUVs, the best in class offer some encouragement but still don’t compare to the economy of midsize sedans. By the time you get to midsize utility vehicles, you’ll find a large number that don’t even achieve 20 mpg — and we’re talking about EPA estimates that always rate higher than real-world driving.

Here are the eight midsize SUVs that got the worst fuel economy in EPA testing on the market in 2018.

Note: For this list, we worked with mainstream midsize SUVs (no luxury models) and left out high-performance variants (e.g., Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk) that sell in limited numbers.

8. Ford Edge

2018 Ford Edge | Ford

  • EPA estimate: 19 mpg combined

With Ford dropping its sedans to focus on SUVs, you could argue the brand needs to work on fuel economy. In the case of the 2018 Edge V6 with all-wheel drive, consumers get an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in city driving. That likely drops closer to 15 mpg in real-world driving.

Overall, that brings the 2018 Edge down to 19 mpg, which is a few ticks worse than the Taurus large sedan. For 2019, Ford will ditch the 3.5-liter V6 and bring in a new eight-speed transmission with the aim of improving economy.  We’ll see how it rates in EPA testing.

7. New Jeep Wrangler (JL)

The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler “JL” | Jeep

  • EPA estimate: 19 mpg combined

Consumers have two versions of the Jeep Wrangler on the market in 2018. First, there’s the “JK” model that has been chugging along for the past decade. Meanwhile, the redesigned “JL” model is also on the market as an ’18 Wrangler.

This new model gets better mileage than the previous Wrangler but still landed among the worst in the midsize SUV segment. With a 3.6-liter V6 and manual transmission, it gets 17 mpg in city driving and 19 mpg overall.

6. Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

  • EPA estimate: 19 mpg combined

There have been several changes to the Hyundai Santa Fe for 2019. For starters, the smaller Sport model is now simply a Santa Fe, while the larger model becomes the Santa Fe XL. (Hyundai will replace the bigger SUV for the following model year.)

As for the XL (or 2018 Santa Fe still in dealerships), consumers are looking at 17 mpg in city driving and just 22 mpg on the highway in the best conditions.

5. Dodge Journey

View of gray 2017 Dodge Journey from front three quarter angle

2018 Dodge Journey | Dodge

  • EPA estimate: 19 mpg combined

With a Dodge Journey, consumers shouldn’t expect reliability or solid fuel economy. This model with a V6 and all-wheel drive topped out at 16 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway in EPA testing.

Those ratings will come out worse when drivers don’t moderate their driving habits in the real world. Consumer Reports only got 11 mpg for the Journey model in drove during city tests.

4. Toyota 4Runner

2019 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

  • EPA estimate: 18 mpg combined

The truck-based Toyota 4Runner hasn’t got a redesign since 2010 yet still didn’t rate the worst for fuel economy among midsize SUVs. In EPA testing, it managed 17 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive.

A front-wheel-drive 4Runner will get one tick (21 mpg) better on the highway. Still, this model can at least provide value in other aspects of ownership. According to Consumer Reports, it’s been one of the most reliable vehicles of the past decade.

3. Ford Explorer

2017 Ford Explorer

2018 Ford Explorer | Ford

  • EPA estimate: 18 mpg combined

In city driving, the 2018 Ford Explorer did even worse (16 mpg) than the aged 4Runner. That low EPA estimate came in for the 2018 model equipped with a V6 and all-wheel drive.

Even the boxy Ford Flex was able to match those numbers with the same powertrain.

2. Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler “JK” | Jeep

  • EPA estimate: 18 mpg combined

Improvements in the new Wrangler only brought it one mpg better than the previous “JK” edition. (A new Wrangler with a turbo engine fared much better than both.)

This 3.6-liter V6 Wrangler with automatic transmission got an EPA rating of 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway for 2018. Manual-transmission models got one tick better (21 mpg) on the highway.

1. Jeep Grand Cherokee

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Jeep

  • EPA estimate: 17 mpg combined

In EPA testing, no midsize SUV rated worse than the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a V8 and four-wheel drive. It achieved just 14 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway.

Real-world testing for the V6 knocked this model’s city economy down to 12 mpg, so we shudder to think what an eight-cylinder model might do with gas in everyday driving. Compared to the average vehicle on the market (27 mpg), a 2018 Grand Cherokee would cost $6,250 more to fuel up over five years.

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