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Rising oil prices and a weak rand may lift the petrol price to more than R20 a litre by year-end, warns the AA.

This grim scenario comes after the hiking of petrol and diesel prices to record highs in recent months. It may prompt cash-strapped consumers to consider more economical cars at replacement time.

An economical hatchback is the obvious way to scale down and save on fuel costs, but small-engined compact cars don’t serve everyone’s needs. Yet those seeking a larger family SUV with reasonable power need not have their fuel budgets completely bullied.

SUVs and crossovers are where much of the sales action is due to their all-round practicality. We have assembled a list of the most fuel-efficient compact-to-midsize examples in SA. They are all at least 4.2m long to offer good space. They also have decent power, that all-important pavement-clambering ride height and miserly fuel thirst rated at less than 6.0l / 100km on a combined urban-freeway cycle.

Many of SA’s most fuel-efficient cars are premium petrol-electric hybrids that cost well north of R1.5m, but they defeat the money-saving object of this exercise so we have listed only vehicles that retail for less than R700,000.

There are 14 vehicles that meet all these parameters: eight diesels, four petrols and two petrol-electric hybrids.

With that, and the proviso that the fuel consumption figures are manufacturer claims and might not be achievable in real-world driving, here is a list of SA’s most fuel-efficient, reasonably priced family SUVs:


Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente

Price: R314,900

Power plant: 1.5 diesel turbo

Power and torque: 74kW/205Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.6l / 100km


Renault Duster 1.5dCi Techroad auto

Price: R327,900

Power plant: 1.5l diesel turbo

Power and torque: 66kW/210Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.8l / 100km


Ford EcoSport 1.0T Trend

Price: R349,600

Power plant: 1.0l petrol turbo

Power and torque: 92kW/170Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.4l / 100km


VW T-Cross 1.0TSI 70kW Comfortline

Price: R357,900

Power plant: 1.0l petrol turbo

Power and torque: 70kW/175Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.8l / 100km


VW T-Cross 85kW Comfortline

Price: R399,300

Power plant: 1.0l petrol turbo

Power and torque: 85kW/200Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.3l / 100km


Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid XS

Price: R413,000

Power plant: 1.8l petrol-electric

Power and torque: 90kW/142Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.3l / 100km


Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi EX

Price: R469,995

Power plant: 1.5l turbo diesel

Power and torque: 96kW/250Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.7l / 100km


VW T-Cross 110kW R-Line

Price: R472,300

Power plant: 1.5l petrol turbo

Power and torque: 110kW/250Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.5l / 100km


Hyundai Creta 1.5D Executive

Price: R482,500

Power plant: 1.5l turbo diesel

Power and torque: 84kW/250Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.9l / 100km


Nissan Qashqai 1.5dCi Acenta Plus

Price: R519,900

Power plant: 1.5l diesel turbo

Power and torque: 81kW/260Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.2l / 100km


Toyota Rav4 hybrid 2.5 hybrid GX

Price: R555,300

Power plant: 1.5l petrol-electric

Power and torque: 160kW/221Nm

Fuel consumption: 4.7l / 100km


Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi 4x4 Tekna

Price: R603,900

Power plant: 1.6l turbo diesel

Power and torque: 96kW/320Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.3l / 100km


BMW X1 sDrive 18d

Price: R679,582

Power plant: 2.0l turbo diesel

Power and torque: 110kW/330Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.1l / 100km


Mazda CX-5 2.2DE AWD Akera

Price: R699,900

Power plant: 2.2l turbo diesel

Power and torque: 140kW/450Nm

Fuel consumption: 5.7l / 100km


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