Liz S., San Jose, Calif.

That prize goes to the Kia Sorento EX, which seats seven and comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that has fuel-saving gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology. The EX comes with a standard six-speed automatic transmission and EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. It is the only seven-passenger SUV with a highway rating above 30 mpg. It is also considerably smaller than most three-row crossovers in the market, including the ones we tested in a recent Shootout.


The GDI engine, which is new for 2012, is optional on the less-expensive Sorento LX, which has five seats as standard and two more available in an option package. The standard engine on the LX model is a 2.4-liter without GDI technology that has less horsepower (175 instead of 191) and is EPA-rated at 21/29 mpg city/highway.

A Ford Explorer with the 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine comes close with EPA ratings of 20/28 mpg. In all cases, these are for front-wheel drive models. All-wheel-drive versions will have lower estimates. Also, these estimates may be optimistic, so depending on where and how you drive, your actual mileage could be lower.

The Vehicle Recommender can help with your vehicle search because it lets you sort through dozens of vehicles to find the ones that have the seating capacity, fuel economy ratings and other attributes that are important to you.

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Answered by Rick Popely on March 29, 2012 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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