“Fill it up?” If you drive a truck or SUV, you’ll hear those words a lot, but there have been some improvements in recent years. For example, there are several SUVs (mostly hybrids) that get better than 30 miles per gallon. You don’t have to become a complete slave to gasoline when you need a big vehicle for family or work needs.
However, the SUVs and trucks getting the worst economy definitely put a drain on your time and wallet. There are dozens of models that do not average 15 MPG combined. Compared to the average new vehicle that gets 25 MPG, you’ll spend an extra $5,250 or more in gas over five years in one of these cars. Annually, your gas bill will average $2,400.
If you want to keep maintenance and operating costs down, consider fuel economy when making a decision on a new or used truck. Here are the 10 SUVs and other trucks that get the worst economy ratings of any models on sale in the U.S.
10. Toyota Sienna
Now that we’ve seen the SUV boom, where do we place minivans? Whatever we call them, the EPA puts them in the truck class, and the Toyota Sienna all-wheel drive model ranks below the entire segment with 19 MPG combined and 16 MPG city. For all the talk about range anxiety in electric vehicles, Sienna only travels 380 miles on a full tank of gas. We’re betting a Tesla gets there soon.
9. GMC Terrain
In the small SUV class, GMC Terrain gets the worst gas mileage, peaking at 16 in the city and 18 MPG combined in all-wheel-drive trim. That means Terrain owners will make very frequent stops at gas stations. With a fuel tank capacity of 18.8 gallons, it can only travel 338 miles, and that’s assuming 45% highway travel. If you buy one, we suggest paying for gas with a credit card offering generous rewards.
8. Chevrolet Equinox
Chevy Equinox features the same powertrains as GMC Terrain with a bit more headroom and legroom. In terms of fuel economy, Equinox is just as much an underachiever with 16 MPG city and 18 MPG combined. As a result, limitations in driving range (338 miles) come standard with the high gas costs. You’ll pay about $1,850 a year to keep an Equinox running, so factor that in with the base price of $23,100.
7. Infiniti QX70
The small SUV class is crowded with inefficient vehicles these days. As far as premium models go, Infiniti QX70 with all-wheel drive is the bottom of the barrel with 16 MPG city, 22 MPG highway, and 18 combined. This model starts near $50,000, so once you add in the $2,250 in fuel costs every year you have yourself something of a money pit.
6. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
There is a fairly strong case against the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. On top of its high risk of tipping over and other poor safety scores, it ranks among the worst in fuel economy among off-road vehicles. At 21 MPG highway, you can see why it is less than ideal for a road trip, and that’s before all the rattling. In the city, it peaks at 16 MPG and runs drivers about $1,850 a year in gas.
5. Nissan Frontier
There are diesel-powered small pickups by GM that can get as much as 25 MPG, but Nissan Frontier doesn’t come close to that mark. Capable of just 15 city and 21 highway (17 MPG combined), Frontier is the definition of a gas guzzler. Even with a 21.1 gallon tank, it covers just 359 miles, and that’s only if you split your time equally between highway and city driving.
4. Ram 1500
Whereas Ram 1500 diesel trucks deliver the best economy among full-size pickups, the 5.7-liter gas model with all-wheel drive is at the other end of the spectrum with 15 MPG combined. In practical terms, that means you pay about $2,500 in fuel costs a year and have 390 miles of range with the 26-gallon tank. On the bright side, you can rack up serious rewards on your gas card driving one.
3. Toyota Tundra
Though tied with Ram 1500 for overall worst economy, Toyota Tundra actually underperforms it in on the highway. Drivers only get about 17 MPG highway at best in four-wheel drive models, so budget accordingly. Tundras featuring the most power run you about $2,250 annually in fuel, assuming you drive about half the time on freeways.
2. Toyota Sequoia
While you will see worse fuel economy in luxury tank-style SUVs, Toyota Sequoia is the worst in the everyman department. In fact, starting at $46,450 and delivering 13 MPG in city driving, this car is as pricey an non-luxury gets. It can only manage 17 MPG in highway driving, limiting its range to about 370 miles on a full tank. You’ll spend close to $2,500 a year fueling a Sequoia.
1. Mercedes AMG G65
No truck of any size or class compares with the wastefulness of a Mercedes-Benz AMG G65. Capable of just 12 miles per gallon combined, owners limit themselves to about 305 miles of range and pay $3,400 in fuel costs to keep this baby running. Of course, with a starting price of $220,400, money is not a concern for G65 owners. Put another way: It’s more economical than the helicopter you might take instead.
Follow Eric on Twitter @EricSchaalNY.
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