Best Used 4 cylinder SUVs
It wasn't too long ago when 4-cylinder SUVs weren't even seriously considered. A 4-cylinder engine was deemed too weak for an SUV and, of course, the gasoline wasn't that expensive. Things have changed. Gas prices keep rising, forcing us to look for more fuel-efficient cars and SUVs. Environmental concerns are pushing us towards more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Today's 4-cylinder engines are far more fuel-efficient, powerful and durable, thanks to new technologies. A modern SUV with a 4-cylinder engine produces a lot less greenhouse gases than a V6- or V8-powered SUV. Many of the newer 4-cylinder engines now use a timing chain instead of a belt, which means they need less maintenance. A 4-cylinder engine is also easier to maintain and work on.
Here we have selected few non-hybrid 4-cylinder SUVs, that deserve top consideration if you are in the market for a used SUV with decent gas mileage.
The fuel economy ratings we used are from the Fueleconomy.gov website. The mpg numbers are the US mpg, not imperial.
The CR-V is a small, versatile car-based SUV available as a FWD or 4WD, with a manual or automatic transmission. Honda CR-V offers a good 4-cylinder engine and a very practical interior with many well-thought amenities, including even a foldable picnic table in 1996-2006 models. The CR-V is fairly reliable and easy to maintain.
Honda Element (2003 and up)
The boxy Element is based on the Honda CR-V platform.
The Element is a 4-seater, available with FWD or 4WD and a manual or automatic transmission. Honda Element has a cargo-oriented interior with flip-up removable rear seats, wide-opening side doors without central pillar, and a plastic washable floor. It drives like a car, but road and drivetrain noises are pronounced.
Subaru Forester (non-turbo, 2003 and newer)
Toyota Highlander (4-cylinder, 2001 and up)
Subaru Outback 2005-2009
Although it's rather a tall wagon with added road clearance than an SUV, Subaru Outback deserves consideration. The Outback offers a well equipped upscale interior, good crash test scores and car-like handling with tight turning radius. More importantly it's reliable.
Read review: 2005-2009 Subaru Outback »