A little bigger but just as green: midsize crossovers ranked

Previously, we covered four adventure-ready small crossovers. This week, for those of you who travel with more gear or more people and pets than a small SUV can accomodate, we score eight of the best-selling midsized crossovers. This includes the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sorento, Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe.

We consider each crossover in its all-wheel drive (AWD) version. If you are curious about the impact of front-wheel versus all-wheel drive on the eRating, see the article in the Thinking Green section covering just that.

2012 Chevy Equinox

The Chevy Equinox comes in first place with an eRating of 117, a feat achieved through the use of a 2.4 liter direct-injected Ecotec engine mated to a six-speed transmission. The Equinox is also equipped with a fuel-saving Eco mode, which when selected alters the transmission’s shift pattern for maximum efficiency. The Equinox also benefits from a redesigned, more aerodynamic windshield, an active noise cancellation system to reduce interior noise as well as family friendly safety and storage features.

The all-new for 2012 Honda CR-V comes in second with an eRating of 110. A new powertrain, equipped with the driver-selectable ECON mode found in other Honda vehicles previously scored, helps increase combined fuel economy by 2 mpg over last year’s model. The CR-V also comes with a variety of standard features usually reserved for up-market vehicles including a hands-free Bluetooth phone interface, multi-angle back-up camera and an audio system capable of reading text messages to the driver.

2012 Honda CR-V

In third place, the popular Subaru Forester earns an eRating of 106. The Forester offers both naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of Subaru’s signature 2.5 liter horizontally opposed Boxer engine.  Amenities new for 2012 include standard height-adjustable front passenger seats and an optional navigation system.

Also noteworthy is Subaru’s approach to offering all wheel drive (AWD): it comes standard. As selecting AWD can easily add a few thousand dollars to a vehicle’s price tag, Subaru’s generosity should not be overlooked. Subaru also provides a cleaner burning partial zero emissions vehicle (PZEV) powertrain in select markets. The PZEV designation boosts the Forester’s eRating to 140, beating out the first place Equinox.

The Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Ford Escape hold strong in the middle of the pack and all earn nearly the same eRating. The RAV4, and Rogue tie for a close fourth place, earning eRatings of 105 while the Escape  score just slightly lower with eRatings of 104.

Both the Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape offer greener powertrain options. The Rogue is available as a PZEV and, with this designation, earns an eRating of 147. The Escape is available with a hybrid powertrain, greatly increasing fuel economy and earning an eRating of 134.

Bringing up the rear, the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe earn eRatings of 101 and 100. These vehicles come equipped with Hyundai’s advanced “Theta II” four cylinder engine and the company has announced an efficiency-boosting refresh for model year 2013.

If you’re searching for a vehicle that can hold enough gear for your next camping trip but don’t want to scrimp on environmental performance, this year’s selection of midsize crossovers offers some excellent options. Through the use of powerful, fuel-sipping four cylinder engines and an overall focus on efficiency, these crossovers provide roomy interiors while maintaining an eco-friendliness on par with many of their smaller siblings.

Make and Model$MSRPSpecsCity/Hwy/Comb
Chevy Equinox26,1052.4 L 182 hp 4 cyl.,
6-speed auto
20 / 29 / 23117
Honda CR-V24,5752.4 L 185 hp 4 cyl.,
5-speed auto
22 / 30 / 25110
Subaru Forester22,5702.5 L 170 hp 4 cyl.,
4-speed auto
21 / 27 / 23106
Toyota RAV425,0102.5 L 179 hp 4 cyl.,
4-speed auto
21 / 27 / 24105
Nissan Rogue24,1952.5 L 170 hp 4 cyl.,
22 / 26 / 24105
Ford Escape27,4452.5 L 171 hp 4 cyl.,
6-speed auto
20 / 27 / 23104
Kia Sorento28,4502.5 L 191 hp 4 cyl.,
6-speed auto
20 / 26 / 22*101*
Hyundai Santa Fe24,0502.4 L 175 hp 4 cyl.,
6-speed auto
20 / 25 / 22100

*Mileage and eRating reflect corrected EPA mileage estimates.


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