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Best Mileage Crossovers: Top 11 Fuel-Efficient New Crossover SUVS

7. BMW X3 xDrive28d: Oil’s Well

Base price: $43,050
EPA fuel-economy rating: 27/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined

Diesel ain’t dead, despite the emissions-cheating scandal engulfing Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche brands, by far the principal purveyors of the fuel in the U.S. It remains a viable propellant, and the diesel version of BMW’s fine compact crossover is ample evidence. From its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder comes a stout 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s more significant than its 181 horsepower: torque is the muscle behind acceleration and, especially, throttle response. Slight lag off the line keeps its 0-60-mph run to a middling 7.8 seconds, but once underway, the xDrive28d answers your right foot as alertly as the 6-cylinder xDrive35i with its 300 horsepower, 300 pound-feet of torque – and $4,250-higher base price.

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Fuel-economy ratings are no contest, the 28d trouncing the xDrive35i’s 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined and even the 240-horsepower gas 4-cylider xDrive28i’s 21/28/24. And it exhibits the impressive balance of ride control and taut handling that marks every X3. The automaker’s xDrive all-wheel drive is standard and aids traction on surfaces dry and slippery. Its default 60-percent-rear torque bias contributes to the sporty driving feel. All X3’s also come with BMW’s driver-selectable Eco Pro mode. It maximizes fuel efficiency by disengaging the powertrain between 30 mph and 100 mph when your foot is off the accelerator. Going full-premium-crossover requires lots of options – leather upholstery is a $1,450 extra, for example. But diesel drivers know the fuel isn’t difficult to find and that range – some 550 miles between fill ups in an xDrive28d – is a secret pleasure.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]