We did a prior article on the heaviest SUVs so we thought it would be fun to look at the other end of the spectrum and see which models are lightest. So instead of 6,000 pounds or respect, we’re talking more than half that. But that’s okay because while size may matter, weight also matters as it makes vehicles less fuel efficient, often more expensive to repair and maintain, and not accommodating for tight urban environs.
Your average SUV may weigh close to 3,500 but some models are much lighter. If you suspect these lightest models would be subcompact crossovers, you’d be correct. All-wheel drive typically adds a couple hundred pounds of weight but can add more if different body cladding or off-road features are used.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 lightest 2017 SUV models. All figures stated are based off manufacturer curb weights for front-wheel drive models.
Top 5 Lightest 2017 SUVs
5. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. With it’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Outlander Sport makes the list and comes in at 3,032 pounds.
4. Fiat 500X. The base 500X is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine. With its small roots from the 500, the 500X just gets in under 3,000 pounds. The Jeep Renegade is based on the same platform as the 500X but has a higher starting curb weight of 3,044 pounds. In top trim with all-wheel drive, the Trail Rated® Renegade balloons up to 3,573 pounds.
3. Nissan Juke. The Juke’s lightweight presence is impressive considering it has a zippy 188 horsepower four-cylinder engine. But it does displace only 1.6-liters and its curvy shape is low on cargo room.
2. Honda HR-V. The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine outputting 141 horsepower. It may not be quick, but the HR-V is efficient and light on its feet.
1. Ford EcoSport. This subcompact crossover model is new to the U.S. but not new globally. Built in India, the model is powered by a diminutive 1.0-liter three cylinder turbo-charged engine. This smaller engine displacements helps decrease weight making the much anticipated EcoSport the lightest SUV in the U.S.
Other Light SUV Models
One model that didn’t make the list was the Subaru Crosstrek at 3,109 pounds. However, the Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD) making it the lightest SUV with AWD. This is impressive considering the model has a 2.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive configurations typically add a couple hundred pounds of weight.
Among luxury subcompact models, which tend to offer more features and sound absorption than their lower cost counterparts, the Buick Encore came out on top for lightest model with a curb weight of 3,237 pounds. The Mini Countryman was close behind at 3,300 pounds.
While weight may not be a primary factor in a vehicle buying decision, fuel economy can be, making light SUVs a solid option as a daily driver. Just be sure to check our worst SUV list first.
The good news is that even if you’re aren’t into the subcompact class, SUV models are getting lighter overall. While there are new interior and safety features that may add weight, lighter construction methods are being championed and utilized to make vehicles more efficient in all size categories.