SUVs & Gas Tank: 5 Common Questions (Range & Capacity)

Fuel tank capacity is a significant consideration when experienced car owners shop for a new vehicle. The average tank size of a sedan ranges between 45 and 65 liters, with SUVs and trucks having more significant tanks.

Although tank size matters, it would be best to consider the vehicle’s mpg to achieve premium fuel efficiency.

Read on to learn about the different gas tank sizes on the most popular SUVs and everything about them.

Do SUVs Have More Range Per Tank than Cars?

SUVs have more giant gas tanks than sedans and other small vehicles.

However, that does not guarantee that your SUV offers more range. Other factors, like payload capacity, drivetrain, and fuel-saving features, determine your car’s mpg.

SUVs have a more extensive frontal section and weigh more than standard-sized vehicles.

This results in a higher drag and rolling resistance, consuming more fuel. SUVs also have larger motors to provide enough torque for towing and off-roading, reducing mpg considerably.

Recent research shows that the average SUV burns up to 20% more fuel than a standard-sized passenger car. Here are some of the reasons an SUV has a greater fuel consumption than smaller passenger cars:

An SUV has up to 660 lb (300 kg) of additional weight because of its large size. The increased weight makes it use more fuel, especially when driving in city traffic where you accelerate and brake very often.

The drag coefficient in SUVs is also worse.

Most SUV designs lack the aerodynamics aspect despite being bulkier than passenger cars. The drag coefficient achieved by the vehicle when moving has your unit consuming more fuel, and you are most likely to notice this at high speeds.

Drivetrains in SUVs are either AWD or 4WD, unlike passenger cars with a 2WD powertrain option.

These drivetrains feature more moving parts, making them less efficient and vulnerable to frequent breakdowns.

You might also be wondering if you can install bigger gas tanks on your SUV – that can be done, however, there are easier options that we will explore below.

Do SUVs Have More Range Per Tank than Pickup Trucks?

The range per tank in pickup trucks and SUVs does not differ much.

SUVs guarantee you more coverage since they have advanced fuel-efficiency. On the other hand, pickup trucks have bigger tanks and motors to prove reliable when towing heavy loads.

While cars and SUVs give 30 to 40 mpg in city drives, trucks cannot exceed 25 mpg.

Also, SUVs tend to use a bit more gas than cars which also means that SUVs pollute a bit more than cars.

Most drivers prefer SUVs over trucks since they offer similar towing capacity without compromising passenger space. They also provide a better mpg and are more comfortable than trucks. However, truck owners brag about massive towing and hauling power.

It would help to note that vehicle weight affects the range per tank delivered.

Why Don’t SUVs have Bigger Gas Tanks?

The main reason SUVs do not have more giant tanks is because of weight.

Increasing the size of a vehicle’s tank means increasing its weight. SUV manufacturers avoid bigger gas tanks to minimize the weight hauled around, improving fuel economy significantly.

SUVs with bigger tanks would be less fuel-efficient because of the additional weight. With that in mind, there are some cars with genuinely big gas tanks.

Some SUVs have really big gas tanks that cause them to get heavier too. Read more here about how heavy SUVs are.

Do All SUV Models Have Gas Tanks On the Driver’s Side?

The gas tank in your SUV can either be on the left or right side. No legal regulation requires vehicle manufacturers to place gas tanks on a specific side of the car.

SUV models like Honda have gas tanks on the left side, while others are on the right. It would help to note that not all SUVs have gas tanks on the driver’s side.

Safety guidelines restrict manufacturers from placing the tank in the middle of a vehicle’s rear to avoid explosions in case of backside impact.

An SUV’s gas tank should be on the broadest part of the car and away from the exhaust, fuel lines, and electrical wiring.

Most manufacturers have the gas tank on the driver’s side primarily for convenience.

The gas tank is on the left for motorists in Germany and the US as they sit on the left and drive on the road’s right side.

Vehicles manufactured in regions where motorists sit on the right side and drive on the left side of the left have fuel tanks on the right.

Some brands like Nissan are an exception as their cars can have gas tanks on either side; it depends on the model.

One of the arguments for not having gas tanks on the same side in all vehicles is it will cause long gas station lines.

Gas stations have fuel pumps on both sides to allow motorists to use either side to refill. If all tanks are on one side, cars can only use one side of the pump, leading to longer lines.

What SUV Models Have the Longest Range Per Tank?

Let’s start with the smallest models.

Sub-Compact SUVs

Sub-compact SUVs are the most fuel-efficient SUV models. These units have an average fuel efficiency of 29 MPG.

Nissan Kicks

One of the most fuel-efficient crossover SUVs is the Nissan Kicks. 

This vehicle won second place in best gas mileage among units in the same class and offered a combined maximum of 33 mpg.

It has a fuel tank capacity of 42 liters and can cover up to 570 km per tank.

Nissan Kicks’ manufacturers claim the unit is 14% more fuel efficient than the average subcompact SUV.

It features a 1.6L, 4cylinder engine with the most fuel-efficient drivetrain and a continuously variable transmission.

Hyundai Kona

Another option worth considering when identifying sub-compact SUVs with the most extended range per tank is the Hyundai Kona.

The 50-liter gas tank guarantees a combined maximum of 32 mpg and is 11% more fuel-efficient than the standard subcompact SUV.

The longest range per tank guaranteed is 680 km.

Compact SUVs

Modern car buyers prefer compact SUVs because of their small-capacity engines and perfect engine balance between fuel efficiency and power.

Ford EcoSport

Ford EcoSport SUV parked

The highest range per tank in compact SUVs is 720 kilometers in the Ford EcoSport.

The latest update on the vehicle introduced a more fuel-efficient petrol engine.

You can also choose the 1.5L TDCi engine configuration, which produces 99bhp and 205Nm. Its gas tank capacity is 52 liters.

Suzuki Vitara

The Suzuki Vitara is another leading compact SUV.

It has a 48 liter gas tank and a 1.3L DDiS diesel engine that can last you 680 kilometers per tank.

Having won the 2017 ICOTY award, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara is among the few compact SUVs with exceptional fuel efficiency.

It would help to note that Vitara’s combined fuel efficiency is more significant than Ford EcoSport’s.

Mid-Size SUVs

A mid-sized SUV has an average fuel efficiency of 23 mpg.

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a 26 mpg EPA rating, making it the best option among mid-size SUVs.

Hyundai Santa Fe


The Hyundai Santa Fe is a reliable SUV with a fuel tank capacity of 72 liters and a 26 mpg rating.

Research shows it is 14% more efficient than other units in its category.

The longest range achieved per tank is around 780 km.

Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento also shows impressive fuel-efficiency records.

It has a combined maximum of 26 mpg with a 70-liter gas tank. A full tank lasts up to 740 km.

Full-Size SUVs

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Tahoe is among the safest large SUVs with a 24 combined mpg maximum.

It is 20% more fuel efficient than other units in its class, and the 90-liter gas tank will last you 926 km.

You have three engine options with the Tahoe, each with a different combined mpg.

GMC Yukon

Another full-size SUV with exceptional fuel efficiency ratings is the GMC Yukon.

It guarantees a combined maximum of 23 mpg with a 90-liter gas tank.

You can cover up to 888 km in your GMC Yukon.

The bigger the gas tank, the less frequently your car turns the fuel light on. All drivers should understand their vehicle’s fuel tank position, capacity, and state to prevent avoidable scenarios like running out of fuel.

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