Ford is providing one solution to this problem with their Edge Crossover SUV. The vehicle is now capable of 21 miles per gallon city and 30 highway.
Is it a hybrid? No, it simply has a new engine system called EcoBoost.
The engine is small for a 2-liter, four cylinder SUV. But thanks to turbocharging and other enhancements, it makes big numbers on the horsepower chart -- 240.
A smaller turbo engine to replace bigger ones is the wave of the future. Most every car company has either introduced something similar or is working on one.
In fact, if you didn't know how many cylinders the engine had, you might never know from driving it.
For Ford, the Edge is just the latest vehicle to get the EcoBoost treatment. And before long, their lineup will have EcoBoost engines in vehicles ranging from small sedans to large trucks.
EcoBoost in the Edge is optional at just under $1,000. The standard 3.5 liter V6 is rated at 19 city and 27 highway. The EcoBoost's numbers are just over 10 percent better, and it produces more torque than the six.
In typical Southern California driving, you'd save about $300 a year in gas at current prices, so the breakeven point would be between three and four years.
And the old saying "your mileage may vary" really applies to this vehicle. Start using the EcoBoost engine hard, and it gets much more thirsty. But drive smoothly, and its smaller displacement can really pay off.
The future will include medium and large size vehicles with plenty of room inside. They'll just increasingly have smaller, more efficient engines under their hoods.