Last year we wrote a story about trucks requiring premium fuel, and one of our commenters called requiring premium fuel “taboo” on most automobiles unless they were exotics. We don’t think he’s wrong. Obviously, trucks aren’t really “exotic,” and unless you’re looking at the Lamborghini Urus, most SUVs aren’t either.
So, we dug into fuel requirements for SUVs on FuelEconomy.gov and found a few surprises.
While the vast majority of SUVs on the roads today require regular unleaded fuel, as we looked at the list of SUVs requiring premium fuel (below), we encountered a few vehicles we were surprised to find on the list – and some we were surprised to find not on the list.
While we 100% expected to see automakers like Porsche, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz on the “required” list, the automaker that surprised us the most: Lexus.
There isn’t a single Toyota vehicle on the premium required list, yet every AWD version of the Lexus SUVs makes the list.
A Lexus spokesperson said the premium requirement provides a premium ride and premium performance.
And that’s true, if you use premium fuel when it’s recommended, not required.
However, according to a Cars.com article, if you use regular fuel when premium is required, you could actually void your warranty because regular gas could damage engine parts due to premature ignition of the fuel.
Automakers we were surprised to find missing from the “required” list: BMW, Audi, Bentley, Alfa Romeo and – get this — Lamborghini.
|Model Year||Make||Model||Fuel usage|
|2022||Cadillac||XT4 FWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Cadillac||XT5 FWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Cadillac||XT6 FWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Cadillac||XT4 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Cadillac||XT5 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Cadillac||XT6 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Infiniti||QX55 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Lexus||NX 350 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Lexus||NX 350 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Lexus||GX 460||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Lexus||RX 450h AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Lexus||RX 450h L AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Maserati||LEVANTE GT||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Maserati||LEVANTE MODENA||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Maserati||LEVANTE MODENA V8||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Maserati||LEVANTE TROFEO||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||AMG GLB 35 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||AMG GLA 35 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLC 300||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLA 250 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLB 250 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLC 300 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLC 300 4MATIC (Coupe)||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLE 350||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLE 350 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ (coupe)||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLE 450 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Mercedes-Benz||GLS 450 4MATIC||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Macan||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Macan GTS||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Macan S||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne / Cayenne Coupé||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne GTS||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne GTS Coupe||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne S||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne S Coupé||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne Turbo||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne Turbo Coupé||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Porsche||Cayenne Turbo GT Coupe||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||V90CC B6 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC60 B5||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC40 T5 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC60 B5 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC60 B6 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC90 T5||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC90 T5 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
|2022||Volvo||XC90 T6 AWD||Premiul fuel required|
Now the five luxury automakers we just mentioned do make the recommended list, along with Jaguar, Land Rover, Acura, Genesis, Infiniti and Rolls-Royce. And that all makes sense.
What we found a bit weird is the piecemeal of random vehicles, but not whole lineups, that make the recommended list – and they’re usually of the full-size non-luxury SUV variety. So, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevy Suburban, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Nissan Armada all recommend premium fuel.
Along those lines, here’s another oddity on the list, while most Cadillac SUVs require premium fuel, the Escalade only recommends it, likely to fall in line with its other full-size General Motors brethren.
So, what benefit do you get when using premium fuel when it’s only recommended? Better fuel economy, for sure. In some cases, you might get more performance as well.
When people talk about fuel, they usually on talk about regular and premium. But for 2022, there are four vehicles that recommend midgrade fuel, and they’re all from Jeep: Wagoneer 4X2, Wagoneer 4X4, Grand Cherokee 4X4 and Grand Cherokee L 4X4.
While regular fuel is 87 octane, and premium fuel is 91 octane or higher, midgrade is 89. So, you could use premium or regular in these vehicles, but midgrade is that “just right” fuel for some reason.
As previously noted, Grand Wagoneer is on the recommended list.
You won’t find Mazda on the recommended or required list because it does something a little different with several of its vehicles.
Mazda will give you the power rating for premium and regular fuel, and then leaves it up to the owner to decide what they want to do.
Take, for example the Mazda CX-30 with the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. If you use regular fuel, it will deliver 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. But if you use premium, the numbers go up to 250 and 320, respectively.
But here’s the really interesting (and odd) thing: Both fuels provide the same basic power output up to 4,000 RPM. So, unless you’re a super aggressive driver, you can get away with the 87 octane and still have a really good driving experience.
Because most of the SUVs that require premium are on the luxury side of the spectrum, the requirement probably won’t be a dealbreaker, like it would on a pickup truck.
But, it could make a difference if you were choosing between a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz, or even if you were looking at a top-trim Toyota SUV versus a Lexus SUV. Then, premium fuel might just be the tipping point.
Regardless of what SUV you do buy, it’s important to know if a fuel is required or just recommended, so you don’t gunk up your engine and potentially void your warranty by using the wrong fuel.