What is a great fuel efficient SUV, older years?
Fuel efficiency and SUV don’t go together at all, but if there was one I had a full size Bronco with the fuel injected inline six cylinder engine and four speed transmission, it was a bare bones rig but it did get 21MPG if you didn’t go over 55MPH and I was running 31X1050X16 tires. All of my other SUV’s have all been in the low to mid teens on fuel mileage. The worst was a Bronco 2 with a 2.9 it never got better than 13MPG and was just badly underpowered, even with free flow exhaust and a fresh air ram system I made and put on the intake. Just some of my experience so far.
A fuel-efficient SUV. There really aren't any. If you're looking for an SUV that gets the best mileage of all of them, check the ones that have the smallest engines. You might even consider one with a turbocharger and never use it. I don't envy you your search.