22 Cars with the Best Fuel Economy—and 5 with the Worst
With gas prices fluctuating more than ever and long road trips never more enticing, fuel-efficient cars are in demand. Here are the most—and least—fuel-efficient cars on the road today.
Most Fuel Efficient Hatchbacks
BMW i3 Giga
It technically ranks as the most fuel-efficient per a new Consumer Reports survey, and the way Car and Driver describes the i3’s Giga World package with its, “eucalyptus wood trim, leather-and-wool seating surfaces, and 19-inch wheels,” sounds eco-luxurious but this pricey electric BMW also comes standard with a heavy dose of range anxiety (fear that you won’t make it to your destination before your charge runs out). With a base price of $44, 450 and six-hours needed to fully charge before you start using another 153 miles of driving range, you may find yourself wishing there was a less-sexy eco-friendly vehicle in your driveway instead.
Toyota Prius Prime
The best-selling PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) year-to-date according to InsideEvs.com offers not only class-leading fuel-efficiency but also a long list of famous Toyota safety features and, surprisingly, ample cargo space for a small hatchback. However, those benefits come at a cost, specifically $27,350 for a base model Prius Prime, which while lofty compared to non-hybrid hatchbacks, is, in fact, comparable to its eco-peer group according to US News & World Report. Great gas mileage and guaranteed to last a long time? The Toyota Prius is one of the cars that will last you 250,000 miles.
Most Fuel Efficient Subcompact Cars
Mitsubishi Mirage ES
Fuel-efficiency at a low cost, would be the title of a Mitsubishi’s review but the very next line would reiterate, “but at a cost.” As Consumer Reports notes, “[the Mirage] rock-bottom sticker price (starting at under $14,000) and thrifty fuel economy of 37 mpg overall conjure an inviting image of an economical runabout. But that mirage quickly dissipates when driving this tiny, tinny car.” Most notably, this is because of a “weak, vibrating three-cylinder engine that delivers sluggish acceleration and a raspy chorus of lament, or the car’s clumsy handling.”
Per Motor Trend, you’ll appreciate the “nimble handling and forward collision avoidance tech that is standard,” and of course Toyota’s great fuel efficiency (35 mpg combined highway/city) all for a sub-$16,000 starting price. The Yaris is a terrific starter car that won’t break the bank at the dealer or at the pump—no surprise it’s one of the best car deals under $18,000.
Most Fuel Efficient Compact Cars
Chevrolet Cruze LT Diesel
To get the bonus mpg available in the LT Diesel edition of the Chevy Cruze, you must fork over roughly an additional $8,000 from the standard Cruze models. For that cost, you get marginally better fuel-efficiency that will likely only pay off if you drive for hundreds of thousands of miles. So yes, this model is the most fuel-efficient but probably not the most sensible on your pocketbook or wallet.
Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE
The Corolla is Toyota’s third-longest-serving nameplate, per Car and Driver, and as the trusted auto rag states, “consumers across much of the globe know pretty well what a Corolla is: an inexpensive and economical small car, sturdy and reliable but utterly devoid of frills and thrills.” And yet with its 2019 models, the Japanese manufacturer has aimed to spice up the life of its trusty ride. The result is a sportier Corolla hatchback that retains its stellar miles per gallon production. There’s nothing weird about a Toyota but the same cannot be said about these wacky cars.
Most Fuel Efficient Sports Cars
Mazda MX-5 Miata Club MT
According to Scott Evans, Motor Trend’s features editor, “[the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club] remains the best sports car for the money in the world, full stop. You cannot have more fun per dollar spent. They nailed it.” And he wasn’t even referring to the class-leading 34 combined mpg fuel-efficiency, which when added to the performance, look, comfort, and price (starting at $30,500), makes this Miata the greatest. Before you buy new, make sure the vehicle isn’t one of the cars depreciating the fastest!
Honda Civic Si
When comparing the Si trim to the Honda Civic Sport, Jalopnik says, “the Si may list at $3,150 more than the [Civic] Sport, but, it just pulls so much harder that the upgrade will feel worth it after one merge. And the Si doesn’t just add 47 HP and 54 lb-ft of torque. It also gets a limited-slip differential, much more supportive (and heated!) seats, a sunroof, a Sport mode button with a very tangible effect on suspension stiffness and steering weight, plus way more sporty nonsense like a shift light and throttle and brake position indicator.” Add in the fuel-efficiency of a combined 34 mpg and you have a fully satisfying Honda sports car.
Most Fuel Efficient Midsize Cars
Honda Accord Hybrid EX
With a base MSRP of just over $29,000 and a combined highway and city miles per gallon of 47, this sleek bullet of a midsize Honda offers consumers a handsome hybrid that blends in seamlessly with the traffic while keeping you away from the fuel pump more often than not. When you do need to fill up, follow these genius ideas for saving on gas.
Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
A complete redesign in 2019 has the trusted car site Auto Trader saying, “those who have previously dismissed the Camry as too conservative and boring, or who wrote off the Hybrid in particular for being dreary to drive or a poor value, it’s time to re-evaluate things. Its sharper handling, more composed ride and higher-quality interior result in a car that’s ultimately more competitive. Plus, the Camry’s traditional virtues of space, reliability, resale value and fuel economy have been maintained.” The LE trim’s 47 mpg make this popular Toyota even more attractive. A pre-owned Camry may be the best deal for you, here are cars you should—and shouldn’t—buy used.