With rising gas prices, getting a car with an economical mile per gallon (mpg) rating is prudent. Jumping into an electric vehicle is a sure-fire way to reduce power costs. Although EVs are wonderful bits of engineering, buying one might be premature. But what if you want to save more at the pump? Below, we review the 20 most fuel-efficient cars that save fuel costs.
20. Chevrolet Silverado 1500: City MPG 23 | Highway MPG 33 | Combined MPG 24
Rarely do you see a fuel-efficient truck; the Silverado is one of them. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offers a range of engines with different MPGs. The most economical is the four-cylinder option. The V-8 powertrains pack a punch but dent your pocket. The four-cylinder engine, which is the diesel option, delivers 23 MPG in the city and 33 on the highway. The V-8 Silverado 1500 is the thriftiest and can manage 19 MPG, which isn’t as economical.
19. Mazda CX-30: City MPG 24 | Highway MPG 31 | Combined MPG 26
The Mazda CX-30 has a well-crafted interior that resembles the stylish exterior with the big grille. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the CX-30 making 186 horsepower. The CX-30 is almost a luxury car, especially if you buy the Select or Turbo trim. You get heated seats, blind spot monitoring, leather-wrapped steering, and other niceties like a 12-speaker audio system.
18. Nissan Maxima: City MPG 20 | Highway MPG 30 | Combined MPG 26
Nissan packaged the attractive Maxima into a new chassis with pressed metal sheets. It is only available in 300 hp V-6 engine. Before we shock you with the MPG, the Maxima does 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. The EPA estimates the Maxima to have 20 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.
17. Chevrolet Equinox: City MPG: 26 | Highway MPG 30 | Combined MPG 28
The subcompact crossovers leave much to desire other than fuel efficiency. It is not the best in its class but ranks high among the Chevy ranks competing with the Traverse. A 170-hp turbocharged engine powers the Chevy Equinox and delivers power to the front wheels. AWD is optional. Fuel consumption is relatively moderate for the equinox. 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway are decent figures. Wrap up the fuel economy with a spacious cabin and responsive 8-inch infotainment system, and you have a good crossover for about $27,695.
16. Mazda Miata: City MPG 26 | Highway MPG 35 | Combined MPG 30
The Mazda Miata is one of the few affordable two-seater roadsters on the market. Its 2.0-liter engine is high revving, no doubt, but it still registers impressive fuel economy numbers, the more reason to buy one. The EPA estimates 26 MPG in the city and 35 on the highway. The Miata, available in five trims, has an upscale cabin that outcompetes the Subaru BRZ and other competitors in the class. Mazda also equips the Miata with Brembo brakes and Recaro seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and accessible via the infotainment system. There's also a rotary knob if you want more hands-on experience.
15. Toyota Corolla Cross: City MPG 31 | Highway MPG 33| Combined MPG 31
From the Corolla family, the Toyota Corolla Cross is an SUV with sedan driving and a higher stance like an SUV. The Cross has an unrefined 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 169 horsepower delivered to either the front or all wheels. The Corolla Cross has lethargic acceleration as it moseys up on the highway. A base Corolla Cross takes 9.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from zero. However, the MPG is reasonable for an SUV. The EPA estimates the Toyota Corolla Cross hits 31 MPG in the city and 33 on the highway. Additional merits of the Cross include standardized driver and safety features such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The interior has ample room, and the Corolla Cross retains its predecessors' 7.0-inch and 8.0-inch infotainment systems.
14. KIA Soul: City MPG 28 | Highway MPG 35 | Combined MPG 31
The box-on-wheels car averages 35 MPG on the highway and 28 MPG for city driving. Its quirky shape is a standout, but it has peppy acceleration for its class, which relies on the 147 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. If you want an upscale cabin, choose the higher trims with a 10.3-inch touchscreen and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
13. Hyundai Kona: City MPG 30 | Highway MPG 35 | Combined MPG 32
Hyundai has refreshed the interior, exterior, and powertrain of the Kona. A 147 hp engine drives the Kona and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The other option is a dual-clutch transmission teamed with 195 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Impressive fuel economy numbers stand at 30 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. The Kona can pack 14 carry-on suitcases and has ample head and leg room for the rear passengers. A standard 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with the base model that you can upgrade to 10.3 inches on the higher trims.
12. Toyota Yaris: City MPG 30 | Highway MPG 39 | Combined MPG 33
The Yaris stands out in traffic because of its dynamic body and organic lines. It also stands out in terms of fuel economy by offering 30 MPG in the city and 39 on the highway. The Yaris is powered by a 105 hp four-cylinder dual VVT-I engine that enhances efficiency. With strut suspension and light curb weight, the Yaris has peppy acceleration if you hit the right RPMs.
11. Chevrolet Spark: City MPG 30 | Highway MPG 38 | Combined MPG 33
The subcompact hatchback segment is full of affordable cars. However, the Chevy Spark occupies the bottom rung costing about $15,595 for the base trim. Surprisingly for such a basement price tag, you get a car delivering 30 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. An entry-level Spark has a seven-inch infotainment system with a Wi-Fi connection. Cargo space is a bit of a hassle for the nimble car, and you can only fit three carry-on suitcases in the back. The interior is not spiffy, although there are hard plastics. Somehow, the Spark manages to wow drivers with its nimbleness and attractive price.
10. Volkswagen Jetta: City MPG 31 | Highway MPG 41 | Combined MPG 35
Don't be confused by Jetta's classification as a subcompact. In actuality, it is a small car but a very spacious interior with a large trunk. The Jetta has a 158-horsepower engine that won’t knock your socks off. But as all car owners know, low horsepower usually means the car is frugal on fuel consumption. The Volkswagen Jetta with a combined MPG of 35 means you will be spending only a chuck of change to fuel it. The Volkswagen Jetta has generous passenger space and a responsive infotainment system. The only drawback to the base model of the Jetta is the lack of heated seats and ambient lighting, which are reserved for the higher trims.
9. Nissan Versa: City MPG 32 | Highway MPG 40 | Combined MPG 35
Every Versa is equipped with the best safety tech for cars in the subcompact segment. Driving the Versa is comfortable, but no one will mistake it for quick. The Nissan Versa is fuel efficient with EPA ratings of 40 on the highway where it shines. A 122 horsepower four-cylinder engine powers the base model of the Versa and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The CVT option is available on the two premium trims. You can get the top SR trim at an asking price of $20,085. The SR trim is feature-laden with adaptive climate control, heated front seats, and leather-wrapped steering. Even the Versa SR has lesser storage space than the KIA Rio and the Hyundai Accent. Adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring are optional on the base model but available on the SR trim.
8. Toyota Corolla Hatchback: City MPG 32| Highway MPG 41 | Combined MPG 35
The Toyota Corolla hatchback is one of the most fuel-efficient hatchbacks with a sporty vibe. The Corolla uses a 168-horsepower Dynamic Force engine to power the hatchback. For better fuel economy, you will prefer the CVT. Front and rear suspensions enable the hatchback to exude a comfortable ride. However, for the best ride and a comfortable interior, you will want to buy the XSE with leather-trimmed and heated seats. A standard 8.0-inch touchscreen is also part of the package.
7. KIA Rio: City MPG 33 | Highway MPG 41 | Combined MPG 36
The KIA Rio offers an inexpensive yet sophisticated car. The base price is $17,545 and tops out at $18,485. The Rio derives power from an inline-four engine making 120 horsepower teamed with a CVT. What we love about the Rio is split folding seats and cruise control, forward collision warning, Sirius XM Satellite radio, and well-tuned suspension. The interior is decent enough with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and well-placed center console. Sadly, passengers in the rear seat don't have much legroom, while passengers in the front seat enjoy more than enough headroom and legroom.
6. Honda Civic: City MPG 33 | Highway MPG 42 | Combined MPG 36
For the 2022 model, the Honda Civic gets a glow-up that sees it develop an athletic body and precise handling for the sedan or hatchback. The Honda Civic is the Hyundai Elantra's corporate cousin, costing only an additional $500. For the engine choices, you have a selection of four-cylinder engines. The base Honda Civic has a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine. Like other Hondas, its CVT is standard, which sees it obtain an estimated 42 MPG on the highway. The interior is decent to match its impressive MPG. Honda has updated the list of standard features to include adaptive cruise control and wireless phone connectivity.
5. Hyundai Accent: City MPG 33 | Highway MPG 41 | Combined MPG 36
If you are looking for a car under $20K for cruising in town without incurring significant fuel costs, look no further than the Hyundai Accent. The Hyundai Accent is not a head turner in traffic but cruises well while sipping little fuel. The base price for the sedan is $17,740. You can get the base 120 hp four-cylinder engine for that price tag. There isn’t much going on in the cabin. However, we love the honest and uncomplicated design Hyundai adopted for the Accent. To get the best out of the Accent, we recommend the SEL trim that balances luxury, performance, and pricing.
4. Hyundai Elantra: City MPG 33| Highway MPG 43|Combined MPG 37
The Hyundai Elantra, with a base price of $21,145, has unique styling that stands out in traffic. A 147-horsepower engine powers the Elantra. Its four-cylinder engine is teamed with a continuous variable transmission. Owners of the Elantra prefer the 201-hp turbocharged version to increase acceleration. Partly due to the entry-level engine, you get better fuel economy compared to other heavy hitters like the Civic.
The EPA estimates the Elantra averages 33 MPG in the city and 43 MPG on the highway. Besides fuel economy, you get standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi connectivity to complement the 8.0-inch digital panel or the optional 10.3-inch panel on higher trims. Hyundai also offers three years of complimentary maintenance.
3. Mitsubishi Mirage: City MPG 36 | Highway MPG 43 | Combined MPG 39
Mitsubishi Mirage’s unique proposition is an excellent gas mileage. Sadly, for gas mileage, you have to sacrifice performance. An underpowered 78 hp three-cylinder engine drives the Mirage much like its counterpart, the Mirage G4. The base model has a five-speed manual, so you will have to spend about $18,075 on higher trims for the CVT. The EPA estimates that the Mirage has a combined MPG of 39. Climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard. The Mirage is a car ideal for city driving. You will need heavy throttles on the highway to overtake, resulting in a noisy cabin.
2. Honda Insight: City MPG 51 | Highway MPG 45 | Combined MPG 48
The Honda Insight is the natural successor to the Civic. If you are looking for a gas-powered electric car with a comfortable ride and a 52 or 48 MPG, then the Honda Insight is for you. The Civic clocks in city MPG at 51, highway MPG at 45, and combined MPG at 48. However, most tests clock in at 43 MPG. The engine options are a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 129 hp, 197 lb-ft; DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.5-liter inline-4, 107 hp, 99 lb-ft; combined output, 151 hp; 1.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
1. Hyundai Ioniq: City MPG 58 | Highway MPG 60 | Combined MPG 59
The five-seater Hyundai Ioniq is an ideal fuel-efficient hybrid with gas-powered driving. Not to be confused with the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Hyundai Ioniq derives power from its hybrid system consisting of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, 32-kW electric motor, and 1.6-kWh battery. Power is channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Ioniq Blue trim fuel economy averages 58 MPG in the city and 60 MPG on the highway, which achieves a combined efficiency of 59. Despite being a solid Toyota Prius alternative, the Hyundai Ioniq has lesser storage space. Its cargo space tops out at 26.5 cubic feet. The Ioniq has a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen that you can upgrade to a 10.3-inch display.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith