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The Top 20 Fuel Economy Car Models of 2017

With the decade long instability in fuel prices, fuel economy is a top consideration when deciding which new car to buy. The cost of fuel is currently down, but it is subject to rise at any time. Automakers have made some fairly impressive progress in improving fuel economy in smaller vehicles and SUVs. We've even seen the fuel mileage rates for mid sized sedans take a plunge. This is good news to new car buyers, because when fuel economy is a consideration, it gives them a broader range of vehicles to choose from. Here are the top 20 fuel economy cars for 2017 for your perusal.

1. Toyota Prius Three

The 2017 Prius is the top rated economy car with an average of 52 miles per gallon fuel economy. This is a huge difference from the former 44 mpg of the previous generation. The test ratings for the Toyota Prius Three come in with 43 mpg city driving and 59 mpg highway for an average of 52 mpg combined. In addition to the increase in economy, the 2017 edition offers greater responsiveness with a more comfortable ride. The interior has been redesigned with a touch screen infotainment system that is user friendly, and easy to read digital gauges across the dashboard.

2. Hyundai Ioniq

The 2017 Ioniq comes in second to the Toyota Prius Three with the same 52 mpg fuel economy, but slightly higher ratings for highway of up to 60 mpg in test runs. The city rating is slightly lower at 42 with a combined test result of 52 mpg combined. It is similarly styled to the Prius in appearance with a hatchback and sleek silhouette. The 1.6 liter engine is a four cylinder combined with an electric drive. It isn't quite a smooth driving or riding as the Prius. Nor does it feature the smooth handling, although advanced safety features are available. It's a hybrid that can function on electric power to increase fuel economy when driving at lower speeds, but it falls just a bit shorter than the number one pick on comfort and performance.

3. Kia Niro

The 2017 Niro is a five passenger car that offers great cargo space and versatility. This hybrid is rated at 43 mpg overall, which brings it below the Ioniq in fuel economy. The city mpg rating is only 33 but the highway is an impressive 52. As with the Ioniq, the handling is not as smooth, nor is it as agile as the Prius. You'll get a bit of a choppy ride with this car, but it does come with power driver seat for greater back support than standard seats. It also comes with some decent safety features.

4. Toyota Prius C

The 2017 Toyota Prius C is another Prius that has made the list for the top 20 cars for fuel economy of the year. It's a smaller vehicle that is less expensive than the top rated model. It's a subcompact car that features a hybrid powertrain. The average fuel economy is good at 43 mpg with 37 mpg city and 48 for highway driving. It has its pros and cons. For one thing, it is a lot less expensive than either of the top 2 cars on the list, but the drive is going to be harsher and the comfort factor follows in the same suit. The seating is cramped and it's best used as a commuter car because long trips could become uncomfortable. You do get what you pay for, but this vehicle is fairly economical when it comes to fuel consumption.

5. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is an attractive vehicle that has been restyled with a swooping exterior. This midsized sedan averages 41 mpg overall with 33 mpg city and 49 miles per gallon for highway driving. The new Malibu is a quiet car that offers responsive handling and a comfortable ride for driver and passengers. It's an eight speed automatic with a refined 2.0 liter engine. The rear seats are spacious and this is a good car for commuting or for taking on longer road trips. The fuel economy is very good, but not quite up there with the frontrunners in our competition.

6. Toyota Prius V

Yet another Prius model has made our top 20 list. The 2017 Prius V is the wagon version that comes out as a mid-sized vehicle with plenty of leg and cargo room. The fuel economy has an overall rating of 41 miles per gallon with 33 mpg for city and 47 for highway driving. This is a heavier vehicle and the shape is not as aerodynamic as some, but it does offer a comfortable ride for driver and passengers. It offers sound handling that is fairly basic with nothing remarkable to report, but it lacks the choppiness of some of the other top rated vehicles.

7. Lexus CT 200h

The 2017 Lexus CT 200h is a smaller hatchback style vehicle that features very good fuel economy. It is rated at 40 mpg overall with 31 mpg city and 47 mpg highway driving. The automakers made a few concessions with this vehicle. While fuel economy is great, it doesn't pack the features that are commonly found in a Lexus. There seems to be a small sacrifice of agility and comfort. The ride in this car is a bit on the choppy and stiff side. The reliability factor is high and the CT may operate solely on electric power at lower speeds to improve fuel economy. Of course, being a Lexus, the cabin is assembled to perfection only using high quality materials. It would be offensive to the automaker to even consider a downgrade in these areas.

8. Ford Fusion Hybrid

The 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid has received the distinction of being one of the most wonderful vehicles to drive. Agile handling is upgraded to nimble, with a comfortable ride for driver and passengers. Leather seats are optional and the cabin is quiet and a bit on the upscale side. It's also available in a sporty edition. the overall fuel economy rating for this vehicle is 39 mpg with 35 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. If you're looking for a comfortable hybrid vehicle at a lower price, this may be a consideration. The fuel economy comes in below the previous contenders, but it's not bad.

9. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a sedan that has been tested for an overall score of 39 mpg with a 31 mpg rating for city driving and 46 on the highway. It's a major contender in the top 20 list with a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and plenty of rear seat room. It's average on responsiveness, but the tire grip could be a lot better. It's available in a hybrid or plug in version.

10. Toyota Camry Hybrid

The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid may come across as a bit on the bland side, but it also has a lot to offer. The overall fuel economy is 38 mpg with 32 mpg city and 43 for highway driving. It's a mid sized sedan that offers a fairly spacious interior. It does offer a comfortable ride and the handling is sound enough to make it a smooth drive. The reliability factor is one of the considerations that makes the Camry a popular choice when fuel economy is a consideration, but not a top priority. The economy is still above average, but if this is a big deal to you, there are sedans that offer a better test score on that front.

11. Ford C-Max

The 2017 Ford C-Max is a compact car, but offers room for five passengers. This hybrid car is spacious for its' class, a hatchback style for cargo accessibility and offers a decent ride and handling. The overall fuel economy score came in at 37 mpg with 35 mpg for city driving and 38 for hiway. It features an energy plug that allows travel in electric only mode for approximately 18 miles before needing to switch over to the hybrid mode. Charging on 120 volt takes about six hours and 240 volt charge time is two hours. On a note worth mentioning, the brake pedal on these vehicles feel a little touchy.

12. Honda Accord Hybrid

The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is number twelve on our top twenty list. It features a rating of 49 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. The fuel economy for this car is nothing short of amazing. It's higher than many of the top 20 that ranked above it, but it is a midsized car and the touch screen infotainment system is not up to the standards of the higher ranking vehicles. Other benefits include a comfortable ride and a ton of driver assistance features. Another downer is that the engine is noisy even when it isn't taxed.

13. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Yet another Prius enters the scene. The 2017 Prime is the first of the plug in versions to join the Prius family. It does have an all electric range that is competitive. The fuel economy is rated at 58 city and 53 highway. It's apparent that this is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles for urban commuters who do a lot of city driving. One of the drawbacks associated with this vehicle is that it is a lot more expensive than comparable vehicles in its' class. Toyota has developed a range of vehicles in the Prius lineup and while each has its own special features, most share the fuel efficiency factors as being among the most attractive aspect of the car.

14. Chevrolet Volt

The 2017 Chevrolet volt is a plug in hybrid that is a newcomer in the Chevy line up. It averages 43 mpg city driving and 42 mpg for highway. The car comes with lavish equipment and it is also a lot of fun to drive. The handling is a little above average and its roomy enough for comfort. It is, however, one of the more expensive vehicles that you can buy from the automaker. Perhaps the inflated cost is due to the lavishness of the interior.

15. Chevrolet Cruze

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze falls under the category of compact car. It gets an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 from Motor Trend and it is one of the more affordable options if you're looking for great fuel economy and a budget priced vehicle. You can get into a brand new 2017 for under $17,000. The city mpg rating comes in at up to 31 for city driving and at 47 mpg for highway. This car gets the best fuel economy when driven at faster speeds. The city mpg is not really noteworthy, but it's great for longer distances that involve highway and freeway traveling. It is available in both sedan models, which are the more affordable ones, and for a bump of about $5 grand, in a hatchback style. The comfort is about average as is the handling, but don't expect anything too lavish. It's fairly basic unless you opt for the upgrades.

16. Nissan LEAF

The 2017 Nissan LEAF is a compact car that doesn't have an outstanding rating. It comes in at 5.8 out of 10 for reliability, comfort, performance and fuel economy. It will give you an outstanding MPG with a range of 107 miles for battery only use. The MPGe rating is 124 city and 101 highway. The average charge time is 21 hours at 110 volts and it reduces to just 6 hours at 220 volts. It goes down to a mere half hour when charging at 440 volts. If fuel economy were the only factor that this vehicle was being rated on, it would be at the top of the list. We've taken a lot of different factors under consideration including handling, comfort, reliability and overall performance. It just doesn't touch the others on the overall score card.

17. Ford Focus

The 2017 Ford Focus is in the compact car class and has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5. The fuel economy is up to 30 mpg for city driving and 40 mpg for highway. It's a budget priced vehicle that is intended for people who are looking for both decent fuel economy and an affordable price. This vehicle comes in either a sedan or hatchback body style.

18. Ford Fiesta

The 2017 Ford Fiesta is in the category of subcompact car. It's a little larger than a compact and the ratings for this model average 8.8 out of 10. It is even lower priced than the Focus, making it one of the most affordable new cars on the market today. The fuel economy range is 31 mpg for city driving and 41 for highway. This make only comes in the choice of sedan. You won't find luxury accommodations or features in this vehicle, nor is the ride or handling as suave as some of the others, but it's a good choice when money is an object.

19. Chevrolet Bolt EV

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is not to be confused with the Bolt. It is a compact car that gets a 4.4 out of 5 rating overall for performance, handling, comfort, amenities and fuel consumption. The battery only range for this vehicle is 238 miles which is an astronomically high capacity. This is the sole feature that earned it a place in our list of the top 20 fuel efficient vehicles for 2017.

20. BMWi3

The 2017 BMW i3 comes in at number 20. It gets an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 by motor trend. This is among the most expensive on the list, but if you don't mind a base MSRP of $42,400, it's economical to drive after that. The battery only range for this vehicle is between 80 to 114 miles, which isn't bad at all. The MPGe rating is up to 137 mpg city and 111 for highway driving. The battery charge time is 18 hours at 110 volts, between 3 and 5 hours at 220 volts and a half to three quarters of an hour at 440 volts.


Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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