Gas prices are up and down, but the long-term trend is still northward bound. That means you may want to the fuel efficiency of your car to go up as well. While there’s more than the make and model that impacts fuel efficiency (how you drive, tires and wheels matter a lot, too), it’s always a good idea to start with a fuel-savvy foundation. For those in the market for a new ride, check out the best fuel efficient options available today.
We’ve come a long way from Smart Cars—the fuel-smart possibilities today boast performance and slick lines, too.
1. Ford Focus Sedan
Obviously, an e-car or hybrid is going to get the best fuel efficiency, but those are a niche market—let’s focus on the traditional rides. The newest 2.0L Ford Focus boasts 37 mpg, which is right on par with many other options, but there’s a catch. The Focus also offers a low MWRP along with a great chassis. It snagged Best Car awards in 2013 and 2012 (and it’s in line for a 2014 award). It’s compared to luxury options like the BMW 535d, but of course with a much more budget-friendly price.
2. Mazda 6MT
At 40 mpg, this Mazda 6 comes in standard or automatic (although you’ll get a little better efficiency with the stick). Add on the i-ELOOP fuel saving system, which comes standard with the GT Tech package, and it’s easy to see why it “darts” ahead of the Dart Aero and Fiat 500.
3. Mitsubishi Mirage CVT
Getting 44 mpg is no easy task, but the little Mirage makes it happen. For many, it’s the default option since it gets the best mpg without heading into hybrid territory, but it’s still a pretty tiny car for the average American. However, for a second car reserved for long treks and road trips (kid-free) it’s a pretty affordable and sweet choice.
4. VW Jetta SportWagen
The SportWagen has an impressive powertrain and a delectable body style—plus it comes in diesel that can get you north of 40 mpg on the highway. The driving dynamics are impeccable and you have plenty of cargo space. Seats fold down and this is much more SUV than hauling the kids to soccer practice car. However, with the Golf SportWagen on the horizon, you might want to hold out for the latest Wagen incarnation.
5. VW Golf TDI Diesel
For Volkswagen lovers who don’t want to wait, the Golf TDI Diesel features 42 mpg, it’s practical and a proven fan favorite. Plus, it has a long history rooted in the Rabbits of the 70s. Volkswagen itself has been around for 80+ years and nothing trumps German engineering. These affordable cars are still stylish, perfect for commutes and rugged enough to tackle weekend warrior activities.
Ready to pick your fuel efficient model of choice? It’s becoming a top priority for many car shoppers, and the manufacturers are happy to compete and dish up the best options. Commutes are getting longer and people are rediscovering the joy of road trips—make sure you’re prepared for both with a machine that’s kind to your sense of style as well as your pocketbook.