Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By Warren Clarke, Content Editor
Like death and taxes, high gas prices have become an inescapable fact of life in this country. As a result, more and more American car buyers are making fuel economy a consideration when choosing vehicles. With those folks in mind, we've compiled a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient cars currently sold in the U.S.
Rankings were determined using the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel. More specifically, we tapped the EPA's combined fuel economy formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating. The rating for each vehicle below is expressed in mpg as a city/highway ratio. All ratings apply to base models equipped with a manual transmission, except where indicated otherwise with an asterisk.
Each model was allowed only one appearance on the list. The sole exception is the Honda Civic, which appears twice as a result of being available in both gas-electric hybrid and regular gasoline versions.
1. Toyota Prius — 60/51*
Affordably priced at $22K and up, the Prius is a bargain on many fronts. Real-world fuel economy doesn't match EPA estimates, but this hybrid car is still the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market.
2. Honda Civic Hybrid — 49/51*
What's even more practical than the eminently practical Civic? The Civic Hybrid, which melds hybrid frugality with the poise and refinement of Honda's perennial best seller.
3. Toyota Camry Hybrid — 40/38*
The popular Camry offers a roomy cabin and acceleration that's more brisk than is typical for a four-cylinder family sedan. The newly introduced Camry Hybrid offers all this, plus a fuel-sipping hybrid engine.
4. Toyota Yaris — 34/40
With a starting price of $11K, the brand-new Yaris is the most affordable car in Toyota's lineup. Available as a three-door hatchback or a sedan, the Yaris offers a versatile interior — thanks to available sliding and reclining rear seats — and pleasant handling.
5. Honda Fit — 33/38
Coming in at about 20 inches shorter than the Civic, the Fit is a pint-sized new entry from Honda. For a price that starts at around $13K, you get agile handling and ample standard features.
6. Toyota Corolla — 32/41
You probably know that the Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable cars on the market. What you might not know is that this roomy hauler is also one of the most fuel-efficient.
7. Mini Cooper — 32/40*
The Mini is known for its tiny dimensions and singular looks. What you may not know is that it's also one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. Its engineering and suspension come courtesy of BMW, its parent company, so if you slide behind the wheel, you'll definitely enjoy the ride.
8. Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio — 32/35
The 2007 Accent and its twin, the Kia Rio, nabbed the "Editors' Most Wanted Sedan Under $15,000" prize on account of agreeable handling and a generous standard features list. Both cars seem determined to upgrade our expectations of what economy cars should be.
9. Honda Civic — 30/40*
The Civic is a class leader in the small-car category, and with good reason. Available in coupe and sedan configurations, this Honda offers a roomy interior, composed handling and excellent safety ratings.
10. Nissan Versa — 30/36*
Fuel economy concerns have sparked the growth of the subcompact segment, with new entries like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris coming to market. The brand-new Nissan Versa is one of the best in this category, with a spacious interior and stellar materials quality.