Top 12 Most Gas Saving Cars

Consumer Reports tested some new compacts and a sporty car and found twelve cars with the most fuel efficiency. Some of them even bring in numbers close to what the best hybrids can offer.

Rank / Car / MPG (overall / city / highway)

12. Mini Cooper S 30 / 22 / 38
11. Mazda3 30 / 21/ 42
10. Kia Rio5 SX 30 / 23 / 36
9. Hyundai Accent GS 30 / 23 / 36
8. Honda Civic EX 31 / 22 / 40
7. Honda Fit automatic, base 32 / 22 / 43
6. Toyota Yaris automatic, base 33 / 23 / 44
5. Honda Fit Sport 34 / 26 / 39
4 .Toyota Yaris, base 34 / 26 / 42
3. Toyota Camry Hybrid CVT 34 / 28 / 41
2. Honda Civic Hybrid CVT 37 / 26 / 47
1. Toyota Prius CVT 44 / 35 / 50

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Joafu says:

    Two Yaris but no Corolla?

  2. scatyb says:

    Also, where the freak is Saturn? My SL2 gets 30-35 in-town and it is no hybrid. But then again, it’s a 97. Oh well.

  3. mammalpants says:

    wheres my chevy tahoe super family/darryl waltrip edition?

    base 1/0/-3

  4. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Shenanigans. Not a diesel in the bunch.

  5. Rando says:

    Buying a Yaris in 2 years.

    Where else can you get that kind of milage for $13k off the lot brand new?

  6. harumph says:

    my 18 year old honda does better than most of those and it has 175,000 miles on it.
    not a lot of progress.

  7. MYarms says:

    Once again no mention of the VW Jetta TDi.

  8. Nakko says:

    Kawasaki EX250 (aka 250R) motorcycle:
    75mpg.

  9. afterimageB says:

    Back in the early 90′s I bought a used ’89 Ford Escort with a 4 speed manual from a buddy of mine for $1000. I took it home and changed the oil to Mobil 1 synthetic. I filled it up with gas and then drove 100 miles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Cordova, Illinois. When I got back to C.R. later that night I topped off the tank which only needed 4 gallons, 50 mpg. For the next 3 years I drove that car back and forth to work, a 50 mile round trip, and it normally got well over 40 mpg.

  10. pengajim says:

    @ash78: I’m assuming CR tested new models (2008). There are no diesels being sold in the “compact” class in the US at the moment (so sad). The only diesel “car” you can get right now is a Mercedes, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a compact (and not cheap).

  11. rbb says:

    @MYarms: There is no mention of the VW Jetta TDI because VW has not gotten it approved by the EPA yet. Check out http://www.tdiclub.com

    What’s interesting is that if you look at the top 10 most fuel efficient/least polluting vehicles in the UK, there is not a hybrid or gasser on the list. It’s all diesels!

  12. Andrewpetty says:

    @MYarms: It’s no longer sold in the U.S. According to VW, the new TDi will go on sale in the U.S. next month.

  13. Sucko-T says:

    @harumph

    I’m guessing your 18 year old Honda doesn’t have side airbags, a passenger airbag, advanced crumple zones, tire pressure monitoring, traction control, stability control, or any other federally mandated safety device that’s added weight and complexity to cars. There’s nothing like the government protecting us from ourselves.

  14. full.tang.halo says:

    @ash78: No diesels, no new 1 series bmw’s with stop start….

  15. thunder says:

    @harumph: My thoughts exactly. My kids drive older Honda Civics (a ’93 DX sedan and a ’95 DX coupe) and they both top most of the cars on this list without even trying. I understand that newer cars are heavier and have more powerful engines by popular demand, but wasn’t anybody even trying to make them more efficient while they were at it?

  16. BiliRubin says:

    I have an ’05 Prius and love it. I just did the #’s and for CY07, I’ve avg’d 49.5 MPG, typically driving 90 miles/week — mostly freeway miles on the 405 in SoCal.

    All I can say is:

    Prius, Prius
    First they wanna beat us,
    And now they wanna be us!
    Prius, Prius
    Most fuel efficient,
    Least in emissions!

    (Linky to this rap to follow shortly…)

  17. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    @thunder:

    Thunder, apparently all of the engineering expertise for the US market has spent the last 15 years figuring out how to get MORE power while maintaining fuel economy (they’ve done a great job…), rather than trying to maintain power and increase efficiency.

    The market is slow to catch up, but I think it will still happen.

  18. econobiker says:

    ’95 Dodge Neon 4dr 2.0 5sp w/ over 175,000miles averages 37mpg combined with 89 octane and pumped up tires… Always keep your tires at the max inflation and you’ll get better mileage – screw ride quality…

  19. AndyDuncan says:

    @thunder: Nope. Not when gas was $1.50/gallon and the biggest threat to the environment was CFCs.

  20. newspapersaredead says:

    And I still wouldn’t drive a single one of them. The list could double as the 12 ugliest cars.

  21. Myotheralt says:

    didnt the 85 civic coupe get 50-ish mpg?

    the real problem is getting all the beasts that get less than 20mpg off the roads. after that, we can worry about getting everyone into a 40mpg

  22. sven.kirk says:

    Too bad most of them fit only 2-3 people max (semi-comfortably)

  23. full.tang.halo says:

    PEEL P50 100 miles to the gallon, seats 1 simy-uncomfortably

  24. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    As a counterpoint, I’d like to note that a Suburban with 7 people in it absolutely blows away all of these cars when they only have 1 person in them.

    Just saying. I’ve never actually seen a Suburban with more than a mom and two young kids in it, though.

  25. TroutDeep says:

    @sven.kirk: The Fit will seat 5 people comfortably. There’s loads of leg room for all passengers, and plenty of storage space to boot (ha). It’s a very well-packaged vehicle.

  26. Anonymous says:

    @newspapersaredead: Meh, some of ‘em are nice. I just can’t stand the center mounted gauge clusters.

  27. fuzzball21 says:

    I can fit five people (one of them being a rather big guy) in my honda fit sport, COMFORTABLY, and I get better milage than the list says. That is because I maximize my trips to get the best gas mileage, and don’t drive aggressively. After I learned that second idea, my gas milage improved greatly, you would be surprised how much it helps!

    I get about 36/32/42-45 (this last number varies because I drive uphill one way on my trip and back down the other…) compared to 34 / 26 / 39, which I guess would be great for the people who drive “normal” around here. I was going to buy a Prius, or thats what my Mom was nudging me towards, but I don’t feel like driving around in the most recalled car ever made by Toyota, especially after seeing how unsafe it is for being in an accident. Besides, who wants to spend an extra $10,000 to “save on gas”??? I went to a dealership where the Fits were in stock and paid inventory for it, thanks to my wheeling and dealing :D For my purposes, the Fit was a better deal because most of my commutes are short….

  28. PD to be says:

    Over here in Europe the top three places are shared by Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo/Citroën C1. If I recall correctly, even the Mini diesel with stop-start system beats the Prius, which came in only 7th or something…
    BTW: where’s the hybrid Tahoe?

  29. warf0x0r says:

    I average 35mpg in the summer and 32mpg in the winter in my Honda Civic EX.

    I drive about 20% city and 80% highway.

    It only needs oil changes every 7k miles based on the integrated oil monitoring system.

    Nice car.

  30. spinachdip says:

    @sven.kirk: The last time I checked (which was about 2 or 3 years ago), Prius had larger backseat legroom and cargo space than most small SUVs. So, um, yeah.

  31. HappyPig says:

    It doesn’t matter what mpg your donorcycle gets when it’s -10F.

  32. jimconsumer says:

    Hah! I routinely get 70mpg in my Honda Insight and that’s a monthly average, not one time shot; I’ve hit over 100mpg on short (~10 mile) trips in perfect conditions.

    Why oh why did Honda stop selling these in ’06?

  33. abgwin says:

    um, Mini Cooper S? Why not the base Mini Cooper? Doesn’t it get better mileage than the “performance” model?

  34. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    The Honda Fit is awesome. It looks really small from the outside, but it’s fairly roomy on the inside. Plus it’s a 5-door hatch, so it does offer some utility. I think the next generation model is already out in Japan. It should be hitting the US next year.

    But if you’re trying to save some cash and don’t want to buy a new car, go out and get a used Honda Civic CX. Great MPG, reliable, and affordable.

  35. Why pay so much more for hybrids that can’t even eek out a substantial MPG increase over a manual transmission car that runs complete on gas.. Hell my 2003 VW Gulf TDI stick got better mileage than any of these hybrids.

  36. dandd says:

    I can just imagine my friend and his F350 getting into a wreck with one of these little cars.

    Saving $$ on gas is great, but saving all the money in the world isn’t worth dying for. You have to remember there are a ton of huge trucks on the highway.

  37. harumph says:

    @strum40: true. they should apply the same effort toward making it tougher to get a license. there are too many people out there who really have no good grasp on how to drive.

  38. streetpirate says:

    why pay 10k for a car that gets 40 on the highway when craigslist is full of $300 cars that get 30 on the highway? (plug for dodge omni’s and neons)

    spend that extra $9,700 on a hot rod, drive a shitbox to work!

  39. Quellman says:

    @scatyb: I’ve kept track of my 2000 SC2 and have a 32.14 mpg over the last 17 months. Most all driving is city driving and trips less than 10 miles. I have taken road trips to Florida and managed to squeeze 38mph. I slipstreamed behind a 97 station wagon and managed to get 52 mpg.

    These most efficient lists are all stupid.

  40. DanWarner says:

    Hybrids are stupid. Not many people can justify the additional cost of the option with gas savings. I am so sick of this partial story. Don’t know about you fellas but I would rather drive a diesel vw beater getting about 45mpg and spend all my extra money on my cool car then be seen in a Yaris. Just me. I don’t know.

  41. pengajim says:

    Power and efficiency are dependent. You can’t have an increase in one without an increase in the other. @ash78:

  42. clarient says:

    I just got a Honda Fit and it’s fantastic. My first fill-up I averaged 35 miles to the gallon, second time at 32.

    The only thing is that the Fit has a teeny tiny gas tank – only 10.8 gallons total, so it feels like you’re filling up even faster than with whatever car you had before.

  43. synergy says:

    I like my Civic.

    It amuses me that there’s the fighting over cars in the entries for today, but people don’t try to take a bus to work and leave whatever car they do have for road trips, late trips, and emergencies.

    Before you say “I live in Timbuktu” I didn’t mean you. But there’s A LOT of people who live in cities with buses and they NEVER take a bus.

  44. eltonito says:

    @ash78: Of course there isn’t a diesel in the group, given that the title is “gas savers.” Just how much gas does your diesel burn?

    Jokes aside, there are currently no current model diesels on the market that can best these numbers in the US. The most efficient diesel currently available is the MB E320 which gets 32hwy/23city.

    Once the belated VW TDI’s reach our shores, that will all change.

  45. crazylady says:

    @full.tang.halo: frankly i was surprised jeremy clarkson could fit into the thing.

    I’d love to get one because it’s so cute, but I’d probably be killed in a matter of minutes driving it on a busy LA freeway by a douchebag driving a hummer :)

  46. sven.kirk says:

    TroutDeep and spinachdip, sorry about that. I meant that comment more towards the Mini and the Mazda3.

  47. tinmanx says:

    Yay for my new Fit! But like someone else have said, it needs a larger gas tank, gone 85 miles so far and it’s almost half empty.

  48. spinachdip says:

    I find this comment interesting, because I’ve spent my entire adult life in cities and around people for whom what they drive isn’t that big a deal – if they really, really, really need a car, they find some beater for cheap on Craigslist or some shit, or rather, skip the whole ownership thing and go with Zipcar.

    So it’s interesting, if not surprising when I hear someone say “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a…”. I forget that in much of America, your identity is tied to the kind of car you drive.

  49. spinachdip says:

    @spinachdip: uh, that comment was in response to @DanWarner:

  50. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    WALKING: uses no gasoline at all.

  51. GenXCub says:

    Aren’t the hybrids supposed to have better City mileage than highway mileage due to the braking powering the batteries? All of the stuff in here shows hybrids with high highway mileage and low city mileage.

  52. DVDude says:

    ok so for my commute I get only ~28-32mpg… but proolly have a hell of a lot more fun… (well as much as you can in boston traffic.. 2006 Lotus Elise hardtop touring package… fun and semi efficent

  53. gingerCE says:

    My car is on the list!!! I always knew my car got good mileage but it’s nice to know it’s in the top 10.

  54. secondgreatdepression says:

    Dunno about these numbers – we’ve had a Honda Fit Sport manual that gets 29-30 in the city and 34-35 on the freeway, sometimes as high as 38-39 depending on driving conditions.

    I would prefer to not own a car at all but, until local voters and the state kick in more money for public transportation, there’s really no other option.

  55. osiris7 says:

    Is there a good list for best mileage cars in the past 20 years instead of just this year? I’m looking to buy my first car, used.

  56. cecilsaxon says:

    @Nakko:

    Suzuki DL650- 52 MPG

    Buy fewer cars and more Motorcycles.

  57. simonium says:

    I don’t know why I don’t find it on these lists, but I get 42 mpg in town with my 2005 Hyundai Accent. It’s a three door hatchback, and a five speed. I get high thirties on the highway, and mid thirties when I’ve got my snow tires on. It’s a great little car.

  58. kryptocaine says:

    I’m bringing over a microvan. 35 mpg, and room for the whole family.

  59. bdon says:

    hey the mini cooper..nice.All the other suck. When my 87 sube turns 50 years old maybe I’ll go seek the little cooper. For now the record of 56mpg on a beautiful summer day is with a 20 year old carbed sube…and it does it more than once.oh no. stick that in thier marketing?

  60. Kloud says:

    @Nakko: More realistically, about 55-60 city, I own one and only have to fill up about once every 3 weeks.

  61. airoar says:

    How do you not include the Corolla??

  62. celyn says:

    @OSIRIS7: Take a look at http://www.fueleconomy.gov
    It has mpg estimates for US-sold cars back to 1994.

  63. konstantConsumer says:

    my 1979 Univega gets 0 gallons per mile, which is pretty good.

  64. ibanix says:

    Excuse me, where is my Jetta TDI?

    I get an average of 45mpg!

    We need more diesels.

  65. patrickhowell says:

    My 2001 Corolla averages about 45mpg… I’ve gotten up to 50mpg on long trips.

  66. myrall says:

    I love my Mazda 3. My 2004 averaged 40 mpg on a recent road trip. I was commuting an insane amount for my last job and this little car saved my butt. I went from a Honda CRX (that died, bless it’s soul, with 275K on it) so I was a little spoiled with good gas mileage.

  67. WarShrike says:

    I love my Mazda 3 as well. Car really offsets my 16mpg in my Firebird. I could get 20 mpg in the city w/ that f-body, but my foot doesn’t want to.

  68. DanGross says:

    There’s some apples/oranges comparison going on here. The big thing about the Prius, as some have mentioned, is that it, unlike most of the other cars on the list, is not a compact car. It has a mid-size interior (once compared it to a Chrysler 300, and it matched up pretty closely). The other thing is that, while the Mini Cooper does sip gas, it requires higher octane gas, so those looking to pay less for gas should look elsewhere…

  69. Totalloser says:

    Let’s think about this…

    In Southern California, diesels will save FUEL, but they won’t save MONEY. They generally cost substantially more to buy (like a hybrid), but even more disturbing, the fuel is ridiculously more expensive than good ‘ol gasoline.

    Many years ago the oil companies explained that diesel fuel was cheaper because it required less refining than gas. What happened? Demand? If so, putting more diesels back on the road in California will only make the fuel more expensive. Where are the wood-fired steamers when you need them?

  70. frank_rizzo says:

    Anyone look at the new Suzuki sx4 Sport 2008. It has 143 hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque and that torque is in the 3000K range. It’s not the gas sipper sadly, at 31 mgp with the auto. But 143hp in a 2800 lbs car not to bad. It’s basically loaded @ 14,500. power everything, 6 airbags std.
    [www.motortrend.com]

    It looks like a fun car. Need to test drive one.

    I currently have a 93 Sentra with 275K miles. She’s on her last leg. I might make it to summer. Great car and I’ve been avg 30mpg. Everywhere I read it’s the fit this or that. Get the Honda FIT. Great gas and roomy. But a redesign is already loose in Japan and on it way to the states soon. So buying one while young to the us it is, with a redesign on the way the current one is long in the tooth.

  71. theblackdog says:

    @synergy: Hah, I’ll be the exception to the rule and say that I take the bus and subway to work, and I live near DC.

  72. edwardso says:

    @synergy: I would love to metro or take the bus into DC to work, but it would add more that 3 hours to each day and the fares aren’t exactly cheap

  73. carschina says:

    Glad to see my Honda Civic EX is on the list! I looked at the Civic Hybrid on the car lot and figured the extra $$ I was going to have to shell out to purchase a Hybrid wasn’t worth it. As far as gas mileage there wasn’t that much of a difference and I would be saving a few thousand dollars picking the EX over the Hybrid.

    As far as the bus/metro vs. drive in DC commute I opt to drive in DC and they just raised prices on the metro! It would cost me over 10 bucks a day on the train.

  74. Lizawithazee says:

    @WarShrike: My Mazda 3 hatchback is the best car I’ve ever had. Speedy, sporty, relatively roomy (and flexible roominess, which is important b/c for my job I sometimes haul a bunch of weird stuff in my car), handles well, gets great in-town mileage, and it is quite inexpensive. My only complaint is that it is so ubiquitous I have attempted several times to get into someone else’s in a parking lot.

  75. harryhoody says:

    These numbers are way off. Remember two years ago when the Honda Civic Hybrid got 50/50? It’s the same car! If you floor it I guess you get 26 mpg in the city.

  76. rikkus256 says:

    @harryhoody: EPA changed the mpg testing method to reflect a more accurate data.

  77. rikkus256 says:

    This list shows exactly why everyone buys Hondas and Toyotas.

  78. laguy08 says:

    I’m actually selling my Ford Excursion which gets 12 miles per gallon and buying a Yaris this weekend!

  79. Wynner3 says:

    Yay, my mazda 3 is on there, I love that car.

  80. mpk says:

    26 in the city for Civic Hybrid? What are they doing at consumer reports, I own one and the worst we ever got in the city was 38.

    By the way, Road and Track got 40.7 for Honda Civic, and 41.0 for Prius. And them dudes are real heavy on the gas pedal!

  81. legalkill says:

    good thing my 97 escort is getting 34 actual MPG. Granted the A/C is not working. but i think if it as sweat therapy for weight loss.