Got the high gas price blues? Then ditch that old gas guzzler of yours if you can and check out some of 2008’s top fuel efficient cars. High fuel prices, an unstable oil market, and world political forces are changing attitudes and vehicle preferences as a matter of economic necessity for both consumers and the auto industry. Shopping for a new vehicle today means paying attention not only to purchase price, monthly payments, and insurance costs, but for the first time since the oil crisis of the 1970s, fuel economy as well.
I’ve singled out 10 mileage standouts at five different price points that start below $15,000 and rise to over $30,000
All fuel economy specifications are in MPG (miles per gallon) because us North Americans are still in the stone age when it comes to our measuring systems. Metric system anyone? Hello? Those of you not used to thinking in miles per gallon remember that 1 gallon is equal to 3.785 liters. To get the kilometer per liter performance check out this link or to convert MPG to liters per 100 km see this link.
Honda Fit, 28 City/34 Highway MPG, $13,950
Honda’s compact five-door hatch is a very functional economy car/wagon that easily delivers fuel economy in the low to mid-30 mpg range. Power comes from a 109 horsepower, 1.5 liter VTEC four-cylinder and either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission
Ford Focus, 24 City/35 Highway MPG, $14,300
The Focus is offered as either a sporty two door coupe or four door sedan in base S, mid-range SE, and higher-end SES trim levels. It comes standard with Ford’s Duratec 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that can be ordered as a PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle)
Chevrolet Malibu, 22 City/30 Highway MGP, $19,995
A 2.4-liter double overhead cam Ecotec engine is standard with a 3.6-liter V-6 optional. The Malibu is also offered in a mild hybrid version that delivers 24/32 mpg
Nissan Rogue, 22 City/27 Highway MPG, $19,250
The Rogue offers a mix between true economy car thriftiness and SUV versatility. It is offered in both front wheel drive and all wheel drive powertrains. The rogue is powered by a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers V-6 like power through a continuously variable transmission.
Honda Civic Hybrid, 40 City/45 Highway MPG, $22,600
In the U.S. market, the Honda Civic is the economy car by which all others are judged. Rightly so, since the Civic has set standards for space efficiency, fuel economy, and clean emissions from the start. Utilizing Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology, the Civic Hybrid consistently delivers better than 40 mpg without sacrificing functionality
Toyota Prius, 48 City/45 Highway MPG, $21,100
Pure and simple, the Toyota Prius is an icon of hybrid powertrain evolution. When most people hear the words “hybrid car” they most likely imagine the Toyota Prius. I very much like this car. Although at this point I am not in the market for a new car, if I was this would be car I’d be looking to buy. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive incorporates a 1.5-liter, double overhead cam four-cylinder engine producing 76 horsepower. With the integration of a 67 horsepower electric motor this package provides 295 ft-lbs of torque from 0 rpm. All that technology converges to make this the quintessential hybrid car.
Toyota Camry Hybrid, 34 City/32 Highway MPG, $25,350
Utilizing Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the Camry offers a combined gasoline-electric drive output of 187 horsepower. A true full hybrid like the Prius, the Camry Hybrid is capable of operating solely on electric power at slow speeds, on the gasoline engine alone, or via a combination of the two
Ford Escape Hybrid, 34 City/30 Highway MPG, $26,505
The combination of a 2.3-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine and 94 horsepower electric motor allows the Escape Hybrid to deliver performance equivalent to a standard V-6 engine without sacrificing fuel economy. The Escape Hybrid is a great small SUV alternative for buyers who not willing to sacrifice utility for economy
Over $30,000 -the high end models
Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 27 City/25 Highway MPG, $37,650
Toyota is calling the new Highlander a crossover vehicle rather than an SUV. A quieter and more refined ride clearly moves the Highlander apart from truck based SUVs. Power comes from a 3.3-liter double overhead cam V-6 that works in harmony with electric drive to produce a combined output of 270 horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec, 23 City/32 Highway MPG, $53,025
The luxurious Mercedes E320 Bluetec is among the first to market with clean diesel technology. The 3.0-liter Bluetec V-6 features 210 horsepower and an impressive 400 lbs-ft of torque delivered through an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission. With fuel economy on par with smaller hybrid sedans, this Mercedes can cover a lot of ground between fill ups; nearly 700 miles in highway cruise mode
There you have it folks. I believe that being financially intelligent doesn’t just mean knowing how to maneuver or invest your money but also knowing how to make the best of the money you already have. Having a fuel efficient car fits perfectly into that philosophy. Not only are you saving your hard earned money by not giving it to some already filthy rich oil company, but you also are lessening your effect on the environment. Besides, I bet you can think of other more fun things to do with your money than spending it at the gas pump.
Wishing you the best, and drive safely!