You don’t need an electric, hybrid or even diesel vehicle to enjoy exceptional fuel economy. There are several gas-powered models on the market that deliver at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway, a threshold that is met by a larger cohort of new cars.
This is good news for consumers who wince every time they visit a gas station. The largest vehicles often cost at least $100 to fill up, while some of today’s smaller models use less gas and go much farther between fill-ups, including the following five high-mpg gas-powered cars:
1.Chevrolet Cruze ECO — The gas mileage king as of April 2011 is the Chevrolet Cruze, but not with all trims. Choose the Cruze ECO, which comes equipped with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and your car will get 42 mpg highway, 28 mpg city. Other models also offer excellent fuel economy, delivering 35 mpg or more on the open highway.
2. Smart for two — When the ForTwo was launched in 2008, it immediately became the leader in fuel economy. Rated at 41 mpg highway, 33 mpg city, this diminutive two-seater is the best city car and value leader with a base price tag of $11,500. This car is the only one in this group that is powered by a three-cylinder engine.
3.Hyundai Elantra — No other car can boast the same fuel economy, whether with a manual or automatic transmission. New for 2011, the Elantra gets 40 mpg highway, 29 mpg city, and offers seating for five adults. The Elantra’s styling mimics the sleek appearance of the midsize Sonata.
4.Ford Fiesta SFE — You’ll have to order the SFE trim for the best fuel economy, but the subcompact Fiesta accomplishes that feat when equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the Fiesta at 40 mpg highway, 29 city; other models get up to 38 mpg hwy.
5.Ford Focus SFE — New for 2012, the compact Focus SFE matches the Fiesta’s 40 mpg highway rating and offers 28 mpg city. Active blinds and an automatic transmission help this “super fuel economy” vehicle deliver some of the best fuel numbers in its class.
Looking to the future
Honda promises to bring a more fuel-efficient Civic to market in spring 2011, projecting 41 mpg highway. Other manufacturers are expected to follow suit with the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, and special editions of the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa are likely to reach similar thresholds.