Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun


When it comes to saving fossil fuels, we now have a wide variety of options. Car manufacturers currently offer a lot of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, cars with electric batteries and even a couple of models of hydrogen fuel cells (at least in California). But the old internal combustion engine is not done yet.

Even without electric assistance, gasoline and diesel engines can achieve impressive fuel economy, and this list proves it. What we have here is a wide variety of vehicles, including a hatchback, a convertible sports car, a luxury sedan, a van and a small SUV, each of which emphasizes fuel efficiency and the best gas mileage without sacrificing the performance or practicality.

These vehicles do not have hybrid or electric propulsion systems, but if any of these options seems more attractive, do not hesitate to consult our selections of the best hybrids and the best electric cars.

Our Choice [19659006] 2018 Honda Fit

 2018 Honda Fit

Why should I buy this: ? The Fit presents impressive fuel economy without sacrificing practicality.

Miles per gallon: 36 mpg

How much will it cost? $ 16,190 (base price)

Why we choose the Honda Fit:

Good fuel economy does not mean jack if a car can not function as a practical daily driver. Fortunately, the Honda Fit achieves good fuel efficiency, a surprising amount of cargo space and a decently fun driving experience in a small package.

El Fit achieves an EPA rating of 36 mpg combined (33 mpg city, 40 mpg highway) on LX models equipped with the CVT automatic transmission (EX and EX-L models equipped with CVT, as well as equipped models with the six-speed manual, they have a slightly lower rating). That puts the Fit near the top of its class, and it's significantly better than the bigger cars.

But while other vehicles sacrifice the comforts and the pleasure of driving to save a little fuel, the Fit really is a complete automobile. Its folding design, "Magical Seat" frees up a lot of cargo space, and the interior volume is generous at 95.7 cubic feet. The Fit is also reliable and pleasant to handle, exhibiting the lightness for which the Hondas are famous.

Our first driving test

The best fuel-efficient truck

Chevrolet Colorado Duramax

  2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax Diesel

Why should I buy this ?: Need a truck that does not break the shore.

Miles per gallon: 23 mpg

How much will it cost: $ 35,785 (base price)

Why do we choose the Chevrolet Colorado Duramax: [19659003] The current generation of Chevy Colorado (and its twin GMC Canyon) is a game changer when it comes to pickup trucks. Not only did it revitalize the mid-sized truck segment, but it also introduced diesel power in the form of General Motors' 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder engine.

Why is a diesel truck good? Because a diesel engine can return great fuel economy while still delivering the low-end grunt that trucks need. The Colorado engine has 369 pound-feet of torque (along with 181 horsepower), which allows it to tow up to 7,700 pounds. But the Colorado also achieves an EPA rating of 25 mpg combined (22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway) with rear-wheel drive, or 23 mpg combined (20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway) with four-wheel drive.

Aside from its outstanding diesel powertrain (Chevy offers two gas options too), the Colorado is simply a good truck. It handles well on the road, and offers a decent variety of technological features, including a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Chevy also recently introduced the Colorado ZR2 performance model, which adds impressive off-road capabilities, albeit at the expense of fuel efficiency.

The best luxury car with great gas mileage

Audi A4 Ultra

Why should I buy this: Want a car that is frugal, elegant and comfortable.

Miles per gallon: 31 mpg [19659003] How much will it cost: $ 36,000 (base price)

Why we chose the Audi A4 Ultra:

In the Lastly, an Audi A4 would not have had it on this list. But now the A4 is available in the Ultra-focused efficiency specification, previously exclusive to Europe. That means you'll get an EPA rating of 31 miles per gallon combined (27 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway). The Ultra front-wheel drive does not have the famous Audi Quattro four-wheel drive system, but it keeps everything else that makes the current generation A4 excellent.

The A4 is one of the smallest and most technologically advanced luxury sedans, with features available such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Audi's "Virtual Cockpit" screen. The latter replaces the group of indicators with a digital screen that puts more information into the line of sight of the driver.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates 252 horsepower and 272 foot-pounds, ensuring that, despite its focus on fuel economy, the A4 Ultra is not far behind. A well-mounted chassis helps the driver make the most of that power as well. All hardware is wrapped in a clean exterior style and, as with all Audis, the A4 features an interior that is well designed and trimmed in high quality materials.

The best fuel-efficient sports car

Fiat 124 Spider

Why should I buy this: ? It's a fun car that also drinks fuel.

Miles per gallon: 30 mpg

How much it will cost: $ 24,995

Why we chose the Fiat 124 Spider:

The Mazda MX- 5 Miata was already a big sports car, but Fiat took its basic platform and added an Italian touch. Inspired by a classic Fiat model from the 1960s, the 124 Spider even achieves a slightly better fuel economy than its brother Mazda.

The 124 Spider gets a combined performance of 30 EPA mpg (26 city mpg, 35 highway mpg) with Fiat's 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission. With the optional six-speed car, the car returns 29 mpg combined (25 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway).

Fiat wanted to make the connection to the original 124 Spider as explicit as possible, so he adorned the new version with retro body that gives a touch of extra charm. As with the Miata, the reduced weight and agile handling of the 124 Spider give it a pure driving feel that is lacking in most other modern cars. This little Fiat is perfect for a weekend trip on your favorite stretch of curves.

Our complete review

The best SUV with great gas mileage

Mazda CX-3

Why buy this: It is an SUV without any of the drawbacks of the SUV.

Miles per gallon: 29 mpg [19659003] How much will it cost: $ 20,110 (base price)

Why do we choose the Mazda CX-3:

CX-3 is part of a relatively new vintage system of subcompact crossovers that combine high and relatively square bodies and the all-wheel drive available from traditional SUVs with the footprint of small hatchbacks. Attractive styling, an anxious engine and a well-adjusted chassis make the CX-3 one of the best.

The advantages of a vehicle like this are demonstrated in the EPA-rated fuel economy of the CX-3 of 31 mpg combined (29 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway) with front-wheel drive and 29 mpg combined (27 mpg in town, 32 mpg on the highway) with all-wheel drive. It can be marketed as an SUV, but the CX-3 is still a small car, and its fuel economy figures reflect it.

Mazda is not the only manufacturer that sells a subcompact crossover, but the CX-3 handles and its peppy 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts most of the competition in shame. Like other current Mazdas, the CX-3 also features a well-designed interior that has the appearance of a more exclusive brand.

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How we test

The Automotive Digital Trends team tests vehicles through a comprehensive counting process. We examine the qualities of the exterior and the interior and judge them based on our experience and experience in the context of the category and price range of the vehicle. Entertainment technology is thoroughly tested, as are most of the security features that can be tested in controlled environments.

Test drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel of vehicles, testing in the real world, driving on freeways, back roads, as well as off-road and racing tracks when appropriate.

Driving tips with fuel efficiency

Buying a fuel efficient car is a good place to start, but a car is as good as its driver. Numerous factors can affect fuel savings in the real world. Some of them, such as traffic congestion and topography, are out of your control, but there is still much you can do to maximize the mpg. Here are some examples.

Driving behavior: the way you drive can have a big impact on fuel economy. Try to be as smooth as possible, avoiding sudden acceleration or aggressive braking. The idea is to do as much as possible with the momentum you have, so the engine does not have to work so hard. Coastal, when possible, also helps.

Vehicle Controls: Turning off the air conditioner can help increase fuel economy, not to mention the discharge power that is used to run the A / C compressor on most cars. Cruise control is also a good idea, as it keeps the car running at a constant speed that avoids excessive use of the accelerator.

Ecological mode: Many modern cars have some kind of "green" mode designed to improve efficiency. This is usually achieved by mitigating the accelerator response, although some systems also affect things such as the transmission change strategy and climate control. These modes usually make the car considerably worse to drive, but it could be an option worth considering for the cost conscious.

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