NEWS

Best Cars for Commuters 2016

By Joe Wiesenfelder

December 29, 2015

Workaday stiffs need reliable cars that offer comfort and good mpg. We pick from coupes, sedans, hatches, wagons, minivans, pickups, SUVs.

16Subaru_Legacy_OEM.jpg 2016 Subaru Legacy; | Manufacturer image

Best Car for Commuters

Hard-working commuters demand a lot from their daily drivers, so to our way of thinking, the Best Car for Commuters has to be one that delivers on several levels and has broad appeal. That car is the 2016 Legacy. Without the added expense of a hybrid drivetrain, the Legacy delivers mileage of 26/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined, the best you can get with all-wheel drive, a huge benefit when you have to get to work no matter what. To top it off, the available EyeSight forward collision warning system with autonomous braking can compensate for lapses in judgment, whether it's yours, another driver's or a pedestrian's.

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Used
2016 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited
93,625 mi.
$19,860 $1,639 price drop
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Used
2016 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited
68,225 mi.
$19,990
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16Subaru_Impreza_ES.jpg 2016 Subaru Impreza; | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Best Deal for Commuters

The compact Impreza isn't as roomy, but it offers many of the same characteristics that earned the midsize Subaru Legacy sedan our top honor, and it does so at the lowest price of our recommended commuter vehicles. There are compacts with higher gas mileage, but none have the Impreza's snow-thwarting standard all-wheel drive. The Impreza delivers 28/37/31 mpg city/highway/combined. Like its big brother, the Impreza offers EyeSight forward collision warning with autonomous braking, which is highly rated for preventing or lessening collisions with other cars or pedestrians. The Impreza was the first car of this size and cost to offer this active-safety feature.

Shop the 2016 Subaru Impreza near you

Used
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium
80,745 mi.
$17,167
Good Deal
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Used
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium
13,777 mi.
$22,990
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16Chevrolet_Impala_OEM.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Impala; | Ma

Recommended for Commuters

If you're familiar with the Chevrolet Impala, you might recognize that its gas mileage isn't exceptional. Rated 22/31/25 mpg, it's slightly better than comparably priced large sedans. But mileage isn't the only thing that matters in a grueling commute. Comfort and quiet can really take the edge off, and during our year of testing the Impala (the winner of our top award, the Best of 2014), we all agreed it could get you through the worst of commutes in serenity with its roomy, comfortable interior, quiet cabin and isolating suspension. The optional Bose sound system completes a car that's great for commutes and road trips alike.

Shop the 2016 Chevrolet Impala near you

Used
2016 Chevrolet Impala LS
82,840 mi.
$18,995
Good Deal
Used
2016 Chevrolet Impala LT
92,982 mi.
$16,899
Good Deal
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16Ford_Fusion-Hybrid_OEM.jpg 2016 Ford Fusion; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

Not all vehicles with hybrid badges guarantee high mileage, but the 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid is one that delivers on the promise, its EPA-estimated 44/41/42 mpg city/highway/combined being the highest rating among midsize sedans. The efficient-but-capable drivetrain joins a car that's quiet and rides nicely, yet boasts surprising athleticism when you push it hard. Now several years into its current generation, the Aston-Martin-inspired styling still looks great. Go for the SE trim level or higher if you want optional forward collision warning with autonomous braking, and the top Titanium trim level for additional safety options like blind spot warning and lane keeping systems.

Shop the 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid near you

Used
2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
70,705 mi.
$17,896
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Used
2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
66,619 mi.
$18,990
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16Lexus_CT 200h_OEM.jpg 2016 Lexus CT 200h; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

The CT 200h is a great choice for the city commuter who wants good mileage and a little luxury from a relatively affordable small car. With EPA-estimated mileage of 43/40/42 mpg city/highway/combined, the CT blows non-hybrids out of the water, yet its small size and sporty personality make it fun to drive — something we can't often say about hybrids of any stripe. The CT's size really pays off in city driving, where the small fry can sneak through gaps and exploit parking spaces SUVs must pass by.

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Used
2016 Lexus CT 200h Base
52,007 mi.
$25,950
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Used
2016 Lexus CT 200h Base
53,218 mi.
$24,590
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16Lexus_ES 300h_OEM.jpg 2016 Lexus ES 300h; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

Another car with a great mix of comfort and efficiency, the ES 300h gets an EPA-estimated 40/39/40 mpg city/highway/combined. Like the gas-only ES 350 on which it's based, the hybrid ES is a rare luxury car (and indeed, a rare Lexus car) in that it's not trying too hard to be something it's not, which is to say a performance car. Here the emphasis is comfort with good ride quality and space efficiency in a midsize package.

Shop the 2016 Lexus ES 300h near you

Used
2016 Lexus ES 300h Base
86,094 mi.
$26,590 $400 price drop
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Used
2016 Lexus ES 300h Base
66,022 mi.
$28,590 $400 price drop
Good Deal | $432 under
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16Mazda_Mazda6_ES.jpg 2016 Mazda6; | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Recommended for Commuters

Sports cars often make poor commuter cars — sacrificing gas mileage, ride comfort and cabin quietness — but that doesn't mean you can't find a car that satisfies as both a sporty ride and a daily driver. The 2016 Mazda6 is a prime example; it's a great-looking car that's fun to drive yet has high gas mileage, the highest of any non-hybrid midsize sedan: 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined.

Shop the 2016 Mazda Mazda6 near you

Used
2016 Mazda Mazda6 i Touring
86,863 mi.
$18,990
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Used
2016 Mazda Mazda6 i Grand Touring
93,030 mi.
$18,677 $200 price drop
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16Mercedes-Benz_E250_OEM.jpg 2016 Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

Clean diesel has gotten a sooty-black eye recently, but there's no evidence this efficient alternative fuel is inherently flawed when executed properly. We submit the E250 Bluetec, a comfortable, classy midsize sedan that gets an EPA-estimated 28/42/33 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive. Unlike hybrids, whose awkward driving experience is a turnoff to some, the diesel is quick and fun to drive. Go-anywhere all-wheel drive strips 2 mpg combined but lends commuting confidence. If you're going to be stuck in traffic twice a day every day, you could do much worse than this luxury sled.

Shop the 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class near you

Used
2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 400
45,069 mi.
$38,990 $600 price drop
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Used
2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 350 4MATIC
55,290 mi.
$28,690 $100 price drop
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16Toyota_Highlander Hybrid_OEM.jpg 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

While we often view commuting as a solitary endeavor, some commuters travel with passengers or simply need a larger vehicle for other family duties. We can think of none better than the Highlander Hybrid, which seats up to eight. With an EPA-estimated 27/28/28 mpg city/highway/combined (or 28 mpg across the board in the LE Plus trim level), it improves on the gas-only Highlander with all-wheel drive by 8 mpg combined. Standard all-wheel drive means blizzards won't keep you from work or home.

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Used
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited
61,905 mi.
$36,000
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16Volvo_S60_OEM.jpg 2016 Volvo S60; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Commuters

The appeal of luxury and efficiency for grueling commutes is clear, and Volvo has risen to the top in both, thanks in part to pioneering use of both turbochargers and superchargers, sometimes in the same engine. The base 2016 Volvo S60 compact sedan is an EPA-estimated 26/38/30 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive. The highway number represents the highest gas-powered rating in its class, and it comes with regular gasoline — a rarity among luxury sedans.

Shop the 2016 Volvo S60 near you

Used
2016 Volvo S60 T5 Drive-E Premier
30,998 mi.
$21,480 $500 price drop
Good Deal | $174 under
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Used
2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription Drive-E Premier
50,870 mi.
$22,990
Good Deal
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