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What Are the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars?

202305 best new gas ev hybrid mileage scaled jpg Most fuel-efficient cars | illustation by Paul Dolan

The volatility of gas prices in recent years means shopping for a fuel-efficient vehicle now can lead to significant savings at the pump down the road. Of course, if you want to avoid the pump entirely, an all-electric vehicle will be your best bet; but if you’re not ready to make the leap into EV ownership, the next best option is a gas-only, hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle with generous fuel economy ratings.

Related: Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars

Below you’ll find three lists of the thriftiest gas-powered vehicles as rated by the EPA and separated by type: gas-only, gas-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Note that these ratings are all EPA estimates, and your actual mileage may differ depending on a number of factors, some of which are under your control.

Gas-Only Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

mitsubishi mirage 2022 angle exterior front oem scaled jpg 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage | Manufacturer image

1. Mitsubishi Mirage: 36/43/39 mpg city/highway/combined
2. Hyundai Elantra: 33/42/37 mpg
3. Honda Civic: 33/42/36 mpg
4. Kia Rio: 32/41/36
5. Toyota Corolla: 32/41/35 mpg

Mitsubishi Mirage

Not only is the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage the least thirsty gas-powered car on the market, but it’s also one of the most affordable. The front-wheel-drive-only Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan are both powered by a 78-horsepower, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine; with the manual transmission discontinued for 2023, a continuously variable automatic now comes standard. The most fuel-efficient Mirage is the hatchback, rated at 36/43/39 mpg city/highway/combined; the Mirage G4 sedan is rated at 35/41/37 mpg.

Hyundai Elantra

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra offers buyers a variety of engine and transmission choices, all with front-wheel drive. Among the Elantras powered solely by gasoline engines, the base SE with a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a CVT is the most fuel-efficient at 33/42/37 mpg; more option-laden versions of the Elantra with this powertrain drop slightly to 30/40/34 mpg. The sportier N Line gets a 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic rated at 28/36/31 mpg. Those looking for performance over fuel economy can go for the Elantra N’s 276-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, rated at 22/31/25 mpg with the standard six-speed manual transmission or 20/30/23 mpg with the optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Honda Civic

Another vehicle with a wealth of choices for buyers, the 2023 Honda Civic comes in both sedan and hatchback body styles, three engine choices and either a six-speed manual transmission (in the hatchbacks or sportier Si sedan) or CVT. The most efficient 2023 Civic is the mid-level EX with the more powerful 180-hp, turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a CVT, rated at 33/42/36 mpg. The range-topping Touring sedan drops to 31/38/34 mpg.

The base engine in the Civic is a 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. In the sedan, that’s good for a maximum rating of 31/40/35 mpg in the base LX and 30/37/33 mpg in the Sport. The Si is only available with a six-speed manual and a 200-hp, turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder; it’s rated at 27/37/31 mpg on premium gas.

The hatchback gets the same engine and transmission choices, save the performance Type R. With the turbo 1.5-liter and a CVT, its maximum mpg rating is 31/39/35 mpg. The base engine with a CVT is rated at 30/38/33 mpg. Switch to the six-speed manual and the maximum ratings are 28/37/31 mpg with the turbo 1.5-liter and 26/36/29 mpg with the 2.0-liter. The 315-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual of the Type R gets 22/2824 mpg.

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is available in two variants: a sedan or five-door hatchback with a shared 120-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and standard CVT. Not only is the Rio miserly in its fuel economy with a rating of 32/41/36 mpg, but Kia’s subcompact also tops the list of best value new cars thanks to its affordable price tag and generous list of features.

Toyota Corolla

Fifth place on the list goes to the Toyota Corolla, which was refreshed for 2023 with updated safety and tech. The Corolla’s gas-only sedan and hatchback variants return with a 169-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and standard CVT; the previously available six-speed manual transmission is gone for the standard Corolla and is now only found in the GR Corolla hot hatch. The Corolla hatchback SE and the sedan LE are the most efficient versions, rated at 32/41/35 mpg. Fuel economy drops to 31/40/34 mpg for the sedan’s SE and XSE trims and 30/38/33 mpg for the hatchback XSE.

 Gas-Electric Hybrids With the Best Gas Mileage

toyota prius limited 2023 01 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2023 Toyota Prius | photo by Aaron Bragman

1. Toyota Prius: 57/56/57 mpg
2. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: 53/56/54 mpg
3. Kia Niro Hybrid: 53/54/53 mpg
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid: 51/53/52 mpg
5. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 50/54/52 mpg

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius gained a new 2.0-liter engine and lithium-ion battery in its 2023 redesign, and the updates boosted the hybrid’s power output and fuel efficiency. The Prius’ base 194-hp LE trim with FWD is the most efficient at 57/56/57 mpg; opting for the 196-hp AWD variant with a second electric motor drops fuel economy to 53/54/54 mpg. Stepping up to higher trims like the XLE and Limited also means a lower rating of 52/52/52 mpg with FWD and 49/50/49 mpg with AWD.

Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

The Hyundai Elantra makes a second appearance here as a hybrid model, and the total system output from its 1.6-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine, electric motor and battery pack is 139 hp. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. The base Blue is the most efficient variant at 53/56/54 mpg; more well-equipped models are rated at 49/52/50 mpg.

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Kia Niro is heavily redesigned for 2023 and available with a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric powertrain. The Niro hybrid’s base FE trim makes 139-hp from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas-electric powertrain and gets 53/54/53 mpg. Upgrading to higher trims like the EX Touring or SX Touring drops the compact SUV’s fuel efficiency to 53/45/49 mpg.

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Powered by a 208-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas-electric powertrain paired with a CVT, the Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 51/53/52 mpg in its base LE trim. The mid-size sedan’s fuel efficiency takes a dip for higher trims with 44/47/46 mpg for the SE, SE Nightshade, XLE and XSE.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid loses its previously available solar roof, but the mid-size sedan retains its respectable fuel efficiency rating of 50/54/52 for the base Blue trim. Going with the Sonata Hybrid’s SEL or Limited trims drops fuel efficiency to 45/51/47 mpg. The hybrid comes with FWD only and is powered by a 192-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas-electric powertrain paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Plug-in Hybrids With the Best Gas Mileage

lexus nx 450h2B f sport 2022 04 exterior rear angle scaled jpg 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | photo by Aaron Bragman

1. Lexus NX 450h+: 84 mpg-equivalent
2. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 82 mpg-e
3. Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid: 80 mpg-e
4. Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid: 76 mpg-e
5. Volvo V60 Recharge: 74 mpg-e

Lexus NX 450h+

The Lexus NX 450h+ currently ranks first on EPA’s list of most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles, but it will likely be bumped down once the agency publishes updated fuel-efficiency figures for 2023 model-years of vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime and Kia Niro PHEV. The 2023 NX 450h+ combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, multiple electric motors and a lithium-ion battery and gets 84 combined mpg-e for electric and gas and 36 mpg combined in hybrid mode. The SUV’s all-electric range is rated at 37 miles.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s powertrain combines a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with dual electric motors and a battery pack for a total system hp of 260. The minivan gets 82 mpg-e combined, 30 mpg in hybrid mode and an all-electric range of 32 miles. The Pacifica Hybrid’s fuel-economy estimates held up in real-world scenarios based on our latest review.

Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid

The Hyundai Tucson gained a plug-in hybrid variant for 2022, and the 2023 Tucson PHEV returns with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a lithium-ion battery pack for a combined system output of 261 hp. The PHEV SUV is rated at 80 mpg-e combined and 35 mpg combined in hybrid mode. Its all-electric range is 33 miles, and its total estimated range is 420 miles. See how the Tucson plug-in hybrid stacked up against rival Toyota RAV4 Prime in our real-world efficiency test.

Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid

Sharing the Tucson PHEV’s powertrain and power output, the larger Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV trails just behind its stablemate when it comes to fuel efficiency. It gets 76 mpg-e combined with 33 mpg combined in hybrid mode. The SUV’s all-electric range is rated up to 31 miles with a total range of 440 miles, but it managed to exceed the estimated all-electric range in our real-world test.

Volvo V60 Recharge

With a healthy total system hp of 455, the Volvo V60 Recharge’s range-topping T8 extended range variant boasts one of the highest fuel-efficiency ratings with 74 mpg-e combined. Powering the Polestar-engineered wagon is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with dual electric motors for standard AWD. The V60 Recharge T8 brings up to 40 miles of all-electric range and 530 miles of total range.

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