10 Fuel Misers for Less Than $25,000
Here are our choices for the best small, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars for less than 25 grand.
2011 Ford Fiesta
Despite America's distaste for anything small, the compact segment is about to explode in a big way. Credit the need for automakers to meet ever-tightening fuel-economy standards, a still shaky economy and the inevitable rise in the price of fossil fuels. But regardless of why it's happening, it's happening.
The most interesting benefit of this shift is that the days of economical transportation with dull-as-dishwater driving dynamics seem to be on the way out, replaced by a wave of fuel-thrifty small cars with plenty of personality and pep. Using technology such as direct injection and turbocharging borrowed from their larger, more expensive siblings, this new generation of compact fuel misers promises to offer everything people love about big cars in a more efficient package.
Here are our picks for the top 10 fuel misers, in alphabetical order, costing less than $25,000.
Until now, General Motors' approach to the small-car market could be described as apathetic at best. With the arrival of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, you can forget all of that. Its amazingly efficient and smooth 1.4-liter 138-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides more than 40 mpg highway. On top of that, the company has gone to great lengths to improve interior quality, and as a result, the Cruze's cabin is easily as well-trimmed and comfortable as any of the larger Chevrolet sedans, and at a base MSRP of $16,275. It's remarkably quiet, too — a characteristic that has never exactly described the small-car segment.
Ford has flooded the Internet with a clever social-media marketing campaign to help build awareness of its new subcompact car. We're sure the move will help to put the car on the radar of tech-savvy 20-somethings — but for the rest of us, the car pretty much sells itself. With sleek European styling, a starting price of just $13,320 and a peppy 1.6-liter 120-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, the 2011 Fiesta is a bargain, no matter how you slice it. The car also offers one of the best interiors in this class and 40 mpg highway.
In a way, Honda helped to usher in the small-car renaissance with the introduction of the Fit. Though quirky-looking, the little hatchback offers an amazing amount of interior space. Even the tallest drivers have no problem fitting comfortably inside. The car can seat four adults and has adorable looks, while returning 33 mpg. Its interior may be outclassed by newcomers to the segment, but it remains a bargain buy at $14,900.
Until now, hybrids have typically been designed with the mindset that boring is better. Buyers willing to sacrifice style, driving dynamics or comfort for fuel economy have their choice of any number of battery-operated cars. Fortunately, Honda is looking to stand that philosophy on its head with the CR-Z. With a design that borrows heavily from the old CRX and an advanced hybrid-electric drivetrain, the CR-Z might just be what's next for the hybrid world. The car packs a total of 122 horsepower from its 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and integrated electric motor, which work together to return 39 mpg highway. The 2011 CR-Z starts at $19,200.
Until Kia launched the 2010 Soul in late 2009, the Korean automaker hadn't exactly been known for stylish people movers. But with a reverse-rake roof, a tough front fascia and a youth-oriented interior, the 2010 Soul proved the carmaker could do cool. Buyers can option their Soul with any number of interesting interior patterns, including our personal favorite — houndstooth accents on the seats. With a base price of $13,300 and 30 mpg highway from an optional 2.0-liter 142-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, the Soul is small reimagined.
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I have been driving for quite a while, my first car was a 71 Plymouth Valiant which ran better on oil then gas, which was .56 a gallon. Over the last 30 years I have driven both domestic and foreign brands. Both had good and bad aspects, it is not fair to say stop buying this brand or that brand, if they are the superior choice both economically and quality wise.
I admit I just bought a 2011 Kia Soul, and turned in my Chrysler which was eating a hole in my checkbook with repairs. I could not be happier with the Kia - it has lots of room, gets great gas mileage.
So stop whining and do what you have to do for your own peace of mind. Most of those who complained about losing jobs and the government should go back to school because most can't even write and for God's sake there is even a Spell Check option.
Hey, no-like, you need to study your history some more. Ever hear of the ice age, it probably ended with global warming some 10000 years ago. Thank God for global warming, huh? BTW, I think most of you are exagerating your mpg nos.
What happened to the Ford Focus as an economyminded car?? Ihave a 2000 with just underr 120k that in three consecutive trips to South Carolina has averaged around 37MPG.. And, thats with/without air, highway/city incouded.
When you start using hybrids to figure gas mileage, you are missing point, Gas burners only should be listed..