Like it or not, high gas prices are here to stay. Naturally, this uncomfortable reality has begun shaping our vehicle purchases. Mighty gas-chugging SUVs aren't the runaway sales titans they once were. In this revised landscape, the new heroes are perfectly ordinary hybrids and four-cylinder subcompacts, revered not for their looks or quickness, but rather, their frugality. If you're in the market for one of these models, you're in luck. We've put together a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient sedans currently sold in the U.S.
We arrived at our rankings using the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel. More specifically, we utilized the EPA's combined fuel economy formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating. The rating for each vehicle below is expressed in mpg as a city/highway ratio. All ratings apply to base models equipped with a manual transmission, except where indicated otherwise with an asterisk.
Each model was allowed only one appearance on the list. The exception to this rule is the Honda Civic, which appears twice as a result of being available in both gas-electric hybrid and regular gasoline versions.
1. Toyota Prius — 48/45*
On the market since 2001, the noble Prius has come to be definitive of the hybrid category. It takes top honors as the most fuel-efficient sedan on the market.
2. Honda Civic Hybrid — 40/45*
The Civic has built a huge following by offering poise and practicality at a reasonable price. The Civic Hybrid is an even better deal, taking these two traits and melding them with a hybrid's supreme frugality at the pump.
3. Nissan Altima Hybrid — 35/33*
Who says hybrids can't be fun to drive? The Nissan Altima Hybrid is a fuel-sipper that manages to offer an engaging experience behind the wheel. Keep in mind, though, that it's only available in eight states.
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid — 33/34*
The Camry stands as a benchmark family sedan. The Camry Hybrid offers everything that its four-cylinder sibling does, plus a money-saving hybrid engine.
5. Toyota Yaris — 29/36
Yaris sedans start at just over $12K, making them bargains both in terms of price and fuel-efficiency. The car's hallmarks are the versatility of its interior and its amenable handling.
6. Toyota Corolla — 28/37
With over 30 million models sold, the Corolla holds the distinction of being the best-selling car on the planet. It's also one of the most fuel-efficient.
7. Honda Fit — 28/34
The Fit's compact size means that parking in tight urban spaces is never a problem. Its reasonably sporty handling means that driving is never a chore.
8. Honda Civic — 25/36*
Behold the mighty Civic, titan of the small-car category. Its longstanding popularity comes on the strength of its spacious cabin, poised handling and superb safety ratings.
9. Nissan Versa — 27/33*
The Versa is one of the more impressive recent entrants in the subcompact category. For a starting price of just over $12K, it offers amenities usually found in luxury cars costing thousands more.
10. Kia Rio — 25/35*
The universally competent Rio has done a lot in terms of upgrading the image of both the Kia brand and economy cars in general. Its fuel-efficiency is icing on the cake.