Please Note: This article was written prior to Hyundai and Kia readjusting fuel mileage downward on several models in early Nov. 2012. It has been changed to reflect the updated data.
High gas prices has car buying consumers paying special attention to the sticker affixed to every new car driver’s window. Not just the pricing part, mind you, rather the EPA mileage rating of these cars. Achieving 35 mpg is possible in cars ranging from subcompacts to midsize sedans and for the 2013 model year, quite a few models get at least 35 mpg with some topping 40, even 50 mpg on the highway.
The fuel mileage numbers here are estimates, figures supplied by automotive manufacturers and used by the EPA. Our focus is on highway mileage or what you would typically achieve when taking a long trip. Your local mileage will most likely come in much lower — what you achieve on your trip can vary depending on traffic and weather conditions as well as your driving habits. To achieve maximum fuel economy, use cruise control.
The smallest cars on the market are mini cars, or vehicles sometimes referenced as A-segment models. Until the Smart Fortwo arrived stateside in 2008, no minicar was sold in the United States. Three more models have since joined this segment: the Fiat 500, Scion’s iQ and the Chevrolet Spark. All four models get at least 35 mpg with the Fiat achieving 40 mpg on the highway, the Spark 38 mpg and Scion at 37 mpg. The 2013 Smart Fortwo is rated at 38 mpg highway. Cars in this class seat two, three or four people.
The B-segment or subcompact market is well represented and offers a variety of vehicles, typically sold in sedan or hatchback configurations. Seating up to five people, this segment includes the following models: Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda Mazda2, Honda Fit, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and others. Equipped with a diesel engine, the VW Golf gets 42 mpg on the highway. Every model mentioned here easily tops 35 mpg with some getting at least 40 mpg including Sonic and Versa.
Choose a compact car and you are most likely getting yourself a small sedan with room for five occupants. The C-segment is represented by all major manufacturers and includes the following cars: Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Mazda3, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and others. Across the board, vehicles in this segment achieve at least 35 mpg. A special gasoline version of the Cruze also gets 42 mpg to lead this segment. The Dodge Dart Aero is rated at 41 mpg highway as is the Volkswagen Beetle Diesel.
Known as family cars, midsize models are typically sedans although a few models such as the Honda Accord and Nissan’s Altima are also available in coupe configurations. Besides Honda and Nissan, vehicles in this D-segment include the Toyota Camry, Ford’s Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Buick Regal, Chrysler 200, the Hyundai Sonata, Kia’s Optima, the Volkswagen Passat and the Subaru Legacy. Some models in this segment offer both four and V-6 engine options. The best fuel mileage is with vehicles equipped with a four cylinder and the Nissan Altima is the segment leader here, delivering 38 mpg highway. Other models that get at least 35 mpg include the Volkswagen Passat diesel at 43 mpg and the Honda Accord at 36 mpg. Midsize sedans seat five people.
Hybrid vehicles, those that run on gasoline and electricity, typically get the best mileage of all cars on the market, excluding electric vehicles. More hybrids are sold today than ever before and include the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid rated at 40 mpg, the Ford C-MAX at 47 mpg, the Lexus CT 200h at 40 mpg, the Lexus HS 250h at 39 mpg and a host of Toyota Prius models including the Prius C making up to 50 mpg. The Toyota Camry Hybrid comes in at 39 mpg, the Ford Fusion Hybrid at 47 mpg, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid at 45 mpg and the Kia Optima Hybrid at 40 mpg. Choose the Honda Insight and your vehicle is rated at 44 mpg.
See Also — Top Tips for Getting Better Gas Mileage