Best new cars for fuel economy can help restylers see what may sell

Jun 9, 2011

With high pump prices, Consumer Reports named the best cars for fuel economy of those recently tested by the magazine in its own real-world fuel economy tests. Also listed are the ones that got the lowest mpg in each class.

“Hybrid and diesel vehicles provide better fuel economy than conventional cars, but they usually cost more to buy and, as gas prices rise, the pay-back time gets shorter,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. “All-wheel drive usually reduces gas mileage by about 2 mpg while a manual transmission can improve fuel economy by 1 to 2 mpg.”

The article also features a list of the best used cars for fuel economy.

Below are recommended models in six categories that provide the best fuel economy. To be recommended, they met Consumer Reports’ requirements for test performance, reliability and safety. So, not only do they provide excellent fuel economy for their class, but they’re solid overall choices. The full list of vehicles is available in the magazine’s July issue. All the reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.

· Best Subcompact car: for fuel economy: (pictured) Honda Fit $16,020, 30 mpg; Worst in class: Chevrolet Aveo LT: 25 mpg.

· Best Small Wagons and Hatchbacks: Volkswagen Golf TDI (Diesel, manual), $24,764, 38 mpg; Worst in class: Scion xB, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport (AWD):23 mpg

· Best Small Sedans: Toyota Corolla LE, $18,404, 32 mpg; Worst in class: Subaru Impreza 2.5i, 24 mpg

· Best Family Car: Toyota Prius IV (Hybrid), $24,750, 44 mpg; Worst in class: Ford Fusion SEL (V6, AWD), Chevrolet Impala LTZ (V6), Mazda6 V6: 20 mpg

· Best Upscale/ Sports Sedan: Lexus HS 250 h (Hybrid), $38,939, 31 mpg; Worst in class: Lincoln MKZ: 20 mpg

· Best Small SUV: Ford Escape Hybrid, $32,575, 26 mpg; Worst in class: Dodge Nitro SLT (3.7 liters), Jeep Liberty Sport 16 mpg