Still avoiding making the jump to hybrid or electric? Here are the most fuel efficient cars you can buy in 2020.
Car companies haven’t been relying on their hybrid and electric offerings to get their fleets to the government mandated emissions targets. Instead, they’ve been working diligently across their line ups on steadily improving efficiency in many of their traditional gas engines.
And that work has borne new standards for fuel efficiency. So much so that a lot of non-hybrid offerings are within spitting distance of their hybrid variants. Take the Camry’s highway numbers as an example: 53 mpg for the hybrid, 41 mpg for the non-hybrid.
If you’re not ready to take the hybrid plunge (and add an average $2,500 to the cost of your new vehicle) here are the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars in 2020.
Stylish can come in many forms. In the case of the Accent good taste comes in triplicate, upscale design, prudent affordability, and a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that provides a zippy ride without sapping your gas tank. The new CVT improved on already impressive gas mileage numbers, now topping out at 33 city and 41 highway (the manual slips a bit to 29/39). The Accent SE starts at just $16,125.
There’s good news and great news about the Civic. The good news is you can get 32 city and 42 highway with the Civic. The great news is you get that from the more powerful 1.5L turbocharged engine (making 174hp and 162lb.-ft. of torque). You will have to pay a little more for your Civic, as the 1.5L comes in the higher EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. The Civic EX starts at $23,950.
The Camry is the best-selling car for the past two decades for a reason, many reasons in fact. The Camry has consistently hit that sweet spot of affordability and quality, year in and year out. And the latest generation improved the looks of the Camry by leaps and bounds. Another axis on which the Camry has built its greatness is efficiency, with the 2.5L 4-cylinder making 205hp and getting a fuel efficiency rating of 29 city and 41 highway. The Camry L starts at $24,425
Sadly, this will be the final year for the Honda Fit in the US. But it turns out the Fit has been Honda’s best kept secret, as this compact car is arguably the best value, dollar-for-dollar, you’ll find in any automotive segment. It leads subcompacts in interior room, provides great visibility with its large windows (it rivals the Subaru Forester in airiness), a bevy of safety (adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring) and tech features (7-inch touchscreen), oh, and great gas mileage with 33 city and 40 highway mpg. The Fit LX starts at $17,145.
We mentioned the Camry’s improved looks but the latest incarnation of the Elantra is even more snazzy. That’s not all that’s new for the Elantra in 2020, it also gained a CVT lending greater fuel efficiency and, on the Eco variant, a stop/start mode further improves mpg to 33 city / 41 highway. The Elantra Eco starts at $21,250.
With the Corolla hatchback you get a pleasant ride, the improved practicality of a hatchback, and an engaging driving experience. You’ll also find an 8-inch touchscreen along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Corolla hatchback comes standard with a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine paired with a CVT. This configuration provides 32 city and 41 highway mpg. The Corolla SE hatchback starts at $21,420.
Another perennial favorite, the Accord runs neck-and-neck with the Toyota Camry as one of the longest running and successful nameplates on the road. And today, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, more well-rounded sedan than the Accord. From design to interior quality to drivability and affordability, the Accord really does cover any and all the bases. The excellent fuel economy is just one of many strong suits for the Accord with 30 city and 40 highway mpg. The Accord LX starts at $24,270.
You might have heard about Kia gaining serious street cred thanks to new hits like the Telluride, but it’s not just big Kia’s big SUVs that impress. The compact Kia Rio is a great combination of fun driving dynamics, affordability, and stellar safety (it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick). It’s also great when it comes to fuel efficiency, getting 33 mpg in the city and 41mpg on the highway. The Rio LX starts at $15,750.
Thoroughly updated for 2020, the Nissan Versa makes a strong case for itself as one of the best deals around. A new look, inside and out, adds stylishness. The Versa is also one of the most generous when it comes to safety tech with driver assistance features like pedestrian detection, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warnings all coming standard. And then there’s the fuel efficiency, another strong point at 32 city and 40 highway mpg. The Versa S starts at $14,730.
Another subcompact hatchback, another champion at getting more for your money, both in terms of sticker price and fuel. The Mirage may not be the strongest in terms of tech, comfort, or driving excitement, but while it may lack refinement it makes up for it with the best gasoline mpg you can find a subcompact at 36 city and 43 highway mpg. It’s also one of the most affordable new cars around. The Mirage ES hatchback starts at just $13,995.