NMA Article: The 16 Most Fuel-Efficient New Cars
By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist
Gas prices are putting the hurting on us all — but you can ease the pain at the pump if you’re driving one of these:
1) 2008 Smart For Two
The Smart is a two-seater designed principally for in-city driving. Its small size makes it very easy to park in tight spaces and ideal for negotiating busy urban traffic environments. Its unusual “short and tall” styling will also draw lots of attention. However, its two-seater configuration and minimal (8 cubic foot) cargo capacity limits its day-to-day practicality - while its standard three-cylinder, 70 horsepower engine lacks sufficient reserve power for extended highway driving.
MSRP: $11,590 (Pure coupe w/manual transmission)
EPA mileage: 33 city/40 highway
2) 2008 Toyota Yaris
The Yaris is Toyota’s smallest, least expensive - and most economical car. It is available in both three-door hatchback and sedan configrations. Though smaller than traditional subcompacts, the Yaris is still viable for general use and not limited to in-city driving like the Smart car. Its standard 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine has adequate power (103 hp) for highway driving and there is room inside for four people - although backseat occupants will find the space a little tight. Of all the so-called “B cars” that began appearing last year (including the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa) the Yaris is the most economical (by several MPGs) and also has the lowest base price.
MSRP: $11,350 (hatchback coupe with manual transmission)
EPA mileage: 29 city/36 highway
3) 2008 BMW Mini Cooper
The Mini Cooper is something of an oddball in that it’s among the most economical new cars you can buy yet also extremely appealing on an emotional level. People buy this car as much for its gas mileage as they do its outsized personality and retro-themed styling. Like the original Mini of the 1960s, the current car is much larger on the inside than you’d expect from the outside and can comfortably accommodate occupants well over six feet tall up front. The back seats are less roomy - but still serviceable for kids. For 2008, the Mini range has been expanded with a new wagon-like Clubman model that offers almost twice the cargo capacity with the same high fuel efficiency as the standard coupe.
MSRP: $18,050 (coupe with manual transmission)
EPA mileage: 28 city/37 highway
4) 2008 Scion xD
The xD is a new Scion model that replaces the slow-selling xA. It’s a five-door hatchback aimed at younger buyers - and so has a distinctive cube-like exterior shape and available high-end audio/entertainment equipment on the inside - including an integrated GPS/stereo system with flat panel display and jacks for hooking up external accessories such as iPods. Audio and video files can be downloaded an played on the system. The youth-oriented Scion is also sportier than may cars in this segment thanks to its standard 18. liter, 128 horsepower engine. Like all Scion models, the xD may be personalized with a variety of dealer-installed optional equipment, including a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) performance exhaust system that bumps up the output of the xD’s engine by approximately five more horsepower.
MSRP: $14,550 (hatchback sedan with manual transmission)
EPA mileage: 27 city/33 highway
© 2008 NMA