Best Cars with Mpg Over 40

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Best Cars 40 Mpg Or Better

2018 Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is the most fuel-efficient gas-only car available in recent years. With its tiny 78-horsepower 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission, it sips an EPA-estimated 37 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. 

This little subcompact hatchback gives up a lot to get that efficiency, though. It’s painfully slow and noisy. And while it’s roomier than you might expect for such a small car, it won’t be your first pick for a family road trip. Still, it gets great gas mileage, and you may be able to find a 2018 model for less than $10,000. 

2018 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic only gets at least 40 mpg on the highway; even its most economical configuration – a sedan with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine – gets only 32 mpg on the EPA’s city-driving cycle. Still, this compact car (also sold as a coupe and hatchback) has a lot going for it beyond merely its superb efficiency on the open road. 

The Civic drives like a good small car, with a smooth ride yet agile handling. And it’s priced like a small car. But it has the generous rear legroom and big trunk of a mid-size sedan, adding further to the vehicle’s value quotient. Unlike a Mirage, you could use a Civic hatchback or sedan for a family road trip. And unlike a Mirage, it’s a car you can actually enjoy driving. On the other hand, you’d likely pay nearly $20,000 for a 2018 Civic with the 1.5-liter engine. 

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Even the base four-cylinder Camry can get nearly 40 mpg on the highway. But for maximum fuel savings, we’re turning to the Camry Hybrid. Its EPA ratings are as high as 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway on its base LE trim level, and even the rest of the lineup manages 44 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. 

What’s more, the Camry Hybrid is a great car to spend time in. It’s comfortable, quiet, smooth, and more agile and powerful than you might expect. You should find 2018 Camry Hybrids available in the low $20,000s. And if the idea of a fuel-sipping mid-size sedan sounds appealing, other competitors in 2018 included hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima. 

2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

As a luxury version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid brought extra panache to a fuel-sipping package. Quiet, stylish, well-finished, and amenity-laden, this mid-size luxury sedan is a strong value for the money.

The EPA estimates the vehicle will achieve 41 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. This means that, like many hybrids, you’ll get your best results in stop-and-go traffic rather than the open road. You should be able to find a well-equipped 2018 MKZ Hybrid for well below $30,000. 6

2018 Ford C-Max

Another useful family car with great gas mileage is the 2018 Ford C-Max. It’s a small but tall wagon, which gives it generous passenger and cargo space despite a relatively affordable price.  

For 2018, its final year on the market, every C-Max was a conventional hybrid with EPA ratings of 42 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. But if you choose a slightly older C-Max, you can also find a plug-in hybrid called the C-Max Energi. It was rated to travel up to 20 miles per all-electric charge. It only averaged 39 mpg after that range is used up — but on short trips, it won’t burn any gasoline at all. Expect to spend less than $20,000 for either choice.

2018 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius was the first truly successful hybrid, and it has remained famously fuel-efficient, spacious, and reliable throughout its two decades of existence. In 2018, it achieved EPA ratings of up to 56 mpg as a standard hybrid and an all-electric range of up to 25 miles as the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. 

2018 Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai Ioniq is a close rival to the Prius, another compact hatchback with a choice of hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations. The Prius is a bit roomier and might deliver more real-world mileage, while the Ioniq drives better, has a better infotainment system, and gets better EPA ratings.

It’s rated for up to 58 mpg as a standard hybrid and up to 29 miles of all-electric range as a plug-in hybrid. There’s even a fully electric Ioniq version with 124 miles of range per charge; at the equivalent of 136 mpg, it was the most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in 2018. Expect to pay less than $20,000 for any of the three 2018 Ioniq versions, though the conventional hybrid was the most popular and will be the easiest to find.

2018 Honda Clarity

The Honda Clarity is a futuristic-looking mid-size sedan that was sold as an all-electric car, a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, and a plug-in hybrid. We’ll focus on the plug-in hybrid, because the electric version had an unusually short range and the fuel-cell model relies on hard-to-find hydrogen fueling infrastructure. 

Fortunately, the plug-in hybrid is excellent, managing up to 47 miles per charge and then an EPA-estimated 42 mpg after that range is used up. That efficiency is particularly impressive given the Clarity’s generously spacious interior — a big advantage over the other high-range plug-in hybrid of 2018, the Chevrolet Volt. You’ll likely find one in the low $20,000s. 

2018 Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was the first widely popular electric car sold in the U.S. Since its debut in 2011, Nissan has continuously updated this small hatchback with improved range and new features. The 2018 model year also introduced the vehicle’s second generation, which brought crisper, more conventionally attractive styling than the more polarizing original. 

For 2018, every Leaf was rated to travel 151 miles per charge at the equivalent of 112 mpg. A quicker, longer-range Leaf Plus arrived the following year. You should be able to find a 2018 Leaf for as little as $15,000. 

2018 Tesla Model 3

Tesla has become the household name for electric vehicles, and the Model 3 compact sports sedan is the automaker’s most efficient, most affordable model. This high-tech luxury car is slickly designed and incredibly fun to drive, even if you choose its base version. 

Prices vary widely, but you should be able to find a 2018 Model 3 for well below $40,000. Range this year began at 260 miles per charge but reached up to 310 miles with an optional larger battery, and efficiency ranged from the equivalent of 116 to 130 mpg. You won’t save money by buying a luxurious Tesla over a gas-powered Honda Civic or a Toyota Prius hybrid, but it’s a fantastic sports sedan whose efficiency is a perk rather than a single focus. 

Best Used Cars With High Mpg

Cars With Mpg Over 40

Used Cars That Get 40 Mpg Or Better

Pandemic year or not, gas prices run on supply and demand. Those simple rules have again pushed up prices at the pump, leading many more Americans to once again think about fuel efficiency. 

Several unexpected things have driven the price hikes this time, including OPEC drama on the supply side, and a spike in demand due to a rapid recovery from the pandemic in the U.S. and elsewhere. Meanwhile, crude is at its highest price since 2014, creating quite the turnaround from the giveaway pricing just over a year ago. 

The higher prices are here to stay for some time. On Tuesday, the AAA announced that it anticipated the pump price will rise another 10 to 20 cents a gallon by the end of the summer. The price of regular gasoline now stands at a national average of $3.12 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s about 3 cents more than a week ago and 94.5 cents more than a year ago. In California, where prices often lead the nation, a gallon of gas was at an average of nearly $4.19. 

As we underscore often, fully electric cars offer both lower running costs and a green advantage, with lower carbon emissions that get stronger as the grid adds more renewable sources like wind and solar to the mix. But if plugging in isn’t yet a possibility, there are a number of widely available cars that achieve 50 mpg combined or more based on EPA ratings.

Probably the most pleasant surprise here is that they all sell for less than $30,000, well below today’s average new-vehicle price of about $41,000. 

We’ve included the current mix of 2021 and 2022 models that you’ll encounter at dealerships, noting what’s different for 2022 if it matters. 

Fuel economy and pricing are cited for the highest-mileage model from each lineup, with each model listed only once—although we’ve teased a few plug-in alternatives where relevant. Base prices are listed including mandatory destination fees. 

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Blue
EPA city/highway/combined mpg: 58/60/59
Base price: $24,405

The Ioniq beats the Prius at its own game, and from what we’ve seen, Hyundai’s hybrid system will outperform the Prius for highway mileage, and it’s more relaxed on the highway. For those who think they can plug in, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid SE starts at $27,705, not counting $4,543 EV tax credit eligibility. It can go 29 miles on a charge and its combined rating is 52 mpg versus 59 mpg for the Ionig Blue. As we’ve found, though, the plug-in returns about the same mileage as the Ioniq hybrid without a charge.

2022 Toyota Prius Eco
EPA city/highway/combined mpg: 58/53/56
Base price: $25,570

The current generation Prius is a little weird-looking,  But underneath the skin, Toyota made it a better car all around. It’s sportier than ever, and more efficient than anything else on the market in city driving. You can even get one with all-wheel drive and 50 mpg, or in plug-in Prime guise, with 25 all-electric miles and 54 mpg as a hybrid. The Prius maintains a strong reputation for longevity and reliability, though it’s lost some of its green-car luster as of late.

2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue
EPA city/highway/combined mpg: 53/56/54
Base price: $24,555

The redesigned Elantra looks loud enough to be seen, in this year of social distancing, while Elantra Hybrid versions pack a retuned (think sharper-responding) version of the same hybrid system in the Ioniq. Earlier this year, we easily topped 50 mpg in varied driving in a top-of-the-line Elantra Hybrid Limited.

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