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Top Used Cars That Get the Best Gas Mileage

BY: Adam Karner
Mom and dad are loading things into the car to prepare for a trip

With gas prices fluctuating and nearly everything getting more expensive, many Americans are looking for ways to save money wherever possible. One of the most common ways people like to save money is by finding a fuel-efficient used car.

Compared to new cars, a used car usually means a lower payment and a fuel-efficient car can save you money each time you fill it up. Here, we’ll look at some of the top used cars with the best gas mileage.

Criteria for Selecting Fuel-Efficient Used Cars

The first step in selecting a fuel-efficient used car is to determine what type of car you need. For most, a truck will be out of the equation due to the bad fuel efficiency nature of trucks. While some gas-sipping SUVs exist, those looking for higher MPG vehicles will shop for compact cars or midsize sedans. Consider what you will be using your vehicle for and how much space you need to make shopping for a car much easier.

Choose the Engine Size

Once you decide on the type of car you want, you must determine what engine size to go with. A larger engine means you will get more power and performance, but it will come at the expense of fewer miles per gallon. You will want to find a fuel-efficient V6 or a 4-cylinder engine for maximum fuel efficiency. Consider the vehicle’s size as well since some larger sedans might be more fuel-efficient with a larger motor.

Research the Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency

Now that you have the type of car and engine you want, it’s time to start researching the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Vehicle manufacturers and the EPA will give cars an MPG rating based on city and highway driving. Consider where you will be driving your vehicle to get a good average of the expected fuel mileage of the car.

Consider the Maintenance Record of the Vehicle

Lastly, consider how well the car was maintained up until this point. Fuel mileage is greatly affected by how well the car is maintained, so you will want to find a vehicle that was taken care of. When a car is not adequately maintained, internal engine components can get coated in sludge, causing more friction and slower function, decreasing the motor’s efficiency. This affects your fuel mileage and can cause your engine to become damaged.

Top 5 Compact Cars with Excellent Fuel Economy

Honda Civic

As one of the most famous used vehicles for fuel efficiency, the Honda Civic is a solid choice for those looking to save money on gas. Honda has an excellent reputation for being one of the most fuel-efficient automotive manufacturers, and the Civic is at the top of the list due to its compact size, affordability, and fuel efficiency. Offered in both coupes and sedans and with a 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder option, you can get one in just about any configuration.

Toyota Corolla

Another big contender when it comes to fuel efficiency and reliability is Toyota. Toyota’s most popular compact car that gets excellent gas mileage is the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla has 2- and 4-door options with a 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder configuration to give you plenty of options. While the Corolla doesn’t have much room, it is excellent for those looking for a smaller commuter car for 1-2 people.

Kia Forte

In 2008, Kia replaced the popular Spectra with the Kia Forte, a fuel-efficient compact car with sporty looks. The Forte was offered in two-door coupes, four-door sedans, and five-door hatchbacks to give you plenty of options. This front-engine, front-wheel-drive Kia provided plenty of room in all configurations, making it an excellent choice for those who wanted great fuel economy and a spacious interior.

Honda Insight

Jumping over to the hybrid/electric side of the spectrum, the Honda Insight offers superior fuel mileage thanks to its hybrid engine. As the lease-expensive hybrid became available in the US in 2009, Honda saw great success with their affordable, high fuel-mileage Insight. The Insight was offered from the model years 2000-2006, 2010-2014, and 2019-2022. It has an impressive 70 MPG highway and 61 MPG city.

Toyota Prius

Introduced in the Japanese market in 1997, the Toyota Prius is one of the most famous hybrid vehicles in the world. The hybrid engine allows the vehicle to switch from its gasoline engine to its electric motor for optimal fuel consumption. Over the years, Toyota has expanded its Prius lineup to include various models.

Best Used Cars for Gas Mileage Efficiency

Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular midsize cars for getting the best gas mileage. You can save money on gas in manual and automatic transmissions and various trims while getting everything you want from a midsize vehicle. The Camry has been popular among car owners looking for good fuel economy since the mid-1980s.

Honda Accord

For those who are fans of the Honda Civic but are looking for a little more room, the Honda Accord offers a more spacious interior and more powerful engine options, all while retaining excellent fuel mileage. The Honda Accord was offered in both 2-door and 4-door options, and you could choose from 4-cylinder and V6 options.

Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is a sleek midsize sedan offered in various trim levels to give just about everyone a version that fits their needs. With good gas mileage, you can enjoy gas savings while having enough room to travel comfortably with four people. The Sonata has always been known to take some styling cues from sportier Hyundai models, which helps make this vehicle a popular choice among midsize vehicle shoppers. The Hyundai Elantra is another great choice for those wanting to stick to a Hyundai vehicle.

Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevy Malibu is an excellent midsize vehicle that gets higher-than-average fuel economy. The Malibu also has trim levels that add some luxury car features, making it a perfect choice for those looking for nicer amenities. The newest Malibu offers an EPA-estimated 28 city and 36 highway with its 1.5L four-cylinder engine.

Kia K5

Replacing the Kia Optima as the most popular mid-size vehicle the manufacturer offers, the K5 offers a sporty look while retaining excellent fuel economy. The Kia K5 was introduced in 2021 and was designed to combine the value and sensibility that the Optima was so well known for but with a much more interesting exterior look. While many mid-size, fuel-efficient vehicles looked the same and had basic features, the K5 brought a new look that appealed to a broader audience.

Preowned SUVs Worth Considering

Ford Escape

Ford’s most popular compact crossover, the Escape, debuted in 2001 at the height of the crossover craze. Offering over 30 mpg combined, the Ford Escape allowed you to get plenty of passenger and cargo room while still maintaining fuel mileage comparable to a compact car. If you are in the market for a new car, the 2024 Ford Escape will offer 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota makes another appearance on our list with their popular hybrid car compact crossover, the RAV4 Hybrid. The gas-only RAV4 is a top-rated SUV, making the fuel-efficient Hybrid a no-brainer for those looking to get excellent fuel economy with all of the amenities of the RAV4. As a smaller version of the full-size SUV 4Runner, the RAV4 offered a smaller size, better fuel economy, and a cheaper price tag.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Another Toyota SUV worth considering is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. This gas-sipping SUV boasts an impressive 35 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, making it more fuel-efficient than most compact cars. It is offered in a front-wheel and all-wheel-drive setup for those who want to take their Highlander off-road. With a roomy interior and plenty of cargo space, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is perfect for families looking for one of the most fuel-efficient cars.

Nissan Rogue

In 2008, Nissan released the Nissan Rogue, a compact crossover SUV offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive models. The Rogue has seen significant sales numbers over the years, reaching its peak in 2019 with over 350,000 units sold. Thanks to its excellent fuel economy, industry-leading safety features, and powerful 1.5L and 2.5L engines, the Rogue has become very popular for those looking for an SUV with excellent fuel economy.

Honda HR-V

The last SUV on our list is the HR-V, a subcompact crossover from Honda. The HR-V has been a consumer favorite, entering its third generation of production, and is offered in gasoline and electric options. While the Honda HR-V does not have a ton of horsepower, it does offer good fuel economy for its size, coming in at an EPA-estimated 26 city and 32 highway.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in the Used Car Market

Understanding Hybrid Vehicles

A hybrid vehicle is often misunderstood or mislabeled as an electric car. However, a hybrid is adequately named due to the combination of the electric motor and gasoline engine it uses for power. Hybrid vehicles use these two power sources to use the gasoline engine when needed for more power and torque and then switch over to the electric motor for less power-demanding driving. This allows you to get more miles per gallon from your vehicle.

What Makes a Vehicle Electric?

Vehicles labeled as electric vehicles, or EVs, only contain an electric motor for its powertrain. These vehicles are not measured by miles per gallon but by range. The range is the miles they can go on a single charge. Since most electric vehicle owners will have a charger built into their home or garage, they can quickly charge their vehicles at night, meaning they get a full charge by morning. Used electric vehicles are a great option for those looking to save money on gas, as it is considerably cheaper to charge an electric vehicle when compared to filling up a vehicle with gasoline.

Enhancing Fuel Efficiency: Maintenance and Driving Habits

No matter what type of vehicle you choose, you must ensure you are keeping up with regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently. Poor maintenance can cause a decrease in fuel economy and overall vehicle performance. Sticking to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule can help ensure that your vehicle is maintained on time and that vital components are being replaced at the correct interval.

Drive Efficiently For Better Fuel Economy

Adopting good driving habits is another great way to get better fuel economy. By driving efficiently, you can get better gas mileage than driving aggressively. You can do this by going the speed limit, avoiding hard accelerations, and using cruise control. Fuel economy will vary depending on where you are driving, but driving efficiently can help you get the best fuel economy no matter where you are.

Protect Your Investment with an Extended Warranty

Once you have narrowed your search to the perfect used car with excellent fuel efficiency, you will want to protect that investment for years. Just like regular maintenance, taking care of repairs promptly can help keep your car running at its best.

Due to age and current conditions, used cars are more susceptible to unexpected breakdowns. Depending on the repair needed, you can expect to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a single trip to the repair shop. You can get protection from unexpected repairs with an extended warranty, more accurately known as a vehicle service contract, from Endurance.

Endurance offers customizable auto protection plans, allowing you to find the perfect one that fits your budget and coverage needs. To help with routine maintenance, the Advantage plan offers up to $3,500 in yearly maintenance coverage, including oil changes. This can help you save money on unexpected repairs while ensuring your essential maintenance services are taken care of to keep your fuel economy as high as possible.

Get started with an auto protection plan by requesting a FREE quote or calling (800) 253-8203 to speak to an Endurance team member. You can also shop our online store for instant pricing and coverage details.

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