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Fuel-Efficient Vehicles for Summer

BY: Alex Perrone

With the warm summer weather finally in full swing, getting out and planning your next road trip is likely at the top of your to-do list! However, your road trip will be far less enjoyable if you know you’ll need to pay exuberant sums of money for gas along the way. So whether you’re looking for a new car this summer or trying to figure out one to rent, knowing the most fuel-efficient vehicles can help you spend more time on the road and less at the gas station.

But, while electric vehicles and hybrids can help you save on rising gas prices and help reduce emissions, they aren’t in the same price range as your standard Toyotas, Hyundais, Nissans and Chevrolets of the world. That’s why finding a lower-cost, gas-powered vehicle with excellent gas mileage compared to plug-in hybrids, electric cars, or SUVs like you’ll find at Tesla, Rivian, or other automakers can be the best choice for you.

6 Fuel-Efficient Cars for Summer Road Trips

Having the right vehicle on any road trip can help make it one to remember. But with rising gas prices, having a fuel-efficient vehicle that still gives you the room and reliability you need for any trip can help you focus more on the fun and less on the pump.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): $29,880

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) Expert Rating: 3.6/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 24/Highway 34/Combined 28 mpg

Starting this list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles for this summer is the renowned Volkswagen Golf GTI, coming in with an impressive EPA estimated 34 mpg on the highway and a combined 28 mpg. But, along with great fuel economy, this gas-powered, manual transmission five-seater vehicle is known for its quick get-up speed and overall reliability. And with 241 horsepower at 5,000 RPMs powered by a 4-cylinder 2-liter turbo engine, this vehicle can get you anywhere you need to go, quick. Additionally, the 34.5 cubic feet of included cargo space makes bringing items with you a breeze. 


2022 Starting MSRP: $21,150

KBB Expert Rating: 4.0/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 28/Highway 36/Combined 31 mpg

With 155 horsepower and a maximum seating capacity of five people, the Mazda3 is an excellent choice of vehicle for this summer or any time of the year. And with a slightly higher overall expert rating than the Volkswagen GTI, you can rest assured knowing you’re riding in a reliable vehicle. The fuel tank has a capacity of 13.2 gallons which provides 28 mpg in the city or 36 mpg on the highway. However, pack light when traveling with the Mazda3, as you’ll only have about 13.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Still, when factoring in the fuel economy, the Mazda3 can be a great choice for solo adventures or shorter trips with friends or family. 


2021 Starting MSRP: $24,475

KBB Expert Rating: 4.2/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 26/Highway 35/Combined 29 mpg

While officially discontinued during the 2021 model year, the Mazda6, like the Mazda3, can be a great road trip vehicle of choice. With this car, you’ll find marginally less fuel economy with a slightly higher overall expert rating of 4.2 compared to the Mazda3. The seating capacity remains the same as the Mazda3 at five people, but the Mazda6 boasts extra horsepower at 187. While the standard model is a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine, a turbo-charged 4-cylinder upgrade option is available for purchase, giving you a boost to up to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. But, keep in mind that this jump in power will impact fuel economy, dropping to about 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Storage in the Mazda6 is less than other vehicles on this list at only 14.7 cubic feet, but it works great as a family vehicle for a quick road trip.

Toyota Corolla

A red Toyota Corolla parked outside.

2022 Starting MSRP: $20,425

KBB Expert Rating: 4.4/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 30/Highway 38/Combined 33 mpg

When it comes to any list of “best vehicles,” chances are you’ll find a Toyota on there, like the Toyota Camry or Rav4. But, even with highly-rated vehicles like that, it’s hard to beat the Toyota Corolla. After all, it’s one of the most popular vehicles on the road for a reason. With a combined 33 mpg and a whopping 38 mpg on the highway, few gas-powered cars are as fuel-efficient as the Corolla. Reliability is another big reason the Corolla should be at the top of your car buying list, coming in ranked first out of 36 other compact cars in its class by the experts at RepairPal.

Honda Civic

2022 Starting MSRP: $22,550

KBB Expert Rating: 4.7/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 27/Highway 40/Combined 35 mpg

Like the Corolla, few cars are as well-known and highly rated as the Honda Civic. And like the Corolla, the Civic thrives when it comes to helping drivers save when filling up the tank, thanks to some of the best fuel economy you’ll find in any vehicle, reaching as high as 40 mpg on the highway! And whether you get the sedan or hatchback, you’ll also know that you’ll be safe, as the Civic has a perfect 5.0/5.0 safety rating on KBB. It even comes with some excellent standard safety features, including 10 airbags, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and even collision mitigation braking. Space may be limited, though, when it comes to the things you can bring, as you’ll only have about 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Honda Accord

2022 Starting MSRP: $26,520

KBB Expert Rating: 4.7/5.0

Fuel Economy: City 30/Highway 38/Combined 33 mpg

Like its fellow Honda model, the Accord is an extremely reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle that offers an mpg of 30 in the city and 38 on the highway. Plus, you’ll get 192-horsepower compared to the Civics 158 when choosing the Accord, thanks to its 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine. You’ll also be able to seat five people and have a little more storage space than the Civic, with 16.7 cubic feet to go along with a 14.8-gallon fuel tank to ensure you have all the gas you’ll need on your trip.

How Endurance Can Protect Your Vehicle

Knowing you’ve got a fuel-efficient car during your next road trip can give you peace of mind regarding rising gas prices. But while having a fuel-efficient car can help you save at the pump, it’ll mean nothing if you have to deal with any unexpected and expensive repair bills. Instead, ensure your vehicle and your wallet are covered from expensive repairs with the help of an Endurance auto protection plan

Like your car’s factory warranty or an extended warranty from your automaker, each Endurance plan is designed to protect your vehicle’s most vital components, like the engine, transmission and more. But, unlike warranties or other protection plans from other providers, with Endurance, you can be certain that you’re getting award-winning coverage that can fit your budget, with plans starting at just $79/month. You’ll even automatically receive 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, trip interruption coverage and rental car reimbursements regardless of the level of coverage you choose. 

And unlike coverage from most automakers, which may limit you to just going to them for repairs, you’ll also be able to take your vehicle to any ASE Certified repair shop or mechanic for repairs, including your dealership. Each Endurance plan also makes you automatically eligible for a full year of Endurance Elite Benefits, including added perks and savings such as complete tire coverage, key fob replacements, collision discounts, and up to $1,000 in total loss protection.

To learn more about how Endurance can help protect you and your vehicle from expensive repairs, call a member of the Endurance customer care team at (800) 253-8203. Or, you can get started protecting your vehicle today by requesting a free, no-obligation quote. And don’t forget to visit the Endurance blog to find other informative and fun articles on topics like road trip planning guides, expert maintenance tips, extended warranty comparisons and more.

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