Fuel economy is an important factor to consider when buying a new car, even when gas prices are down. History has shown that they won't stay that way forever. Many conventional cars today offer impressive fuel economy, especially in contrast to what you may be trading in. Further, alternative powertrains offer an increasing array of choices, with diesels, electrics, and hybrids each carrying appeal for different drivers.  

Measuring fuel economy is among our more than 50 tests we conduct on each car we purchase. Our fuel economy numbers are derived from a precision flow meter and are rounded to the nearest mile per gallon (mpg).

CR's overall mileage is calculated from equal portions of city and highway driving.

Below, we spotlight the top most fuel-efficient cars based on the overall fuel economy test results, omitting electric cars. Complete test results can be found by clicking through to the model pages.

See our list of the 10 most efficient SUVs.


Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

In our tests the Prius returned 52 mpg overall, a significant improvement over the previous generation's 44 mpg. Plus, the new car handles more responsively and rides more comfortably. Colorful digital gauges dominate the dashboard with abundant fueleconomy information. The touchscreen infotainment system is fairly straightforward. The sensible Prius has always been about efficiency and low running costs. The car can drive solely on electric, usually up to about 25 mph, and the engine is now quieter when it kicks in. But the seats have mediocre support, tire noise is noticeable, and the car's lower stance makes it a challenge to get into and out of. Forward-collision warning and automatic braking are standard.

Read the complete Toyota Prius road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Toyota Prius Three

52

43

59


Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq

The Ioniq is the first direct challenger to the Toyota Prius. Evoking the Prius silhouette and hatchback configuration, the Ioniq hybrid matches it as a fuel sipper with 52 mpg overall. Power comes from a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine which, paired with the electric drive, puts out a combined 139 hp. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission isn't the smoothest, and there's some delay off the line. Like other hybrids, it can drive on electric power at low speeds. Handling lacks agility, and the ride is a bit unsettled but unobjectionable. The SEL comes with a power seat for an affordable price. A number of safety features, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot warning, are available. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is standard. There are also plug-in and fully electric versions. 

Read the complete Hyundai Ioniq road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Hyundai Ioniq

52

42

60


Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

The Prime is a plug-in Prius that can usually drive about 23 miles on electricity only. But the gas engine tends to start up in cold weather and under full-throttle acceleration. It takes 2 hours to charge the Prime through a 240-volt connector and 5 hours on a regular 120-volt. When not running in EV mode, the Prime operates much like the regular Prius, alternating between electric and gas power, returning 50 mpg overall. With styling that's slightly different from that of the regular Prius, the Prime can hold only four passengers, and it loses the rear wiper. The infotainment system, with its large touch screen, is unintuitive to use. The compliant ride and responsive handling are quite similar to those of the regular Prius. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist.

Read the complete Toyota Prius Prime road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Toyota Prius Prime

133*/50**

38**

62**

  1. * = MPGe, ** = MPG on gas engine only

Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry Hybrid

The redesigned Camry brings snazzier styling and slightly more nimble handling while retaining its comfortable, quiet demeanor. It again stands as one of the best midsized sedans. The lower stance makes access a bit more difficult, and the rear seat has lost some roominess. The standard 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine provides ample power and gets an impressive 32 mpg overall. A 3.5-liter V6 is also available. Both are paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission that isn't supersmooth. A very frugal hybrid LE gets 47 mpg overall without any sacrifice in trunk space. The Entune infotainment system is capable but lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility. Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, but blind-spot warning is optional.

Read the complete Toyota Camry road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Toyota Camry Hybrid

47

39

53


Toyota Prius C

Toyota Prius C

This smaller, less expensive alternative to the regular Prius feels like a spartan subcompact with a hybrid powertrain. In the end, you pretty much get what you pay for, and it is no substitute for the real Prius. The C has a harsh ride, a noisy engine, and slow acceleration. The interior looks and feels cheap, the driving position and rear seats are cramped, and there's little cargo space. But its 37 mpg in city driving makes the Prius C one of the most frugal vehicles we've tested, and its 43 mpg overall is just 1 mpg less than the previous-generation Prius hatchback. Its tiny dimensions make it a natural for urban driving. Automatic emergency braking is standard. Note that 2018 is the final year for the Prius C.

Read the complete Toyota Prius C road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Toyota Prius C Two

43

37

48


Kia Niro

Kia Niro

Kia's five-passenger Niro marries good fuel economy with cargo versatility. This frontwheel- drive hybrid uses a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, which, in conjunction with the electric drive unit, puts out a combined 139 hp. This combo is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Having the lithium-ion battery located under the rear seat creates a flat cargo floor when the rear seats are folded. We got 43 mpg overall, which is good but not as impressive as the Hyundai Ioniq or Toyota Prius. The handling lacks agility, and the ride is a bit choppy. The optional power driver seat provides better support than the standard seats. A suite of advanced safety features is available, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning, but that tends to push the price to above $30,000.

Read the complete Kia Niro road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Kia Niro EX

43

33

52


Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Swoopy styling and modern powertrains are highlights of Chevrolet's Malibu. The car is competitive among midsized sedans, with a quiet cabin and easy-to-use controls. In tests we found the Malibu to be quiet, with a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Two four-cylinder turbo engines are offered: a 1.5-liter with a six-speed automatic—which got 29 mpg in our tests—and a more powerful and refined 2.0-liter backed by an eight-speed automatic. A hybrid, utilizing some of the Chevrolet Volt's technology, is also available. It got an impressive 41 mpg overall in our tests. Up front is a roomy, comfortable cockpit and an updated version of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. But the cloth seats are a bit short on support. The rear seat is roomy, so long-legged passengers can stretch out.

Read the complete Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

41

33

49


Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Cruze

The Cruze possesses big-car qualities, such as a comfortable ride and a quiet interior. The standard engine is an unobtrusive 1.4-liter, turbo four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A smooth start/stop feature reduces fuel use during idling; we got 30 mpg overall in our tests. The diesel model returned an impressive 41 mpg overall and an outstanding 60 mpg on the highway. The infotainment system features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which mirror some of your smartphone icons on the screen. The rear seat is relatively roomy for the class, but the front seats are short on lower-back support. A variety of advanced active safety features are available, but only on the top-trim Premier version.

Read the complete Chevrolet Cruze road test

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Chevrolet Cruze LT Diesel

41

27

60


Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Fusion is a delight to drive, with a supple ride and nimble handling reminiscent of a European sports sedan. All trim levels and powertrains feel solid and upscale, with a well-finished and quiet cabin. We found the optional leather seats to be more supportive than the cloth ones, and the rear seat is somewhat snug. The 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinders are powerful enough, but neither has competitive fuel economy. A new high-end version, the Sport, is equipped with all-wheel drive and a 325-hp, 2.7-liter V6. It is quick, comfortable, and quiet, but it costs more than $40,000. The Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid were updated with more-efficient electric motors. A rotary shift dial and Ford's improved Sync 3 infotainment system highlight the updates to the interior. 

Read the complete Ford Fusion Hybrid road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Ford Fusion Hybrid SE

39

35

41


Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

This competitive sedan was freshened for 2018 and retains its excellent rear-seat room, easy cabin access, and userfriendly controls. Handling is taut and secure, but the ride is on the firm side and is no longer as comfortable as it used to be. The base 2.4-liter, fourcylinder engine is coupled to a smooth six-speed automatic that returns 28 mpg overall in our tests. A more powerful 2.0-liter turbo mated to an eight-speed automatic is optional. The Eco uses a 1.6-liter, turbo four-cylinder paired with a seven-speed automated manual. Outward visibility is a strong point. Blind-spot warning is standard, and forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are optional. Plug-in and hybrid versions are available; the latter returned an impressive 39 mpg overall in our tests. The generous interior makes for a very pleasant sedan.

Read the complete Hyundai Sonata road test.

Make & Model

Overall MPG

City MPG

Highway MPG

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

39

31

46