Used Compact Cars With the Best Fuel Economy

With used cars in high demand and gas prices soaring, focus on these fuel-efficient and reliable 5-year-old models

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
2017 Honda Civic
Photo: Honda

Buying a well-maintained used vehicle can be a smart move because it has gone through the most significant part of the depreciation cycle by the time it’s 5 years old. This means you’ll get many of the modern convenience and entertainment features found in brand-new models but at a lower price.

Used cars are an even more compelling choice right now because of both the spike in fuel costs as well as the global shortage of the chips that has caused shipments of new cars to be delayed or coming in at lower-than-expected volumes.

To help steer you to the best choice, we’ve assembled a list of the most fuel-efficient 5-year-old compact cars. These are all traditional cars, no hybrids. (See the used hybrid sedans and hatchbacks with the best fuel economy.) All performed well enough in our tests to be recommended when new, and all have average or better reliability according to CR’s Annual Auto Surveys, where we ask CR members to tell us about what went wrong with their own cars.


These cars are also recent enough that their performance in our tests—such as acceleration, braking, and fuel economy—is on a par with brand-new models. Plus, many were available with active safety features such as forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), and blind spot warning (BSW) as either standard or optional equipment.

All of these models include our Green Choice designation, which highlights the vehicles with the cleanest emissions.

Armed with this data, which aren’t available anywhere else, you can narrow down the right used car for your needs.

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access this list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.