.

1982: A Banner Year for High MPG Cars

There’s no question that the gas crisis of the 1970s spurred the automakers into action, as the 1982 model year bustled with high mileage cars. Small cars that eclipsed 40 miles per gallon on the highway weren’t the exception in 1982 … they were the norm … with a good number of cars breaking the magic 50 miles per gallon mark.

The Japanese automakers lead the way, with the Isuzu I-Mark, Toyota Starlet, and Honda Civic all hitting the magic 50 MPG mark.

Mopar had more than its fair share of fuel-thrifty 50+ MPG vehicles in the 1982 model year, in stark contrast to today’s lineup. Dodge’s 1982 Omni and 024 got the groceries with a thimble full of gas, as did their 1982 Plymouth Horizon and TC3/Turismo stablemates.

While many of the General Motors economy cars built in this time period were truly forgettable, there was no end to the selection, with a host of GM vehicles beating 40 MPG highway, not just from Chevrolet, but from Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and yes … even Cadillac.

The Cadillac Cimmeron is perhaps the most unlikely of the GM offerings … who could possibly recall that there was a Caddy that pulled down 40 MPG on the highway?




Fuel Efficient 1982 Cars

Year Manufacturer Model Engine Disp. Trans. City Hwy.
1982 DODGE OMNI 4 1.7 M4 35 52
1982 DODGE 024 4 1.7 M4 34 51
1982 PLYMOUTH HORIZON 4 1.7 M4 35 52
1982 PLYMOUTH TC3/TURISMO 4 1.7 M4 34 51
1982 DODGE OMNI 4 2.2 M4 24 40
1982 PLYMOUTH HORIZON 4 2.2 M4 24 40
1982 FORD EXP 4 1.6 M4 29 46
1982 LINCOLN-MERCURY LN-7 4 1.6 M4 29 46
1982 FORD ESCORT 4 1.6 M4 28 44
1982 FORD ESCORT WAGON 4 1.6 M4 28 44
1982 LINCOLN-MERCURY LYNX 4 1.6 M4 28 44
1982 LINCOLN-MERCURY LYNX WAGON 4 1.6 M4 28 44
1982 CHEVROLET CHEVETTE 4 1.8 A3 36 43
1982 CHEVROLET CHEVETTE 4 1.8 M5 40 55
1982 CADILLAC CIMARRON 4 1.8 A3 25 41
1982 CADILLAC CIMARRON 4 1.8 M4 26 42
1982 CHEVROLET CAVALIER 4 1.8 A3 25 41
1982 CHEVROLET CAVALIER 4 1.8 M4 26 42
1982 CHEVROLET CAVALIER WAGON 4 1.8 A3 25 41
1982 CHEVROLET CAVALIER WAGON 4 1.8 M4 26 42
1982 PONTIAC J2000 4 1.8 A3 25 41
1982 PONTIAC J2000 4 1.8 M4 26 43
1982 PONTIAC J2000 WAGON 4 1.8 A3 25 41
1982 PONTIAC J2000 WAGON 4 1.8 M4 26 42
1982 BUICK SKYHAWK 4 1.8 A3 27 41
1982 PONTIAC J2000 4 1.8 A3 27 41
1982 PONTIAC J2000 WAGON 4 1.8 A3 27 41
1982 OLDSMOBILE FIRENZA 4 1.8 A3 27 41
1982 BUICK SKYLARK 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 BUICK SKYLARK 4 2.5 M4 26 41
1982 BUICK CENTURY 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 CHEVROLET CITATION 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 CHEVROLET CITATION 4 2.5 M4 26 41
1982 CHEVROLET CELEBRITY 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 OLDSMOBILE OMEGA 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 OLDSMOBILE OMEGA 4 2.5 M4 26 41
1982 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS CIERA 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 PONTIAC 6000 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 PONTIAC PHOENIX 4 2.5 A3 25 40
1982 PONTIAC PHOENIX 4 2.5 M4 26 41
1982 BUICK CENTURY 6 4.3 A3 26 42
1982 CHEVROLET CELEBRITY 6 4.3 A3 26 42
1982 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS CIERA 6 4.3 A3 27 44
1982 PONTIAC 6000 6 4.3 A3 27 44
1982 CHEVROLET S10 PICKUP 2WD 4 1.9 M4 28 40
1982 GMC S15 PICKUP 2WD 4 1.9 M4 28 40
1982 HONDA CIVIC 4 1.3 M4 35 44
1982 HONDA CIVIC 4 1.3 M5 39 53
1982 HONDA CIVIC 4 1.5 M5 34 45
1982 HONDA CIVIC WAGON 4 1.5 M5 34 44
1982 ISUZU I-MARK 4   M4 41 51
1982 ISUZU I-MARK 4   M5 39 50
1982 ISUZU P’UP PICKUP 2WD 4   M5 33 44
1982 CHEVROLET LUV PICKUP 2WD 4   M5 33 44
1982 DATSUN 810 6   M5 30 42
1982 DATSUN 810 WAGON 6   M5 30 42
1982 DATSUN 210 4   M5 30 44
1982 DATSUN 210 WAGON 4   M5 29 42
1982 DATSUN 310 4   M4 32 45
1982 DATSUN 310 4   M5 31 45
1982 DATSUN NISSAN SENTRA 4   M5 33 48
1982 DATSUN NISSAN SENTRA WAGON 4   M5 31 45
1982 DATSUN NISSAN STANZA 4   M5 30 44
1982 RENAULT LE CAR 4   M4 29 40
1982 RENAULT 18 I 4   M4 29 41
1982 DODGE COLT 4   M4 38 47
1982 DODGE COLT 4   D4 34 45
1982 PLYMOUTH CHAMP 4   M4 38 47
1982 PLYMOUTH CHAMP 4   D4 34 45
1982 DODGE COLT 4   D4 31 41
1982 PLYMOUTH CHAMP 4   D4 31 41
1982 MAZDA GLC 4 1.5 M4 34 44
1982 MAZDA GLC 4 1.5 M5 35 46
1982 MAZDA GLC WAGON 4 1.5 M4 30 41
1982 MAZDA GLC WAGON 4 1.5 M5 31 43
1982 MAZDA B2000/B2200 PICKUP 2WD 4 2.2 M5 32 40
1982 TOYOTA STARLET 4   M5 37 51
1982 TOYOTA COROLLA TERCEL 4   M4 34 47
1982 TOYOTA COROLLA TERCEL 4   M5 32 45
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   A3 34 45
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   M5 42 55
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM 4   A3 32 41
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM 4   M5 38 50
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM WAGON 4   A3 32 41
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM WAGON 4   M5 38 50
1982 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT 4   M4 30 42
1982 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT 4   M5 28 42
1982 VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO 4   M5 28 41
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   M5 28 42
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM 4   M5 28 41
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM WAGON 4   M5 28 40
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM 4   M5 36 50
1982 VOLKSWAGEN QUANTUM WAGON 4   M5 36 50
1982 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT 4   A3 37 47
1982 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT 4   M4 45 58
1982 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT 4   M5 43 59
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   A3 37 47
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   M4 42 53
1982 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 4   M5 43 59
1982 DATSUN PICKUP 2WD 4   M4 42 49

Search MPGomatic

.

Similar Posts

.

16 comments ↓

#1 Frank Lee on 11.18.07 at 7:55 pm

Keep in mind that the EPA figures from that time period were very optimistic, and even the careful, sensible driver would have a tough time averaging what the EPA claimed. The next generation of EPA figures was, in my experience, very attainable. Don’t confuse them with the very latest EPA “adjustment” of economy figures, which I think rewards bad driving behavior by “legitimizing” the poor fuel economy gotten by driving like an azz.

#2 Mike Kamm on 10.06.08 at 11:06 am

Very well said Frank!

#3 Tim on 12.26.08 at 11:43 am

I would like to see any celebrity, 6000, century, or ciera have a 4.3 crammed under the hood. this engine was never put in these vehicles. I owned three or four of these. I also have a ’82 rabbit diesel m5 and get no where near 59 mpg. where are you getting your info?

#4 mpg-o-editor on 12.26.08 at 11:54 am

@Tim Our condolences on having owned three or four of GM’s worst cars. :) We’re not pulling this stuff out of thin air … we work from the official stats.

FWIW, Wikipedia lists the 4.3L in the ’82 Ciera and 6000.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile_Ciera
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_6000

What kind of mileage are you getting on the highway in your Rabbit at 55 MPH?

#5 Bob L on 01.16.09 at 1:13 pm

The 4.3L in these cars was a completely different engine than the gas 4.3L. I do beleive it was based on a gas powered V8 Oldsmobile block like the 6.2L. I could be wrong though.

#6 Clif G on 02.18.09 at 8:14 pm

I had a 1982 1.5L Honda Civic Hatchback that I bought in 1991 when it had 150K miles on it (For $1100.00). I know at least for that model that the mileage listed is very much in the ballpark. Even after 10 years and 100K+ miles.

#7 Mike Davis on 05.25.09 at 11:24 pm

Buying a 82 Toyota pickup : )

#8 Lenny on 04.03.10 at 12:08 pm

So what happened to derail all this progress? Were the auto and oil companies in cahoots? I know the auto companies like to tell us that they were just responding to public demand for power and performance but don’t believe that any more than I believed the Tobacco industry’s addition of addictive ingredients was a public mandate.
I guess the new low efficiency standards to be met by 2016 (which are lower than those already reached in 1982!) relies on a strategy of collective amnesia.

#9 Guy on 04.24.11 at 8:14 am

I owned a 1978 Dodge Omni with a five speed manual transmission. On the highway, 55mpg was normal…For the sake of asking the question, why can’t we replicate the technology. I would buy two tomorrow if someone would make one.

#10 Guy on 04.24.11 at 8:43 am

Hello, me again. I decided that I would help my three children to acquire them as well. Wouldn’t that stimulate the economy, and reduce dependency on foreign oil.

#11 mpg-o-editor on 04.24.11 at 9:32 am

@Guy – The drop in mileage between then and now is largely due to increased vehicle weight. The ’78 Omni probably weighed in around 2,000 lbs. The 2011 Honda Civic, for the sake of comparison, can be as high as 2,800 lbs or so. The added weight of airbags and other safety features has taken its toll on fuel economy. That said, an increasing number of current vehicles are capable of 40 MPG or better on the highway … many of which are not hybrids. Check into the Ford Fiesta and Focus, Chevy Cruze Eco, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, and Passat TDIs …

#12 Guy on 04.24.11 at 9:43 pm

Thank you…That makes sense.. Great website. Keep up the good work.

#13 mpg-o-editor on 04.25.11 at 8:16 am

@Guy – Thanks!

#14 HL_guy on 05.03.11 at 10:10 am

I had the ’82 Nissan Stanza Wagon 5-speed, it definitely could get well over 40 mpg on pre-gridlock CA freeways. Furthermore, it was no Chevette- it was comfortable, if not particularly roomy, and had some nice features (sunroof, fog lights). It was nice going over 400 miles on $10 worth of gas.

#15 eric on 11.18.11 at 3:51 am

None of these cars could ever get this kind of mileage today, because of the **** for gas we have now. I own a 1993 Ford Festiva and to get 57 MPG I had to put racing plugs & wires, K&N filter system, & use 5.25 oz. of Lucas gas treatment in every full tank. Plus a power chip that gave me from 63 hp to 107 . It has a 5 spd trans. It also has 404,652 miles on it. These cars are awesome. I have owned 13 of them: 3 auto,s, 2-4 spd’s, 8-5 spd’s. The most I ever paid for one is $400, my wife & I figure we have saved in 28 yrs. $500,000 in gas alone. Changed oil & filter every 3500 miles. I also owned a 1982 Dodge Omni Miser 1.7 liter, 75 hp. 5 spd. Best mileage 45! Thank you.

#16 mpg-o-editor on 12.07.11 at 12:21 pm

Had to turn comments off for a bit, to foil the bots. Stay tuned …

.

.