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Cheap High MPG Cars: 1983

1983 was another banner year for high-MPG cars in America, with both import and domestic auto manufacturers well-represented among the ranks of cars that eclipsed a 40 MPG highway rating.

The high-MPG imports were lead by the Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel at 50 city / 67 highway, the Datsun (Nissan) Sentra at 48/62, and the Honda Civic at 46/59. The top of the charts included the Toyota Starlet, Renault Alliance, Isuzu I-Mark, and the Audi 4000 Coupe.

American auto manufacturers hit a high point with the Chevy Chevette and Pontiac 1000 oil burners at an amazing 43/60. Mopar put in some very respectable numbers with the Dodge Omni, Dodge Charger, and Plymouth Horizon, along with the Dodge and Plymouth Colts (which were rebadged Mitsubishi Precis). Ford lagged a bit behind GM and Mopar, but still managed to put a good number of Escorts and EXPs over the 40 MPG highway mark.

Amazingly, there were de-engined pony cars in the group, with four-cylinder versions of the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird landing mileage rankings of 26/42. Z-28s and Trans-Ams, they weren’t.



1983 High MPG Gas Mileage Rankings

Year
Manufacturer
Model
Engine
Disp.
Trans.
City
Hwy
1983 Renault Alliance 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 37 51
1983 Renault Alliance 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 51
1983 Renault Alliance 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 37 52
1983 Renault Alliance 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 34 48
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 34 51
1983 Dodge Charger 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 34 51
1983 Plymouth Horizon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 34 51
1983 Plymouth Turismo 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 34 51
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 52
1983 Dodge Charger 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 52
1983 Plymouth Horizon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 52
1983 Plymouth Turismo 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 52
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 1.7 liter (M4) Manual 32 50
1983 Dodge Charger 4 cylinder 1.7 liter (M4) Manual 32 50
1983 Plymouth Horizon 4 cylinder 1.7 liter (M4) Manual 32 50
1983 Plymouth Turismo 4 cylinder 1.7 liter (M4) Manual 32 50
1983 Chrysler Lebaron 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 47
1983 Dodge Charger 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 41
1983 Dodge Charger 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Dodge Aries 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 41
1983 Dodge Aries 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Dodge Aries Wagon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 28 41
1983 Dodge Aries Wagon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Dodge 400 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Plymouth Horizon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Plymouth Horizon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 47
1983 Plymouth Turismo 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 41
1983 Plymouth Turismo 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 45
1983 Plymouth Reliant 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 29 41
1983 Plymouth Reliant 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Plymouth Reliant Wagon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 28 41
1983 Plymouth Reliant Wagon 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Dodge Rampage Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 47
1983 Plymouth Scamp 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 28 47
1983 Dodge Rampage Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 28 42
1983 Plymouth Scamp 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 28 42
1983 Dodge Rampage Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 27 40
1983 Plymouth Scamp 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 27 40
1983 Dodge Rampage Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 27 45
1983 Plymouth Scamp 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 27 45
1983 Ford Escort 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Ford EXP 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Ford Escort Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury LN7 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 25 44
1983 Ford Escort 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Ford EXP 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Ford Escort Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury LN7 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 29 42
1983 Ford Escort 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Ford EXP 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Ford Escort Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury LN7 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Ford Escort 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 33 47
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 33 47
1983 Ford Escort 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 29 44
1983 Ford EXP 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 29 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury LN7 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Lynx Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 28 44
1983 Ford Mustang 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Ford Fairmont Futura 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Ford LTD 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Capri 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Zephyr 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Lincoln-Mercury Marquis 4 cylinder 2.3 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Ford Ranger Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 33 41
1983 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 30 42
1983 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 31 46
1983 Pontiac 1000 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 30 42
1983 Pontiac 1000 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 31 46
1983 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 37 46
1983 Pontiac 1000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 37 46
1983 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 42 59
1983 Pontiac 1000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 42 59
1983 Chevrolet Chevette 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 43 60
1983 Pontiac 1000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 43 60
1983 Buick Skyhawk 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 25 41
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 25 41
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 25 41
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser Wagon 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser Wagon 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 25 41
1983 Pontiac 2000 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Pontiac 2000 Wagon 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier Convertible 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 26 40
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier Convertible 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 25 41
1983 Chevrolet Cavalier 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M4) Manual 30 49
1983 Pontiac 2000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 31 52
1983 Buick Skyhawk 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Buick Skyhawk 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Buick Skyhawk Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Buick Skyhawk Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Pontiac 2000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Pontiac 2000 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Pontiac 2000 Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Pontiac 2000 Wagon 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 28 46
1983 Pontiac 2000 Convertible 4 cylinder 1.8 liter (M5) Manual 26 43
1983 Pontiac 6000 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (A3) Auto 25 41
1983 Buick Skylark 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M4) Manual 27 42
1983 Chevrolet Citation 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M4) Manual 27 42
1983 Oldsmobile Omega 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M4) Manual 27 42
1983 Pontiac Phoenix 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M4) Manual 27 42
1983 Chevrolet Camaro 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Pontiac Firebird 4 cylinder 2.5 liter (M5) Manual 26 42
1983 Buick Century 6 cylinder 4.3 liter (A3) Auto 26 42
1983 Chevrolet Celebrity 6 cylinder 4.3 liter (A3) Auto 27 42
1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 6 cylinder 4.3 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Pontiac 6000 6 cylinder 4.3 liter (A3) Auto 28 43
1983 Chevrolet S10 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 1.9 liter (M5) Manual 29 43
1983 GMC S15 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 1.9 liter (M5) Manual 29 43
1983 Chevrolet S10 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 33 43
1983 Chevrolet S10 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 34 45
1983 GMC S15 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M4) Manual 33 43
1983 GMC S15 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 34 45
1983 Grumman Olson Kubvan 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (A3) Auto 36 40
1983 Grumman Olson Kubvan 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 40 45
1983 Grumman Olson Kubvan 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 40 45
1983 Honda Civic 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 39 49
1983 Honda Civic 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 46 59
1983 Honda Civic 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 46
1983 Honda Civic Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 46
1983 Honda Accord 4 cylinder (A4) Auto 29 40
1983 Honda Accord 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 32 45
1983 Isuzu I-Mark 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 44 54
1983 Isuzu I-Mark 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 39 50
1983 Isuzu PUP P/U 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 28 40
1983 Isuzu PUP P/U 2WD 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 38 49
1983 Isuzu PUP P/U 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 36 46
1983 Isuzu PUP P/U 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 36 45
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 40 55
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 40 47
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 48 62
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 44 61
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Wagon 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 38 45
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 42 58
1983 Datsun Nissan Pulsar 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 30 40
1983 Datsun Nissan Pulsar 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 33 46
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 35 48
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 50
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Wagon 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 35 48
1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 50
1983 Datsun Pulsar 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 35 50
1983 Datsun 810 6 cylinder (A4) Auto 28 42
1983 Datsun 810 6 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 43
1983 Datsun 810 Wagon 6 cylinder (A4) Auto 28 42
1983 Datsun 810 Wagon 6 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 43
1983 Datsun Nissan Stanza 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 31 45
1983 Datsun Nissan Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 31 43
1983 Datsun Nissan Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 33 40
1983 Renault Fuego 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 26 40
1983 Renault 18 I Sedan 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 27 40
1983 Renault 18 I Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 27 40
1983 Renault Fuego 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 27 40
1983 Renault Lecar 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 33 45
1983 Dodge Colt 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 39 53
1983 Dodge Colt 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 35 45
1983 Plymouth Colt 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 39 53
1983 Plymouth Colt 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 35 45
1983 Mitsubishi Precis 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 39 53
1983 Mitsubishi Precis 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 35 45
1983 Dodge Colt 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 32 43
1983 Plymouth Colt 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 32 43
1983 Mitsubishi Precis 4 cylinder (D4) Manual 32 43
1983 Mitsubishi Cordia 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 33 48
1983 Mitsubishi Tredia 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 33 48
1983 Mitsubishi Truck 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 34 45
1983 Mitsubishi Truck 4WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 40
1983 Colt Colt Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 34 45
1983 Dodge RAM50 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 34 45
1983 Colt Colt Pickup 4WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 40
1983 Dodge Power RAM50 Pickup 4WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 40
1983 Ford Laser 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 31 40
1983 Ford Laser 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 34 41
1983 Ford Laser 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 36 50
1983 Mazda GLC 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 31 40
1983 Mazda GLC 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 34 41
1983 Mazda GLC 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 36 50
1983 Mazda 626 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 29 41
1983 Mazda GLC Wagon 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 30 40
1983 Mazda GLC Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 40
1983 Ford Courier Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 32 40
1983 Mazda B2000/B2200 Pickup 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 32 40
1983 Toyota Starlet 4 cylinder 1.3 liter (M5) Manual 44 57
1983 Toyota Starlet 4 cylinder 1.3 liter (M4) Manual 42 54
1983 Toyota Tercel 4 cylinder 1.5 liter (A3) Auto 32 40
1983 Toyota Tercel 4 cylinder 1.5 liter (M4) Manual 39 50
1983 Toyota Tercel 4 cylinder 1.5 liter (M5) Manual 34 48
1983 Toyota Tercel Wagon 4WD 4 cylinder 1.5 liter (M5) Manual 32 42
1983 Toyota Corolla 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (A4) Auto 32 42
1983 Toyota Corolla 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 36 47
1983 Toyota Corolla 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 43
1983 Toyota Corolla Wagon 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M5) Manual 33 43
1983 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (A4) Auto 31 43
1983 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder 2.0 liter (M5) Manual 32 44
1983 Toyota Truck 2WD 4 cylinder 2.2 liter (M5) Manual 33 40
1983 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 37 47
1983 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 42 53
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 36 47
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 43 56
1983 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 36 47
1983 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 43 56
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 35 44
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 48 61
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 43 56
1983 Volkswagen Quantum 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 32 42
1983 Volkswagen Quantum 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 41 50
1983 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 32 42
1983 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 41 50
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 31 43
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 43
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 29 43
1983 Volkswagen Scirocco 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 29 43
1983 Volkswagen Jetta 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 43
1983 Volkswagen Quantum 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 29 42
1983 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 29 41
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 32 45
1983 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 cylinder (S4) Auto 50 67
1983 Volkswagen Pick UP 2WD 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 42 50
1983 Volkswagen Pick UP 2WD 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 40 49
1983 Volvo 760GLE 6 cylinder 2.4 liter (M4) Manual 28 40
1983 Audi 4000/Coupe 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 39 52
1983 Audi 4000/Coupe 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 38 50
1983 Audi 4000/Coupe 4 cylinder (A3) Auto 34 46
1983 Audi 4000/Coupe 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 31 47
1983 Subaru Subaru 4 cylinder (M4) Manual 32 41
1983 Subaru Subaru 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 32 45
1983 Subaru Subaru 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 44
1983 Subaru Subaru Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 44
1983 Subaru Subaru 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 43
1983 Subaru Subaru Wagon 4 cylinder (M5) Manual 30 44
1983 Dodge Omni 4 cylinder 1.6 liter (M4) Manual 33 51

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14 comments ↓

#1 Mike on 05.29.08 at 11:03 pm

Ok, I need to know if these mpg rates are accurate. (I’m trying to settle an argument.) I owned a 1981 Ford Escort LX and I recall getting 49 MPG on the highway WITH air conditioning on and an autmatic trans. (I bought it in 1983 and owned it untill it “gave up the ghost” due to BAD mechanics whom I allowed to work on it.) What I am trying to find out is if my memory is faulty OR if these older “tin cans” got the MPG I remember? I had a friend-coworker who owned a Chevette and I recall he indicated similar mileage. If this was true then, what the hell happened?

Thanks, and input/feedback would be welcomed! 8-)

#2 Trev on 12.19.08 at 1:02 am

I dont know that I would trust these numbers…The claim that a 1983 Ford Courier got 40 MPG HYW, but the Ford Courier was replace with Ford Ranger in 1982. So i’d like to see the ’83 Courier?!?!

#3 mpg-o-editor on 12.19.08 at 8:40 am

@ Trev – The Courier was a rebadged Mazda B2000 … if you look at the numbers, they’re similar. While the Courier was phased out in ’83, Ford might have submitted for EPA numbers as a hedge.

#4 Daniel on 01.20.09 at 9:40 pm

I’ve had a few high MPG cars in my time: 81 Izusu Diesel P/UP 35mpg, 84 Honda CRX 33/47mpg, 85 Nissan Sentra 29/42mpg, 94 Ford Escort Wagon (auto)28/38mpg.

Currently I have a 94 Ford Escort Wagon (5 spd) 32/40mpg, 83 Mazda B2200 diesel 35/52.
The 94 Escort Wagon was recently stolen. It was the car I liked the best because of comfort(space) and good mpg. Next best was the Sentra hatchback, as I could sleep in the back, i’m small. It handled well even after front end accident. And got good mpg. Shouldn’t of gotten rid of. She also had a removable sun roof, and rear wing windows you could open from the front while driving. Never really needed the a/c.

I too am very ashamed with the auto manufactures getting worse MPG than in the eighties, than nineties too.

#5 Buy Cheap Cars! on 02.07.09 at 9:01 am

[...] Cheap Cars: 1983 1983 was another banner year for inexpensive high-MPG cars in America, with both import and domestic auto manufacturers well-represented among the ranks of cars that eclipsed a 40 MPG highway rating. [...]

#6 raggz on 04.30.12 at 12:17 pm

I dont know where you got these figures, but almost ALL of them are greatly exagerrated. No way all these vehicles got in the 40′s, and as professional car guy I know what Im talking about.

#7 mpg-o-editor on 04.30.12 at 12:29 pm

@raggz – Are they greatly exaggerated? That’s an interesting thought … They’re EPA numbers.

I’ve started to collect OEM marketing materials and magazine advertising from this period. The ads appear to back up these numbers, from what I’ve seen so far.

Here’s an example …

The most fuel-efficient Mazda GLC is listed at 36 city / 50 highway. I’m looking at a two-page full color advertisement for the 1984 Mazda GLC in the October 10, 1983 issue of Sports Illustrated.

The advertisement shows 49 EST HWY MPG / 35 EST MPG.

Crazy, eh?

I will be producing a video about this in the near future … stay tuned …

#8 Madmatan on 10.19.12 at 1:24 pm

I don’t know if these numbers are completely spot on. I have an 1988 horizon 2.2 auto with 76,000 miles and I get 24mpg city and 34 mpg hwy. I would love to get 40

#9 mpg-o-editor on 10.19.12 at 1:52 pm

@Madmatan – these are the original official unadulterated numbers (which may have been aggressively rated by the manufacturer). What’s your average highway cruising speed?

It looks like the original 165/80-13 tire size is no longer available. A change in tires can effect mileage.

One more thing to keep in mind … there was no ethanol content in gasoline back in those days. The little things can add up …

#10 Madmatan on 10.19.12 at 2:01 pm

I’m not entirely sure if my speedo is right on. But I would say 55-65 depending on the speed limit. If I go 70 or higher I lose milage. It runs good. But it’s an old car so maybe a tune up would help improve milage. Do you think it can get better milage?

#11 Madmatan on 10.19.12 at 2:08 pm

I think I lose milage too because its a automatic transmission and not a standard transmission.

#12 mpg-o-editor on 10.19.12 at 2:09 pm

@Madmatan – A tuneup couldn’t hurt. Spark plugs are cheap. :) You could try switching to a synthetic oil. And it might be cool to swap for low-rolling-resistance tires, too (the next time you need tires) … need to find out if anything LLR is available that will fit the current wheels.

#13 Uncle Rodge on 01.28.13 at 5:52 pm

I would say that these ratings are right on! I bought a 1983 Plymouth Scamp pickup purely on the fact of it being listed on this website! It has a 2.2 with a 5 speed and is listed on this website as obtaining 28 city, 47 highway and that is what is also listed in the factory dealer brouchure that came with it! Not only do I get 28-29 all day long in the city with it, I have taken it on several out of state highway trecks and have gotten as high as 52mpg!!!! I found the trick to be staying at 55mph and some lucas in the tank and these cars still get what they claimed years ago. Thank you so much for this site as I would have never even known this car existed without it!

#14 mpg-o-editor on 01.31.13 at 2:27 pm

Great to hear, Uncle Rodge! Highway cruising speed is a huge factor, no doubt about that.

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