MPG-o-Matic 2011 Kia Sportage EX AWD Review Summary: The aggressively-styled 2011 Kia Sportage stakes out a bold space in the highly competitive five-seat crossover market. Sharing its platform with the Hyundai Tuscon, the Sportage plays the design card, and trumps the competition with features for the dollar. This one is stuffed with all the goodies, in a quest to one-up the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
Both the four-door Kia Spectra and five-door Spectra5 hatchback deliver solid gas mileage figures, with highway ratings cracking the magic 30 mile per gallon (MPG) highway mark. Kia’s known to offer a high value for the dollar ratio, and the compact Spectra series is no exception. A five-star crash rating from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Kia’s 10 year/100,000 warranty seal the deal.
The Kia Optima delivers solid gas mileage ratings for a mid-size sedan. A five-star safety rating, roomy interior, an affordable price, and highway estimates of 31 miles per gallon (MPG) for the four-cylinder version make the Optima an attractive choice for the value-conscious.
The Optima was introduced to America in the 2002 model year and was redesigned for 2006. The 2008 Optima is based on the Hyundai Elantra platform.
The 2008 Kia Optima can be fitted with one of two engines:
- 2.4 liter DOHC four cylinder engine, producing 162 horsepower (HP) and 164 foot pounds of torque, mated to a five-speed manual or five-speed electronically controlled Sportmatic transmission. Gas mileage ratings: 21 city / 31 highway MPG.
- 2.7 liter V6 engine, producing 185 HP and 182 foot pounds of torque, mated to a five-speed electronically controlled Sportmatic transmission. Gas mileage ratings: 20 city / 28 highway MPG.
The sub-compact Kia Rio is one of the most economical vehicles available in America today. The Rio’s true-entry level price and highway gas mileage figures in the mid-thirty mile per gallon (MPG) range make it the first choice for a growing number of budget-minded motorists.
The 2008 Rio is offered as a four-door sedan and a five door hatchback (known as the Rio5). Fitted with a 1.6 liter DOHC four cylinder engine that produces 110 horsepower (HP) and 107 foot pounds of torque, the front-wheel-drive Rio is equipped with either a five-speed manual or an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, each with overdrive.
While the US-spec Rio’s gas mileage ratings are impressive, there’s a whole lot more to come.
Abroad, the Rio can be equipped with a 1.5 liter common rail turbodiesel engine, producing 108.6 HP and 173.3 foot pounds of torque, with a 0-62 mile per hour time of 11.5 seconds. The European turbodiesel hauls down 49.6 urban / 68.9 extra urban miles per British gallon … that equates to roughly 41 city / 57 highway here in the States.
Kia is developing a hybrid version of the Rio, as well. When the rubber finally meets the road, the hybrid Rio just might be the least expensive hybrid available …
Need a four wheel drive with the best gas mileage? Get ready to downsize. None of the best gas mileage four wheel drives (4WDs) are jumbo-sized sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Simply put, the aerodynamics and vehicle weight of the bulkiest SUVs cause gas mileage to suffer, leading to many a painful transaction at the pump. The trick is to get small(er), lighter, and more slippery. Credit Subaru for getting the ball rolling with popularizing economical 4WD drive passenger cars in the early days. Since 1997, every vehicle Subaru’s offered in America has been all wheel drive.
These days, it’s not just Subaru. There are plenty of four wheel drive choices that are neither truck nor SUV. And forget the notion of pint-sized economy cars. You’ll find a generous helping of 4WD luxury from manufacturers including Audi, Volvo, Cadillac, and Lexus … in fact, you’ll find many of their offerings in the 2008 list of best gas mileage four wheel drives.
Purists will gladly share that there’s a difference between four wheel drive and all wheel drive (AWD). And surely there is … but for a great many folks, it comes down to two simple questions: will it go in the snow and will I go broke feeding it?
At the other end of the spectrum, the little Suzuki SX4 delivers plenty of bang for the buck, by combining the best four wheel drive gas mileage with a low sticker price (for those who don’t just think miles per gallon … but miles per dollar.)
Along with its corporate cousins, the Ford Escape Hybrid proves the exception to the rule as the highest all around mile per gallon (MPG) four wheel drive vehicle. If you can’t get a great deal on an Escape Hybrid at your local Ford dealer, take a look at the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. And if you happen to live in Southern California, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid HEV might be an option … as long as you’re able to snag one of the 350 Tribute HEVs built for this test market.)
2008 Best Gas Mileage Four Wheel Drives
- Audi A4
- Suzuki SX4
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Impreza
- Subaru Outback
- Jeep Compass
- Ford Escape Hybrid
- Jeep Patriot
- Subaru Forester
- Mazda Tribute Hybrid
- Mercury Mariner Hybrid
- Honda CR-V
- Volvo S60
- Volvo V50
- Volvo S40
- Toyota RAV4
- Cadillac CTS
- Cadillac STS
- Lexus IS 250
- Nissan Rogue