Aerodynamics are key to electric vehicle (EV) efficiency and driving range. The basic principle is simple; the lower the coefficient of drag (cD), the further you can travel per charge. The slickest cars follow nature. A bird that’s shaped like a brick cannot fly. Unfortunately, electric vehicle aerodynamics have taken a back seat to the whims of the market. In the quarter century since the introduction of the General Motors EV1, it’s 0.19 cD remains unrivaled.
Deciding which cheap new car to purchase can be a daunting task. It’s crucial to take your time, do your research, and look at the big picture. While we are largely focused on fuel economy here at MPGomatic, your purchase decision will include a range of considerations. The process can be highly emotional. The car you like best, might not make the most financial sense, for any number of reasons. If the car you fall in love with turns into a money pit, the honeymoon won’t last long.
Kelly Blue Book (KBB) crunched the numbers to determine 2018’s least expensive new cars “based on a full buy-drive-sell ownership cycle” (not just the purchased price). While some folks are most concerned with the monthly payment, the most important factors in KBB’s calculations include initial cost, finance rates, and five-year depreciation, as well as fuel costs. These are KBB’s picks’ not our favorites.
All of the vehicles on the list use conventional gasoline engines. Some worthy compacts and subcompacts oddly didn’t land on the list (including the Corolla, Yaris, Civic, Mazda3, Focus, and Fiesta) and there are no hybrid or diesel models due to the higher sticker prices. It comes as no surprise that all of the vehicles are front-wheel-drive. We’ll run through the list by order of fuel economy and include KBB’s listing order at the end of the article.
The 2017 model year offers a wide range of non-hybrid vehicles with an official EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mile per gallon (MPG) or more combined. The vehicles range from imported subcompact economy cars through outstanding domestics and luxurious European sedans. While the tiny Mitsubishi Mirage delivers maximum bang for the buck with a remarkably low sticker price and 39 MPG combined, it’s the new Chevrolet Cruze turbodiesel sedan that takes the crown on the open road, with a remarkable 52 MPG highway rating.
The list includes sedans, five-door hatchbacks, coupes, convertibles, small crossovers, an amazing all-wheel-drive (AWD) wagon, and a remarkable roadster with a lineage that spans the continents. You’ll find naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines, with a handful of amazing turbo-diesels. Need AWD? No problem! This group of 30 MPG+ vehicles proves that you don’t have to make any compromises to get great mileage these days and you don’t have to drive a hybrid. (Click here for a list includes hybrids (but not plug-ins).)
The list is split into multiple pages to speed download times. Video reviews will be included in the list over the course of the year, as the cars are road tested.
Choosing a first car is a right of passage. While the top two criteria for most parents are safety and affordability, teenagers on the other hand, are more focused on what’s cool. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) recently published a list of safe and affordable used vehicles for teenagers and we’ve taken it up a notch.
A first car should be safe above all, but it needn’t be boring. Grandma’s cast-off Buick LaCrosse may be safe and priced right, but it lacks a certain cache. That’s why we’ve poured through the list to find the ten most affordable and most appealing of the IIHS’ picks. Our criteria focused on affordability, with all models starting under $10,000, in addition to a preference for manual transmissions and all-wheel-drive. If you’re driving a manual, you’re not holding a cell-phone.
Our top eleven list (yes, our list goes to eleven!) includes imports, domestics, sedans, wagons and SUVs, but no small cars. The IIHS does not recommend any small cars for teenagers. Big is better when it comes to safety. We’ve included links to MPG reviews and fuel economy ratings in the list.
Turbocharging allows a small displacement engine to achieve significantly higher levels of horsepower (HP) and torque on demand, while delivering more miles per gallon (MPG) in light-load conditions. Once thought of purely from a performance perspective, forced induction technology has become a cornerstone of the march to higher fuel efficiency. You can have your cake and eat it too.
The top 15 list of highest combined MPG 2015 vehicles includes a mix of diesel and gasoline powered models, with the VW Jetta Hybrid taking the top spot. The Jetta Hybrid’s superior city fuel efficiency provides a significant advantage in tough traffic.