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.
Once upon a time, exceptional fuel economy and all-wheel-drive (AWD) were mutually exclusive automotive attributes. But with today’s highly efficient hybrid, turbo-diesel, and conventional drivetrains it’s a whole new ballgame. As the song goes, the times, they are a changing, and forty miles per gallon (MPG) on the highway is a reality if you choose a diesel-powered vehicle.
Let’s take a look at the ten most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles of 2018.
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.
On March 31st, Tesla unveiled their fourth car, the Model 3* to an unprecedented response. Before the tarp was pulled off the Model 3, over 100,000 customers lined up to reserve a car, sight unseen. Tesla’s first “affordable” boasts a base price of approximately $35,000, 215 miles of range and a 0-60 MPH time of six seconds. As of this writing, more than 250,000 reservations have been taken.