1984 was a high-volume year for high-MPG cars in the USA, as the domestic and import manufacturers produced a range of cars that matched or exceeded the 40 MPG highway mark and met America’s thirst for fuel-thrifty vehicles.
General Motors was quite well represented among the domestic manufacturers. Buick offered the Skylark, Skyhawk, Regal, Century. Cadillac had the Cimmarron, while Chevrolet had the Chevette, Cavalier, Celebrity, and Citation, along with a 4-cylinder Camaro and S-10 Pickup. (GMC offered the S15 Pickup, as well.) Oldsmobile had the Cutlass Ciera, Firenza, Cutlass Supreme, and Omega. Pontiac was flush with high-MPG choices, including the 1000, 2000 Sunbird, two-seat Fiero, 6000 Wagon, and the four-cylinder Firebird.
Chrysler-Plymouth offered the Plymouth Colt, Colt Vista, Horizon, Reliant, and Turismo, along with the Dodge twins: Colt, Omni, Aries, Daytona, and Charger, and the tiny but unique Rampage Pickup. Ford’s 1984 highest MPG offerings consisted of the Escort, EXP, Laser and Tempo, along with the Lincoln-Mercury Lynx and Topaz.
The Japanese auto manufacturers sold boatloads of cars during 1984, with Honda’s Civic, Accord, and Prelude leading the way. Nissan hit its stride with the Pulsar, Sentra, 200SX, Stanza, and 2WD Pickups, while Toyota had the Starlet, Corolla, Tercel, Camry, and 2WD Pickup. Mitsubishi’s Precis (also sold as the Dodge and Plymouth Colt), Tredia, Cordia, and Pickup, met or exceeded 40 MPG highway, as did Mazda’s GLC, 626, and B2000/2200 Pickup. Subaru and Isuzu hit the mark, as well.
Among European manufacturers, Volkswagen was exceptionally prominent, with diesel models of the Rabbit, Quantum, and Jetta hitting or exceeding the 50 MPG mark. Knowing shoppers also found the Mercedes-Benz 190 in that same vaunted category.