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.