The 12 Most Affordable Fuel-Efficient New Cars

Forget the buzz about hybrid and electric cars. For the budget conscious, these are your best buy new cars.
drive greenThese 12 models each get 30 mpg or better, and cost less than $17,500 – including the cost of a year’s worth of fuel.

1 of 12

2011 Hyundai Accentfuel efficient cars

Cost: $9,985
Fuel economy: 30 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,479
Total first-year cost: $11,464

The most affordable car for the first year of ownership thanks to its under-$10,000 MSRP, the Hyundai Accent gets a respectable 30 mpg. Compared to a 20 mpg car, a 30 mpg car will save the average driver $888 a year, based on gas prices of $3.52 per gallon.

Note: Costs in this feature are based on MSRP. Fuel cost estimates are from fueleconomy.gov, a site run by the EPA and Department of Energy.

 

2 of 12 Fuel efficient cars

2011 Kia Rio

Cost: $12,295
Fuel economy: 31 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,434
Total first-year cost: $13,729

An affordable car that gets generally solid reviews, the Kia Rio won’t impress car-snob friends, but it will get you where you need to go. The manual transmission gets 30 mpg combined fuel economy, versus the automatic transmission’s 31 mpg.

 

affordable fuel efficient cars 2011
3 of 12

2011 Smart Fortwo Coupe

Cost: $12,490
Fuel economy: 36 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,339
Total first-year cost: $13,829

With 41 mpg in the city, and a size that can squeeze into the most challenging parallel parking spaces, the Smart Fortwo remains a favorite among big city dwellers on a budget.

 

 

 

4 of 12

2011 Toyota Yaris

fuel efficient cars

Cost: $12,855

($13,615 for the sedan)

Fuel economy: 32 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,390
Total first-year cost: $14,245

The subcompact hatchback or sedan doen’t perform quite as well with an automatic transmission, but still get 31 mpg combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 of 12

2011 fuel efficient cars

2011 Ford Fiesta

Cost: $13,320
Fuel economy: 33 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,345
Total first-year cost: $14,655

The automatic 2011 Ford Fiesta gets 1 better mpg than its manual counterpart.

 

 

6 of 12

affordable fuel efficient cars

2011 Mazda 2

Cost: $14,180
Fuel economy: 32 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,390
Total first-year cost: $15,570

Only the manual-transmission Mazda 2 makes our list; the automatic Mazda 2 achieves only 29 mpg.

 

 

fueal efficient low cost cars

7 of 12

2011 Hyundai Elantra

Cost: $15,000
Fuel economy: 33 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,345
Total first-year cost: $16,345

“If your two most important criteria are value and fuel economy, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra represents the better choice,” our reviewer writes in his comparison of the Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus.

 

 

 

 

 

8 of 12

affordable fuel efficient vehicles

2011 Kia Forte Eco

Cost: $14,995
Fuel economy: 30 mpg
Annual fuel cost: $1,479
Total first-year cost: $16,474

The Kia Forte Eco isn’t big on flash, but it joins the growing list of solid affordable small sedans on the market.

 

 

 

 

 

9 of 12

low cost fuel efficient cars

2011 Honda Fit

Cost: $15,100
Fuel economy: 31 mpg
Annual Fuel Cost: $1,730
Total first-year cost: $16,830

Long a standout in a small field, the Honda Fit still represents a smart buy in a growing field of small affordable cars.

 

 

 

 

 

10 of 12

affordable fuel efficient cars 2011

2011 Nissan Sentra

Cost: $15,520
Fuel economy: 30 mpg Annual fuel cost: $1,479
Total first-year cost: $16,999

With none of the buzz of the electric Nissan Leaf (our choice for greenest new car), the venerable Sentra nonetheless represents a more affordable option, though without some of the style points of other cars in its class. The automatic transmission achieves better fuel economy than the manual transmission, which gets just 24 mpg.

 

 

 

 

11 of 12

cheap fuel efficient cars

2012 Fiat 500

Cost: $15,500
Fuel economy: 33 mpg*
Annual fuel Cost: $1,345*
Total first-year cost: $17,123*

While the Fiat 500 has been available in Italy for years, it’s returning to the U.S. as part of Chrysler’s lineup in 2011. Check out our Fiat 500 review.

* = Approximate

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 of 12

affordable fuel efficient cars 2012

2012 Ford Focus

Cost: $16,000
Fuel economy: 33 mpg*
Annual fuel cost: $1,345*
Total first-year cost: $17,345*

It doesn’t come with apps, like its electric cousin, but “for an amazing combination of fuel economy, value, customizability, and performance, the 2012 Ford Focus is the overall winner,” our reviewer writes in his comparison of the Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus.

* Approximate

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Daily Green

With oil price skyrocketing (over $120/barrel today), the recent and imminent fuel price hikes, if you are in the market for a new car (that’s affordable), the aforementioned makes and models deserve some consideration.  South Africans will recognize some of the above cars too.  South Africa could possibly see petrol at R15/litre in the coming months- an incentive to drive green (see Top 10 ten ways to use less fuel)  and/or purchase fuel efficient cars.

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