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Hybrid boosters have done wonders for fuel economy. We can easily point to the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid and their greater-than-50 mpg ratings. But that doesn’t mean that traditional gas-powered cars don’t get stellar mileage ratings. In fact, these five cars manage to equal, or even beat, many hybrid cars’ mileage ratings, and they’re not pint-sized penalty boxes on wheels.

These are the five most fuel-efficient cars on the road today that don’t have a hybrid booster.

The 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage gets 36 mpg

A yellow Mitsubishi Mirage driving
Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback | Mitsubishi

Don’t let the little Mirage’s size, or its puny three-cylinder engine, dissuade you. This car isn’t fast, but it does reward the patient among us with stellar fuel economy. It earns a combined 36 mpg from the EPA. But where the Mirage shines is not just in its low price of just under $18,000, but its standard safety features. Unlike other small cars in this class, it comes standard with collision mitigation, a pedestrian detection system, and a lane departure warning is optional.

The Mirage comes in two versions, the hatchback called the Mirage and a traditional four-door sedan, called the G4. The G4 is bigger and heavier, and that means it suffers a two-mpg hit. The Mirage was last all-new in 2012, but Mitsubishi has kept the styling fresh with an update in 2019 that brought it in line with modern Mitsubishi designs.

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra gets 37 mpg

Front view of 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, U.S. News best hybrid car for the money, not 2023 Toyota Prius
2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid | Hyundai

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra seems to defy physics. This is a surprisingly large car, with a peppy 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine, yet it still earns an EPA combined rating of 37 mpg. What did the magicians at Hyundai do to earn that high rating? They started with slippery styling, and a continuously carriable transmission, or CVT, that keeps the engine in the sweet spot for economy.

The Elantra starts at about $22,000. If you want even better fuel economy, an Elantra Hybrid is available that will get 54 mpg combined. However, it’s hard to justify the $4,000 premium over the already well-equipped gas-powered car.

The 2023 Honda Civic gets 36 mpg

A gray 2023 Honda Civic Touring sedan on an open road.
2023 Honda Civic Touring | Honda

Honda made the Civic one of its most versatile cars. From the monster Civic Type R that can play track-day hooligan car, to the fuel-sipping base model, there’s a Civic for any need. The base model comes with 158-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, but step up to the EX and you get a powerful, at least in this class of car, 180-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. That gives it some pep compared to its rivals, but the turbo helps the car get 37 mpg combined, which beats the base car’s 33 mpg combined rating.

But the civic is more than just an economy car. The EX comes with heated seats, a moon roof, dual-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It also comes with a host of driver’s assistance aids, like road departure warnings and a collision mitigation system for about $27,000.

The 2023 Kia Rio gets 36 mpg

A blue 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan model driving through an urban city.
2023 Kia Rio | Kia America

The 2023 Kia Rio is Kia’s entry-level car and it competes on price with the Mitsubishi Mirage. But, it gets a much more powerful 120-horsepower 1.6-liter engine that, while not a speed demon, does make quicker work of highway onramps. For $16,750 you get a lot in the Rio, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and power windows and locks, and Kia’s 10-year warranty.

Like the Mirage, it too has a bevy of driver’s aids, including lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, and a driver attention warning system.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla gets 35 mpg

A white 2023 Toyota Corolla blasts down a city street.
2023 Corolla | Toyota

Like the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla seems to do more than an average car in this category. It comes with a 2.0-liter engine tied to a continuously variable transmission. Together, they help it achieve 35 mpg combined. While nobody will call the Corolla a luxury car, it does come well equipped and for 023 has two front USB-C ports and two rear USB-C ports, as well as Toyota’s 8-inch multimedia system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The base Corolla starts at $21,700. Like others, you can add a hybrid booster to the Corolla to save more gas. The Hybrid gets a combined 47 mpg for just $1,350 extra.


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