The five most fuel-efficient non-hybrid new compact sedans guide highlights:
- Among non-hybrid compact sedans, the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 has the best gas mileage
- The 2022 Honda Civic and 2022 Kia Rio are the #2 and #3 most-efficient four-door compact cars, respectively
- Tied in fourth place are the 2022 Nissan Versa and 2022 Volkswagen Jetta, while the 2022 Toyota Corolla lands in fifth place
Compact sedans haven’t just been ‘economy cars’ for some time, but they haven’t forgotten how to get great gas mileage. Some even offer hybrid powertrains for extra fuel economy. However, those hybrids also cost more than their non-electrified counterparts, which is money you could put towards the pump. And the compact sedans on this list are experts in the art of sipping fuel.
The new compact sedan with the best gas mileage is the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage G4
If you’d really like to save gas without getting a hybrid, the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is the compact sedan you want. You’d likely appreciate the non-G4 Mirage more in that regard, but it’s a hatchback, not a sedan. And while ditching the hatch knocks the Mirage G4 down a few mpg, it’s still the most efficient non-hybrid compact car on sale today.
The key to the 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage G4’s mpg mastery is its, um, modest powertrain. Under its hood is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine with 76 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque. And while it’s one of the few new cars still available with a stick, the CVT is the key to maximum gas mileage. With the CVT, the Mirage G4 gets an EPA-estimated 35 mpg city/37 mpg combined/41 mpg highway.
Plan ahead when you’re on the highway, though. The 2022 Mirage G4 takes just over 12 seconds to go 0-60 mph. But on the plus side, you can get this compact sedan with a CVT starting at $16,995.
#2 on the list of four-door compact cars with the best gas mileage is the 2022 Honda Civic—just barely
Though some disagree, the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan is arguably one of the best compact sedans on sale today. None disagree with this compact car’s gas mileage, though, which is only slightly worse than the Mirage G4’s ratings. But only if you get the correct trim.
For maximum fuel economy, you’ll want the 2022 Civic Sedan EX, one step below the range-topping Touring. This gets you the 180-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hooked up to a CVT. And in this spec, the Civic Sedan gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg city/36 mpg combined/42 mpg highway.
At $25,550 before destination, the Civic Sedan EX is more expensive than a Mirage G4. However, it hits 60 mph roughly five seconds faster, making highway merges and city driving less onerous. Also, Honda’s compact car has more standard features and better materials. It can’t sip gasoline quite as daintily as the Mitsubishi, but it does it with more sophistication.
#3 is the 2022 Kia Rio
Speaking of not feeling cheap, the 2022 Kia Rio assuredly doesn’t. Furthermore, it’s only barely in third place on this list of the most fuel-efficient compact cars.
The 2022 Rio is only available in two trims, LX and S, and both feature a 120-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a CVT. It’s slower than the Civic, but it’s also cheaper; even a fully-loaded Rio S tops out at roughly $20K. And it’s only slightly less efficient. This compact sedan gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg city/36 mpg combined/41 mpg highway.
Admittedly, the Rio loses out on the Civic in more areas than speed. It also has less cargo and interior space, plus its interior contains more hard plastics. But in terms of gas mileage, it’s nipping on the Civic’s heels.
There’s a tie for fourth place between the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta and 2022 Nissan Versa
Speaking of the Kia Rio, the 2022 Nissan Versa, one of its arguably better alternatives, has the fourth-best gas mileage among new compact sedans. But it must share that spot with another compact car, the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta.
Technically, the Jetta is more of a Sentra competitor than a Versa rival due to its larger size. But while it’s also slightly more expensive than the Versa, it’s also roomier and has a bigger trunk. Also, a longer warranty. Hence why TrueCar ranks it slightly higher than the Nissan compact sedan. However, both compact cars offer solid handling and comfortable rides. And they’re equally efficient, though with the Jetta, that requires some trim attention.
For the best gas mileage in Volkswagen’s compact sedan, you’ll want to skip the higher trims and get a 2022 Jetta S or Sport. Also, get the optional eight-speed automatic. The result is a 158-hp compact car that gets 31 mpg city/35 mpg combined/41 mpg highway. Those are the same numbers a CVT-equipped 2022 Nissan Versa gets with its 122-hp engine gets.
By a hair, the #5 new compact sedan with the best gas mileage is the 2022 Toyota Corolla
The final compact sedan on this list is also here by a slim margin. Although the 2023 Hyundai Elantra ranks slightly higher in TrueCar’s eyes, the 2022 Toyota Corolla is the slightly more fuel-efficient choice. But you do have to pick the right trim.
Firstly, it might have a smaller displacement, but the Corolla’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder isn’t as efficient IRL as the 2.0-liter one. This might explain why the 2023 Corolla is ditching the smaller engine entirely. For the 2022 Corolla, though, that means you must get an SE or an XSE model.
Secondly, to maximize your gas mileage, get the SE with a CVT. That’s how you get the estimated 31 mpg city/34 mpg combined/40 mpg highway. In comparison, the most efficient non-hybrid Elantra gets 30 mpg city/34 mpg combined/40 mpg highway.
Yup, the difference came down to a single mpg. But that’s enough to make the 2022 Corolla the fifth most efficient new compact sedan.
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