Vehicle manufacturers have responded to increased calls for more efficient vehicles with a myriad of new vehicles over the past decade. A growing emphasis on environmentally friendly business practices and products has led to leaps in automobile technology — and even entirely new brands.
As regulation on fuel efficiency and calls from consumers for low emission vehicles, the auto landscape has been turned into an arms race for car makers, setting out to craft vehicles that balance comfort and reliability with high efficiency. An easy way to determine a vehicle’s efficiency standard is to look at the combined miles per gallon average. This data takes into account the miles per gallon a given vehicle will get in city driving conditions, as well as on the highway. We’ve made it our goal to showcase the very best selections for vehicles that average between 35-40 combined miles per gallon.
While many vehicles types like pickup trucks and SUVs tend to top out at 30 mpg, there is still a solid selection of choices available for the eco-conscious driver. There does seem to be a rift between vehicles achieving 30 and 40 mpg. Many vehicle types, like compact crossovers and all-wheel drive cars, tend to fall under the mark, while super efficient hybrids usually hit better marks. We take a look at the best selection from a few categories and take into account efficiency standards, price, and comfort.
Here are five vehicles that hit the 35-40 combined miles per gallon mark on average. For the given category, these are sure-fire bets for any car shopper.
1. Large Sedan: Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Toyota (NYSE:TM) makes a strong presence on our list, and we start with its large sedan, the Avalon Hybrid. Achieving a combined score of 40 mpg, the Avalon blows away other larger sedans on the market. Built for comfort, when combined with its extraordinarily efficient 2.5 liter, 4 cylinder engine, the Avalon Hybrid makes a strong case for the perfect road trip vehicle. Add on a huge 17 gallon fuel tank, and this Toyota sedan will keep you on the road all day. Priced between $35,000 and $41,400, the Avalon Hybrid isn’t exactly a bargain, but is well worth it for the unrivaled blend of efficiency and luxury.
2. Compact Sedan: Toyota Corolla LE Eco
Coming in right at an average of 35 mpg is the Toyota Corolla LE Eco. The Corolla LE Eco delivers greater efficiency than other versions of the Corolla, and even outperforms popular Toyota models like the Camry and Yaris. Toyota has built a reputation over the past decade for being a stalwart of vehicular efficiency with the Prius and has since been raising the bar on mileage standards. Although, according to some reviews, the increased efficiency in the Corolla LE Eco comes at the expense of a comfortable interior and steering. But with the amount of money you’ll save on fuel adding up over the years, the Corolla LE Eco is sure to deliver a great bang for the buck.
3. Midsize Sedan: Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen (NASDAQ:VLKAY) has really upped its game, delivering a clean diesel midsize sedan that is as efficient as it is classy. Boasting a combined mpg rating of 35, the Passat makes the most out of its 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder motor. In a crowded midsize sedan market, the Passat delivers a recognizable name with a retooled exterior that delivers fantastic gas mileage. The clean diesel engine, a staple of many Volkswagen models, gives consumers an additional option while car shopping. Of the many available midsize options, Volkswagen’s latest Passat model is impressive enough to make our list.
4. Hatchback: Nissan Versa Note S Plus Hatchback
Expect fuel savings of $4,000 over five years with the Nissan (NASDAQ:NSANY) Versa Note S Plus Hatchback. Getting a combined fuel economy of 35 mpg, the Versa Note S Plus Hatchback is the perfect vehicle for consumers looking for extra cargo space matched with excellent efficiency. This hatchback is also a great value, usually selling between $12,000-15,000. It’s not exactly a powerhouse either, delivering 109 horsepower. Still, with seating for five passengers and a long range, the Versa Note Hatchback is ideal for road trips with friends. At 35 mpg and with a very reasonable price tag, the Versa Note is a particularly attractive choice.
5. Wagon: BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon
BMW(BAMXY.PK) has unleashed a monstrously efficient addition to its lineup with the 328d xDrive Sports Wagon. Traditionally, consumers don’t normally associate wagons with incredible gas mileage, but the the 328 xDrive Sports Wagon really sets the bar high with 35 combined miles per gallon. Propelled by a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder TwinPower Turbo Diesel engine, drivers can expect to fly down the highway behind 180 horsepower, even with a full car. Priced at $42,950, the 328 xDrive Sports Wagon comes with a price tag expected of a member of the BMW lineup. All in all, this wagon optimizes for passenger and cargo space combined with incredible gas mileage.
If environment-consciousness is the biggest consideration for you when buying a new car, we have you covered as well. Last week, we presented to you a list from Kelley Blue Book of what it determines to be the best green cars that one can buy this year. Here’s a recap:
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S has been a redefining force on the electric vehicle market. It’s also one of the safest cars on the road, not to mention it boasts the longest EV range available. It has more tech than virtually any other car on the road, and Tesla’s proprietary charging network allows drivers to travel virtually for free. The only downside is its lofty price tag of $70,000, but when cross-shopped with Bimmers and Mercedes, it doesn’t seem so out of place.
Honda Accord Hybrid
With a superb rating of 50 miles per gallon in the city, the Honda Accord Hybrid is perhaps the most efficient midsize sedan hybrid on the market today, and while the electric powertrain is a commendable feat, the 141 horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC gasoline engine that it sits next to is the most efficient internal combustion engine in the world. It’s also the first Honda engine to run on the Atkinson cycle, which has been favored heavily for Toyota and its hybrids.
The affable Toyota Prius continues to display its lasting nature as an enduring icon by leading the hybrid class in nearly every measure, from outstanding fuel economy to utility and capability. Now with a family in tow, buyers can choose based on affordability (the $20,000 Prius c) to spaciousness (the Prius v) to efficiency (the plug-in liftback model), though the standard, original Prius remains the best seller among them all.
The 80-mile capable Nissan Leaf has quickly established itself as the world’s best-selling electric car, with over 110,000 units sold worldwide. “With room for five and a straightforward interior, the Leaf is also one of the most practical electric cars,” KBB says. Further, Nissan has partnered with select charging station manufacturers to offer new Leaf buyers two free years of charging to go along with their new car, furthering the cost savings of owning an EV.
The i3 is BMW’s first foray into the electric vehicle market, and it is meant to undercut the path being taken by Tesla by introducing a lower-end luxury electric car with a price tag south of the Model S’s $70,000 base price. The i3 achieves this with a starting price of around $41,350. Despite its odd and peculiar looks, demand for the i3 has been unusually high, even surpassing BMW’s own expectations. The company recently made moves to expand production by over 60 percent to keep up with the orders.