Fuel-Efficient Cars That Still Offer an Enjoyable Acceleration

For most of us, the idea of optimizing fuel efficiency typically means getting something boring like a Toyota Prius. We equate high-performance cars with speed and cars with a good fuel economy to being slow and unsatisfying acceleration. That doesn’t always have to be the case, especially because many manufacturers have been ditching larger, naturally-aspirated engines for smaller, more fuel-efficient engines supported by forced induction. There are still plenty of cars today that are enjoyable to drive but won’t break your bank account on trips to the gas station.

A great twisted on a hated car

People really do love to hate the Toyota Prius, but the Prius Prime has all of the changes we’ve wanted from the car. Most people aren’t willing to give it a second look just because of the name, but the Prius Prime is the nicer, sportier version of the widely-disliked Toyota Prius. The acceleration is reportedly response and although it has a 0 – 60mph time of around 10.8 seconds it is still enjoyable in your usual city traffic or highway driving. Like a standard Prius, the Prime also gets great fuel economy, with an average of 133mpg.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime, predecessor of the 2021 Prius, is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Toyota Prius | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Fuel-efficient sedans

The Nissan Leaf SL isn’t the most popular option even if you are looking for a standard sedan. They’re comfortable interior pairs with almost 110mpg, making it a great option for a commuter car or for someone who doesn’t like to waste money on gas. With excellent fuel economy and Nissan’s history of reliability to back it up, why isn’t the Leaf SL more popular? Many people could easily argue that with a starting price of around $31,000 the car isn’t very well priced, and for the same monthly payments there are a lot of other fuel-efficient cars available that offer a lot more.

Nissan Leaf charging on stage
Nissan Leaf | Bryan Mitchell

The forgotten Toyota

If you completely forgot about the Toyota Mirai, you aren’t alone. The Mirai seems to have been swept under the rug for a 2020 model year car, but there is a lot of cool features to it. For one, it’s the first car that relies on hydrogen-powered fuel-cells which the general consumer basis can actually buy. It doesn’t have the greatest fuel-economy on the list, with an average of 67mpg of hydrogen fuel rather than standard gasoline, but it can go from 0 – 60mph in 9.3 seconds.

Blue Toyota Mirai
2019 Toyota Mirai in Nautical Blue | Toyota

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You probably won’t be pulling any impressive performance numbers from a car that truly gets good fuel economy. Cars today don’t rely on the large-displacement motors for power like they used to, and while some people still love their V8 engines, we also still love to save money on gas. If you can get a reliable daily driver that is enjoyable to drive but still provides you with a responsible fuel-economy, you can’t go wrong.