Gas prices have eased a bit lately, but they’re still way too high. Many shoppers are still looking at gas mileage as a major factor when buying a car. Fortunately, manufacturers have responded to the demand the last few years, and there are a several excellent options.
Tesla Model S, 90 MPGe
Want to drive the future? You can with the Model S. Tesla Motors’ second car, after the sporty Roadster, instantly changed the world of electric vehicles upon release in 2012. First, this car is gorgeous, taking lines from Aston Martin and Maserati. Then there is an available 416 horsepower equivalent motor, with 443 lb/ft of torque, propelling it from zero to sixty in a Corvette-like 4.2 seconds. Oh yeah, and it’s environmentally friendly, at 90 MPG equivalent, and safe, as it broke the NHTSA’s crash testing machine. Twice. If you have $70,000 lying around, drop it on this car.
Nissan Leaf, 115 MPGe
Unlike the Model S, the Leaf shows how cautious big manufacturers make an electric car. The Leaf is a fully electric compact, meant to target the “household’s second car” market. The oddly styled car is limited to 75 mile range on a charge, and is rather slow, zero to sixty taking about 10 seconds. Fortunately, it is the cheapest electric vehicle on the market, running a little over $30k before tax incentives, and can achieve a whopping 115 MPGe.
Cadillac ELR, 98 MPGe, 37 MPG
Cadillac decided to enter the luxury electric vehicle market after the success of the Model S. Their offering, the plug-in hybrid ELR, is a bit of hit & miss. The ELR is striking, perfectly blending Cadillac’s Art & Science design ethos with modern aero demands. The interior is probably the single most impressive GM has ever developed, and worth the price of entry. Unfortunately, the car is slow, and starts at $69,000. Most shoppers have been hitting the Model S, causing the price to drop massively. Currently, buyers can drive off the lot for about $50k, after incentives.
Chevrolet Volt, 98 MPGe, 37 MPG
After years of hype, Chevy released the plug-in hybrid Volt to much fanfare, and slow sales. While the technology is pretty cool –driving like an electric car until the battery is low, then kicking on an efficient gas engine – the market has been unimpressed for the price. A decade of the cheap hybrid Prius made buyers question a similar-looking car at a higher price. Still, the Volt does have a great interior, and can drive cross-country, something no EV on the market can do.
Toyota Prius C, 50 MPG
The C is the third model in the Prius family. As the smallest of the hybrids, it easily achieves the highest MPG, with 50 combined city/highway. However, users mainly driving highway miles have reported averaging closer to 60 MPG. Yeah, it’s still kinda funny looking, but it is very affordable, starting at just $19,000, and at only 2,500 lbs. it’s one of the few economical cars that is actually somewhat fun to drive.