10 Cars You Want During A Gas CrisisMarch 6th, 2012 by Armaan Almeida
Gas prices are rising as quick as at any time in recent memory, and consumers have found themselves reeling under the crunch. Everyone would love to get 40-50 mpg, but for some drivers a tiny, efficient car is just not practical. Today we’ve picked 10 models from 10 different segments that will save you the most at the pump.
Subcompact Car: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The Sonic is new to the subcompact segment for 2012, and it not only offers best-in-class power and torque but great efficiency as well at 29 city/40 highway mpg. That’s with the Ecotec 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder, the engine you want for the best blend of power and mpg in the class.
Compact Car: 2012 Hyundai Elantra
While other compacts like the Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus rely on special extra-cost options to reach 40 mpg, Hyundai’s surprising Elantra (29 city/40 highway mpg) does it with either transmission in any configuration. It also starts at just $15,345. Be careful, though, as owners have quickly realized that with this car a lead foot will result in a big mpg drop. The key to the Elantra’s lofty highway MPG is the tall 6th gear it uses when on the freeway/expressway.
Family Sedan: 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
While it’s around $4,500 more expensive than the top-selling Prius, the redesigned Camry Hybrid returns excellent mileage (43 city/39 highway mpg) and all the comfort and everyday usability of arguably the strongest midsize sedan around. The Camry Hybrid recently received the top recommendation among family sedans from Consumer Reports.
Hybrid Car: 2012 Prius c
Dollar for dollar, Toyota’s new Prius c is the best buy around for mpg seekers. With 53 city/46 highway mpg, the $18,950 hybrid subcompact is more fun to drive than the standard Prius and is styled like an everyday car, not an aerodynamic wedge of cheese. Check out Toyota’s new Entune infotainment system!
Electric Car: 2012 Nissan LEAF
What better way to weather the storm of $5+-per-gallon gas than to buy none at all? The pioneering Nissan EV’s EPA-estimated 73-mile range may not be practical for some drivers, but the cost to power a LEAF is lower than even the most-efficient gas models.
Crossover/SUV: 2013 Mazda CX-5
Among gas-engine-powered crossovers and SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 outshines every other entry with an outstanding 26 city/35 highway mpg with the 6-speed manual transmission. Mazda’s new Skyactiv tech is on display, combining lightness with an efficient powertrain. At $20,695 the new compact crossover is also cheaper than most competitors.
Pickup Truck: 2012 Ford F-150 EcoBoost
For Americans who depend on their truck to make a living, there’s just no getting around owning a big, heavy vehicle that doesn’t exactly sip gas. Enter the twin-turbo V6 Ford F-150 EcoBoost, which manages a respectable 16 city/22 highway mpg with 420 lb-ft. of torque and a 11,300-lb. towing capacity. V8 power with better efficiency than competitors’ V6 models? Sign us up.
Luxury Car: 2012 BMW 328i
[March 21, 2012 Update: The EPA has downgraded BMW's 36-mpg claim to 33-mpg. More here]. We had to include a luxury car on this list, and BMW’s twin-turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder next-gen 328i sedan embarrasses its entry-level luxury competitors. The 24 city/36 highway mpg BMW (with 8-speed auto) equals the automatic Toyota Corolla‘s highway fuel efficiency, but with 90 more horsepower.
Diesel Car: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
The turbodiesel-powered Jetta TDI comes highly recommended, its 30 city/42 highway mpg rating good enough to save you money despite the higher cost of diesel fuel. Check out the Sport Wagon variant for a car with all the space of a small-to-midsize SUV, only with far better mileage.
All-Wheel Drive Car: 2012 Subaru Impreza
Subaru sells lots of cars in the snow belt, as all-wheel drive provides so much added safety when roads are icy and rough. AWD used to mean poor efficiency, but Subaru has opened its bag of tricks to create a great everyday car that returns 27 city/36 highway mpg with the new CVT transmission.
Want to know which cars are worst on gas? Try CNN/Yahoo!’s list of 10 cars to avoid during the gas crunch!