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Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Production Cars at the LA Auto Show

December 6th, 2012

2014 Ford Fiesta Header

If you’ve been in the market for a new car this holiday season, chances are, fuel economy is at the top of your wish list.  But with so many new vehicles hitting showroom floors, it’s tough to know exactly which ones really are.  Inflated highway fuel economy makes for great marketing, but it can leave owners furious when the claims don’t come to fruition.  At this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we saw a plethora of all-new vehicles, most of which promised high fuel efficiency.  

Here’s some brand-new production cars from the show floor that are pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency in their segments to greater levels than ever before. Look for these 10 cars in dealerships within the next 6 months or so.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI
Volkswagen’s brand-new Beetle Convertible, on sale this month, is now the most fuel-efficient convertible you can buy in the United States. Thank Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine: the Beetle Convertible achieves 28 city/41 highway/32 combined mpg.

2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0
The Ford Fiesta will get a new engine for 2014, with 3 cylinders and just 1.0 liter of displacement. It’s the smallest Ford engine ever, and has impressed European buyers for some time with 123 horsepower thanks to efficiency-minded turbocharging. Ford says the new EcoBoost 1.0 Fiesta will be the nation’s most efficient gasoline subcompact car, with over 40 highway mpg.

2014 Kia Forte Sedan
The new redesigned Kia Forte Sedan is longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, with smaller engines than the outgoing model while maintaining power. Packing Hyundai/Kia’s efficient 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 148 horsepower, fuel efficiency should match or exceed the Elantra at around 38 to 40 highway mpg. A 173-horsepower GDI 2.0-liter four should also provide competitive efficiency.

2013 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid
The EPA rates the new 2013 Honda Accord Hybrid (launching Jan. 15, 2013) at 115 MPGe (“Miles-per-gallon Equivalent”), placing it above the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevrolet Volt and most all-electric cars. Costs of ownership should be among the lowest of any production car, thanks to solid Honda reliability and great mpg.

2013 Honda Civic Hybrid
The 2013 Civic Hybrid doesn’t see improved mpg (still excellent at 44 city/44 highway/44 combined mpg), but it does see a ton of new standard features and a bolder, more-interesting exterior design. The Hybrid is now decked out with Forward Collision and Lane Departure warnings as standard equipment, plus a general upgrade in interior technology and quality. On sale now.

2013 MINI Clubvan
Need a light commercial vehicle for your small business but don’t want to spend a fortune on gas? The new MINI Clubvan panel wagon has you covered, with an estimated 26 city/35 highway/29 combined mpg. Perhaps more important, the Clubvan will lend an air of hipness and authority to every delivery you make and offers ample cargo space in a business-friendly interior design. On sale March 2013 from around $26,000.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
The Spark EV, which goes on sale in California and Oregon in early 2013, will achieve greater than 100 MPGe and will offer what Chevy says is among the best all-electric range in the segment. Other U.S. markets will need to wait it out, though, as Chevy says the electric car will at least initially be released in just a few test markets.

2014 Fiat 500e
The cutesy 500e will achieve 116 MPGe in the city and 100 MPGe on the highway, while Fiat promises an electric driving range of between 80 and 100 miles. Thankfully, the 500e is even sleeker than the standard 2013 Fiat 500, and doesn’t look like a toaster like some other electric cars.

2014 Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 TDI
Audi debuted no less than four new TDI diesel-powered models at the LA Auto Show, each using the brand’s new 3.0-liter diesel with 240 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The 2014 A8 TDI flagship luxury sedan will debut first (Spring 2013), with the other models in Fall 2013. The A8 TDI will achieve 24 city and 36 highway mpg, or more than 40% better than the base gasoline model.

2013 Honda CR-Z
The Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid is not among the most efficient hybrids on the market, though it sure beats the Prius, C-MAX and others in the fun-to-drive category. 2013 brings edgier styling, more power, improved efficiency (now 36 city/39 highway mpg) and a new “S+” button for an instant on-demand dump of extra passing power from the electric motor.


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