David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/21/08 12:25 p.m.

This article was originally written in 2006.

You can't deny the fact that today's hybrids get a lot out of a gallon of gasoline. However, these cars are not the most exciting vehicles out there. While the Honda Insight can do a mean burnout thanks to its manual gearbox and near-instant torque delivery, most hybrids are as thrilling to operate as a microwave oven.

Hybrids are just so clinical in a soul-sucking way that car enthusiasts tend to run away screaming. It's not the destination, they note, it's the drive getting there that counts.

Before you cut up your license and get a bus pass, we have some good news: What if we told you that there's a bunch of fuel-efficient vehicles out there that are actually fun to drive? And we're talking about cars, not Vespas, Segways and BMX bikes.

Sometimes you just need to do a little research. Here are 20 GRM-approved cars that deliver solid fuel economy numbers. All of them offer stellar performance and are good on gas, or they're extremely efficient yet still fun to drive. Either way, an EPA city rating better than 20 mpg was required to make the cut.

Gas prices may have recently hit some six-month lows, but one hurricane or suicide bomber can change that fact overnight. The world only has so much oil, so let's try to make it last as long as possible.

Read the rest of the story

JohnnyBquick
JohnnyBquick Reader
12/23/14 10:15 a.m.

Consulier GTP: 21 city/27 hwy

1992 Consulier Industries Consulier GTP, turbo 4 cyl., 2.2L, five-speed manual Stock performance: A Industry support: B Motorsports potential: B Cool factor: A

============= Really? I went across Montana last year with the cruz set at 85 and got 33 mpg in mine. At least this car was included!!!

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy SuperDork
12/23/14 11:49 a.m.

Really?? I'd think the AE86 GTS might have been on this list... I can think of a few cars on this list that are significantly less.......

RATED: 23mpg in town 28 on the highway... but I know a few people who drive them carefully pulling mid, and even upper 30 mpg range

stock performance is a "C+", but all other factors are an "A"

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
12/23/14 12:17 p.m.

FRsiBee twins could be on the new list.

I think rated 22/30, but in mixed driving I always avg near 29, and regularly pull 34mpg on the highway.

jsquared
jsquared Reader
12/23/14 1:54 p.m.

I could get just a hair short of 30 mpg highway in my S2000, I probably would have if I had driven slower Day-to-day (mostly city) was ~23-24mpg

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
12/23/14 1:59 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: FRsiBee twins could be on the new list. I think rated 22/30, but in mixed driving I always avg near 29, and regularly pull 34mpg on the highway.

34 highway... what speed, and manual or auto?

captdownshift
captdownshift Dork
12/23/14 2:25 p.m.

FX-16, so many smiles per a gallon. Caymans aren't bad either.

Jerry
Jerry SuperDork
12/23/14 3:02 p.m.

Scion xA took me by surprise. But yes, with some TRD goodness I'll bet it's fun. (Miss my '06 xB still somedays.)

MINIzguy
MINIzguy Reader
12/23/14 3:20 p.m.

I test drove a Scion xA and found it soulless. Couldn't get myself to purchase it, even with the thought of getting some aftermarket goodies. I test drove a 318ti afterwards and did end up purchasing that. Way more fun to daily drive and commute in.

itsarebuild
itsarebuild HalfDork
12/23/14 3:31 p.m.

My e30 pulls better than 20 mpg and I'm almost always in stop and go city driving. I've definitely recorded 29 on the highway too.

airwerks
airwerks Reader
12/23/14 4:32 p.m.

I was pleased to find the Swift GT on there.....

old_
old_ Reader
12/23/14 5:01 p.m.

My wife's scion xA was horrible at highway speeds. Slight gusts of wind or passing cars would completely upset the car. It was downright scary sometimes.

Yes it had proper alignment, tire pressure, etc.

Burrito Enthusiast
Burrito Enthusiast HalfDork
12/23/14 5:05 p.m.

I too was pleased to see the Swift GT on the list, but disappointed by the lack of MK1 VWs.

We averaged a little over 34 mpg last summer on a 700+ mile roadtrip consisting mostly of hilly two lane blacktop last summer in my '76 Scirocco. I certainly wasn't driving for mileage for most of it either . That was with a tape measure alignment and the car stuffed to the brim with camping gear.

yupididit
yupididit Reader
12/23/14 5:28 p.m.

Selling my stock CRX HF was one of my biggest regrets. Ever.

FSP_ZX2
FSP_ZX2 Dork
12/23/14 5:30 p.m.

Made the list. Don't make anywhere close to the listed MPGs. Huh.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
12/23/14 5:45 p.m.

I've been impressed with my '15 GTI. 37.2 (computer, but verified with pump #'s) on my last highway trip- about 75 average. EPA 25/34. I freakin' love this car.

EvanR
EvanR Dork
12/24/14 2:29 a.m.

Scion prices are starting the max depreciation point. an xA can be had in decent nick at $4k. The xB is a bit of a cult classic, and fetches a few bucks more. My 85k-mile example might fetch $6k, on a good day. Might be time to dump it before the value drops, I dunno.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
12/24/14 7:27 a.m.

The Forte fits all the requirements now. Averaging 31mpg weekly on my daily slog. Fun to drive. lots of good stuff inside.

Rupert
Rupert HalfDork
12/24/14 9:58 a.m.

'14 Maxda 3 stick, gets right at 40mpg on a trip with cruise set at 78mph. And runs over 35 mpg around town.

bastomatic
bastomatic SuperDork
12/24/14 12:29 p.m.

I've owned an 87 CRX Si, 92 Civic VX, and Nissan Leaf.

I can tell you, without a doubt, you would NOT gladly drive the Civic VX for any real length of time. The car's only saving grace is its frugality. It was impossible to get less than 50 mpg with it. It was also impossible to smile while behind the wheel.

emsalex
emsalex New Reader
12/24/14 1:33 p.m.
captdownshift wrote: FX-16, so many smiles per a gallon. Caymans aren't bad either.

The FX-16 is in my top 5 favorite cars I have owned. I would put it ahead of an mr2 of the same vintage. I could haul more and spent less time being sideways when I did not wan't to be.

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