2000 Honda Insight || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 51
When the Insight hit showrooms in '99 for the 2000 model year, it was hailed as one of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world. It was the first gasoline-electric hybrid to be sold in the U.S., and won several design, engineering and technology awards. The Insight employs Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system, combining an extremely lightweight 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline automobile engine with an ultra-thin electric motor. Early models came with a 5-speed manual transmission, but a continuously variable transmission (CVT) was offered starting in '01.
2001 - '02 Toyota Prius || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 41
This was one of the earliest generations of the fuel-sipping Prius, and it certainly has become a green living icon since then. Drawing its power from a combination of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, these earlier editions generated only 70 hp, but muscle isn't the point in a hybrid car. It's pod-like design had a certain retro-futuristic appeal, and was roomier than one might think.
2000 - '05 Toyota Echo || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 38
The Echo was rolled out in 2000 as a no-frills compact econo-box, for those who wanted Toyota quality but were on a budget that precluded them from snagging a Corolla. The interior is plain, but the engine is reliable and efficient, and the taut suspension delivers a ride comparable to larger models. This version of the Echo comes with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder 108-hp 16-Valve EFI engine.
1998 - 2002 Chevrolet Prizm || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 32
The Prizm of this era bore some resemblance to the Corolla, since both were built on the same assembly line in a joint GM/Toyota plant. A front-wheel-drive subcompact sedan, the Prizm was initially rolled out under the Geo nameplate, but later became a Chevy model. Available as a base model and LSi, the Prizm is powered by single twin-cam four-cylinder engines that produced 120 hp in '98 and '99, but the addition of VVT in 2000 boosted the ponies to 125.
1998 Mazda Protégé LX || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 32
Mazda redesigned the Protégé in 1995, upgrading it considerably with a more rigid chassis and much-improved ride quality -- not to mention increased interior space. This edition also offers a silkier ride, crisp handling and solid performance for a small car. This model year has a 92-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and comes in three trim levels.
1998 - 2000 Toyota Corolla CE/LE || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 32/31
The Corolla has been a stalwart for more than 40 years, for its quality, dependability and, maybe most importantly, for its fuel economy. The '98-'99 editions are powered by a 1.8 L, 120-hp, four-cylinder 16-Valve EFI, with aluminum alloy block and head. By 2000, they'd tweaked the engine to deliver 125 ponies. A front-wheel drive job, the Corollas of this period come in three trim levels, but Consumer Reports chose the midline CE and top-end LE.
1998 - 2001 Acura Integra LS || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 32
The Acura Integra sport coupe and sport sedan lineups have always been standard-bearers for innovative technology, craftsmanship, and exhilarating performance. It was the top-selling automobile in its segment from '94 - '98. It is available on five sport-coupe trim levels and three sport- sedan trims. The Intergra LS came with a 1.8-liter, 140-hp engine, automatic transmission is optional.
2004 - '05 Scion xA || Find It Used
Overall MPG: 31/30
The Scion xA's body lines are rounder and more sculpted than the distinctly boxy shape of its xB cousin, but it's just as well-constructed and just as comfy inside. Low maintenance costs are a big selling point, as is the taut ride. A 1.5-liter, 108-hp 16-valve four-cylinder comes standard on the '04 - '05, along with a five-speed manual transmission, and an automatic transmission was optional.