Think great fuel economy only comes with hybrids like the Toyota Prius or tiny sub-compacts such as the Honda Fit? Think again. Several models on the market offer lots of luxury and plenty of miles per gallon -- for a premium, of course. Check out our list of fuel sippers that net between 20 and 25 mpg combined.
#8 in Luxury Sports Cars
The Audi TT coupe and roadster are fun, luxurious sports cars that are comfortable enough to double as daily drivers. Though some enthusiasts criticize the TT's front-wheel-drive layout for not being sporty enough, its base four-cylinder engine leaves no room for complaints. Not only does it provide ample power compared to the optional V6, but it returns excellent numbers at the pump -- even when driven aggressively.
#7 in Upscale Midsize Cars
The Lexus RX 400h is the only luxury hybrid SUV on the market. It accelerates and drives just as well as its gasoline-only counterpart, the Lexus RX 350, and boasts class-leading fuel economy. Still, don't buy the Lexus if you're trying to save money. It will take at least five years to justify its almost $4,000 premium over the conventional RX 350.
#7 in Upscale Midsize Cars
The Audi A4's base turbocharged four-cylinder engine and manual transmission are so frugal with fuel that you'd have trouble believing they offer such spirited performance. CNET says the 2.0-liter engine "still holds its own against much of the larger-displacement competition." In addition, the A4 boasts luxurious interior materials and lots of features -- although seating comfort is lacking compared to other upscale sedans.
#2 in Upscale Small Cars
The quirky-looking Volkswagen GTI's sporty performance ranks among the best in its class. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers outstanding acceleration with little turbo lag. Though a six-speed manual transmission is standard, test drivers recommend the optional DSG automatic, which nets even better around-town fuel economy numbers (22/29) than the manual.
#1 and 3 in Luxury Sports Cars
Porsche's Boxster convertible and Cayman coupe twins are true sports cars, making their excellent fuel economy figures even more impressive. Both models achieve the best economy in their base trims, which feature mid-mounted 2.7-liter V6 engines and manual transmissions. Along with near-perfect handling, the Cayman features a surprising amount of cargo room in two trunks. The Boxster adds a quick-folding automatic soft top, which ramps up the fun.
#1 in Upscale Small Cars
Audi continues to dominate our list with the compact A3, which offers a combination of performance and luxury that's rare for a hatchback. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine is especially peppy and, along with Audi's tight handling, provides almost sports car-like performance. Excellent fuel economy and good interior utility are the icing on the cake.
#3 in Luxury Large Cars
The Lexus GS 450 Hybrid is admired for its smooth ride, powerful acceleration and hi-tech interior. While many hybrid sedans come with sluggish powertrains, the GS 450 Hybrid boasts a standard V6 engine that offers plenty of speed. Still, the hybrid costs about $10,000 more than the conventional Lexus GS -- so think carefully before you purchase this pump-friendly model.
Not Yet Ranked
The Lexus LS 600h is the only luxury V8 hybrid. For a car with a standard 5.0-liter 438-horsepower engine, it delivers impressive fuel economy. However, all that power comes at a price -- the LS 600h's gas mileage can't hold a candle to other hybrids' mileage. Still, if you want an extremely high-tech sedan that's easy on the environment, this could be the car for you.
#3 in Luxury Large SUVs
The high-performing Mercedes-Benz GL provides one of the best luxury SUV experiences available. The 320 CDI model delivers superior fuel mileage compared to its gasoline-powered counterparts. Though it reaches 0 to 60 miles per hour a little over two seconds slower than the GL450, the diesel engine is so quiet and refined that AutoWeek says, "you're scarcely aware it's actually a diesel."
The Price of Luxury
When you buy a luxury vehicle, you're already paying a premium at the dealership, so why should you have to pay at the pump too? Right now, no luxury car matches the tiny Smart Fortwo's 36 mpg combined fuel economy. But the cars on our list can at least get you a little closer to that mileage and put you in a car that can blow the Smart away at the track -- and pretty much everywhere else, too.
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