"At that point, who needs a gasoline engine anymore?" asked former General Motors chairman Bob Lutz.
At present, EVs aren't quite ready for the mass market and, thus, automakers aren't really relying on them to satisfy government rules mandating that vehicles get much higher fuel economy. Instead, in addition to offering more hybrids, extended-range electrics and diesels, car companies are vastly improving the fuel economy in good old gasoline-powered internal-combustion engines.
We’ve assembled a list of cars that get the most out of a standard internal combustion engine. If all the newfangled technology isn’t for you, but you still want to save on money on gas, check out this list of green-friendly cars.
Mazda CX-5Sticker Price: $21,545 - $29,220
Invoice Price: $20,929 - $28,377
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway
Thought this list was going to be filled with cars the size of postage stamps, didn’t you? There are a few exceptions to the size-determines-fuel-economy convention.
The excellent CX-5 is one of them. Mazda achieves 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, the best fuel economy in the small SUV segment, through the use of its SkyActiv engine technology.
What is SkyActiv? In short, it’s Mazda’s way of saying it found a way to increase mileage and engine output by increasing the compression ratio. It may not be your grandaddy's internal combustion engine, but rest assured, it is an internal combustion engine.
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Chevrolet SparkSticker Price: $12,170 - $16,385
Invoice Price: $11,805 - $15,730
Fuel Economy: 31 mpg City, 39 mpg Highway
Sure, the Spark may seem a bit small. But what you don’t know is that consumers and automotive journalists alike are really starting to like the Spark for its versatility and interior roominess since it arrived in the U.S. last year.
Its electric power steering is well-suited for urban driving, as is its ability to be parked in tight quarters.
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Fiat 500Sticker Price: $16,195 - $22,195
Invoice Price: $15,801 - $21,381
Fuel Economy: 31 mpg City, 40 mpg Highway
Small cars scream sensibility. The Fiat 500 gives buyers a chance to add a little personality to their small-car purchase. Inside and out, the 500 is one of the true distinctive vehicles on the American road.
Just fair warning: While the Fiat is fun and stylish, and especially enjoyable in the 500-C convertible package, or the Abarth performance trim, its backseat is fit for a couple of skinny kids at best.
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Nissan AltimaSticker Price: $22,110 - $30,760
Invoice Price: $20,913 - $28,433
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway
If there’s no way you’re cramming your family or cargo into a subcompact vehicle, then your next-best bet may be the Altima, which is one of the best-selling cars in the country.
There are a few terrific sedans on the market today, namely the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and Altima. Where the Altima distinguishes itself is in fuel economy.
Based on a continuously-variable transmission (see our "Techsplanation" on CVT here), the engineers at Nissan have squeezed a few more miles per gallon out of its 182-horsepower, four-cylinder engine – just enough to put Nissan in the fuel-economy lead.
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Sticker Price: $17,895 - $23,195
Invoice Price: $17,104 - $21,978
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The Subaru Impreza achieving 34 mpg on the highway isn't much to write home about, but the fact that it hits that pretty solid number with standard all-wheel drive is impressive. This small sedan offers all-weather versatility, while still being easy on your wallet when it comes to the pump.
The Impreza is also one of the safest and most reliable cars in its class. Many people who switch to the Subaru brand tend not to switch back. Cars like the Impreza make it fairly easy to see why.
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