What new, non-hybrid car gets the best gas mileage.

I was looking at the Kia Rio which gets 30 city/40 highway. Does any non-hybrid new 2012 model do better?

The CRZ gets a combined 37 MPG: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/32012.shtml

The site says that is a hybrid.

Sorry, I missed that.
How about one of the new Diesels?

Meh…probably not. I’m curious about a regular gasoline powered car. I need to do a lot of driving in the next year, and want to save some coin.

This site lists them in order, starting with the hybrids, but once you get to the Smart Car, at #7, it’s the Jetta TDI, then the regular fuel cars.

Cut & pasted from another site: The best mileage you can expect from a gas-powered 2012 coupe or sedan is 33 or 34 MPG, and several models fall in that range. In order of price, they are: The Nissan Versa ($10,990), Hyundai Accent ($12,445), Ford Fiesta ($13,200), Chevrolet Sonic ($13,735), Hyundai Elantra ($15,195) and the Honda Civic ($15,805). (Several of these models are also available as hatchbacks.)

You can use that EPA website to search for high-mileage conventional gasoline vehicles. I just tried it and it looks like the highest mileage conventional gasoline car is the Scion iQ, followed by several Smart Fortwo models. After that, the results include several Kia and Hyundai models.

The VW Golf diesel is advertising 42 on the highway, 30 city. It might be worth looking at.

Don’t rule out diesels completely. The Volkswagon Jetta TDI is a diesel with really good fuel mileage that hasn’t really gotten the attention it deserves. It beats your mileage figures by a little but diesel fuel costs more. The main selling point for it is that it is a full sized car with great mileage and it has performance much closer to gasoline powered cars compared to diesel cars of the past. True diesels like this one offer other advantages as well. If you want a conventional looking car with lots of room with good mileage, that one is a good bet. The interior is very nice as well. They have been around long enough to pick up a good one on the used car market.

It comes in different configurations including a sportswagon with lots of space. http://www.vw.com/en/models/jettasportwagen/gallery.html

I think Toyota is claiming the new Scion IQ will be the highest mileage non-hybrid non-diesel.

My bog standard 2006 VW Jetta diesel is an automatic [hrock ptui. I prefer manual:mad:] and we just did a round trip to California and back via Key West and got 41-43 MPG [we of course had slightly lower mileage going up the mountains…] Actually when not on a road trip we average 41-43 MPG. I paid $16 000 for her a couple years ago when she was fresh off lease. I will say that it is a very comfortable car for short drives or long road trips. Decent amount of trunk space, we normally run with a sizable cooler in the trunk for random acts of grocery shopping. We packed 2 of the large rolly suitcases and a smaller one, and some assorted bags of souvenirs in the trunk and a cooler in the back seat for snacks, and my rolling hardcase for the 2 laptops.

The newer models have the GPS/entertainment combo unit, mine doesn’t have that but we use my droid for a GPS.

Thanks for the info. A cheap purchase price is also important. I just need it for the next, probably, year and a half. I don’t care how pretty it looks and it is just to transport me. Point A to Point B, if you will. No frills, no options. I’ll have to check out that Nissan Versa…

You might want to check out the Chevy Cruze Eco manual rated at 28 city and 42 highway. Another review.

Of course if you are looking for just a year and a half of ownership gas will be the least of your cost; depreciation is the biggee in that time frame. Maybe a used Versa is a better choice?

I thought about that, but the security of new and the factory warranty that comes with it is worth the extra cost in my mind. Plus the financing cost is less for new v. used.

Is the reason for not wanting a hybrid the generally higher price of hybrids? If that’s your reason, I am still wishing we’d been able to wait a few more months to replace our 14-year-old Sentra, so I could have bought a Toyota Prius C. Depending on how much driving you’re planning to do, the math could work out for you anyway.

Yeah, but you can buy a used car with an aftermarket warranty and still probably save many thousands of dollars on a one or two year ownership. The additional cost on a loan for a used car is going to be negligible for that period of time anyway.

Is this for a lot of highway driving? If so, there isn’t much point to a hybrid, as the hybrid system doesn’t help much at highway speeds.

How many miles do you intend to drive?

I really don’t think this plan is going to save you any money. Let’s say you’re going to drive 20,000 miles in a year. At 30 mpg, which pretty much any regular car will get on the highway, that is $2,700 per year assuming $4/gallon gas. At 40 mpg, you are still spending $2,000. That’s just a $700 savings in gas.

Considering that accepting 30 mpg highway vastly increases your available options, I would not be so quick to prioritize mileage over all else. You can find plenty of “certified” used cars that will easily get 30 mpg, and come with a 2-year warranty, and be a lot cheaper (and depreciate less) than a new car - the savings here should vastly exceed the extra few hundred dollars in fuel costs.

And the chance of a mechanical failure is actually lower for cars in the 20,000 - 40,000 mile range than brand-new cars - look up “bathtub curve”. Parts will tend to fail early because of mechanical defects, and later because of wear. A few-year-old used car is farthest away from both those extremes.

New cars will also be more expensive to insure.

So what would you recommend as a great affordable subcompact car to buy say three years old certified used? Gets at least 30 mpg combined. Reliable. (I might be in the market myself soon.)

Given your interest in selling after a short period of time, you might be especially interested in the Honda Fit, rated as best resale value for the class. But then again the Versa is third and costs less …

I would say don’t bother with subcompacts (assuming you are talking about the EPA definition of a subcompact/B-class vehicle). Relatively few people in the US buy them new so they aren’t really that common on the used market and don’t really sell for much less (new or used) than a compact vehicle.

If you go by manufacturer’s definitions of subcompact, that is cars that slot below their compact offerings, the 2 best selling vehicles for the last few years are the Nissan Versa and the Kia Soul. Both these vehicles IIRC are classified as “compact” by the EPA which does classifications based on interior volume. The Versa is reliable and fuel efficient but an awful vehicle to drive and has very poor crash test ratings, the Kia Soul is much better in both these respects, so is a better choice as long as you don’t mind the goofy looks.

My gut tells me that a Chevy Cruze Eco will be a much better choice than any subcompact, especially if you can drive a manual, but honestly I haven’t priced them out on the used market recently, and prices can vary quite a bit depending on your location, so you should look at prices and go from there.

Among the new class of subcompacts, the Chevy Sonic is by far the best, significantly outclassing all its competitors in pretty much every metric, and the new Hyundai/Kia subcompacts are also quite good for the price, but they haven’t been out for 3 years yet.