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Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2015 Ford Fiesta is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a used car dealer.

Five of the Most Fuel Efficient Cars on the Used Car Market

The used car market is roaring hot right now. A lot of that has to do with the significant increase in the quality of automobiles over the past decade. The right used purchase can be almost as good as purchasing a new vehicle, and it’s far less expensive, too. Smart buyers are swarming to their local used car dealer to see what’s available. However, the most adept buyers will keep an eye on fuel efficiency, which should be considered just important as sticker price when you’re buying a car. After all, if you’re visiting the gas station more often than you used to, your car is costing you a fair bit more than you expected. The initial deal you might have felt you were getting will turn into a money pit.

That’s why we want to walk you through some of the most fuel efficient cars that have hit the market this past decade. There’s no reason you can’t save money on the day you purchase a used car as well as all the years thereafter. Your budget deserves a little more wiggle room so you can enjoy your life, whether that means another dinner out at your favorite restaurant or a few more streaming services. Let’s see what cars you should keep an eye out for when you visit your used car dealer so that you can buy smart. All of these are gas powered, too. We’re not going to cheat by listing hybrids, which are typically more expensive anyway.

Ford Fiesta

Ford has ceased selling the Fiesta in North America, along with every car except the Mustang, sadly. But an advantage of the used car market is that a model being discontinued doesn’t affect you. Your range of options is far wider than those who insist on only checking out new models. That makes you a smarter than average consumer.

All trims and models of the Ford Fiesta provide stellar efficiency, but the Super Fuel Economy trim gives you the most impressive mileage. The Super Fuel Economy (SFE) trim lives up to its name, too. With its turbocharged 1.0L I-3 engine, it garners a 31 miles per gallon rating for city driving and an eye-popping 41 miles per gallon rating on the highway. These fuel efficiency numbers will have you forgetting gas stations even exist. You don’t lose much power, either. The 2014 model still gives you 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque under normal conditions, with an overboost function to briefly push 148 lb-ft out of this tiny engine. As the model evolved until its discontinuation in 2019, both fuel efficiency and power were fine-tuned. This compact car is a great purchase if mileage is your top concern, and why wouldn’t it be with those ever shifting gas prices? With its slanted headlights and small center grille, the Fiesta has a playful design, so you don’t have to skimp on your aesthetic preferences just to have less damage at the pump.

A red 2021 Nissan Versa is shown from the side.

Nissan Versa

Unlike the Ford Fiesta, the Nissan Versa is still in production today. But why shell out for a brand new Versa when past models are still stylish, capable, and quite fuel efficient? Take the 2020 Nissan Versa as an example. That year, the car received a bit of a makeover, giving it a sportier, sleekier vibe that earned it wide praise for its design.

Fuel efficiency was still stellar, just as it was with past models. The 2020 gained a combined fuel efficiency rating of 35 MPG with automatic transmission. It retained some great power for a small car, too, with its 1.6L engine making 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque.

You don’t have to go with the 2020 model, though. The 2019 model earned a combined 34 MPG rating, and its 2021 edition ranked a 30 MPG combined rating. In fact, if you’re someone who drives regularly on the highway, the Versa may well be the best choice on the market for you. The 2019 model gets an impressive 39 MPG on the highway, while the 2020 and 2021 models get 40. Time and again, it’s been proven to ride smooth on the highway while sipping on remarkably little fuel.

Toyota Corolla

Toyota has steadily made a name for itself by producing fuel efficient vehicles that are built to last. In the past decade, though, they’ve developed some redesigned exteriors that make the Corolla far flashier than it once was without sacrificing its famed mileage. Anyone glancing over the used car market should see what Corollas their local dealer has on the lot.

We’re particular fans of the 2020 model. With its narrow headlights, low grille, and prominent front emblem, this model nicely mixes an imposing vibe with a dash of class. Its 2.0L engine paired with an automatic transmission in the hatchback model has earned a 35 MPG combined rating, and 41 MPG on the highway.

There’s no need to feel limited to that 2020 model if you prefer another year’s look and feel. The Corolla has been shocking customers with its impressive mileage since 1966. There’s no doubt you’ll be able to find a model that both you and your wallet will adore.

Honda Civic

No list that discusses fuel efficiency is complete without the Honda Civic. The Civic gained popularity in the early 1970s precisely because of its fuel efficiency. The gas problems of that decade had consumers flocking to smaller, lighter cars with smaller engines to escape skyrocketing gas prices. In fact, Honda became the gold standard for fuel efficient gas powered vehicles. Honda has made sure that reputation remains by continuing to provide cars that don’t drink too much gas.

No matter what model you pick out, even if it’s over a decade old, you’re going to get mileage that’ll keep your bank account pleased. However, we’re big fans of the 2019 sedan with the 1.5L turbo I-4 and automatic transmission, which gives you, on average, 446 miles of distance on a full tank. That’s thanks to its combined 36 MPG rating. You’ll enjoy those drives, too, because the Civic is a nimble, responsive ride that goes smoothly down the highway, never struggling to keep up. Honda has perfected the art of combining fun and fuel economy, and the Civic is the result, a reliable car that will have your back for years to come.

A blue 2022 Honda Civic is shown from the front at an angle.

Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mirage barely uses gas at all. The downside to this is that it tends to be a slower ride, which is much better for local commuting than highway drives. If you’re interested in a car that’s cheap to purchase and cheap at the pump, though, the Mirage is a car to consider. It’s small, but memorable looking and easy to maneuver. It’s been around for a while, and an older model will still wow you with its EPA rating. The 2015 model, for example, earned a 39 MPG combined rating and 42 MPG on the highway. For a lot of people, that’s more than worth a slower acceleration.

Recent models haven’t skimped, either. The 2022 Mirage has a 43 MPG rating for the highway and a combined 39 MPG rating overall. Visits to the gas station will be rare, and your monthly budget will have a lot more room for fun.

The Used Car Market Gives You Mileage to Remember

When you’re perusing used vehicles, keep an eye on gas mileage. It’s far easier to find a fuel efficient used vehicle, as you’re casting a wider net than just relying on new models, which may even be delayed due to the interruptions of the supply chain since 2020. Once you make your purchase, you’ll be able to use that extra money to truly enjoy life. If your enjoyment means you have to drive a bit, you won’t mind at all thanks to a stellar miles per gallon rating. Buy smart, buy fuel efficient, buy used, and enjoy the benefits for years to come.