Want a car that's easy on your pocketbook in terms of both purchase price and monthly fuel bills? It's a great time to be in the market for a cheap fuel efficient car, as there are many automobiles that fit both of these criteria currently available from a wide range of domestic and imported brands. Although adding optional features and comforts can drive up the purchase price a bit - as can selecting the most efficient drivetrain choices - there is still a lot of value to be had amongst entry-level cars promising fuel-sipping daily commutes.
Let's take a quick look at 10 cheap fuel efficient cars.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 01 - 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid - MSRP $24,360
The 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid might be one of the most expensive of the cheap fuel efficient cars on our list, but it still retails for less than $25,000. The Honda Civic Hybrid is notable for offering a practical compact sedan package that also happens to deliver exceptional fuel mileage of 44-mpg in city driving and 44-mpg on the highway. This is made possible by its 110 horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is aided and abetted by a battery-powered electric motor. Only 2.5 cubic feet of trunk space are eaten up by the vehicle's battery pack, which helps preserve the utility of the Civic sedan.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 02 - 2013 Nissan Sentra - MSRP $15,990
The 2013 Nissan Sentra is quite inexpensive amongst its compact sedan brethren, and it manages to achieve its excellent fuel mileage rating without asking buyers to pay more for a different engine or transmission. All versions of the Nissan Sentra come with a 130 horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder motor that is good for 30-mpg in stop and go driving and 39-mpg on the highway. These figures are made possible in part by a continuously-variable automatic transmission. It is possible to shell out extra cash for the FE+ edition of the Sentra, but it only adds a single additional mile per gallon to the vehicle's highway measure, and therefore isn't quite as appealing as sticking with the base model.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 03 - 2013 Ford Fiesta - MSRP $14,200
The 2013 Ford Fiesta is a subcompact hatchback that counts itself amongst the cheap fuel efficient cars that are also reasonably fun to drive. Careful chassis tuning has produced a lightweight hatch in the Ford Fiesta that provides better than average handling for its class. The Fiesta also features 26 cubic feet of total cargo space. Under the hood, the Ford comes with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed manual transmission is standard. Fuel economy for the small motor shows as 29-mpg city and 39-mpg highway when the Fiesta is ordered in base trim.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 04 - 2013 Honda Fit - MSRP $15,425
The 2013 Honda Fit stands out from other subcompact hatchback options due to its enormous internal storage capacity. The 'Magic Seat' feature allows owners to free up as much as 57.3 cubic feet of total cargo space, which is enormous even when compared against much larger compact crossover vehicles. The Honda Fit's other ace in the hole is its 28-mpg city and 35-mpg highway fuel mileage rating, although in order to achieve these numbers it's necessary to swallow the extra cost of its optional five-speed automatic transmission. The Fit's only available power plant is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mill that produces 117 horses.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 05 - 2013 Hyundai Elantra - MSRP $16,965
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is a cheap fuel efficient car that impresses with its elegantly-styled passenger compartment and the availability of a strong list of features at an inexpensive price point. The Hyundai Elantra is outfitted with a 1.8-liter engine that is rated at 148 horsepower, and this four-cylinder unit can also be counted on to provide fuel efficiency figures of 29-mpg around town and 40-mpg on the highway. A six-speed manual transmission is present and accounted for on all base models, and selecting the optional six-speed automatic doesn't change its mileage numbers.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 06 - 2013 Mazda MAZDA2 - MSRP $14,720
The 2013 Mazda Mazda2 is a very basic form of subcompact hatchback transportation that is aimed at buyers on a tight budget who need a city runabout. The Mazda MAZDA2 comes with almost no frills right out of the box, but it does provide the kind of respectable and responsive handling that are a feature of each and every Mazda vehicle. The MAZDA2's tiny, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine only puts out 100 horsepower, and although slower than many of its competitors it offers 29-mpg in city driving and 35-mpg on the highway when paired with its five-speed manual gearbox - which should at least put it in the cheap fuel efficient car conversation.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 07 - 2013 Chevrolet Sonic - MSRP $14,185
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is a stylish subcompact sedan that delivers decent mileage in with its base 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine (up to 35-mpg highway), but to fully take advantage of its efficiency potential it's necessary to order the optional 1.4-liter, 138 horsepower, four-cylinder motor. This turbocharged unit provides 29-mpg in city driving and 40-mpg during highway cruising when paired with its six-speed manual transmission, and the additional torque that it generates also makes it a worthy upgrade over the stock unit. Stepping up to the turbo motor adds $700 to the $15,640 cost of the Sonic LT trim level.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 08 - 2013 Kia Rio - MSRP $13,800
The 2013 Kia Rio is another value-first addition to our cheap fuel efficient cars list. Better looking than it has any right to be given its price point, the Kia Rio also scores with a top-notch interior as well as roughly 50 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear row of seating folded forward. The Rio's 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine has been tuned to provide 138 horsepower and it comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. Fuel mileage for the small hatchback is reported as 28-mpg in city driving and 36-mpg on the highway.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 09 - 2013 Hyundai Accent - MSRP $14,795
The 2013 Hyundai Accent shares much of its platform with its Kia Rio corporate cousin, and this is a good thing for bargain-hunting subcompact hatchback shoppers. The Hyundai Accent has been recently redesigned, allowing it to compete on better footing with other economy-priced small cars, and its direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (the same as found in the Rio) produces 138 horsepower. Fuel mileage for the Hyundai Accent checks in at 28-mpg in stop and go driving and 37-mpg on the highway, and a six-speed manual transmission is included free of charge with the car.
Cheap Fuel Efficient Cars - 10 - 2013 Mazda MAZDA3 - MSRP $18,375
You'll notice that we aren’t listing the cheapest version of the 2013 Mazda Mazda3, but rather the mid-tier i Sport sedan edition. That's because the Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport sedan is the least expensive model that can be had with Mazda's Skyactiv-g engine and transmission setup, a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder motor that puts out 155 horsepower. More impressive is its fuel mileage, which is listed at 27-mpg around town and 39-mpg on the highway despite offering such a respectable number of ponies corralled under the right foot. The MAZDA3 can eke out another two miles per gallon on the highway and one more in the city by swapping its six-speed manual transmission for a six-speed automatic.