With engines and fuel systems designed to support both gasoline and a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol, also known as E85; these vehicles, for all intents and purposes, operate just like gasoline only automobiles. On the whole, E85 burns cleaner than pure gasoline, resulting in fewer emissions. However, E85 makes less energy than straight gasoline, so cars running on it return lower fuel economy. They’ve been on the market since the 1980’s, so it’s possible you’re driving an E85 compatible vehicle without realizing it. These 10 E85 vehicles return the best fuel economy in their respective categories.
E85 Convertible | Audi A5 Cabriolet – 16 MPG Combined
Handsome, stylish, and very smooth on the road, Audi’s A5 Cabriolet is one of the most desirable convertible models offered. That it can run on E85 and pollute less is icing on an already delectable cake. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine producing 220 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable transmission routes thrust to the drive wheels. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional. If you go with all-wheel drive, you’ll get an eight speed automatic transmission. E85 fuel economy is 14 city, 20 highway, and 16 combined. Pricing starts at $47,600.
E85 Coupe | Audi A5 Coupe – 16 MPG Combined
Everything we said about the A5 Cabriolet above applies to the Audi coupe as well. Standard features include automatic headlights and windshield wipers, a triple-zone automatic climate control system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker audio system featuring satellite radio, a portable MP3 player interface, and a CD player. Options include xenon headlights, along with LED running- and taillights. Keyless entry and start, heated front seats, Audi’s Multi Media Interface controller and navigation are offered as options as well. Yes, you can drive in high style and feel good about preserving the environment. Pricing starts at $40,000.
E85 Crossover | Chevrolet Equinox – 18 MPG Combined
Chevrolet’s Equinox is a nice choice in the small crossover segment if you’re looking for an E85 vehicle with the best fuel economy. You’ll be working with the 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which makes 172 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is 15 miles per gallon in the city, 22 on the highway, and 18 combined on E85. The front-driver uses a six-speed automatic transmission. Its GMC Terrain sibling returns the same fuel economy. Standard kit for the Equinox crossover includes automatic headlights, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, and of course GM’s OnStar communications. Chevrolet Equinox pricing starts at $24,440.
E85 Hatchback | Ford Focus FFV – 23 MPG Combined
Ford’s Focus has been a leader on the domestic compact car front since it was introduced over a decade ago. It’s fun to drive, nice to look at, feels rather substantive for its class, and comes nicely equipped. The E85 version has the added incentive of offering a cleaner-burning fuel source as well. Power comes from a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 160 horsepower and 146 ft-lbs of torque. Running its automatic transmission option, the front-drive Ford hatchback returns 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway and 23 combined. Ford Focus pricing starts at $16,810.
E85 Minivan | Chrysler Town and Country / Dodge Grand Caravan – 14 MPG Combined
While Chrysler didn’t actually invent the minivan, the company is closely associated with the rise in popularity of the vehicle. Today’s Town and Country, and its more economically priced Dodge Grand Caravan sibling are roundly celebrated as two outstanding examples of the genre. Power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 configured to produce 283 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. E85 fuel economy is 12 miles per gallon in the city, 18 on the highway, and 14 combined. Pricing starts at $30,765 for the Chrysler, and $20,895 for the Dodge.
E85 Sedan | 2015 Chrysler 200 – 21 MPG Combined
Turns out the all-new Chrysler 200 has a lot more going for it than just good looks. The sleek new Chrysler sedan also offers the ability to run on Ethanol among its other attributes. The availability of safety features like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning systems, rank it among the safest vehicles on the road. Power comes from a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 173 ft-lbs of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission routes power to the Chrysler four-door’s front wheels. Fuel economy when running on E85 is 17-city, 28-highway, and 21 combined. Pricing starts at $21,700.
E85 SUV | Jeep Cherokee – 18 MPG Combined
Jeep’s Cherokee boasts a lightweight body structure and a strong standard feature set including a touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system. You can also add such niceties as foglights, alloy wheels, LED interior lighting, and dual sunroofs. Power comes from a 2.4-liter engine rated at 184 horsepower and 171 ft-lbs of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment and yes, of course four-wheel drive is available as an option. It’s a Jeep, OK? E85 fuel economy is rated at 15 city, 21 highway, and 18 combined. More comfortable—with its offroad capability intact—pricing starts at $22,995.
E85 Truck | Chevrolet Silverado C15/GMC Sierra C15 – 14 MPG Combined
General Motors really pushes E85, so quite naturally its full-size pickup is configured to run on the fuel. Given the Silverado and the Sierra are essentially the same vehicles mechanically, it follows both would run on Ethanol. The fuel economy champions in this case are 4.3-liter V6 engines producing 285 horsepower and 305 ft-lbs of torque. E85 fuel economy ratings are 12 miles per gallon in the city, 16 on the highway, and 14 combined. A six-speed automatic transmission channels the output of the engine to the rear wheels. Silverado starts at $25,575, while the Sierra starts at $26.075.
E85 Full-Size Luxury Sedan | Jaguar XJ FFV – 14 MPG Combined
You might be surprised to find the big Jaguar is configured to run on E85. Its 3.0-liter supercharged V6 makes 340 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission conducts power to the impressive sedan’s rear wheels. In addition to outstanding comfort, surprisingly robust performance, a smooth ride, and adroit handling, the Jaguar XJ offers a great deal of prestige, along with the comforting thought you’re doing much to preserve the environment. Fuel economy on E85 is rated at 11 miles per gallon in the city, 19 on the highway, and 14 combined. Pricing starts at $74,200.
E85 Full-Size Luxury SUV | Land Rover Range Rover – 14 MPG Combined
Given the XJ and the Range Rover share engines, it would seem to follow the Range Rover is E85 compatible as well—and it is. Just as in the Jaguar XJ, the Land Rover’s 3.0-liter supercharged V6 makes 340 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission also conducts power to the palatial SUV’s wheels. Four-wheel drive is standard—of course. The Land Rover Range Rover returns 12 miles per gallon in the city on E85, along with 16 miles per gallon on the highway, and 14 combined. Pricing for this most impressive machine starts at $84,225.
E85 Vehicles | How To Tell If You Already Have One
Because E85 vehicles look just like their gasoline only counterparts, you have to look for specific details to determine whether your car can run safely on the fuel. Some manufacturers make it easy, labeling the car a “FFV” (flexible-fuel vehicle). Back in 2006, General Motors started using yellow gas caps on E85 compatible vehicles (since it comes primarily from corn), other manufacturers followed suit in 2008. The best way to be absolutely certain is to consult your owner’s manual where you’ll find your fuel requirement information. If you don’t have it, here’s where to find your owner’s manual online.