If you're looking to maximize long-term affordability, then the key is to find a 2012 small fuel efficient car that offers the one-two punch of low sticker price and high fuel-efficiency. For those who don't need a ton of storage space, there are several good compact cars that can be had for relatively cheap. Keep reading to compare the top five most fuel-efficient small cars for 2012 that boast a sticker price below $15,000.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic (33 mpg combined)
Most reviewers agree that the all-new Sonic finally helps put Chevy back on the map when it comes to the compact vehicle market and is one of the best fuel efficient small cars around. This spry and athletic new entrant receives high marks for its well-designed interior and excellent safety ratings. It also delivers a peppy drive while still managing to output 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway (with manual transmission). Base price is listed at a very wallet-friendly $13,865. The vehicle is available in both sedan and hatchback body styles.
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2012 Nissan Versa (33 mpg combined)
With a base MSRP of $10,990, it doesn't get much more affordable than the Nissan Versa, another of the best small fuel efficient cars. While entry trims come with a pretty short features list, the vehicle still manages to serve up a roomy interior, good trunk size for the class and engine performance that most average commuters will find acceptable. If you want features like full power accessories and keyless entry, then you can expect to pay around $15,000. At its best, the 2012 Versa promises 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
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2012 Toyota Yaris (33 mpg combined)
The 2012 Toyota Yaris receives a fairly extensive redesign that delivers a sportier suspension, tweaked visual appearance and improved cargo capacity. Available as a two- or four-door hatchback, the Yaris comes with an initial asking price of $14,115. For this price, you'll get power door locks, air conditioning, fold-down rear bench, rear windshield wiper, CD player, stereo and a few other features. You'll also get a 106-hp engine that manages 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. One big advantage of the 2012 Yaris is safety. The vehicle is the only model in the compact vehicle class that comes standard with a driver's knee airbag and is one of the best small fuel efficient cars under $15,000.
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2012 Hyundai Accent / 2012 Kia Rio (34 mpg combined)
Mechanically similar, the 2012 Hyundai Accent and 2012 Kia Rio largely differ solely in appearance but are both small fuel efficient cars. Both models receive a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft. of torque. With a manual transmission, both models also promise 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Hyundai Accent sedan models can be had for as little as $12,545. The Kia Rio pricing starts at $13,400, and includes a few extra features (such as air conditioning and a sound system). Of course, both models can be tricked out with a number of upgrade features. Hatchback models are also available, and start around $13,600.
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2012 Smart Fortwo (36 mpg combined)
The microscopic Smart fortwo makes good use of its small footprint to deliver an impressive 34 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Of course, with a maximum seating capacity of two, this vehicle doesn't meet the needs of every driver. However, if you like the idea of near-hybrid fuel numbers for a base price of $12,490, then the 2012 fortwo is definitely worth a look. With its cutesy design and park-anywhere mentality, the vehicle certainly has the ability to be a charmer. Both a coupe and convertible vehicle trim are available (convertibles start at $17,690) and are some of the most fuel efficient small cars.
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