The mid-size sedan has long been a good body style for those seeking a comfortable ride and practical convenience. While the compact vehicle class tends to return better mileage figures, the cramped quarters of these diminutive fuel sippers don't make sense for a lot of shoppers. Keep reading to review the five most fuel-efficient non-hybrid mid-size sedans for the 2011 model year.
Pictured: 2011 Hyundai Elantra
The Nissan Sentra may not be top of mind for many car shoppers, but it's solid fuel efficiency, nice interior and fairly peppy engine help make it a good buy for some. At its best, the EPA suggests fuel figures of 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. To get these numbers, you'll have to bypass the base model and upgrade to the 2.0 SR (MSRP of $17,990). As opposed to the manual transmission of the base 2.0 model, the SR comes equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
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The Kia Forte Eco comes with such add-ons as low-rolling resistance tires, electric power steering and aerodynamic upgrades. Combined, this Fuel Economy package boosts fuel figures to a maximum of 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. When compared to the standard Kia Forte, this is a one-mpg improvement in both city and highway driving. Beyond excellent fuel efficiency, the Forte also receives high marks for its nimble handling and below-average entry fee. Base Kia Forte models come with an attractive starting price of $14,995.
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A bit on the small side for the mid-size class, the Nissan Versa manages to output 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. As such, the Versa is a good option for city drivers who don't need all that much storage space. With a base price below $10,000, the vehicle is also a good fit for anyone on a tight budget. Of course, for that price you can expect a fairly Spartan interior. However, plenty of upgrades are available for those who want 'luxury' features like air conditioning and a stereo.
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The Chevy Cruze Eco is a mid-range trim that reduces vehicle weight with the help of lightweight alloy wheels, smaller fuel tank and deletion of a few features. Low-rolling tires and aerodynamic enhancements combine with the weight reduction to bring EPA figures to 28 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. For comparison, the standard Chevy Cruze earns 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Additional advantages of the Chevy Cruze include excellent safety scores and a fairly upscale interior. Starting price for a Chevy Cruze Eco is listed at $18,425.
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With 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, you'll need to upgrade to a hybrid sedan to beat the 2011 Hyundai Elantra in fuel efficiency. A full redesign for the 2011 model year helps make the Elantra more desirable. New additions include a striking exterior design, comfortable interior and good amount of storage space. Drivers also get a lot of features for the $14,945 base asking price. All models come with the same thrifty 1.8-liter engine, allowing you to add luxury features and refinement without sacrificing mileage.
Learn more about the 2011 Hyundai Elantra