The average gas mileage for cars continues to creep higher as we enter the 2012 model year. When it comes to the most fuel-efficient sedans, hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid remain at the top of the heap. However, not every driver is willing to pay the hybrid premium in favor of superior fuel efficiency. Keep reading to review the most efficient 2012 family cars that run purely on gas power.
In the past couple of years, Kia has really stepped up the pressure on segment-leading automakers. With a complete redesign last year, the 2012 Optima returns with an aggressive, stylish design and superior value-to-price ratio. For less than $20,000, all Optima models come equipped with automatic headlights, full power accessories, AC, cooled glovebox, Bluetooth, satellite radio and more. The 200-hp engine provides ample power for the average driver and promises 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2012 Kia Optima
The Hyundai Sonata comes with the same 2.4-liter cylinder engine that is found on the Kia Optima (however, minor tweaks bring maximum power to 198 hp). With a similar price and features set, styling is the major difference between these two value-oriented gas sippers. Generally speaking, the Hyundai is a bit more reserved than its fellow Korean counterpart. As with the Optima, fuel figures are listed at 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2012 Hyundai Sonata
The Camry has long been known for its stellar gas mileage and reliable functionality. The 2012 model year delivers a completely redesigned Camry that is now a bit taller and more aggressively styled. Still, the Camry plays it safe with an inoffensive design that is guaranteed to woo a large number of car shoppers. The base engine is a 178-hp four-cylinder that delivers 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Initial asking price for the Camry is set at just under $22,000.
Learn more about the 2012 Toyota Camry
When it comes to midsize sedans, the Hyundai Elantra is a bit on the small side. However, if you can manage with the below-average interior space, then you'll be rewarded with exceptional gas mileage. The base 1.8-liter engine offers 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Like the larger Sonata, the Elantra delivers a good balance of value and comfort. The base MSRP of $15,195 also makes it a very attractive option for those on a budget.
Learn more about the 2012 Hyundai Elantra
For 2012, the VW Passat is available with the same turbodiesel engine that can be found on Jetta and Golf TDI models. This 140-hp engine musters an impressive 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. Of course, it should be noted that these exceptional numbers come at a price. The base Passat TDI starts around $26,000 – making it more expensive than some hybrid vehicle alternatives. Still, the 2012 Passat is prized for its superior level of luxury and comfort. A full redesign also makes the vehicle more attractive and competitive for the new model year.
Learn more about the 2012 Volkswagen Passat