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Top 5 Most Fuel-Efficient Domestic New Cars for 2010

by Jeff Wysaski
June 30, 2010

Though they may have gotten off to a slow start, the Big Three up in Detroit are finally giving Honda and Toyota a run for their money when it comes to building fuel-efficient new cars. For 2010, some of the best hybrids and gas-sipping compacts are offered by domestic automakers such as Ford and Chevrolet. Keep reading to review the mpgs and features of the five most fuel-efficient domestic new cars for 2010:

The Ford Fusion Hybrid (along with its stablemate, the Mercury Milan Hybrid) is the first hybrid to truly challenge the Toyota Prius for the hybrid crown. While the Prius is more fuel-efficient (50 mpg combined), the Fusion offers a much more conventional sedan body style that many shoppers are likely to appreciate. Add in a more luxurious interior and an engine that seamlessly shifts from electric to gas power, and you've got a hybrid vehicle that does much to appeal to a broader audience. The Fusion Hybrid earns an estimated 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Base price for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid comes in just under $28,000.

Ford bests the competition in the SUV category with its twin hybrid compacts - the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. Much like the Fusion, the Explorer offers seamless driving dynamics. With a combined output of 177 horsepower, the thrifty Escape musters 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway without sacrificing much in the way of power. A pleasant interior design and available high-tech convenience features serve to bolster the vehicle's appeal. Starting at $29,860, the 2010 Escape Hybrid is a bit on the expensive side. However, for families who want to combine the interior space of an SUV with the efficiency of a hybrid, it's one of the best options available.

For those on a budget, the 2010 Chevrolet Aveo comes with an appealing starting price of $11,965. Throw in fuel numbers that are estimated at 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, and the Aveo adds up to a solid long-term value. However, it should be noted that this low sticker price comes at the expense of driving dynamics and interior luxury. Still, the Aveo offers a good enough package to please the average bargain shopper. For a subcompact, it also boasts a roomy interior and well laid out control panel.

The base 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt comes with a 155-hp four-cylinder engine that offers a maximum of 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Given the low entry fee ($14,990), the Cobalt offers good engine performance. If you want to compromise some mpgs for mph, then the tuned SS Turbo model may be worth a look. Inside, the Cobalt benefits from a good list of available features and large trunk area. If you can get past the somewhat dated exterior and don't find the seating too uncomfortable, then the Chevy Cobalt is definitely worth a test drive.

The 2010 Ford Focus promises 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Despite an entry price that starts around $16,000, the Focus comes with a healthy mix of available convenience features. Notable highlights include the Sync infotainment system and a MyKey system that allows parents to limit the maximum speeds of their teenage drivers. The thrifty 143-horsepower engine doesn't exactly explode off the line, but it should provide ample power for the average driver. Inside, the 2010 Ford Focus offers exceptionally comfortable seating and a good amount of trunk space.


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