Suggestions for New Fuel Efficient Car?

My 2001 Jeep has just about had it, and I need a new car. I’m looking for something mid-size or smaller, safe, and hybrid or that gets good gas mileage. Suggestions? How safe are some of the popular hybrids like the Prius?

How safe? They all pass the same safety standards required before a car can be sold in the US. The Prius is highly rated in all categories; safety, reliability, efficiency, etc. If you want a Prius get in line. They’re selling like hot cakes.

There are so many vehicles meeting your criteria it would be difficult to list them all.

Here’s a partial list:

Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Camry, Toyota Matrix, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Rio, Kia Spectra, Kia Optima, Saturn Astra, Saturn Aura, Chevy Cobalt, Chevy Malibu, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, and on and on and on.

Have fun shopping.

A very broad question. Small but roomy and safe non-hybrid I would suggest a Toyota Matrix or Vibe. My Vibe (1.8 liter 2wd) gets over 30mpg in all conditions and you can throw a clothes dryer in the back of it. If you want to pay the hybrid premium for a vehicle I’d say get a hybrid Camry, can’t beat it for size and mpg.

Whatever you buy is bound to be safer than your Jeep. Suggestions made by other posters are good; the Corolla and Matrix/Vibe with base engine will have the best gas mileage for their size. I just rented a Hyundai Accent for 2 1/2 weeks and the overall mileage was about the same as my Corolla (much larger) which has the best non-hybrid fuel mileage.

To justify a Prius with its much higher cost, you have to drive a lot, 35,000 miles per year or so to come out ahead.

Also depends on your definition of fuel efficiency. My car has about 400 HP and gets 20 MPG. IMO that is far more efficient that a car than has 120 HP and gets 35 MPG.

Here’s a list of 2009 hybrids with gas mileage.

There are only 5 cars listed, so finding one that you like should not be a problem. There are also trucks on the list if you are interested in replacing the Jeep with something similar.

Taking delivery will be a big problem, and you may need to pay a premium to buy it. A Prius averages $2000 over MSRP and a Civic is about $1000 over MSRP. You will pay anything they want to take delivery on a car that might not be available until next spring. Are you sure you want a hybrid?

My next new car is a Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, rated 37 highway mpg with a manual transmission. Side airbags, radio and air are standard; around $15K; such a deal and still better yet if you have a GM charge card and even better yet if you can catch one when they are having one of their Employee Discount for Everyone programs. Front and side airbags are the best you can get regarding safety. Fasten your seat belt, of course.

I just purchased a ‘base’ 2007 Chevy Cobalt LS last year, and (short of the deer-ding in the front left fender) I really enjoy it. You’ll get 43mpg (according to the instrument panel) if you drive like an old lady on the highway (between 55 & 60mph).

I went on a long trip from NJ to Ohio last June and saw the same cars flying by me on the highway…they were going super fast, but had to keep filling up!

I am wary of hybrids…they will eventually need new batteries, and batteries are expensive…and don’t last very long. Getting a smaller “traditional” car and driving safely will give a lot more, for a lot less money & maintenance.

How safe? They all pass the same safety standards required before a car can be sold in the US.

There is a minimum standard they ALL pass. There are cars that are MUCH SAFER then other cars. Some have a much higher standard.

Seems that by driving far slower than everyone else you’re drving unsafely.

If you don’t mind getting a REALLY small car, get the smart car when it is released. They get great mileage and are 5-star crash test rated.

There is a minimum standard they ALL pass. There are cars that are MUCH SAFER then other cars. Some have a much higher standard

I don't think I would consider them MUCH safer, more like a little safer.  The really big difference in safety is in the driver.  Driving any car in a foolish manor is far less safe than driving safely. 

As noted, by MCparadise there are many good high efficiency cars available today.  Look at the numbers for the type of driving you do (highway or city) and start test driving.

I’m not a fan of the Smart. For the same money, you can get a Honda Fit or a stripper Civic. They are much more useful and get almost as good gas mileage.

Don’t get carried away with mpg figures. Above the mid 20s, you get into diminishing returns saving gas. To see what I mean, calculate the cost per year to drive each car on your shopping list. You will find that a comfortable car of a useful size (e.g. 4 cylinder Honda Accord or Toyota Camry) isn’t much more expensive to drive than a tiny econobox.

I’m going to toss a toad in the punch bowl:

Why buy a car that gets such great gas mileage? Gasoline prices are down more than 25% in the last couple of weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the drop more. You can get regular for less than $2.90 around here.

Because if everybody goes back to buying gas guzzling hogs, the price of gas will go back up.

Yea, I either go too fast and get a ticket, or go too slow and get run over.

Isn’t that a kick in the head…saying I’m being unsafe because I’m 5 below the speed limit.

IMO one should keep up with the flow of traffic. If the prevailing speed is 85 MPH in a 65 zone, then it is best to keep up with traffic. If the prevailing speed is 55 MPH then it is best to go 55 MPH. Believe it or not cops look more for improper driving (tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes,etc.) More so than speeding. If you’re keeping up with traffic and exhibiting proper lane discipline, the chances of getting a ticker are low.

Really? We had some time ago a special thread for hybrid cars, and the Prius folks were going a long ways with no battery problems. If you have solid data that shows a serious problem, it would be a great service to members of this URL.

Ditto for other hybrids.

We’ve had several posts on the virtues of the Smart car. The concensus seems to be that it is ideal for city driving and parking in small spaces, for which it was initially developoed. I se a lot of them in Europe. If I lived downtown Boston or San Francisco, I would own one.

The fact that it needs premium gas and the mileage is not great for tis size does not make it the best economy car. This is a Mercedes, built in France, and it costs close to $100 for an oil chnage. The Smart car was never designed as a pure economy car.

Henry Ford II hated small cars and once quipped that “people will pay almost nanything for an economy car!”.

If you want to save money with a small car, buy a stripped Hyndai Accent which is cheap in upkeep and, although small, has a lot of inside room.

Prius taxi’s over 300,000 miles on original battery. The battery is not an issue.