The 82 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in 2008 ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: The 82 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in 2008

Monday, October 29, 2007

The 82 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in 2008

Sometimes, it just isn't easy trying to figure out which car to buy. If fuel economy is one of your primary selling points, then you should head on over to the fueleconomy.gov website to get the latest fuel economy (and emissions) from the EPA.

Unfortunately the EPA assumes people come into the site looking to purchase a particular type of car, whether SUV, small car, family sedan or hatchback. Not everyone thinks that way. So I looked through and located every 2008 model year car that gets over 25 mpg and sorted them by their fuel economy.

Not surprisingly, the top five most fuel efficient vehicles on the list are hybrids.

UPDATE (May 30, 2008): I've gone back and updated the list. There are now 99 cars listed that get over 25 mpg combined. As you can see from the list, the MINI(s) has been added in, along with the Saturn Vue Hybrid and a few others.

This Table Represents the Most Fuel Efficient Cars for 2008.

MPG
Ranking Category Vehicle City Highway Combined
1 family sedans Toyota Prius 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Automatic (CVT), HEV, Regular 48 45 46.7
2 small cars Honda Civic Hybrid 4 cyl, 1.3 L, Automatic (CVT), HEV, Regular 40 45 42.3
3 Coupes smart fortwo coupe 3 cyl, 1 L, Automatic (S5), Premium 33 41 36.6
3 Convertibles smart fortwo convertible 3 cyl, 1 L, Automatic (S5), Premium 33 41 36.6
4 family sedans Nissan Altima Hybrid 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (CVT), HEV, Regular 35 33 34.1
5 family sedans Toyota Camry Hybrid 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Automatic (CVT), HEV, Regular 33 34 33.5
6 SUV Ford Escape Hybrid FWD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 34 30 32.2
6 SUV Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 34 30 32.2
6 SUV Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 34 30 32.2
7 small cars Toyota Yaris 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5), Regular 29 36 32.2
7 small cars MINI Cooper 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Automatic 4-spd, Regular 29 36 32.2
7 Hatchback Toyota Yaris 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5), Regular 29 36 32.2
8 small cars MINI Clubman 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 6-spd, Premium 28 37 32.1
8 small cars Toyota Corolla 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 28 37 32.1
9 small cars Toyota Yaris 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(4), Regular 29 35 31.7
9 Hatchback Toyota Yaris 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(4), Regular 29 35 31.7
10 small cars Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5), Regular 28 34 30.7
10 Hatchback Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5), Regular 28 34 30.7
11 small cars Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(5), Regular 27 34 30.2
11 Hatchback Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(5), Regular 27 34 30.2
12 small cars Toyota Corolla 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 26 35 30.1
13 small cars Honda Civic 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(5), Regular 25 36 30.0
13 small cars Chevrolet Cobalt XFE 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 25 36 30.0
14 small cars Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 27 33 29.7
14 small cars Nissan Versa 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 27 33 29.7
14 small cars Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(S5), Regular 27 33 29.7
14 Hatchback Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 27 33 29.7
14 Hatchback Honda Fit 4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(S5), Regular 27 33 29.7
14 Station Wagons Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 27 33 29.7
15 small cars Honda Civic 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 26 34 29.6
15 small cars MINI Cooper 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Automatic (S6), Premium 26 34 29.6
15 small cars MINI Cooper S 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 6-spd, Premium 26 34 29.6
15 small cars MINI Clubman S 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 6-spd, Premium 26 34 29.6
16 small cars Kia Rio 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 25 35 29.5
16 small cars Pontiac G5 XFE 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 25 35 29.5
16 Coupes Pontiac G5 XFE 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 25 35 29.5
17 small cars Honda Civic 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(5), RNG=170, Natural Gas 24 36 29.4
18 small cars Hyundai Accent 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 27 32 29.3
18 small cars Kia Rio 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 27 32 29.3
19 Station Wagons Pontiac Vibe 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 26 33 29.2
19 Station Wagons Toyota Matrix 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 26 33 29.2
20 small cars Ford Focus 4 cyl, 2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 35 29.0
21 small cars Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 26 32 28.7
21 Hatchback Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 26 32 28.7
21 Station Wagons Scion xD 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 26 32 28.7
22 small cars Nissan Sentra 4 cyl, 2 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 25 33 28.6
22 family sedans Hyundai Elantra 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(4), Regular 25 33 28.6
23 small cars Chevrolet Aveo 5 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 24 34 28.5
23 small cars Chevrolet Aveo 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 24 34 28.5
23 Hatchback Chevrolet Aveo 5 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 24 34 28.5
23 Hatchback Chevrolet Aveo 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Regular 24 34 28.5
24 small cars Nissan Versa 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(6), Regular 26 31 28.3
25 SUV Saturn Vue Hybrid 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Automatic 4-spd, Regular 25 32 28.2
26 SUV Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 29 27 28.1
26 SUV Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 29 27 28.1
26 SUV Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD 4 cyl, 2.3 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 29 27 28.1
27 small cars Ford Focus 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 33 28.1
27 small cars Hyundai Accent 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 33 28.1
27 small cars Pontiac G5/Pursuit 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 33 28.1
27 small cars Chevrolet Cobalt 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 33 28.1
27 family sedans Hyundai Elantra 4 cyl, 2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 33 28.1
27 Coupes Pontiac G5/Pursuit 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 33 28.1
28 Station Wagons Pontiac Vibe 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 25 31 27.7
28 Station Wagons Toyota Matrix 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 25 31 27.7
29 small cars Mazda 3 4 cyl, 2 L, Man(5), Regular 24 32 27.6
29 small cars Nissan Versa 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 32 27.6
29 family sedans Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 32 27.6
29 family sedans Kia Spectra 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 32 27.6
29 family sedans Saturn Aura Hybrid 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4), Regular 24 32 27.6
29 Hatchback Saturn Astra 2DR Hatchback 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 24 32 27.6
29 Hatchback Saturn Astra 4DR Hatchback 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 24 32 27.6
30 small cars Nissan Sentra 4 cyl, 2 L, Man(6), Regular 24 31 27.2
31 small cars MINI Cooper S 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Automatic (S6), Premium 23 32 27.1
31 small cars MINI Clubman S 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Automatic (S6), Premium 23 32 27.1
31 small cars Chevrolet Aveo 5 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 small cars Chevrolet Aveo 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 family sedans Nissan Altima 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Man(6), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 luxury sedan Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec 6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(L7), Diesel 23 32 27.1
31 Hatchback Chevrolet Aveo 5 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 Hatchback Chevrolet Aveo 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Auto(4), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 Coupes Nissan Altima Coupe 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Man(6), Regular 23 32 27.1
31 Convertibles MINI Cooper Convertible 4 cyl, 1.6 L, Man(5), Premium 23 32 27.1
32 small cars Nissan Sentra 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 24 30 26.7
32 Hatchback Saturn Astra 2DR Hatchback 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Automatic 4-spd, Regular 24 30 26.7
32 Hatchback Saturn Astra 4DR Hatchback 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Automatic 4-spd, Regular 24 30 26.7
33 small cars Mazda 3 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(S4), Regular 23 31 26.6
33 small cars Suzuki SX4 Sedan 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(4), Regular 23 31 26.6
33 family sedans Nissan Altima 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 23 31 26.6
33 Coupes Audi TT Coupe 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(S6), Premium 23 31 26.6
33 Coupes Nissan Altima Coupe 4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (CVT), Regular 23 31 26.6
33 Sports/Sporty Cars Audi TT Coupe 4 cyl, 2 L, Auto(S6), Premium 23 31 26.6
34 small cars Chevrolet Cobalt 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5), Premium 22 32 26.5
34 small cars Pontiac G5/Pursuit 4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5), Premium 22 32 26.5
35 Hatchback Dodge Caliber 4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 24 29 26.3
36 family sedans Kia Spectra 4 cyl, 2 L, Man(5), Regular 23 30 26.2
37 SUV Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD 6 cyl, 3.3 L, Automatic (CVT), HEV, Regular 27 25 26.1
38 small cars Pontiac G5/Pursuit 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Auto(4), Regular 22 31 26.1
38 small cars Chevrolet Cobalt 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Auto(4), Regular 22 31 26.1
38 Coupes Pontiac G5/Pursuit 4 cyl, 2.2 L, Auto(4), Regular 22 31 26.1



Rankings for the Most Fuel Efficient Cars of 2008

The rankings for this list of the most fuel efficient cars in 2008 was based on the combined fuel economy (45% highway, 55% city). Since fuel economy is so dependent on the engine type, the EPA breaks down the vehicle by engine type. So, even though the list seems to be repeating itself, it's not.

The numbers shown are based on the new EPA MPG testing. The old ratings were not very realistic, leading to many complaints about not getting the fuel economy they were promised. And although many predicted that hybrids would be affected more than others, they are still there at the top.

UPDATE (May 30, 2008): The following paragraph is no longer true since I've gone back to update the list. But I would still like to hear from you if you see a car that's not on the list.

All cars on this list are 2008 model year. Notice that the 2008 Saturn Vue Greenline Hybrid is not on the list. For some reason it's not up on the fueleconomy.gov website, yet. If it was, in would be right up there with the top ranked vehicles. But since it's not there, I decided to keep it off the list.

You may notice other vehicles that are not on the list. If you do, please let me know in the comments below. When I come back to update the list, I'd like to get it right.

Update (August, 2008): I have lists up on the most fuel efficient cars of 2006 and the most fuel efficient cars of 2005.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

35 comments:

vhats said...

I own a 2007 Chev HHR with a 2.4L engine premium fuel. Although not a 2008 the vehicles are almost identical. I noticed it wasn't on the list of most fuel efficient vehicles. Last years EPA ratings for this vehicle were the same as the Chev Cobalt. My HHR has averaged 26 mpg combined city and highway driving. City driving usually is 24.5 mpg and highway at 30.5. I keep good records of my fuel use and these figures are accurate.

Anonymous said...

Curious to know what happened to the Volkswagen Golf TDI or similair drivetrain models from Volkswagen? I get approx 30 mpg in city and close to 40 on the highway

Mike said...

Vhats, that's some nice driving. But, unfortunately, the EPA has the Chevy HHR set at 25 mpg, which means it was just below the cutoff for this list.

anonymous, the golf is badged as the rabbit in the US and gets a combined mpg of 24. In a quick search, I haven't been able to find the TDI drivetrain. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008seleeng2f.jsp?year=2008&make=Volkswagen&model=Rabbit

Kris said...

2008 TDI's have not been released yet. Once available, I expect they should be near the top.

Also what about the Smart? It's been in Canada for a while.

JB aka JayBee said...

I am really looking forward to see the new Volkswagon TDIs. My 2004 Jetta TDI gets about 40 mpg and I would guess that the 2004 ones will be even better. Go Diesel!

I think if the Smart car is released in the USA it will do really well. I am amazed how long it takes for some fuel efficient cars to be introduced to the US market.

Anonymous said...

How about the rest of the Scion lines? All of them will make the list even if it is 100% city driving.

Anonymous said...

How about sports cars?
The Porsche Boxster 2.7L manual is quite fuel efficient especially for a sports car.
I would add that to your list.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes drive the wifes z71 suburban and on a recent trip to Boston I managed to eek out 20.9 average mpg for a 350 rount trip journey (so the computer says) So total cost of $50 in gas. It still hurts to fill the sucker up. I also get 34 + on my 91 Acura Integra

Anonymous said...

Medium is only part of the message, gang. Other major ingredient is driving style. For instance, highway driving my '02 Civic, if I run it without the AC and using cruise-control for a constant 55 mph, I get > 50 mpg.

If safety is so important that you wouldn't consider the medium or the "messenger," buy a Mack Truck.

If speed is the main consideration, get up 15 minutes earlier.

BB

Mike said...

Driving habits certainly determine how you can do with each 'medium,' but the medium is not secondary by any means. I could get much better mileage from the Insight than I could a Hummer (to take some extremes).

A lot of the vehicles mentioned in the comments get great city (or great highway) mileage but not both. Since this list shows the combined values and the values had to get up over 25 mpg, they aren't on the list.

Don said...

I just traded my Saturn 2003 L200 sedan in for a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. I average 600 miles per week of driving.

The Saturn averaged about 31 mpg.

The Honda has been averaging about 45 mpg. I will probably save approximagely $1,200.00 per year, that's over 300 gallons not used.

The Honda's performance improves as you learn to drive it according to its perculiarities. My mileage is improving weekly as I adjust my driving style. This week my MPG is rising above 47 mpg.

Mike said...

Don, that's really impressive driving skills. Hypermiling is not an easy thing to do for most people, mostly because people don't want to concentrate that much on their driving.

Congratulations!

Don said...

The website is full of it. Where is the Mini cooper. It's more efficient than the convertible version. MPG is 30/37

Mike said...

The 2008 Mini Cooper (non-convertible) wasn't on the EPA site at the time I made this list. It will be added when I update the list.

I don't think that makes this site 'full of it,' however.

The Flash said...

You can all thank the Tree Huggers for the HIGH gas prices. They stopped the building of new refineries and stopped opening up the Alaska fields.
We are the only country in the world to use low sulphur diesel fuel, Thanks to Al Gore.

Stop the Tree Huggers they are killing us.

My vehicle gets 40MPG at 90MPH and goes 160MPH, can you guess what I drive?

Mike said...

Lots of possibilites come to mind. A motorcycle? A diesel? A 1990 (Take your pick, because everyone know older cars got better fuel economy)?

Corolla boy said...

I get 37 miles a gallon on the average. Drive an 08 Corolla. I guess I get pretty good average mileage compared to EPA ratings because there hardly is any city driving around here. the roads are too wide. average speed is 55mph. that is like hi-way already. and also, i have manual transmission. better mileage, more power.

Mike said...

That's about perfect speed for a Corolla. The old EPA ratings probably would have been right on for you.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the car companies dust off the plans and produce some of the cars that used to be fuel efficient, like the Metro or the Honda Insight? If there wasn't a market for them a few years back, there certainly is now.

Mike said...

I agree with that sentiment. And I'm pretty sure you're going to see a resurgence in fuel economy cars. That Smart car from Chrysler is just the start.

But it's more difficult than you might think for the Detroit 3 (Does Big 3 really apply any more?). They were concentrating on SUVs and other larger cars for a reason.

Anonymous said...

The smart fortwo is actually from Mercedes.

water4fuel said...

Water4fuel.info has information on how to create a hybrid yourself for under $200.00

gllincoln said...

I own an older Suzuki Swift (2000), it gets 32 mpg mixed driving with air conditioning on. If I keep it down to 60 mph on a long drive (excepting the mountainous areas) it flirts with 40 mpg.

The current models have a lot more HP but given today's gas prices, they sure missed the pulse of the marketplace. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

I drive a KIA Optima EX, 4 cylinder, and I can get about 32 miles per gallon, or 345 miles per tank of gas.

Mike said...

I keep thinking of Chrysler/ mercedes/ daimler etc... as one entity. I really have to get used to the break-up.

Mike said...

Thanks, I'll have to put together a list for 2007 and then move ahead on 2009.

Anonymous said...

Picked up my new Hyundai accent se (auto) in Las Cruces N.M. drove to Santa Fe and back, got 38mpg. Brand new with 7 miles on it. Got 6600 miles on it now and still get 38 highway and 29 city. Great car for the money.

Anonymous said...

The Flash said... "...We are the only country in the world to use low sulphur diesel fuel, Thanks to Al Gore..."

Not true. Although U.S. "Big Oil" and our (their) Congressional reps opposed its introduction for years, Europe has had low/ultra low sulfur diesel fuel for MANY years. The U.S. is playing catch-up and Al Gore had as much to do with it as his invention of the Internet.

The Flash also said...
"My vehicle gets 40MPG at 90MPH and goes 160MPH, can you guess what I drive?"

Yep, I agree with Mike - probably a motorcycle.

Anonymous said...

We just returned from a 1700 mile multi-state trip in our 2006 Toyota Corolla CE (automatic). About 1300 miles were via Interstate highway, mostly on cruise control at 65 to 75 mph with a couple of 80+ mph bursts (Atlanta!). The remaining 400 miles were city/rural. Our overall fuel consumption averaged 35.33 mpg at an average fuel cost of 11.28 cents per mile. South Carolina had the cheapest fuel at $3.78 per gal. while Florida had the most expensive at $4.09 per gal.

Anonymous said...

I own a Toyota Corolla D-4-D (diesel 1400cc) and I get over 52 MPG combined driving.

Anonymous said...

You missed out Volkwagon Golf 1.6 FSI in your list. The FSI technology is very fuel efficient and should be among Top 5.

Anonymous said...

My hummer gets 12 mpg and why isn't it on this list. On the hwy it gets 12 mpg and around town it gets 9 mpg.

Anonymous said...

i have a 2002 toyota corolla LE model with an automatic transmission. i'm averaging slightly above 40 mpg on the southern california freeways. how do i do it? i don't go past 60 mph.

Anonymous said...

There are only 38 cars listed?

Mike said...

38 in the left - most column of the table indicates there are 38 rankings (mpg rankings). Although, if you cut down on the number of types of models, you may get down to 38 cars. I'm not sure about that, though.

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