A Look at Some of the Best New Fuel-Efficient Cars

Aug 25, 2017

Fuel-efficient PriusWith auto manufacturers facing rising standards for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, new vehicles are more fuel-efficient than ever. Not only are auto makers offering a wide mix of alternative fuel powertrains from full-battery electric and hydrogen fuel cells to hybrids and plug-in hybrids, but they’re also finding ways to improve overall fuel-economy with enhanced aerodynamics, lighter materials, better air conditioning and tires, and more. Planning to buy a new car this year and want to find a vehicle that will save you money on gas and time at the pump – while helping you protect the planet? We’re highlighting several overall top-rated vehicles that also get the highest marks for fuel economy:

Toyota Prius: While the inclusion of this vehicle on our list may come as no surprise, it’s worth noting that the ever-popular Toyota Prius has gotten even more fuel efficient. While the previous generation delivered an outstanding overall 44 miles per gallon (mpg), the Prius now gets up to 52 mpg overall. With a comfortable interior and ride, the feature-rich Prius handles nicely and can drive up to approximately 25 mpg on electric power. Toyota also offers a plug-in version in the Prius Prime and an even more fuel-efficient Eco model in select markets. Already own a Prius and looking for more ways to maximize fuel economy? Find tips at http://bit.ly/BetterFuelEfficiencyFromYourPrius.

Hyundai Ioniq: The Hyundai Ioniq has fuel-efficiency levels equivalent to the iconic Prius, and you may be able to get it at a lower price. As one of the most affordable hybrids on the market, it starts at an MSRP of $22,200, which is $1,275 less than that of the Prius. According to Consumer Reports, the Ioniq Hybrid gets 42 mpg on city streets and 60 mpg on the highway. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor gives it a combined 139 horsepower (hp), and it can drive solely on electric power at low speeds. It’s also available in pure electric and plug-in hybrid versions. In addition, this innovative hatchback comes equipped with advanced safety features and a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Kia Niro: Looking for a vehicle with the cargo capacity of an SUV and fuel efficiency that ranks among the best? Affordable priced starting at $22,890, the Kia Nero is a five-passenger subcompact SUV with a combined 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motorAlthough the vehicle is not available in an all-wheel drive, it has excellent fuel economy at approximately 43 mpg overall. In addition, the placement of its lithium-ion battery under the back seats allows for a flat cargo floor when the rear seats are folded down.                                                                      

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: Along with a stylish new body style and comfortable interior, this midsized sedan has a smooth, quiet ride, plenty of acceleration and responsive handling. What’s more, it earns high scores for safety and reliability and offers an updated infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A good value at an MSRP of $27,875, Consumer Reports tests the Malibu Hybrid at an overall 41 mpg (33 mpg city, 49 mpg highway).

Ford Fusion Hybrid SE: A joy to drive with agile handling and good acceleration, the Ford Fusion Hybrid SE has one electric motor and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine for a smooth and quiet ride. Enhancements made to this year’s powertrain enable the vehicle to move fully into electric driving mode at speeds up to 85 mph. New improvements in the braking system also allow for better energy efficiency. The vehicle has an overall fuel efficiency ranging from 39 to 42 mpg.

Lexus ES 300h: If you’re in the market for a luxury car with outstanding fuel efficiency, consider putting this hybrid at the top of your list. With a smooth ride and spacious, well-constructed cabin, the Lexus ES 300h gets 40 mpg combined for city/highway driving. And at a starting MSRP price of $41,820, it’s priced lower than most cars of its size and class.

Although we’ve referenced the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) for the sake of general knowledge and comparison, keep in mind that in general, it’s best not to get overly focused on this “sticker price” once you start seriously shopping for a new car. The MSRP is basically a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car. However, dealers can and do sell cars for less.

In general, it’s best to start negotiations for a new car based on the dealer cost. In short, it is the lowest price at which the dealer can sell the car without losing money and is excellent data to have in order to make a strong counteroffer on a vehicle. As Kelley Blue Book explains; however, the exact dealer cost can be difficult to obtain. To simplify the process of finding it, just start with the dealer invoice price, and subtract any incentives that you find. For another excellent resource to help you in getting the best possible price, look to TrueCar, which will tell you what others in your area have paid for a specific make and model and provide estimated prices from a number of dealers near you.

And if you’ll be using financing to purchase your next car, keep in mind that you may realize significant savings by arranging it with a financial institution such as your credit union. Dealerships frequently mark up interest rates on loans, and you may very well qualify for a better interest rate by working directly with your lender. With fixed rates as low as 1.74 percent APR*, SFPCU offers hassle-free auto loans with lower monthly payments and a convenient online application that makes the process quick and easy. For details, visit http://bit.ly/AutoLoansSFPCU.

Not interested in doing extensive research on car prices, not to mention haggling with a dealer, but want to be assured that you’re getting your new car at the lowest possible price? SF Police Credit Union’s Auto Buying Service is a perfect solution for those who want to find the best deal on a vehicle without spending time pouring over price details and negotiating a sale! Learn more about this service, free to SFPCU members, at http://bit.ly/SFPCUAutoBuyingService.


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APR = "Annual Percentage Rate". Actual APR is based on your credit profile and may be higher than the lowest rate available. Posted rates may include promotional discounts and other terms and conditions. APY = "Annual Percentage Yield". Rates are subject to change without notice.

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