Using half doesn't mean you need to compromise on style, performance, or luxury in your ride. From Pickups and SUVs to luxury cars, there are plenty of great vehicles that get over 30 mpg.
Most models have been built for a few years so you can buy used and still use half.
Click here to learn how a NEW hybrid can qualify for up to $3,400 of federal tax credits.
Note most EPA mpg ratings have decreased around 10% from 2006 to the EPA's new, more realistic, testing procedures. Check the EPA's excellent fuel economy site for mpg ratings for all vehicles.
These are our NO COMPROMISE winners.
We also award VALUES that don't compromise your wallet.
Hats off to Ford who has the standard setting product.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Ford Escape Hybrid / Mercury Mariner So good, it's sold by three different brands. Stylish, luxurious (with options), safe (with optional side airbags), and roomy. But economical to buy and operate at EPA 32 mpg combined. Qualifies for the hybrid tax credit. The 2WD version gets better mileage and costs less than the 4 X 4.
WE ALSO LIKE: Toyota Highlander Hybrid. EPA 27 mpg combined. If you need a third row of seats, this is the SUV for you. Great performance and qualifies for the hybrid tax credit. The 2WD version gets better mileage and costs less than the 4 X 4.
WE ALSO LIKE: Lexus RX-400h EPA 27 mpg combined. This is the luxury SUV of the future, and performs incredibly,but we think Lexus can (and should) do better. Qualifies for hybrid tax credit. The 2WD version gets better mileage and costs less than the 4 X 4.
Go figure, no one is building a minivan as efficient as the Ford Escape SUV.
The Mazda 5 is the best there is at present at 24 mpg combined but is stylish, reasonably priced and has bags of room along with all kinds of passenger entertainment systems for those in the back who "aren't there yet."
FULL SIZE VAN
NO COMPROMISE: Dodge Sprinter. (diesel) 20 mpg combined. Larger and more versatile than its competitors, lots of torque. You may want to buy used: models built before 2007 get 27 - 30 mpg!
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Ford Ranger 2.3 XL, STX, and XLT EPA 23 mpg combined, these rugged pickups are strong enough to do the job, start at $16,000 with lots of options & style available. Available in a king cab version or long-bed. The Mazda B2300 is identical, available in regular cab only.
NO COMPROMISE Toyota's reliable Tacoma 4 cylinder has leaped up from just last year with an EPA combined of 22 mpg. From under $14,500
NO COMPROMISE: Toyota Prius (hybrid). EPA 46 mpg combined. Huge amounts of room, loaded with standard equipment, this is a standard-setting vehicle that maxes out the hybrid tax credit too. We love ours.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE VW Jetta TDI (diesel) EPA 38 mpg combined. Performs like a German sports sedan & one of the safest cars on the road. Starts at $21,000, or load it up with options and it's close to the ultimate driving machine.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Toyota Camry Hybrid EPA 33 mpg combined. Refined and loaded with standard equipment from its JBL sound system to sunroof, this Camry is close a luxury car. The $26,000 tag is a bargain for a car this well equpped and the hybrid tax credit is icing on the cake.
NO COMPROMISE: Nissan Altima (hybrid). EPA 34 mpg combined. New to the list, this gorgeous and sporty new hybrid is a welcome addition to our list. Qualifies for hybrid tax credit too. Now if Nissan would sell it in all 50 states...
COMPACT CARS (minimum 30mpg combined)
NO COMPROMISE: Honda Civic Hybrid. EPA 42 mpg combined. Just like its regular cousin and loaded with standard equipment, with Honda's incredible build quality & reliability and hybrid tax credit.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Toyota Yaris sedan & 2 door hatchback (EPA 37 mpg combined). You won't believe what $11,000 to $13,000 buys. Sweet.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE VW Beetle TDI (diesel). (Discontinued 2007) EPA 38 mpg combined. Great style, performance, & fun with German precision.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE The Golf / Rabbit TDI EPA 38 mpg combined. (Discontinued 2007) Very roomy but compact (if that makes sense.). A trunkless Jetta with German precision.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Mini Cooper & Clubman. EPA 32 mpg combined. Built by BMW, styled by Austin Powers & James Bond. This is serious cool, and seriously customizeable. You want it in WHAT colors? Yes, sir, very good, sir. Go crazy.
VALUEWE ALSO LIKE: Honda Fit 4 door hatchback. (EPA 31 mpg combined). Stylish & fun. The demon tuners will be all over this baby. Sold as the Jazz in the rest of the world.
VALUE WE ALSO LIKE: Toyota's evergreen Corolla 4 door gets 31 mpg combined in affordable reliable, flexible & surprisingly luxurious Toyota style.
SPORTS CARS (minimum 24 mpg)
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Mini Cooper S & Clubman. EPA 29 mpg combined. Seriously fast. Leave Porsche's in the dust fast. Handles like a go-kart fast. Try the Works version for something bordering on insane.
WE ALSO LIKE: Audi TT. 2 door (EPA 24 mpg combined). Seriously sexy in a Teutonic way. Wave goodbye to your friends on the road and gloat at the gas pump.
VALUE WE ALSO LIKE: VW GTI. 2 door (EPA 24 mpg combined). In a welcome case of deja-vue the original hot hatchback roars back in Mk. 5 form faster & badder than ever. We had one in 1981 and remember it fondly...
CONVERTIBLES (minimum 24 mpg)
NO COMPROMISE VALUE: Mini Cooper The only car to win in three categories. EPA 29 mpg combined. Style, FUN & performance in convertible format built by BMW. Oh and it actually seats four real people. GGGRRRR, baby. Who said comromise?
WE ALSO LIKE VALUE: Mazda MX-5 Miata. 2 door (EPA 24 mpg combined). The spirit of true sports car motoring lives on in the Miata. Wonderful build-quality, great reliability and British-inspired open-road styling.
WE ALSO LIKE: Audi A4 Cabriolet. 2 door (EPA 24 mpg combined). This ragtop has the feel of a classic Mercedes convertible from the 1960s only better in every way. Slatherings of wood, brushed aluminum & leather - nobody is building better than VW / Audi today.
WE ALSO LIKE: VW EOS. 2 door (EPA 24 mpg combined). Not a rag-top, just the button & the steel & glass top disappears magically. Gorgeous - we like it better than the Audi.
STATION WAGON / HATCHBACK
All of a sudden wagons are hip & sporty. And efficient.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE Pontiac Vibe / Toyota Matrix (EPA 29 mpg combined) Stylish, roomy with tons of standard equipment from CD player to 115V household plug for your PC... The Vibe & Matrix are twins under the skin.
NO COMPROMISE VALUE The Scion xD (EPA 29 mpg combined) is a highly customizable chunky monkey that you'll love or hate. Steal this car for under $16,000
LUXURY (minimum 26 mpg)
Admit it - you thought this would be a tough category, but the times, they are a changin'
NO COMPROMISE Mercedes E320 Cdi. (diesel) EPA 26 mpg combined. The clean CDi is in a class of its own, with great performance, lots of room, style, and truly sybaritic levels of luxury. Mercedes diesels are famed to last, well, nearly forever. Hey, Mercedes, when will you bring the C220 Cdi to our side of the Atlantic?
NO COMPROMISE Lexus RX-400h EPA 27 mpg combined. In this category, the Lexus rates a No Compromise. This is the luxury SUV of the future, and performs incredibly, but we think Lexus can do even better. Qualifies for hybrid tax credit. The 2WD version gets better mileage and costs less than the 4 X 4.
COOL (minimum 35 mpg)
Didn't know there was a category of COOL?
The Smart Car comes to America. 36 mpg combined. This is no highway cruiser, but it IS a stylish, zippy, customizeable, easy-to-park and fun-to-drive runabout with Mercedes build quality. Starting at just $12,000 equipped with every known safety device known to man and an incredibly strong "cell" to protect occupants in a crash. We still wouldn't drive it on the highway...
It's a category of one. The Vespa LX-50 is a back-to-the future combination of style and efficiency for urbanites. 70 mpg, a modern clean motor and an automagic transmission make this an altogether better ride than Audrey Hepburn, Roger Daltrey or the Ska bands of the '80s ever had. Just do it.