Best cars for fuel consumption

Published: September 28, 2015

Updated: May 15, 2018

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When calculating the cost of owning a car most people will consider the price to purchase the vehicle and then how much the yearly insurance premium will be. What is not generally considered is the cost of fuel to run a car annually, even if it is a very important financial factor to weigh up.

The average Canadian drives their car around 20,000 kilometers per year, which is a lot of gas to power a vehicle that far. Many people have struggled financially, and especially younger drivers may find income for fuel hard to maintain. Indeed, the CAA Driving Cost Calculator shows that even for the average mini-car (like a Fiat 500) the cost is a sizeable $1,471 per year based on the 20,000km average.

So, if budget is truly an issue you should consider which vehicle you are buying and indeed how much you drive each year. Needless to say a gas guzzling SUV is going to cost a lot of money on gas ($2,610 per year on average in fact), so you will instead need to find something that has a better fuel economy.

It is no surprise to see that hybrid and green cars are ranked highest for economic gas consumption, but there are some stellar results in the gas only vehicle category too. Consumer Reports has a 2015 list and here are the best performers in each vehicle class… all figures in MPG and we selected gas only or hybrid cars. (Miles per gallon).

SUBCOMPACT – Mitsubishi Mirage ES (37mpg)

One of the most affordable cars in Canada, costing $9,998 with incentives. While not many people buy that base entry variant of the Mirage ES, it is still an extremely affordable city car that also has the best fuel consumption in its class.

Honorable mention: Ford Fiesta SE

SMALL CAR – Honda Civic Hybrid (40mpg)

Pricey at $27,200, the Honda Civic Hybrid is the variant of the popular small car that is a big seller across North America. With a part electric motor the Civic Hybrid still relies on gas power, although that sticker price is definitely worth weighing up if saving on fuel consumption is your main goal.

Honorable mention: Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

MID-SIZE CAR – Honda Accord Hybrid (40mpg)

Perhaps a better option than the Civic Hybrid, the Accord is larger, more luxurious, and matches on fuel consumption. It costs more for sure, starting at $29,990 in Canada, but that just gets you a lot more car and is certainly something to consider.

Honorable mention: Ford Fusion SE

LARGE SUV – Lexus RX 450h (26mpg)

If you go big then fuel consumption will take a major hit, so really it is a case of damage limitation if you are trying to keep gas costs down. The Lexus RX 450h is the best of the bunch with 26mpg, while its $46.100 starting price is competitive in the class for what is a solidly equipped SUV as standard.

Honorable mention: Toyota Highlander Hybrid