2011 Toyota Prius
There are green car lists, high fuel economy lists, and then there’s TrueCar’s annual Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars” list, which rates all new vehicles on sale in the new model year by gas mileage. The list is valuable in comparing fuel costs for highly fuel-efficient cars at TrueCar’s price-per-gallon points of $3.52 and $5.00.
This year, there are four models from Toyota/Lexus on the list, three Hondas, and one each from Lincoln, Chevrolet and Hyundai.
What, no Nissan Leaf? No, because the TrueCar list excluded pure electrics – based on no cost associated with filling up a tank (there is no tank, since the all-new 2011 Nissan Leaf is 100 percent pure electric).
What about the absence of diesels on the list? TrueCar says several diesel models – including the Volkswagen Golf TDI and Jetta TDI -- fell just outside the top 10.
Based on TrueCar’s math, there are clear winners in the dollars-and-cents equation of fuel efficiency. Whether or not these cars meet family needs is a personal decision. As Jesse Toprak, TrueCar.com’s vice president of industry trends and insight says, “When purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle, consumers should consider two factors – price and annual cost of fuel. If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient car, Toyota Prius wins. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient car, the Hyundai Elantra is the clear winner.”
The top ten include these 2011 models:
2011 Toyota Prius – Long the number one winner of any and all fuel-efficient car lists, the 2011 Toyota Prius again takes the top spot in TrueCar’s annual listing. With combined 49.6 miles per gallon fuel economy, low purchase price ($23,810 MSRP and averaging $22,235), and annual estimated fuel costs (driving 15,000 miles) of $1,064 at $3.52 per gallon or $1,512 with gas at $5.00 per gallon, the Prius continues to rank as the best value for fuel-efficient car.
2011 Lexus CT 200h – An all-new entry in the luxury small car hybrid category, the 2011 Lexus CT 200h may not be every family’s cup of tea. But it is highly fuel efficient at a combined 41.6 miles per gallon. Average purchase price, says TrueCar, is just around the $30,000 mark, but the big savings is at the pump: $1,269/$1,803 in annual gas costs for fuel at $3.52 and $5.00 per gallon.
2011 Honda Insight – The first of three Hondas on the list, the 2011 Honda Insight (base price of $18,950, average purchase price of $17,851) achieves a highly fuel-efficient 41.3 mpg combined fuel economy. Annual estimated fuel costs of $1,279/$1,816 are just a few dollars more than the Lexus CT 200h – in a car with perhaps better family versatility.
2010 Honda Civic HybridEnlarge Photo
2011 Honda Civic Hybrid – Sharing the same combined 41.3-mpg fuel economy and estimated annual fuel costs as Insight, the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid is a popular choice for consumers looking for a small hybrid. With an average purchase price of $25,290, it’s reasonably affordable as well.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – While TrueCar only lists the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, savvy consumers know that the Ford Fusion Hybrid carries the same combined 38.6 mpg. The Lincoln, however, is a luxury vehicle, whereas the Ford hybrid is in the more affordable category. Still, $1,368/$1,944 annual fuel costs looks pretty attractive – if fuel efficiency and family versatility are important considerations in a vehicle purchase.