As Americans make the switch to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, some of the best-selling sedans on the planet are getting a good boost--in gas mileage, and in sales.
Compact-car favorites like the Ford Focus and Honda Civic are selling better than ever, and they're joined at the top of the sales ranks by a couple of new nameplates, the Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra.
What's important for families? Each of these vehicles gets more than 40 mpg in the EPA's highway cycle, across its lineup or in special models. And nearly all are at the top of their class for safety, as rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
In order, the best-selling 40-mpg compacts on sale today are:
The Cruze, a new model that replaced the Cobalt, boasts an Eco model with a 42-mpg highway rating as well as top safety ratings – clearly important for family car buyers. It's a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and earned a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. The Cruze is priced from $16,525. In May, the Cruze was the best-selling of this quartet, and it's the first American car to top the compact class in five years.
2012 Ford Focus
The competition is right on the Cruze’s wheels. In the number two spot of best-selling compact cars is the 2011-2012 Ford Focus with 22,303 sales during the month. One model, the Focus SE with SFE, gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway. The 2012 Ford Focus is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick, while the NHTSA has yet to weigh in with scores. The Focus is available in seven models, with starting price ranging from $17,295 to $23,495.