With gas prices constantly in flux — they’ve hit a new national record for regular as of this writing, according to AAA — consumers often look to save at the pump. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on sale for the 2022 model year.
Related: Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars
Below you’ll find three lists of the thriftiest gas-powered vehicles as rated by the EPA and separated by type: gas-only, gas-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Note that these ratings are all EPA estimates, and your actual mileage may differ depending on a number of factors, some of which are under your control.
1. Mitsubishi Mirage: 36/43/39 mpg city/highway/combined
2. Hyundai Elantra: 33/43/37 mpg
3. Honda Civic: 33/42/36 mpg
4. Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio: 33/41/36 mpg (tie)
5. Toyota Corolla Hatchback: 32/41/35 mpg
Not only is the 2022 Mirage the least thirsty gas-powered car on the market, it’s also one of the most affordable. The front-wheel-drive-only Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan are both powered by a 78-horsepower, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable automatic is optional. The most fuel-efficient Mirage is the hatchback with the CVT, rated at 36/43/39 mpg city/highway/combined. The Mirage G4 sedan with the CVT is rated at 35/41/37 mpg, and with the manual transmission, fuel economy drops to 33/41/36 and 33/40/35 mpg for the hatch and sedan, respectively.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra offers buyers a variety of engine and transmission choices, all with front-wheel drive. Among the Elantras powered solely by gasoline engines, the base SE with a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a CVT is the most fuel-efficient at 33/43/37 mpg; more option-laden versions of the Elantra with this powertrain drop slightly to 31/41/35 mpg. The N Line gets a 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and either a standard six-speed manual transmission, rated at 25/34/28 mpg, or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic rated at 28/36/31 mpg. Those looking for performance over fuel economy can go for the Elantra N’s 276-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, rated at 22/31/25 mpg with the standard six-speed manual transmission or 20/30/23 mpg with the optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Another vehicle with a wealth of choices for buyers, the 2022 Civic comes in both sedan and hatchback body styles, three engine choices and either a six-speed manual transmission (in the hatchback or sportier Si sedan) or CVT. The most efficient 2022 Civic is actually not the base LX model but the mid-level EX with the more powerful 180-hp, turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT, rated at 33/42/36 mpg. The range-topping Touring sedan drops to 31/38/34 mpg.
The base engine in the Civic is a 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. In the sedan, that’s good for a maximum rating of 31/40/35 mpg in the LX and 30/37/33 mpg in the Sport. The Si is only available with a six-speed manual and a 200-hp, turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder; it’s rated at 27/37/31 mpg on premium gas.
The hatchback gets the same engine and transmission choices. With the turbo 1.5-liter and a CVT, its maximum mpg rating is 31/39/35. The base engine and CVT is rated at 30/38/33 mpg. Switch to the six-speed manual and the maximum ratings are 28/37/31 mpg with the turbo 1.5-liter and 26/36/29 mpg with the 2.0-liter.
Two South Korean subcompacts share the fourth spot — and architecture and powertrains. Both cars come standard with a 120-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT. Each sedan is rated at 33/41/36 mpg.
Fifth place on the list goes to the 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, which is powered by a 168-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to either a CVT with a traditional 1st gear or a six-speed manual transmission. The SE with the CVT is the most efficient version at 32/41/35 mpg. The XSE with the CVT drops to 30/38/33 mpg, and with a manual transmission, fuel economy drops again to 28/36/31 mpg.
1. Hyundai Ioniq: 58/60/59 mpg
2. Toyota Prius: 58/53/56 mpg
3. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: 53/56/54 mpg
4. Honda Insight: 55/49/52 mpg
5. Toyota Corolla Hybrid: 53/52/52 mpg
Not to be confused with the new all-electric Ioniq 5, the Ioniq hybrid is powered by a 104-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder paired with a 43-hp electric motor and 1.56-kilowatt-hour battery. The Blue trim is the most efficient at 58/60/59 mpg; other trim levels are rated at 54/57/55 mpg. There is also a plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq, but the all-electric version was replaced for 2022 by the Ioniq 5.
Power for the Prius comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine with two electric motor-generators and a battery pack making a combined 121 system hp. The base front-drive Eco model is the most efficient at 58/53/56 mpg. Other FWD trims are rated at 54/50/52 mpg, and opting for all-wheel drive (and a second electric motor) lowers efficiency to 51/47/49 mpg.
The Elantra makes a second appearance here as a hybrid model, and total system output from its 1.6-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine, electric motor and battery pack is 139 hp, same as the Ioniq. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. The Blue version is the most efficient at 53/56/54 mpg; more well-equipped models are rated at 49/52/50 mpg.
Honda’s Insight hybrid is next on the list, with a total system output of 151 hp from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with two electric motors and battery pack. The Insight is available in EX or Touring trims, with the lower EX rated at 55/49/52 mpg and the Touring at 51/45/48 mpg.
With an identical powertrain to the Prius hybrid but a more traditional car body, the Corolla Hybrid sedan comes in a single trim, LE, and is rated at 53/52/52 mpg.
1. Toyota Prius Prime: 133 mpg-equivalent
2. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid: 119 mpg-e
3. Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid: 105 mpg-e
4. Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid: 105 mpg-e
5. Toyota RAV4 Prime: 94 mpg-e
The plug-in hybrid version of the Prius uses a larger, rechargeable 8.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack, but has the same 1.8-liter gasoline engine and total system output of 121 hp. The EPA rates the Prius Prime at 133 combined mpg-e for electric and gas, and 54 mpg combined in hybrid mode once the battery charge is depleted. Its estimated all-electric range is 25 miles and it has a total estimated range of 640 miles.
Coming in second in this section is the PHEV version of the Ioniq. Like the Prius Prime, the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid has the same system output as the Ioniq Hybrid but with a larger, rechargeable 8.9-kWh battery pack. The EPA estimates the Ioniq PHEV has 29 miles of all-electric range and 620 miles of total range, with ratings of 119 mpg-e and 52 combined mpg.
The Niro PHEV shares much with the related Ioniq PHEV — it also pairs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and rechargeable 8.9-kWh battery pack. Total range is lower, estimated at 560 miles, with an estimated 26 all-electric miles. Efficiency is also lower: The EPA rates the Niro PHEV at 105 mpg-e and 46 mpg combined.
Ford’s Escape PHEV compact SUV is next on this list, powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electrified CVT with a 14.4-kWh battery pack. The Escape PHEV is FWD-only, with an estimated all-electric range of 37 miles and a total estimated range of 520 miles. While it ties the Niro in mpg-e at 105, it’s in fourth place because when the initial charge is depleted, the Escape PHEV is only rated at 40 mpg combined.
In fifth place is another compact SUV, but the RAV4 Prime does not simply mirror the Prius’ powertrain, instead combining a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two electric motor-generators and an 18.1-kWh battery pack. Total system output is 302 hp, and the RAV4 Prime also comes standard with AWD (compliments of a third motor in back). It has the longest estimated all-electric range of any PHEV on this list at 42 miles, with an estimated total range of 600 miles. It’s rated at 94 mpg-e, with a combined mpg rating of 38 in hybrid mode.
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