If you’re a savvy car shopper, miles per gallon is one of the first numbers you’ll look at when researching new cars.
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Why is it so crucial? First, the elephant in the room: our environment. With more cars on the road, we’re driving the planet to the brink of environmental disaster with all these emissions. (Sorry for the pun.) As responsible car lovers, we want to make our carbon footprint as small as possible to preserve the Earth for future generations.
Then, on a smaller scale, think about your wallet. You can comparison shop all you want, but if you forget about this most regular expense, over the long term you’ll end up paying much more to make up for any one-time savings.
Gas is not cheap and prices go up all the time. If you’re like many Americans and drive a 27-minute commute every day, that’s a whole lot of dollars you’re never going to see again.
So do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and check out these four best cars for gas mileage in 2019. Our choices of vehicles are not only winners at the gas pump, but they also balance performance, comfort and style, so you can enjoy every aspect of owning or leasing them.
But first, a little background…
What makes a car good on gas?
There are many factors that contribute to a car’s fuel efficiency. A few of the main ones:
- Good aerodynamics
- Engine type: 4-cylinder is more efficient than V6 or V8
- Small axle ratio, ideally 3:1 or lower
Thanks to advances in technology, new cars are much more efficient than older ones, without sacrificing performance. Of course, if you can go for a hybrid option or straight-out electric, so much the better!
You will notice that for all of these cars, we’re listing gas mileage both for city and highway, since highway driving is much more efficient than starting and stopping in traffic.
Best cars for gas mileage in 2019
1. 2019 Kia Forte
Gas mileage: 27/30mpg city, 37/41mpg highway
The lower trim levels of the new 2019 Kia Forte already get a solid 37mpg on the highway, but the LXS, S and EX versions take that up to a truly impressive 41 mpg.
How? It’s thanks to a new system called Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) which boosts linear acceleration, coming standard on these trims.
Also contributing to the Forte’s feul-sipping ways is a re-engineered 2.0-liter Nu 4-cylinder engine, designed to incorporate features seen more typically in electric and hybrid vehicles. This year’s Forte is also more aerodynamic, reducing the drag created by moving at speed.
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In fact, the Forte was fully redesigned this year. It’s a useful and stylish car, offering all the modern conveniences in a neat package.
At a base price of $17,700 and plenty of standard features, it’s hard to beat for value. To get a similar level on another equivalent car, you’d have to go up a few thousand dollars at least. Plus, just think of how much you’ll save at the gas pump.
2. 2019 Hyundai Elantra
Gas mileage: 32mpg city, 38 highway
The 2019 Elantra’s mileage numbers aren’t the only thing to catch your eye. With an edgy new look and great value for price, it’s an appealing package.
The Elantra is available with a choice of three engines and six configurations, meaning there’s an option for everyone. The most fuel efficient of these engines in the 2.0-liter inline-4, which comes on the SE, SEL, Value Edition and Limited trims.
Despite its label as a compact car, the Elantra could easily fit the mid-size bill in terms of passenger and cargo space. Passengers in the front can enjoy 40” of headroom and 42.2” legroom, while the back seat has 37” headroom and 35.7” for legs.
The car is available either as a sedan or hatchback, with the former offering more passenger room while the latter provides the option to expand cargo space to up to 55 cubic feet. The hatchbacks also have a more upscale interior with quality materials, though you will pay for the difference.
On safety, the Elantra is well-rated by both the NHTSA and IIHS, receiving 4 out of 5 stars and Top Safety Pick+ respectively.
Across its different trim levels, you’ll find a wide assortment of technology, both fun perks like heated front seats and a power moonroof, and a full suite of active safety features. There’s huge variety and flexibility across the lineup, so you can really choose what’s the most important for you.
3. 2019 Audi A4
Gas mileage: 23mpg city, 34 highway
The 2019 Audi A4 is one of Audi’s most well-rounded cars. It’s one of the most popular luxury sedans for a reason.
Its sharp steering and handling make it fun to drive, while the surprisingly roomy interior makes it comfortable for passengers to enjoy the ride. The engine options are either a 252hp turbocharged four-cylinder or the more fuel-efficient 190hp Ultra.
For such an athletic car, it gets remarkable fuel efficiency. Its numbers this year are a big improvement from 2018. Up from 31 to 34mpg on the highway (or 37mpg, according to some sources), its upgrade attracted notice from the EPA.
The A4 received top-of-the-line scores on crash tests: 5/5 stars from the NHTSA and the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick rating. On the upper trim levels, automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning are standard, with more advanced features available.
With its clean, classical look inside and out, the A4 is a car that won’t soon go out of style.
4. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek
Gas mileage: 27mpg city, 33 highway
The words “fuel efficient” and “SUV” don’t often appear together, but the 2019 Crosstrek manages to pull it off.
And it does this without losing its rugged functionality.
The Crosstrek comes into its own on off-road adventures, where its 8.7” of ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive and X-mode (hill descent control) hold it in good stead.
Inside the cabin, it’s smooth and quiet, with exceptional ride comfort and stability even on winding hill roads.
The Crosstrek is the perfect SUV for those who enjoy going out into nature or who need to handle bad weather (or both). It offers room for four plus luggage, and a standard roof rack adds extra luggage capacities.
Receiving 5/5 stars overall from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick+ (when with optional LED headlights) from the IIHS, it’s certainly a trustworthy vehicle.
Subaru offers a safety tech package with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control and lane-departure warnings. This kit is standard on the Crosstrek Limited and available for $845 on the base model.