Consumers are more and more informed these days, and few people buy the first new car they see. Do not be one of those people, because there’s a glorious chance you will regret the choice one way or the other. We are not talking about getting an ugly color, but about deficient fuel economy.
Thankfully, you can look up the fuel economy rating of any new vehicle online, and the EPA also mandates that new cars must wear stickers that show the correct figures. Mistakes have been made in the past (including this year), but it is more accurate than a sales agent telling you that the “gas mileage is great on this one.”
Evidently, we took electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, mild hybrids, and "conventional" hybrids away when we made this list.
It is easy to get good fuel economy figures when you have an alternative propulsion solution at hand. So we went through the EPA’s list of fuel economy ratings of vehicles of the 2017 model year that are available today in the United States of America.
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage – 39 MPG
According to EPA ratings, the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage with a 1.2-liter three cylinder engine is the most fuel efficient car available for this model year in the USA without a hybrid drivetrain. It announces 39 MPG in combined driving, and the figures go up to 43 mpg in highway driving.
With just 2.6 gallons of regular gasoline, the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage can drive 100 miles (160 kilometers). The model also comes with an automatic gearbox, which is of the CVT kind. If you get used to the way it operates, you can squeeze those 39 MPG without that much hassle.
If space is a concern, or you just require a bigger luggage compartment, the same brand offers the Mirage G4, which is the sedan version of the same model. It does not have an mpg rating as good as the hatchback with the same engine and transmission, but it is rated at 37 MPG. This car needs 2.7 gallons of regular gas to drive 100 miles, and its range is estimated at 340 miles thanks to a 9.2-gallon tank.
2017 Jaguar XE Diesel – 36 MPG
Jaguar can sell you an impressively frugal mid-size premium sedan. We are referring to the 2017 Jaguar XE with a 2.0-liter diesel engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It is rated at 36 MPG combined according to the EPA’s system, and it can drive 100 miles with just 2.8 gallons.
Because it has a bigger fuel tank (14.8 gallons) than most cars on our list, it prides itself with an estimated range of 533 miles. The EPA estimates that you will spend about $1,000 a year on fuel if you drive the XE diesel for 15,000 miles, out of which 45% are on the highway. That sounds reasonable for 15,000 miles in a Jaguar.
Jaguar is among the few automakers that still sell diesel-engined vehicles in the USA, and the fuel economy figures of this model show why this type of power plant does make sense for those who drive many miles a year.
2017 Honda Civic 4Dr 1.5 Aut CVT – 36 MPG
Honda’s 2017 Civic has downsized turbocharged engines, and they still get VTEC. In the case of the four-door Civic with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine mated to a CVT transmission, the EPA rating is 36 MPG combined. That is 35 MPG city, and 42 MPG highway.
This version of the 2017 Civic can drive 100 miles with just 2.8 gallons of fuel if the driver manages to master the driving style required for this feat. According to the EPA, the average 2017 vehicle gets 26 MPG, which means that the owner of this model will save about $1,750 over five years if it gets this car instead of the average one and drives 15,000 miles/year.
The Honda Civic has been renewed this year, so customers will get more than just a fuel efficient car, as the acquisition will bring an all-new model with a fresh design. The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine provides 174 HP at 6,000 rpm for the CVT, with a torque of 162 lb-ft for this transmission.
2017 Mazda 2 & Toyota Yaris iA- 35 MPG
Another pair of efficient cars you can buy in the U.S. for the 2017 model year are the Mazda2 and the Toyota Yaris IA. We say that these two vehicles constitute a pair because they share their platform. In other words, the Toyota Yaris iA is a rebadged Mazda 2, but it comes in a sedan body style to prevent cannibalization. The former used to be a Scion, but it was rebadged again after Toyota discontinued the brand.
Both of them announce a 35 MPG combined EPA rating for their 1.5-liter gasoline engine that is mated to a six-speed automated gearbox. The unit is a SkyActiv-G power plant that was developed by Mazda, and so is the transmission. Regardless of that fact, customers will be able to get a vehicle that can drive 100 miles with just 2.9 gallons of fuel.
These two cars come as alternatives to the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Mirage G4, respectively, even though they have a lower MPG rating. It is hard to say if you could beat the Mirage hatchback’s combined MPG figures with the 2017 Mazda2 in real life, but we would not rule that out if the driver is an experienced hyper-miler.
2017 Hyundai Elantra 1.4 Turbo Auto 7 – 35 MPG
Hyundai has had issues with stating the correct EPA mileage in the past, but we are sure they quickly stopped doing that, especially after paying a significant settlement to its customers and a fine to the U.S. Government. Regardless of the problems of the past, the 1.4-liter Turbocharged engine offered in the 2017 Elantra range announced an EPA rating of 35 MPG in the combined cycle.
The 14-gallon fuel tank helps provide a total range that is estimated at 490 miles. That is a lot of driving, which comes at 2.9 gallons for every 100 miles. The Elantra is offered in an “Eco” version, which also announces a combined EPA rating of 35 MPG, with 40 MPG highway and 32 MPG city.
Unlike its direct competitor, the 2017 Honda Civic, this model comes with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Its engine delivers 128 HP, and 156 lb-ft of torque. The last values are available between 1,400 and 3,700 rpm. The described rev range is impressive even for a modern turbocharged gasoline engine with direct injection.
As you can observe, you cannot find a 2017 model year vehicle sold in the USA that provides and EPA rating of 40 MPG in the combined cycle without having a hybrid system.
The closest example at hand is the 2017 Chevrolet Volt, which can provide 42 MPG when running on gas to power its electric drivetrain. A 2017 Toyota Prius Eco has an EPA rating of 56 MPG in the combined cycle.
As the EPA reminds drivers, “your mileage may vary.” The idea behind that statement is that you cannot drive like a maniac and expect to reach the vehicle’s estimated fuel economy results. On the contrary, only a conservative driving style in optimal conditions will get you the advertised figures.