With May 2007 sales numbers showing 21% of auto purchases being for compact cars, and the Toyota Prius being the best-selling car in San Jose, California last month, it is obvious that more and more consumers are looking at fuel economy as a primary factor when choosing a car.
It’s helpful, then, that the Environmental Protection Agency puts out a list of the most fuel-efficient cars each year. The list for the 2007 model year isn’t new - it came out last October - but it bears repeating.
Ranked in order from highest fuel efficiency to lowest, here is the 2007 list:
- Toyota Prius (60 city/51 highway): It’s not surprising that this is the front runner, with it’s hybrid-electric engine, as it’s still the poster-child of hybrids. What surprised me was the greater difference between the city and highway numbers. (It’s normal for hybrids to do better in stop-and-go driving, however.)
- Honda Civic Hybrid (49/51): The Civic has long been Honda’s best seller, and the hybrid version is living up to the name.
- Toyota Camry Hybrid (40/38): It comes in three different trim levels, but the EPA list doesn’t specify which one they’re referring to.
- Ford Escape Hybrid FWD (36/31): Proof that a car doesn’t have to be a small sedan, or carry a Japanese label, to be fuel efficient. This is the hybrid version of Ford’s popular compact SUV.
- Toyota Yaris (34/40): The Yaris is actually listed twice, these numbers are for the manual transmission, while the automatic comes in just a bit less efficient in freeway driving. See below.
- Toyota Yaris (34/39): And here we have the numbers for the automatic transmission version.
- Honda Fit (33/38): These numbers are for the manual transmission version of the Fit. The automatic transmission model didn’t make the 2007 top-ten list.
- Toyota Corolla (32/41): Again, the manual version of a car makes the list while the automatic version does not.
- Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio(32/35): The manual version of Hyundai’s Accent actually tied with the Kia Rio (also manual), which isn’t surprising at all since they’re twin cars. We listed Hyundai first just to keep them in alphabetical order.
- Mercury Mariner Hybrid (also the Ford Escape Hybrid, again) (32/29): These are essentially the same vehicle with different badging, and as such share one entry. Numbers are for the 4WD versions.
While reviews and pricing for 2008 model year cars are making appearances on manufacturer websites, and elsewhere on the ‘net, the EPA will not be releasing their top ten for that year until October 2007. When that comes out, be prepared for numbers that may be lower than this year’s. Why? Because the EPA has also revised the way they compute fuel efficiency, making the numbers more reflective of real-world conditions.