2014 is right around the corner, and before you say it: yes, I know that’s a 2015 Mustang up there that won’t be on sale until the end of 2014 … but I don’t care. You’ll be able to buy it in 2014, it’s gorgeous, and if you don’t want one then you’re dead inside.
That said, this list of is sort of informally divided up into categories, so there’s no “winner” here- they’re all winners! Shall we get started, then? Here is Gas 2’s semi-official list of the 14 best fuel efficient cars you’ll be able to buy in 2014. Enjoy!
1. Mitsubishi Mirage
I drove this car for a week last month and grew genuinely fond of it. The 44 MPG Mitsubishi Mirage is far from perfect, of course- but nothing this cheap has any business being so thoroughly fun to thrash. When you drive the little car, words like “toss-able” suddenly start to roll off the tongue, and you begin to remember that Mitsubishi isn’t some forgotten victim of the 2008/2009 credit crash- they’re the makers of the original DSM turbos and the giant-killing Lancer Evos.
Is the Mirage as good as the Evos? Not even close- but the DNA is there, buried somewhere under the little car’s stupid-simple dash and supportive seats … and, parking? Don’t even get me started- the Mirage will fit in spaces that aren’t spaces. If you live in a major city and need a low-payment car that’s easy to park, cheap to drive, and backed by a 10-year warranty, this is it.
2. Nissan Leaf
Defenders of the Chevy Volt will probably take issue with my choice of the Nissan Leaf, but if you’re serious about a fossil-free future of fuel, you’ve got two choices: biofuel or pure EV, and Chevy’s Volt is neither. Nissan’t Leaf? It may not have the go any where, any time range-extending quality that the PHEVs from Chevy and Toyota have, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming the hottest-selling car in Norway and swapping the top spot in the plug-in sales race with GM’s Jesus car six times this year.
3. Chevy Cruze Diesel
Maybe it’s because I just drove the Chevy Cruze Diesel last week, or maybe it’s because I’m not convinced Volkswagen’s figured out all of its turbo problems quite yet- who can say? What matters is that the little car that’s not quite right for me is still the one I’d be most likely to recommend to anyone who asked me what to buy in 2014. It’s built solid, has all the goodies, and- while the price is a bit high- that engine! This is the future of fuel for middle America, gang: clean-burning diesels.
5. Honda Accord Hybrid/PHEV
Honda’s 50 MPG Accord Hybrid is sportier, roomier, and more fun to drive than you think it will be, I promise. This latest Accord is easily the best hybrid sedan in the segment- and I drove them all, back to back to back, earlier this year when Honda flew me out to the Accord’s debut in San Antonio. With a $29,000 starting price and a Green Car of the Year award for 2014 as selling points, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrids were an easy choice for best fuel efficient family sedan(s).
6. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Based on the bigger of the two Mitsubishi Outlander models, this crossover operates as an EV, most of the time, with the internal-combustion engine lending a hand at higher speeds or when the Outlander’s batteries run low. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same basic premise behind the Chevy Volt- but with more room, less of a “Look at me! I’m saving the Earth!” exterior, and all-wheel drive. That combination of goodies earned the Outlander a “Technology of the Year” award on the back of its 175 combined MPG (claimed), and makes it an easy pick for best fuel efficient crossover to buy in 2014 … even if it’s only available in Europe and Japan (for now).
7. Toyota RAV4 EV
Like the Nissan Leaf, above, Toyota’s RAV4 EV gets a mention here because it’s a pure EV, except it’s an EV that’s capable of hauling you and the kids- and all the kids’ stuff!
Toyota’s 2014 RAV4 EV is built using battery and motor technology from the EV experts at Tesla, and leases for about $599/mo., making it cost-competitive to, say, buying a base RAV4. I know leasing is different from buying, but you might end up coming out ahead on an EV lease. Besides, with Tesla’s long-lasting batteries, buying your RAV4 EV at the end of the lease might be the way to go!
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
If you want a full-sized SUV that offers truck-like towing abilities with go-anywhere, all-weather traction and 30+ MPG fuel economy, there is only one. Sorta. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will do it all, and go more than 700 miles on a single tank.
9. Bruiser/Cummins Jeep Wrangler
Remember that “sorta” up there in the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel paragraph? That’s there because of the Bruiser, a vehicle that begins life as a Jeep Wrangler and becomes something else entirely after it gets stuffed with Cummins’ industrial-strength 4BT Turbo-diesel engine and a durable 4L60E automatic transmission. This is 400+ lb-ft of rock-crawling badassery, and it can be yours, in theory, for about $41,000.
10. Toyota Avalon Hybrid
The last time I was in an Avalon was almost a year ago, and I couldn’t believe how nice it was. That photo, above (of the car’s interior) doesn’t do justice to the look and feel of the leathers, plastics, and the expensive-looking illumination on the dash. With a 30+ MPG EPA fuel economy rating, decent power, a roomy cabin, an interior filled with high-quality details, and a $41,000 MSRP for the top-of-the-line Limited model, you’re nothing but a pawn of the marketers if you buy anything more expensive.
11. Tesla Model S
Tesla’s Model S super-sedan is fast, capable, roomy, distinctive, and uses not a drop of gas. There are so many things that have been said about this car that it’s almost impossible to know where to start- but I’ll tell you this much: Tesla’s Model S has the highest customer satisfaction rating in the business, and I want my wife in one because it’s the safest car money can buy. Make of that what you will.
I know, I know- I just said that anyone buying a luxury sedan that’s more expensive than the 2014 Avalon Hybrid is a pawn of the marketers. So, I’m a pawn. When it comes to my family’s safety, I can live with that.
12. Ford Mustang Ecoboost
If you’re in the market for a sporty car, wait for the new Ecoboost Mustang, set to go on sale as a 2015 model in the latter-half of 2014. The upcoming 300 HP 4 cyl. Mustang is the hot ticket, regardless of what the V8 gear heads might tell you. 300 HP was the domain of the hottest of the hot Cobra Mustangs not all that long ago, and they couldn’t get near the new Ecoboost ponycar’s super-low emissions and near 30 MPG fuel economy.
13. CPO Tesla Roadster
You’re horribly impatient. I get it- and so does Tesla’s Roadster, which rockets from 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds without hassling you about “shifting” or other such dinosaurian nonsense. This is the future, man, and you want stuff to happen now! Now! NOW! This, then, is your car- it’s not new, but it’s got a better-than-new 37 month, 37,000 mile warranty from Tesla and all the best cornering bits from Lotus’ legendary Elise.
In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
14. Èlan Motorsports DeltaWing
The Nissan-powered DeltaWing race cars demonstrated that a small engine in a willing, aerodynamic package with superior fuel and tire efficiency could challenge the over-powered, fat-tired ruling class of endurance racing and come out on top. Forget the drama of Don Panoz’ ridiculous lawsuit and the chrome foiled coupe of 2013. What you want is the roadster, in matte black, and a Robin costume for anyone daft enough to get in the passenger seat.
Drive it like you stole it.
Original content from Gas 2.