Autotrader: 8 affordable new cars that get at least 40 mpg

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Regardless of the price of gas, it’s always nice to have a really fuel efficient car. Fewer trips to the pump mean spending less money on gas than you would if you were driving more of a gas guzzler. While it’s still true that the smallest cars are generally the most efficient, driving an efficient car doesn’t necessarily mean being stuck in a tiny city car.

Here are the eight most affordable new cars that get 40 miles per gallon or better for 2019. All prices listed below include destination charges. We’re counting 40 mpg as 40 mpg on the highway, not necessarily combined. That said, some cars on this list can do well over 40 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

Toyota Corolla Hybrid — $23,880

After years of building hybrids, Toyota TM, -0.01%   has finally come out with a hybrid version of its popular compact in the form of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, pictured at top. This new model gets a very impressive fuel economy rating of 53 mpg city/52 mpg hwy and an equally impressive starting price of less than $25,000. The Corolla Hybrid also comes generously equipped with standard safety tech that includes lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and even traffic sign recognition. If safety and efficiency are priorities for you, this humble Toyota compact is a tremendous value. 

Also see: The 2020 Chevy Bolt review: more range, fun to drive

Honda Insight — $23,860

Similar to the Corolla Hybrid in terms of size, price, efficiency, and tech is the Honda Insight. This compact sedan returns 55 mpg city/49 mpg hwy and is priced almost identically to its new rival from Toyota. On top of its excellent fuel economy, the Insight delivers a roomy trunk and standard Honda HMC, +0.35%  Sensing, which includes driver-assistance tech such as collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-keeping assist system. For a great, affordable hybrid that flies under the radar, the Insight is a top choice.

Hyundai Ioniq — $23,320

The Hyundai Ioniq serves as a more budget-friendly alternative to the wildly popular Toyota Prius. Much like the Prius, the Ioniq is a compact hybrid hatchback, but with a lower starting price and similarly impressive fuel economy. This Hyundai HYMTF, +1.31%   returns up to 57 mpg city/59 mpg hwy, making it the most efficient car on this list. A few other things we like about the Ioniq are a very roomy cargo area and the UVO infotainment system, which is one of our favorites. If you have some more room in your budget, there are also plug-in hybrid and EV options of the Ioniq that will save you even more in fuel costs in the long run.

More car news: 8 subcompact cars with top safety ratings in 2019

Toyota Prius c — $22,460

The most affordable hybrid car on the market today is the Toyota Prius c. This subcompact hatchback is actually smaller and less fuel efficient than the regular Prius returning 48 mpg city/43 mpg hwy, but its very low starting price still makes it an attractive option as a frugal city car. Like its bigger sibling the Corolla Hybrid, the Prius c has a lot of standard safety tech including lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams. The Prius c also has a surprising amount of cargo space for such a small car and the reliability you’d expect from a Toyota.

Hyundai Elantra — $19,870

If you’re looking for a non-hybrid compact sedan that strikes the right balance between efficiency and value, the Hyundai Elantra is a good choice. At the base level, it returns 31 mpg city/41 mpg hwy and it starts at under the $20,000 mark, which is a win-win for budget-conscious shoppers. The Elantra got a nice face-lift for the 2019 model year with revised exterior and interior styling and some new standard features including a 5-in infotainment system and a backup camera.

Volkswagen Jetta — $19,640

The VW Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta is all new for the 2019 model year and it’s now a compact sedan that can hit 40 mpg with a starting price under $20,000. Achieving fuel economy of up to 30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy is just the beginning of what we like about the new VW VWAGY, +0.61%   Jetta. It also has a handsome new look a nice interior with supportive seats, a slick infotainment system and a smooth ride. All of the above combined just might make the Jetta the best family car on this list with ample space in both rows of seats.

Toyota Yaris — $16,530

The Toyota Yaris

The third and most affordable Toyota model on this list is the Toyota Yaris subcompact sedan. Par for the course with our other Toyotas on this list, it comes loaded with plenty of standard features at the entry level including a 7-in infotainment system, low-speed forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The Yaris might not be the most thrilling car on our list, but if all you need is something practical, efficient, and affordable, then you’ll find a lot to love in the Toyota Yaris.

You might like: 6 adventure vehicles that save on gas, too

Mitsubishi Mirage — $13,795

The Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi MSBHY, -0.50%   Mirage is a car with few frills, but it’s one of the most affordable new cars and it’s very efficient getting up to 36 mpg city/43 mpg hwy. While its fuel economy numbers are impressive, we hope you’re in not much of a hurry because the 3-cylinder engine powering the Mirage only makes 78 horsepower. This hatchback did get a small, but important upgrade for the 2019 model year and that’s standard cruise control making it a bit better as a highway car. If the price is your priority, the Mirage is worth a look, but if you have a little extra room in your budget, treat yourself to one of the aforementioned cars, which may cost more, but are arguably better values.

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