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Fun Cars With Good Gas Mileage To Suit Every Budget

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2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

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It's not difficult to find cars with high gas mileage these days. Car manufacturers have made a stirling effort in recent years to push economy up, without sacrificing performance or equipment.

So if you're in the market for a new green car, but want a little fun every time you drive it, what are your options?

We've taken a look at several price points, to select a fun, gas-sipping car for every budget.

Under $15,000
Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe, $14,890, 36 mpg combined

The Smart ForTwo doesn't have the greatest reputation for fuel efficiency given its size, but with new cars under $15,000 you take what you can get.

Actually, if you understand its limitations, the ForTwo can be quite fun to drive, particularly around the tight city streets it's designed for. Highways aren't its natural habitat and it manages a middling 38 mpg there, but 34 mpg in the city is better. It's just a pity that you can't get the Cabriolet under $15,000 brand new.

Up to $20,000
Honda CR-Z auto, $19,695, 37 mpg combined

Honda's strikingly-styled CR-Z offers about as good a compromise as you can get for under $20,000. It's both reasonably economical, managing up to 39 mpg highway with the continuously-variable transmission, and fun to drive.

2011 Honda CR-Z

2011 Honda CR-Z

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With its 122-horsepower 1.5-liter engine and a hybrid drivetrain, the CR-Z is no race car, but sharp steering and a short wheelbase make it nimble around the turns. When you aren't carving corners, it becomes an easy-to-drive economy car. It's just a pity it doesn't offer slightly better gas mileage.

Up to $25,000
Volkswagen Beetle TDI, $23,295, 32 mpg combined

The original tree-hugger's car was always pretty good on gas (provided it was kept in good health...) but its modern equivalent is faster, quieter and cleaner. It's also the more overtly fun choice than the similarly-priced Jetta TDI, which is why it sneaks onto our list in the Jetta's place.

The retro styling looks great and VW's turbodiesel engines are known for their surprising performance. 32 mpg combined may be nothing to write home about, but that figure rises to 41 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission--and it's not unknown for the EPA's figures to be a little conservative with diesel cars. Peace out, man.


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Comments (2)
  1. Actually the Toyota IQ is more fun around town than the Smart.
    Its steering is quicker,power assisted and the car has a tighter turn circle.
     
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  2. What about Dodge Dart 1.4L Turbo? SXT is 39 MPG Highway and under $20k. 184 lb-ft of torque and 160 hp. Or Rallye can get up to $23k. More power than the CRZ or the Beetle, almost same fuel economy as the CRZ, more fuel economy than the TDI. Better equipped than each too.
     
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