2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 2.5 - First Drive, February 2013
The first of these is the 2013 Lexus RX 450h. It's a little more expensive--even compared to the Mercedes and BMW--and a little larger, so didn't really fit our "compact" billing. But it's good on gas, the hybrid drivetrain returning 30 mpg combined, with 32 city and 28 highway in standard front-wheel drive format.
At the other end of the scale is the 2013 Nissan Juke. This one is probably a little too small to compete with the others, but combined mileage is 29 mpg. That's with the auto transmission, but we've found the Juke a little more thirsty in the real world than its figures suggest.
Our final compact alternative comes from MINI, in the form of the Cooper Countryman. Its looks are an acquired taste and calling it a "MINI" is pushing the boundaries of accuracy, but with the fun six-speed manual transmission it'll do 30 mpg combined--as well as 35 on the highway and 27 in the city.