Top 5 Most Fuel-Efficient Non-Hybrid Cars

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Automotive Editor

J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist with a passion for cars. He spends his spare time watching Formula 1, boating and brewing beer at home.

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, Automotive Editor - March 18, 2013

With gas prices rising constantly and no end in sight, many people are trading their gas guzzlers in for fuel efficient cars. Hybrid technology offers some of the best fuel economy on the market today, but for some, hybrid cars hold no appeal. Fortunately automotive engineers have found ways to squeeze hybrid-like fuel efficiency out of standard gasoline engines. Here is a list of the top five non-hybrid cars that can save you money at the pump.

2012 Scion iQ

One of the things that might surprise you about this little Scion is that it's surprisingly refined for its class and price point (Aston Martin actually sells a version of this car called the Cygnet). That's because it has been out for a little while in other countries under the Toyota badge. The tiny Scion tops out our list of efficient non-hybrid cars because of its size and excellent economy-focused engineering. After all, these are the same people who brought us the Prius. The Scion iQ reaches a staggering 36 MPG in the city, with 37 on the highway for a list-topping 37 combined miles per gallon.

2012 Smart fortwo

The smart fortwo isn't for everyone. It's diminutive size makes parking in a crowded city supremely easy, but it can also make a lot of shoppers apprehensive. With 34 MPG in the city, 38 on the highway and 36 combined, the smart's fuel economy figures aren't really surprising (the car was pretty much built to sip gas). What is surprising are the car's safety figures. While the car doesn't lead the industry in safety ratings, it does surprisingly well considering its size.

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI

Like the Audi, the VW Passat uses fuel sipping diesel technology to get the most efficiency possible. What makes this car really impressive is that it's bigger than the little A3. In fact, the Passat is bigger than the A3's bigger brother, the A4. Yet the mid-size Passat still earns 31 MPG in the city, 43 MPG on the highway and 36 MPG combined. That's a staggering figure for a car this size, and enough to earn the Vee Dub the number three spot on our list.

2013 Kia Rio Eco

Speaking of cars that have improved by leaps and bounds, Kia now makes some of the best on the road for their price point. Redesigned in 2012, the 2013 model saw a few minor changes. The little Kia is powered by a 138 horsepower, 1.6-liter four cylinder engine. That may not sound like much power, but it's enough to propel the light car around while still earning a very impressive 31 MPG in the city and 40 on the highway, making for 34 MPG combined.

2012 Audi A3 TDI

Europeans have been refining diesel technology for years. While we Americans might think we have to pay a lot for gas, European fuel prices have been at sky-high levels for decades. Car buyers across the pond rely on ultra efficient diesels to get the most out of their cars. The engines have been much refined since the smoke belching, oil burning engines of yore. At 30 MPG on the city, 42 on the highway and 34 combined, this Audi is the fifth best non hybrid car on the road for efficient driving.

, Automotive Editor

J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist with a passion for cars. He spends his spare time watching Formula 1, boating and brewing beer at home.

Follow On: Twitter | Google+

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