Ranked

Ranked: These are the 37 most fuel-efficient cars of the past 30 years

Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, Ford, Hyundai, Geo, and Kia all have models that make the list.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the relentless quest for greater fuel efficiency, today's vehicles benefit from the latest technological advances, but they are also subject to more stringent emissions regulations and new safety requirements compared to older models.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency changed the way it estimates fuel economy beginning with the 2008 model year, considering faster acceleration, higher speeds, air-conditioner use and colder outside temperatures. Although the new system resulted in lower EPA mileage ratings for most vehicles, the new tests are a better estimate of what drivers can expect to achieve in real-world driving.

Remember that actual fuel mileage varies depending on driving conditions, driver habits and other factors. To allow better comparison with earlier model years, the EPA issued revised mileage estimates for models prior to 2008. The new ratings are significantly lower, but still compete with today's high-tech offerings. What follows is a look at the top-rated models over the past 30 years including gasoline, diesels and gas-electric hybrids, but not including plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles. We compared cars based on the EPA combined average mpg, and all vehicles on this list achieve more than 40 mpg combined.

2017–2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue

2017\u20132020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

EPA Rating: 57 mpg city / 59 mpg highway / 58 mpg combined
The new fuel-economy champ of the last 30 years is the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, rated at 58 mpg combined. Ioniq Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injection engine combined with a 32 kW electric motor and a 6-speed EcoShift Dual-Clutch transmission for a total system output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. (The entry-trim Ioniq Blue is the most fuel-efficient version of the model line.)

The Hyundai Ioniq debuted as a 2017 model and for 2020 receives exterior updates including a mesh grille; new front and rear bumpers; LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights; new wheels and new side sill moldings. Inside, the 2020 Ioniq adds a new center LCD screen, available 10.25-inch touchscreen, a new instrument panel and touchscreen climate control.

​2016–2020 Toyota Prius L Eco

\u200b2016\u20132020 Toyota Prius L Eco

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 58 mpg city / 53 mpg highway / 56 mpg combined
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius debuted for the 2016 model year, including the Prius Eco with an EPA combined fuel economy rating of 56 mpg that unseated the 2000 Honda Insight as the most fuel-efficient vehicle (until the Hyundai Ioniq came along, that is).

The latest version of Toyota's first hybrid vehicle is powered by a Hybrid Synergy Drive that combines a 1.8-liter gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The fourth-generation Prius uses smaller, lighter hybrid components including a lithium-ion battery pack.

Prius L Eco is the most fuel-efficient version of the model line, with other Prius Hybrid 2WD trim levels rated at 54 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined.

​2000–2003 Honda Insight

2003 Honda Insight

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 49 mpg city / 61 mpg highway / 53 mpg combined
Honda Insight was the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle sold in the United States, and it reigned as the EPA's most fuel-efficient vehicle for more than 25 years — until the 2016 Toyota Prius Eco arrived, rated at 56 mpg combined.

Also the first vehicle to achieve an EPA highway rating of 70 mpg under the old rating system, the Insight was originally rated by the EPA in 2000 at 61 mpg city / 70 mpg highway / 65 mpg combined, which was revised to 53 mpg combined with the new rating system, and dropped to 52 mpg for the 2004–2006 models.

A small 2-seat coupe with an aerodynamic shape and lightweight aluminum body, the Honda Insight is powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system that combines a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine with an electric motor to add additional low-end torque. The Insight was originally offered with a 5-speed manual transmission; a CVT joined the party for 2001.

2019–2020 Honda Insight

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 55 mpg city / 49 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined
The 2019 Honda Insight was the third Honda model to use the Insight name, beginning with the 2000 Insight hybrid and followed by the 2010 Insight that combined the aerodynamic profile of the original Insight with the front-end design of the hydrogen powered FCX Clarity.

The 2019 Insight is a dedicated hybrid model positioned between the Civic and the Accord, powered by the third generation of Honda's 2-motor hybrid system that combines a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with a powerful 96 kW electric drive motor and a smaller generator motor to produce electricity. Total system output is 151 horsepower and the electric propulsion motor produces 129 horsepower and 197 lb-ft of torque.

The Honda Insight Touring is rated at 51 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 48 mpg combined. The 2021 model is expected to achieve even higher mpg.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 53 mpg city / 52 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined
The Toyota Corolla sedan is redesigned for 2020, and for the first time ever a Corolla Hybrid is available for the U.S. market. The Corolla Hybrid adopts the latest Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system from the new-generation Prius, combining a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with two motor/generators and an electronically controlled planetary continuously variable transmission.

The nickel-metal hydride battery is smaller and lighter because of new technology called hyper-prime nickel, which boosts battery performance in a smaller package, allowing the unit to be placed under the rear seat to avoid taking up trunk space. The Corolla Hybrid also has EV mode, which allows it to be operated on pure electric power for short distances.

2018–2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 51 mpg city / 53 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined
The Toyota Camry was all-new for 2018, and for 2019 continued to be the best-selling passenger car in America. Both the Camry and Camry Hybrid are built on the Toyota New Global Architecture and received a new, more expressive exterior design. The Camry Hybrid is powered by a new generation Toyota Hybrid system that combines a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a permanent-magnet electric motor for a combined output of 208 horsepower.

The Camry Hybrid LE uses a lithium-ion battery back and achieves an EPA rating of 52 mpg combined — a 30 percent increase over the previous model.

The Camry Hybrid XLE / SE are equipped with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack and rated at 44 mpg city / 47 mpg highway / 46 mpg combined — a 21 percent increase for combined mpg.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

EPA Rating: 50 mpg city / 54 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined
The Hyundai Sonata gets redesigned for 2020, and the Sonata Hybrid is all new as well with 686 miles of range and an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined fuel economy for the Sonata Hybrid Blue trim. The 2020 Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter engine producing 150 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque combined with a 39kW electric motor producing 51 horsepower for a total system output of 192 horsepower.

The Sonata Hybrid Blue is the most fuel-efficient version of the Sonata; other 2020 Sonata Hybrid trim levels are rated at 47 mpg city / 51 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined.

2012–2016 Toyota Prius c

201y Toyota Prius C

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 53 mpg city / 46 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined
Redesigned for 2015 with sportier, more aggressive exterior styling and a revised interior, the Prius c earned the same EPA ratings to remain Toyota's lowest cost and most fuel-efficient hybrid at that time. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 99 horsepower delivered through a planetary-type CVT. Regenerative braking captures brake energy as electricity and sends it to the battery; both the water pump and power steering are electric.

2017–2020 Kia Niro FE

2017\u20132020 Kia Niro FE

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

EPA Rating: 52 mpg city / 49 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined
The Niro is Kia's first purpose-built hybrid model and offers a spacious and useful interior that comes well equipped, even in the base-level FE. Power comes from a 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine — designed specifically for hybrid use — teamed with a permanent magnet electric motor.

The gas engine makes 104 horsepower, with 43 coming from the electric motor, for a combined delivery of 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The 2017–2020 Kia Niro Touring is rated at 46 mpg city / 40 mpg highway / 43 mpg combined.

Niro is also available as a plug-in hybrid as well as a full-electric version.

​2010–2015 Toyota Prius

2012 Toyota Prius

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 51 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined
Fifteen years after the first Toyota Prius debuted, the third-generation Prius ended its run in 2015, with the new Prius arriving as a 2016 model with combined fuel economy ratings of 52 mpg for the standard version and 56 mpg for Prius Eco. T

he 2010 Prius is larger than the Prius c and utilizing a Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 134 horsepower, the Prius achieves the same 50 mpg combined rating as the Prius c, with the combination of slightly lower city economy and a slightly higher highway rating. For 2011–2015 the fuel economy rating dropped to 48 mpg combined.

Toyota has sold more than 3.5 million Prius models globally.

2017–2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

2020 Honda Accord Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 48 mpg city / 47 mpg highway / 48 mpg combined
The current-generation Honda Accord debuted as a 2017 model with new exterior styling, an updated interior, and an all-new chassis designed to improve safety, handling and comfort. In addition to new turbocharged powertrains, Accord is once again available as a fuel-efficient hybrid.

The current Accord Hybrid uses the third generation of Honda's innovative 2-motor powertrain, featuring a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle inline-4 engine and an electric propulsion motor for a total output of 212 horsepower.

The EPA estimates for the Honda Accord Hybrid have varied slightly from 2017–2020, with the 2020 Accord Hybrid rated at 47 mpg city / 47 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined, with the other years at 48 mpg combined.

2014–2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 50 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined
The Honda Accord Hybrid returned to the lineup for 2014, achieving an EPA rating of 50 mpg city and 47 mpg combined — an impressive accomplishment for a midsize sedan. Powered by a new 2-motor multi-mode hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors, the Accord Hybrid can operate in three different modes: EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. In EV Drive the Accord Hybrid runs in electric-only mode at lower speeds and medium to high-speed cruising.

1990–1994 Geo Metro XFi

1994 Geo Metro XFi

Photo by Geo

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 52 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined
The Geo Metro was the result of a joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki to produce a small, fuel-efficient vehicle that was sold by General Motors as the Geo Metro, Chevrolet Sprint and Suzuki Swift. The 1990–1994 Geo Metro XFi is the most fuel-efficient version, powered by a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. Originally rated at 53 mpg city / 58 mpg highway / 55 mpg combined, the numbers were revised by the EPA to 43 mpg city / 52 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined.

2017–2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

EPA Rating: 49 mpg city / 43 mpg highway / 46 mpg combined
With freshened styling for the 2019 model year, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid leverages components and knowledge developed from the innovative Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EVs to create a fuel-efficient hybrid system. The most fuel-efficient American vehicle without a plug, the Malibu Hybrid gets power from a 1.8-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder gas engine mated to a 2-motor drive unit slightly modified from the Volt.

The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration for a total system output of 182 horsepower. Energy for the hybrid system comes from an 80-cell 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can power the Malibu Hybrid to 55 mph on electric power alone.

2004–2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 48 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 46 mpg combined
Larger, more fuel-efficient and more powerful than the original model, the 2004 Toyota Prius debuted with a distinctive aerodynamic design that looked like nothing else on the road. Without a doubt, the second-generation Prius was the car that moved hybrids from early-adopter novelties into the automotive mainstream.

Under the rating system at the time, the 2004 Prius increased to 60 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 51 mpg combined (revised: 48 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 46 mpg combined) compared to 52 mpg city / 45 mpg highway /48 mpg combined (revised: 42 mpg city / 41 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined) for the first 2001 Prius.

2017–2019 Toyota Prius c

2019 Toyota Prius C

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 48 mpg city / 43 mpg highway / 46 mpg combined
The least-expensive model in Toyota's hybrid fleet, the Prius c received a mild refresh for the 2018 model year. In addition to the updated styling, Toyota equipped the Prius c with the latest high-tech safety features including a pre-collision system and lane departure alert. The c in Prius c stands for city, which is why this model is not only the least expensive, it is also the smallest hybrid Toyota offers. Total output from its small 1.5-liter engine and electric motor combination is 99 horsepower.

2014–2015 Honda Civic Hybrid

2015 Honda Civic Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined
For 2014 the Honda Civic Hybrid received enhancements to increase its EPA rating from 43 mpg city / 44 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined for 2012–2013 to 45 mpg highway and 44 mpg combined. Improvements included aerodynamic changes, upgraded components, engine tuning changes and more efficient regenerative braking.

The Civic Hybrid drivetrain combines a 110-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor that adds 23 horsepower and 78 lb-ft of torque, with a continuously variable transmission.

2019–2020 Lexus ES 300h

2020 Lexus ES 300h

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 44 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined
The all-new 2019 Lexus ES Hybrid received a new exterior design with a larger spindle grille, updated features, a lower base price and improved fuel efficiency. The latest generation ES 300h is rated at 44 mpg on the highway and 44 mpg combined, making it the most fuel-efficient luxury vehicle on the market without a plug. This improved fuel economy is possible thanks to Toyota's latest Hybrid Synergy Drive System that uses an ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine teamed with a lighter and more compact electric motor — the units produce a total of 215 horsepower.

2019–2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE

2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 44 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined
The Avalon was all new for the 2019 model year — built on a completely new platform, it features new looks inside and out as well as plenty of new convenience and safety features. Toyota equips the Avalon Hybrid with its next-generation hybrid powertrain, which combines a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine with two electric motor/generators for a total system output of 215 horsepower. One electric motor/generator acts as the engine starter and charges the battery, while the second electric motor/generator drives the front wheels and captures energy through regeneration during braking.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

2016 Volkswagen Jetta

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

EPA Rating: 42 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined
The Jetta Hybrid debuted as a 2013 model, rated at 41 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 44 mpg combined; for the 2016 model year city mpg bumped to 42 mpg. This Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4-liter TSI 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 27-horsepower electric motor for a total output of 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque as low as 1000 rpm. The power gets delivered through a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox which can operate as a full automatic or be shifted manually.

Inside, the tachometer is replaced by a power meter that displays a variety of information about the drive system, including regeneration, efficient driving alternating between gasoline engine and electric power, gasoline engine only and gasoline/electric combination for full system power output.

1990–1991 Honda Civic CRX HF

1991 Honda Civic CRX HF

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 40 mpg city / 47 mpg highway / 43 mpg combined
First introduced in 1984 with the second generation following in 1988, the Honda CRX is a small 2-seat car based on the Civic that was designed to be highly fuel-efficient but still sporty and fun to drive. The CRX HF was the most fuel-efficient version, and the 1986 Honda Civic CRX HF was the first mass-produced 4-cylinder car to achieve a 50 mpg highway rating under the old rating system — and still achieved 47 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined under the revised system. The CRX Si was a performance-oriented version that only achieved 29 mpg combined but was sought after by enthusiasts looking for a balance between performance and efficiency.

1992–1995 Honda Civic HB VX

1995 Honda Civic HB VX

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 39 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 43 mpg combined
The Civic Hatchback was a very popular model in the 1990s, and Honda added the ultra-efficient VTEC-E Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control system to make the Civic VX the fuel-efficient leader in the Civic lineup. The Civic VX is powered by a 92-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder combined with a 5-speed manual transmission to achieve 43 mpg combined.

2017–2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 41 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
For the 2019 model year Ford updated the front and rear exterior styling of the Fusion Hybrid, and for 2020 the vehicle receives a new grille. Fusion is the first Ford model to feature Ford's Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies as standard equipment, which includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert, a lane-keeping system, a rearview camera and automatic high-beams.

The 2019 Fusion Hybrid also received improved energy storage systems that allow faster charging as well as increased distances on electricity alone. Available as a standard hybrid or a plug-in version, both variants are powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor to produce a combined 188 horsepower.

2019–2020 Lexus UX 250h

2019 Lexus UX 250h

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 41 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
For the 2019 model year, Lexus added the UX to the growing compact luxury crossover market, including the UX 250h AWD hybrid. The UX is the first Lexus vehicle to use the brand's Global Architecture — Compact platform, providing the new crossover with a rigid structure and low center of gravity designed to deliver both agile handling and improved ride comfort.

The exterior styling is similar to the larger NX and RX models but more aggressive, with a large spindle grille that dominates the front view. The UX 250h is powered by a fourth-generation hybrid system with a total output of 181 horsepower. The hybrid uses the Lexus E-Four all-wheel-drive system that adds another electric motor at the rear axle.

​2011–2017 Lexus CT 200h

2017 Lexus CT 200h

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 40 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
The exterior styling of the compact luxury CT 200h was updated for 2014 to incorporate the Lexus spindle grille and new 17-inch wheels. Powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a 650-volt motor/generator, the CT 200h has a combined power output of 134 horsepower delivered through an electronically controlled CVT.

The CT 200h can be operated in four different modes: Normal, Sport, Eco or EV. Normal mode has a linear throttle response for progressive power, Sport has a more dynamic throttle response and Eco reduces throttle response and adjusts air-conditioning settings to improve fuel economy. The CT 200h can be operated for a short distance in electric-only mode.

​2012–2014 Honda Insight

2012 Honda Insight

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 41 mpg city / 44 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
The Insight returned to the Honda lineup for the 2010 model year, but unlike the original 2-seat aerodynamic commuter, the second-generation Insight is a 4-door hatchback aimed squarely at the popular Toyota Prius. The Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system weds a 1.3-liter gasoline engine with a 10-kilowatt electric motor for a combined output of 98 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque.

For 2012 the exterior styling of the Insight received an update along with interior improvements and a focus on reducing friction in the engine and CVT; the result was a 1 mpg mileage increase from the 40 mpg city / 43 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined for the 2010–2011 model.

2006–2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

2007 Honda Civic Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 40 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
Redesigned for the 2006 model year, the Honda Civic Hybrid received an updated Integrated Motor Assist system to improve combined fuel economy by 1 mpg over the previous model. The new IMA is lighter and more powerful, combining a 1.3-liter gasoline engine that produces 110 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque with a 20-horsepower electric motor and a standard CVT.

The exclusive Civic Hybrid interior includes an IMA specific instrument panel and 2-tone seats.

2016–2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

EPA Rating: 40 mpg city / 46 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
The second-generation Sonata Hybrid debuted in 2015 with a more powerful and more efficient drivetrain than the previous version, achieving a 4 mpg increase to 40 mpg city / 44 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined. The new Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection 4-cylinder engine combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes a more powerful 38-kilowatt electric motor and a clutch in place of the torque converter.

Hyundai's Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device delivers responsive power while improving fuel economy with the larger electric motor. The transmission uses an electric oil pump for improved efficiency. The Sonata Hybrid can operate on electric power alone at speeds up to 75 mph.

The 2.0-liter engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, and the electric motor produces 38 kilowatts (51 horsepower) and 151 lb-ft of torque for a total combined output of 193 horsepower.

​2017–2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

2020 Kia Optima Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

EPA Rating: 40 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 42 mpg combined
Kia introduced an updated Optima lineup for the 2017 model year, including the Optima Hybrid with fresh styling and a number of new features. The Optima is available as a plug-in hybrid as well as a standard hybrid. The Optima Hybrid gets power by from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, teamed with 38 kW electric motor providing 51 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque for a combined output of 192 horsepower.

The lithium-polymer battery can provide enough charge for the Optima to cruise at speeds up to 62 mph on electric power only.

​2013–2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine combined with a hybrid transmission that incorporates an electric traction motor combined with a generator in a powersplit transaxle. The hybrid transmission provides electronically controlled continuously variable transmission function and manages the power output from the gasoline engine and electric drive.

Total system output is 188 horsepower, and the regenerative brake system can recover more than 95 percent of the energy normally lost through braking and store it in the battery through the electric drive. An inverter system controller manages the hybrid system powertrain control including DC-to-AC conversion driving the electric motors for optimum efficiency.

​2020 Ford Escape Hybrid FWD

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company​

EPA Rating: 44 mpg city / 37 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The Escape crossover is Ford's second-best-selling model behind the F-Series and is all-new for 2020 with fresh styling, new feature and fuel-efficient engine options. Ford was the first manufacturer to offer a hybrid SUV with the 2005 Escape Hybrid, and the 2020 Escape marks the return of the Escape Hybrid, as well as the addition of a plug-in hybrid variant.

The Escape Hybrid powertrain features a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor to produce a total of 198 horsepower, delivered through an electronic CVT. The 2020 Escape Hybrid FWD is rated at 44 mpg city / 37 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined, and the AWD version drops slightly to 43 mpg city / 37 mpg highway / 40 mpg combined.

​2012–2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

2012 Toyota Camry Hyrbid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
A few years back Toyota's best-selling midsize sedan was offered as a hybrid model, powered by a Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with a high-torque electric motor for a total output of 200 horsepower. The Toyota Camry Hybrid can be operated for a short distance at low speed in all-electric mode, or the driver can select ECO mode which will optimize throttle response and air-conditioning output to maximize fuel economy.

​2012–2016 Toyota Prius v

2016 Toyota Prius V

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 43 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The third and largest member of the Prius family, the Prius v (for versatility) was updated for 2015 with revised styling and additional technology features. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the Prius v combines a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with a 60-kilowatt (80 horsepower) electric motor for a total output of 134 horsepower. Regenerative braking captures energy and automatic start/stop helps reduce fuel consumption.

The driver can choose between four driving modes: Standard, ECO, EV and Power. EV mode will drive on electric power only for a short distance at low speed.

​2001–2003 Toyota Prius

2001 Toyota Prius

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

EPA Rating: 42 mpg city / 41 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The first Toyota Prius went on sale in 1997 in Japan, and then launched in the U.S. market in 2000 as a 2001 model, becoming the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle that combines a small gasoline internal combustion engine with an electric motor for more power when needed.

A compact 5-passenger sedan, the 2001 Prius received EPA ratings at the time of 52 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 48 mpg combined, later revised to 42 mpg city / 41 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined under the new system.

2019– 2020 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid FWD

2020 Lincoln MKZ

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

EPA Rating: 42 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient luxury cars on the market. With a powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter Atkinson-Cycle gas engine teamed with an electric motor, the MKZ gets a total of 188 horsepower. The MKZ Hybrid can cruise as fast as 85 mph on electric power alone.

As expected in a vehicle from Ford's luxury brand, the MKZ Hybrid is available with numerous amenities including SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, featuring an 8-inch touchscreen; heated front seats; LED headlights; and Lincoln Drive Control, which continually balances the vehicle for a smooth ride and consistent, confident handling.

​2003–2005 Honda Civic Hybrid

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

EPA Rating: 38 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The first Honda Civic Hybrid went on sale in 2002 as a 2003 model, powered by a new IMA system that was 50 percent smaller than in previous Honda hybrid models and allowed the Power Control Unit and battery pack to be located behind the rear seat for less impact on truck volume and no impact on interior space. The IMA mates a 1.3-liter gasoline engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor combined with either a CVT or 5-speed manual transmission.

Original EPA ratings were 46 mpg city / 51 mpg highway / 48 mpg combined, before being revised under the new 2008 rating system.

1990 Chevrolet Sprint/Geo Metro

1990 Geo Metro

Photo by Geo

EPA Rating: 38 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined
The Geo Metro was the result of a joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki to produce a small, fuel-efficient vehicle that was sold by General Motors as the Geo Metro, Chevrolet Sprint, Pontiac Firefly, and Suzuki Swift.

The 1990–1994 Geo Metro XFi was the most fuel-efficient version, but the standard version is powered by a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual transmission and was originally rated at 46 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined before being revised to 38 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 41 mpg combined.

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The 2020 Toyota Yaris punches above its weight.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Folks are always fascinated about what I do for a living. "Oh, you drive a different car every week? That's so exciting!"

What follows is a fairly predictable set of questions. "What's your favorite car?" (Rolls-Royce Wraith). "Have you ever driven on a race track?" (Numerous times.) "What's the fastest you've driven?" (180 MPH in a Porsche Panamera on the Autobahn in Germany.)

But then I'll start asking them questions, trying to learn about what they drive and why. What car do you have and why did you buy it? What other cars did you consider? What do you look for in an automobile?

2020 Toyota Yaris The Yaris has Toyota looks up front.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

It's my own form of market research. I can't review a car if I don't understand who my reader is and how to best guide them. It's part of why I don't dive too deep into horsepower and performance figures — I've found that, performance cars excepted, most vehicles perform adequately for the everyday tasks that people buy them for.

That brings us to this week's car, which is perhaps one of the least-interesting cars I've tested — but in a very good way. The sub-$20,000 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback is aimed solidly at folks who want an affordable, entry-level vehicle that's safe, practical, and with just a touch of luxury-ishness.

My tester was the (slightly) fancier XLE trim, pricing out at $19,680. It's equipped with an adequate if unexciting 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine churning out a whopping 106-horsepower. The engine might be tiny, but it comes with the added bonus of 32/40/35 mpg (city/highway/combined) fuel economy. It's paired to a six-speed automatic transmission (and a real transmission too, not a continuously variable unit that some folks love to hate).

2020 Toyota Yaris The hatchback is convenient but the car also comes in a sedan variant.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

It has 16-inch wheels, a bunch of airbags, LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a seven-inch color touch screen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has push-button start, keyless entry, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Oh, and there's automatic climate control too, which I've seen missing on cars that cost way more than this.

Here's where things get a bit confusing. Toyota sells the Yaris in other markets around the world, and it's their own in-house vehicle. But the Yaris sold in America is a rebadged Mazda2 that's assembled at Mazda's facility in Salamanca, Mexico. It's related to the Toyota Yaris sedan which used to be called the Scion iA, which is also built by Mazda, but also has the Toyota brand on it.

Whatever.

2020 Toyota Yaris The Yaris rides okay, about what you’d expect for a sub-$20,000 vehicle.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

I've driven a lot of Mazdas and a lot of Toyotas, and it's obvious to me that this is a Mazda. That's not a bad thing. Mazdas vehicles have punched above their weight for a long time (I had a 2011 Mazda3 for years, and I've praised them frequently in these pages), bringing both upscale materials and design to lower-priced segments. That's true here too. The Mazda2 — I mean, Toyota Yaris Hatchback — doesn't feel like a stripped down econobox. It's small and maneuverable and the engine, though a little noisy, gets you through traffic nicely.

It's a great new car for a teenager or for someone looking to spend as little money on a new car as possible. New cars, after all, come with new car warranties and can appeal to folks who don't want to imagine what came before when buying something used.

The Yaris competes with the Honda Fit, which is a perennial favorite in this class, and it seems a little nicer and a little more polished, though with less rear-seat legroom if you anticipate carrying adults back there.

2020 Toyota Yaris Even low-cost models have an infotainment screen these days.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The front is comfortable and attractive enough, with solid buttons and knobs and dials that are all pleasing to touch and fiddle with (which isn't as common as you'd think). It seems to be a better car than it's bargain-basement price would indicate, with a solid ride, comfortable seats and two reliable names behind it.

I took it to Costco (as I have with all my COVID-era test drives) and, with the 60/40 seats folded down, was able to fill it with ease. It swallowed up toilet paper and paper towels and a case of Diet Dr. Pepper and all manner of other things. It's no Rolls-Royce Wraith, but I'd be happy to recommend the little Yaris to someone looking for a new car that won't break the bank.

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WWE logos are shown on screens before a WWE news conference at T-Mobile Arena on October 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

They're used to taking it to the mat, but this autumn, the stars of the WWE will be taking to the internet as part of a partnership with Hyundai to produce a 10-episode video series that features storytelling centered around the passion for enriching people's lives. "Drive For Better" will appear on WWE's digital platforms throughout the second half of the year.

"As an official sponsor of WWE, we are excited to be working together to share the personal stories of the Superstars and help put a smile on people's faces," said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. "We both believe everyone deserves better and this series is representative of that."

"WWE and Hyundai's shared passion for supporting local communities truly makes this a rewarding partnership," said John Brody, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sales & Partnerships, WWE. "We are extremely grateful to Hyundai for their commitment and hope this series will inspire people across the country at a time when it's needed most."

The first episode of the series features WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his recent virtual visit with patients at the Children's Hospital of Orange County. It debuted in July and is posted on WWE's digital platforms and the Superstars' social media channels along with other episodes in the series.

The series is part of a larger partnership between Hyundai and WWE. The two brands have delivered custom content integrations across WWE's global media platforms throughout 2020. Hyundai is also the Co-Presenting Partner of WWE Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 27 and will receive weekly exposure in Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown programming throughout the month of September.

In addition to the episodic programming, the partnership will work to promote Hyundai Hope On Wheels during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is a charitable organization that recently provided millions of dollars in grants to aid with COVID-19 testing.

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