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EPA’s Top Ten Most Efficient Vehicles of 2013

George Kennedy
18 November 2013

I find it insane that people buy cars based so largely on numbers. Price, horsepower, cargo space and fuel efficiency are all helpful metrics for comparing cars, but these numbers have to be taken together. What good is great fuel economy if the rest of the car is tiny and uncomfortable? Hey, if telling the guy in the cubicle next to you that you get 58 mpg is the highlight of your week– great, but look to these top ten to realize that there is so much more to buying a car than fuel economy:

This list was compiled by Fueleconomy.gov. The used only the combined MPGe ratings as the metric. We know the green-driving crowd is an enthusiastic bunch– as much as the performance or muscle car guys are about their rides! We are merely offering a little insight to the list that the EPA compiled, so if you don’t see your car on this list (hint: Volt owners), don’t shoot the messenger!

10. 2013 Tesla Model S (40-kW-hr battery pack)

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

This is one of two Teslas (Teslae?) on this list, and both are the only two cars on this list that are actually comfortable. The base-powertrain Model S achieves 93 mpg city, 96 mph highway, and 94 combined mpg. Having your cake and eating it too will cost you $62,400– after the $7,500 tax credit.

9. 2013 Tesla Model S (60-kW-hr battery pack)

Tesla Model S 2
Tesla Model S 2

The larger battery pack returns more power, fuel economy of 94 city/ 97 highway/ 95 combined, and an even higher price than the base Model S. If you’re wondering how the heck we’re rating electric cars in miles per gallon, the EPA has an electric vehicle rating of MPGe, or MPG-equivalent. According to the EPA, one-kilowatt hour equals one gallon of gas. So there.

8. 2013 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus EV
Ford Focus EV

The Focus Electric returns 110 mpg city, 99 mpg highway. It also achieves 105 combined mpg. The Focus Electric costs $35,200. Think about that– $35K…FOR A FOCUS!

7-6. 2013 Smart fortwo EV Coupe and Cabriolet

Smart fortwo EV
Smart fortwo EV

Fueleconomy.gov has a funny way of organizing vehicles. They broke out the coupe and convertible version of the fortwo EV and then made them tied for 6 and 7. Hey, it’s a Government organization. At any rate, I wouldn’t drive a gas powered Smart car, let alone a range-limited EV. The fact that it gets 122 city, 93 highway, 107 combined would not sway me either.

5. 2013 Mitsubishi i-MieV

Mitsubishi i-MieV
Mitsubishi i-MieV

First reaction- Mitsubishi still makes cars? But seriously folks, with looks only a mother could love, this car would be hard to live with. If mileage of 126 city, 99 highway, 112 combined gets you up in the morning, good for you– but I’ll take my fire breathing V8 before there’s no more decomposed dinosaur juice left to burn.

4. 2013 Nissan Leaf

Nissan LEAF
Nissan LEAF

Finally. This is the first car on this list that is affordable, and livable. Decent interior space, a respectable 75-mile range, and a base price of $21,300 make this a real option for a daily vehicle. Sure, the price can climb to up around $38,000, but all models still get 129 city, 102 highway, and 115 combined.

3. 2013 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e
Fiat 500e

Don’t laugh. The 500e is actually a fun car to drive. On the practical side, it has a 87-mile range, and returns 122 city, 108 highway, and 116 combined. On the fun side it handles well, and makes a respectable 111 horsepower. Road & Track named it their favorite EV of 2013– so you know it’s a blast to throw into the corners.

2. 2013 Honda Fit EV

Honda Fit EV
Honda Fit EV

In gas or in EV form the Honda Fit is one of the most versatile small cars around. The Fit EV has an interior akin to a Swiss Army knife and 118 combined mileage (132 city, 105 highway). The combination makes for one seriously practical EV. You can’t buy the Fit EV, however. It is part of a limited-run leasing program.

1. 2013 Scion iQ EV

Scion iQ EV
Scion iQ EV

The iQ EV achieves 138 city, 105 highway, and 121 combined. It’s a nimble little thing that can go 50 miles on a full charge (making the argument for extended-range EVs or plug-in hybrids, which can run on gas the gas engine after the batteries have been depleted). Availability might be an issue, as you can’t buy or lease the iQ EV- you can only rent one through the CityShare program

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