• How To Compare the Best Fuel Efficient Cars

    Fuel efficient cars come in many makes, models and vehicle types. There are bare-bones cars, hybrid cars, family sedans and luxury cars equipped with every conceivable amenity, even fuel-efficient trucks. With so many to choose from, how do you begin to compare which model offers the right combination of fuel economy and functionality for you? Here are some steps to consider.

    Step #1 – Look Up Fuel Efficient Cars

    Best place to start is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list of most fuel efficient vehicles. For 2009 and 2010, the overall fuel economy is the Toyota Prius hybrid, which gets a 3 mpg boost in 2010 with 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway (compared with 48 mpg city/45 mpg highway for 2009). Prius, however, is a midsize hatchback, and you’ll quickly discover the EPA lists fuel economy winners by vehicle size: 2-seaters, minicompact, subcompact, compact, midsize and so on.

    • Tip: Choose a few models you’re interested in and do a side-by-side comparison right on the EPA site.

    Step #2 – Decide Your Requirements

    Before you go any further, it’s best to make a list of your vehicle requirements. What are your regular driving and carrying-capacity needs? Do you do a lot of long-distance driving where comfort is a factor? Do you require a vehicle that has more cargo-carrying capacity than a sedan or coupe? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your list of best fuel efficient cars.

    • Tip: Write down all the trips you take in a month, including how many times you need extra carrying capacity (for people and/or cargo).

    Step #3 – Narrow Down Your List

    By now, you should have a better idea of the size and type of fuel efficient car you’re interested in. It should be a short list. Note that you may have a midsize hybrid car like the Toyota Prius or a subcompact vehicle like the Toyota Yaris, or the compact hatchback Honda Insight.

    Step #4 – Compare Vehicles In-Depth

    Beyond a cursory overview of fuel economy numbers, you’ll need to know more specifics about the engine, powertrain, standard and optional features, safety, driving characteristics, and other items. Check out all this information at sites such as www.autos.com where you can get rankings, reviews, pricing, and more. Search by model, by class and by year.

    • Tip: Compare numerous models side-by-side. You can add, edit or remove models to refine your list.

    Step #5 – Pick Your Top 2 to 3 Best Fuel Efficient Cars

    Narrow your list further to the top 2 to 3 most fuel efficient cars. Go over all the information on each model carefully. Eliminate any models that obviously won’t meet your needs.

    Step #6 – Arrange for a Test Drive

    You’re ready to arrange for a test drive in order to see if your choices match up with your needs and expectations for best fuel efficient cars. Once you complete your test drive, weigh and balance everything you’ve learned with other factors such as price, buy or lease, new or used and how much you like the car.

    Step #7 – Pick Your Favorite

    Finally, all that remains is for you to pick which of the best fuel efficient cars is right for you. If you’ve done your homework, the choice should be fairly obvious.