There’s more than one way to fight high gas prices: you can drive less or you can drive for less. But there’s no reason to sacrifice your driving pleasure for more fuel-efficient driving. Every car on this list achieves at least 30 mpg on the EPA road test cycle and embodies the spirit of fun-to-drive we value. Their combined EPA city and highway fuel economy numbers accompany each entry.
Alfa Romeo Guilia: 27 mpg combined/24 city/33 highway
We love the Giulia for its powerful and surly 280-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, for its playful handling and for its sexy looks. It’s a car with character, enough to make us forget the challenges we had in getting our Giulia Quadrifoglio serviced over the long term. Starting price: $44,945.
All about the Giulia
Audi S3: 27 mpg combined/23 city/32 highway
We called the Audi S3 “small, sporty and satisfying”. Now add “parsimonious” to this description. This all-wheel-drive compact bomb offers 306 horsepower and refined handling in a compact body. It shoots to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and still manages excellent fuel economy. If you want similar performance in a box, go for the Volkswagen Golf R, with which the S3 shares mechanicals. S3 starting price: $46,895.
All about the S3
BMW 330i: 30 mpg combined/26 city/36 highway
Honda Civic Si: 31 mpg combined/27 city/37 highway
The Civic Si is happiness on four wheels. Light on its feet and sufficiently peppy, its steering and brakes seem hardwired to your nervous system. In addition, he wears a tight athletic suit and has a spacious cabin. Best of all, the Si is self-selecting for enthusiastic drivers: it only comes with a six-speed manual transmission. Starting price: $28,315.
All about the Civic Si
Hyundai Elantra N: 25 mpg combined/22 city/31 highway
There’s a lot of fun in the new Elantra N: a sniffling 276-hp turbo-four; a chassis with precise handling and a pleasant drive; and the availability of a six-speed manual gearbox. The optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic offers slightly lower fuel economy than the manual-transmission car (shown here), but still manages 30 mpg on the highway. Starting price: $32,945.
Everything about the Elantra N
Kia Soul Turbo: 29 mpg combined/27 city/32 highway
If you just need a gas-efficient SUV, we want you to have one that’s also fun to drive. The funkadelic Soul Turbo is all of that, making it a ride worth considering. Our long-term Turbo produced performance good enough to entertain us and fuel economy good enough in the real world to keep costs down. Starting price: $20,505.
all about soul
Mazda MX-5 Miata: 30 mpg combined/26 city/34 highway
We can’t think of a better way to avoid gas pumps than in a Miata, with the top down and the wind in your hair. We dare you not to love this adorable two-seater two-seater. The fuel economy of the manual-transmission version (shown here) sacrifices one mile per gallon combined and on the highway to the automatic-equipped model—a small price to pay for the joy of waving an excellent gearbox. Starting price: $28,315.
All about the Miata
Mini Cooper S: 31 mpg combined/29 city/38 highway
If you can look past the kitschy styling of the Mini range, which we admit can be a challenge, you’ll find cars that are both fun to drive and very economical. Many offer a manual gearbox, and every model – up to and including John Cooper Works hi-po variants – tops out at 30 mpg or well beyond on the highway. (The EPA numbers here are for the two-door hardtop with the automatic.) Starting price: $20,600.
Everything about the Mini Cooper
Toyota GR Supra: 28 mpg combined/25 city/32 highway
Want a muscular, sharp-handling, 10 Best Sports Car winning sports car that offers great mileage at a reasonable price? Here is your answer. The base four-cylinder Supra exceeds the fuel economy numbers noted here. More good news: the EPA says the 382-hp six-cylinder version is also a 30-mpg road car. Starting price: $44,315.
Everything you need to know about the Supra
Volkswagen Golf GTI: 28 mpg combined/25 city/34 highway
We love the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and if you love driving, you will too. This feisty 241-horsepower box-on-wheels has a racer’s heart, blue-blooded ways and a distaste for gasoline. It’s fast, comfortable. and beautifully balanced, with the added utility of a tailgate. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic shows the mileage seen here; the six-speed manual only gives up a single mile per gallon in city driving. Starting price: $30,540.
Everything you need to know about the GTI
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