Great Gas Milage and Performance In One Car?

The questions is can you have your cake and eat it, too? I love the idea of fast sports cars that handle well and also serve as a decent daily driver. However, as I mentioned before in the last article, gas prices are on the rise and are currently over $4.00 a gallon with no relief in sight. Where does that leave the driving enthusiast?  Bored… and annoyed (At least I am.)

You can’t take that leisurely trip up north or to your favorite mountain pass on the weekend, you have to save that precious fuel for getting yourself to work and back. So what is the solution?

Carpool if you can, ride a bicycle if you live close enough, or buy a more economical ride.

I never want to recommend that people trade in their existing car for the sole reason of poor gas mileage. If there is nothing wrong with your vehicle it always better to stick with it even if fuel is expensive. It will take a long time to make up the difference in price for the fuel and maintenance on your old vehicle versus the fuel savings from a new vehicle. With that said let me suggest some sporty and economical vehicles.

First and maybe not the best for this category is the Chevy Corvette. Really, it does actually get fairly decent gas mileage considering it is putting out 430 HP. It averages 16/26 mpg. You get the performance, the handling, and the gas mileage, but (and there is always a but) you have to pay for it. It is close to $48,000 and you don’t get a back seat, so as long as you don’t care about the price or hauling anyone but your best friend then I say go for it. This car is not realistic for the everyday driver. It is impressive none the less to get that good of gas mileage out of a car.  I was shooting for sporty cars with the city gas mileage over 20, cause let’s face it who here mostly drives in the city… I certainly do!

Let’s start with something that is not necessarily functional but most definitely sporty, the Mazda MX-5 (Miata). I know Austin is actually considering getting one of this and I know what you might be thinking. “What is he, uh, a little girl?” Truth be told the only people who I have ever met that referred to the MX-5 as a “girls” car are the ignorant masses that have never driven one. Drive one and see for yourself how much fun they are. They start under $22,000 and get 22/27 MPG. Not bad… maybe I should get one.

But what if you want something sporty AND you have to haul around the Kids, dogs, boyfriends without a license, ect. Then you might want to look at either the SE-R Spec V Sentra, which starts below $20,000 and has 200 HP, or the Honda Civic SI Sedan, which starts at just below $22,000 has 197 HP. They both get 21/29 mpg and have 6 speed Manual Transmission Option. If it was me I’d go for the SE-R Sentra it looks to be a little more bang for the buck, but on the other hand you get the long line of dependability with the Honda. Tough choice.

To be honest, I think I’d choose the Mini Cooper S. There is a back seat but it is not as easy to get to as the Sentra or the Civic, but it is priced about the same and gets 26/34 mpg. Not to mention the joy of a turbocharged engine, a sport tuned suspension, a six speed transmission and a better warranty of 3 year 36,000 miles bumper to bumper with free maintenance. Pretty slick.

If four doors aren’t critical, then check out the Chevy Cobalt. I’ve never really been to keen on theses in the past because they had a supercharged engine but I think they might actually have something this year. A 2.4L Ecotech engine that is turbocharged and get 22/30 mpg. It also puts out 260 HP and 260 ft-lbs of torque. This Cavalier legacy car is actually starting to get my attention.  In addition they have a neat shifting feature that when your are running wide open throttle you do not have to lift the gas pedal to shift the gears.  The engine computer actually holds the rpm for you as you plop it into another gear.  Whatever makes you go faster, right?

Then there is the Impreza WRX. It has the back seat 4 or 5 door option, 224 HP turbocharged engine with All wheel drive. It also gets 20/25 mpg and they start just under $25,000.

But what would the WRX be with out its arch rival the Lancer. Mitsubishi has released a GTS version of the car that is more performance oriented then any of the other variants (with the exception of the EVO) that puts out 168 HP and 167 ft-lbs or torque while still maintaining a 21/28 mpg. Not great, but not to shabby. In addition the price tag is $5,000 dollars less that the WRX, and it comes with a tuned suspension and upgraded brakes.

If you’re one for the European cars, Volkswagen has a decent selection of a Coupe and a Sedan.  The GTI mkV and the GLI both get 21/29 mpg and both have the same turbocharged direct injected engine that puts out 200HP and 207Ft-lbs of torque.  The GTI starts at $22,800 and GLI starts at $24,300.

Too sum up, All of these cars are performance driven and still maintain a minimum city gas mileage of 20, with the exception of the Corvette. Honestly, who buys a Corvette for Fuel Econmy’s sake anyway? If it boiled down to choosing one of the cars above, I would probably go for the MX-5, then the Mini Cooper S, and just cause my wife would probably make us get a sedan due the functionality of it, the SE-R Spec V Sentra.

2 comments ↓

#1 Tony on 07.22.08 at 10:44 pm

I say, the BMW 1-series… 3.0 twin turbochrged inline six, 18/25 mpg. its $35k, but it’d be the last car you’d have to buy.

#2 vj on 08.27.08 at 5:38 am

great info, wish had more cars 2 browse thru

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